“Park here,” said Aloha.
I looked at her. I looked at the water. I looked at her. I looked at the water. “But we’re 200 feet away from the water’s edge.”
She replied, “High tide,” as she reached up and twisted the key to turn off the engine. “Stay in the truck for a minute.”
This was a lake, not the ocean. Lakes don’t have tides.
I looked over at Bali and Hai. They were trying so hard to act casual that I knew something was up. I just didn’t know what.
This was turning out to be a very weird day.
First, Aloha climbed on top of a gas pump to give a hula lesson.
Then, Floyd waved his bare bottom at two attackers like he was a matador and they were bulls. And now Alfie was wearing a coil wire from a police cruiser like it was an ascot and he was at the Kentucky Derby.
Looking out the window, I saw a huddle of blondes around Aloha like she was a quarterback and they were her team.
Yes, a very weird day indeed.
Aloha looked up at my window. “You can get out of the truck now,” she said.
By the time my paws touched the water, the blondes were losing articles of clothing as they walked along the water’s edge, slowly revealing their bikinis underneath. Every guy on the beach was following them with his eyes.
Floyd found an old barstool and was sitting on it in the bed of my truck. He looked like an emperor overlooking a battlefield. A few minutes later, I heard his guitar. Half an hour later, Bali, Hai, and Alfie were singing and dancing on the tailgate of the Hudson, leading every little kid on the beach in a rowdy sing-along.
When trouble arrived on the beach, a muppet, two music box ballerinas and a Christmas elf were wailing sadder than Irishmen in a pub on O’Connell Street in Dublin.
“And I knew if I had my chance
That I could make those people dance
And maybe they’d be happy for a while.
But February made me shiver
With every paper I’d deliver.
Bad news on the doorstep.
I couldn’t take one more step.
I can’t remember if I cried
When I read about his widowed bride.
Something touched me deep inside
The day the music died.
So, bye-bye, Miss American Pie,
Drove my Chevy to the levee, but the levee was dry
And them good ol’ boys were drinkin’ whiskey and rye
Singin’, “This’ll be the day that I die…
This’ll be the day that I die.”
Just as Floyd was singing “This’ll be the day that I die,” Sven rode his Harley up next to the water with Boxwine perched on the seat behind him. Ollie drama-parked his Corvette at the waterline, the nose of it sticking out over the rippling water. Spraytan stepped out of the passenger side. The four of them looked up the hill wearing dark sunglasses and matching frowns.
I heard a foghorn, loud and low. Some of the crowd began to hurry away, but most of them stayed to see what was going to happen. Sven and Ollie were skinheads, drug dealers, and cousins.
Floyd smiled his biggest muppet smile.
And then the hula music began. The seven blondes ran from every corner of the beach to gather behind Aloha and show off the moves they had learned at the gas station. The crowd on the beach walked up the hillside to face my truck, most of them swaying with the music and the girls. Boxwine stood at the back of the the crowd, tapping his watch and slashing his throat with a forefinger.
Spraytan, Sven and Ollie were watching the girls.
Seven hula girls in bikinis can keep people entertained a lot longer than you think.
The music stopped abruptly. Floyd leaped to his feet, pointed to the lake and shouted, “They’ve opened the gates in the dam!” Everyone in the crowd turned to see a Corvette and a Harley-Davidson parked in 12 inches of rising water.
Spraytan, Boxwine, Sven, and Ollie took off like their lives depended on it. I scanned the beach for signs of Alfie, Bali and Hai.
Aloha said, “They’re already in the truck, Indy. It’s time to roll this party wagon to another spot.”
The blondes were crowded around Floyd, still sitting on his bar stool in the back of the truck, when the Hudson exhaust pipe pitched its perfect C-major. Floyd began to sing as we rolled down the road back to town,
“One hundred bottles of beer on the wall,
One hundred bottles of beer,
Take one down, pass it around,
Ninety-nine bottles of beer on the wall…”
Alongside me in the cab of the truck, Bali and Hai were wearing bell-bottomed scarves that looked just like Alfie’s.
And Aloha was navigating.