How One Jackass Ruined My Vacation
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO – I anticipated my visit to Cabo to consist of my toes in the water and ass in the sand, not a worry in the world, cold beer in my hand. However, the higher-ups at Buzzsaw Magazine have a very different idea of what a vacation is. Apparently, there was a new tourist attraction that had sprung up, one that was quickly gaining attention from media outlets: not a whale watching tour, but a monster watching tour. I know, you must be thinking that’s ridiculous. Insane, even. I thought the same, but I decided to ignore my doubts and go for it anyway. I mean, what’s the worst that could happen?
I found the answer to my stupid rhetorical question standing at the end of a half-rotten pier, breathing in the stench of diesel fuel and dead fish. In the green waters all around me, the half-sunken husks of old pontoon boats laid in eternal rest. After about forty minutes of waiting, I figured I had been scammed. It was in my moment of doubt when I heard something that can only be compared to a lawnmower being kicked repeatedly by an ostrich. Out on the horizon, a boat chugged into view. Calling it a boat may be a bit generous, in hindsight. What may have once been a canoe with a motorcycle engine duct taped to it lurched its way to the dock. Having come to a full stop, a man proudly wearing a grease-stained Hawaiian shirt and a bass pro shop hat stepped onto the dock.
The Ahab of this story was a man named Carl. I introduced myself and told him why I was there, to which he responded by saying “never heard of a chainsaw magazine”. Honestly, fair enough. Carl proceeded to help me onto the boat, and before I could take my seat, he revved the engine, and we were off with alarming speed. I was launched on my back, the salty water of the Pacific spraying over me. Once I regained my composure, Carl wasted no time in offering me what appeared to be… dip. Out of a Ziploc bag, to paint an accurate portrait of the event. Carl always kept it classy.
Carl’s latest business endeavor was not his first venture involving monsters of the deep. It began when he was a young man growing up in Mississippi, he informed me, completely unprompted. He told all of his friends that he spotted the Loch Ness monster in the pond down the street. Being the entrepreneur he was, he charged five bucks a head to see the elusive beast. When someone with a lick of common sense came across this, they told the crowd of would-be suckers that the Loch Ness monster was exclusive to Loch Ness. The one in Scotland, to those of you reading this at home. This little roadblock did not stop Carl for long. Shortly after, he pulled himself up by the bootstraps and tried again. He would continue this pattern for years. One kraken-themed food truck, a Cthulhu line of candles, and a Leviathan–inspired Christmas album later, and Carl eventually found himself in Mexico, giving tours to spring breakers who had nothing better to do on a Wednesday afternoon.
The boat ride was agony. For four hours, we rocked back and forth, any swell or wave could mean the destruction of our floating jalopy. Carl, try as he might, did not make the trip go any smoother. When asking me if I liked “listening to tunes”, he began singing “Mama Roux” by Dr. John. Loudly. Or at least, the parts of the song that he remembered. After some time, his voice faded out, right as I began succumbing to heatstroke. Right as I began to question if seawater was really that bad, the boat came to a very sudden stop. Without a word, he pointed out to the water. The sun had set at this point, so it was hard to make out exactly what I was looking at. But there was certainly a shape in the water. For a moment, doubt took control of my mind. Was this maniac hillbilly onto something here? Had he truly found some new species off the coast of Mexico?
My questions were answered as soon as the “creature” came into view. Carl’s monster was but a porpoise with a flamingo pool tube resting gently on its head. Collapsing back into the boat, I asked Carl to turn around and take us back. He laughed, revealing a hidden flare gun. Shooting it into the air, he informed me that he did not actually know how to navigate the ocean at night. Instead, his plan was to sit tight and wait for the Mexican coast guard to come pick us up, whenever they got around to it. As the sun disappeared and the porpoise swam off, I truly wondered how that old man didn’t drown himself in the sea.
Andrew Donnelly is a second-year theatre studies major who cannot wait for their trip to Antarctica to meet the Yeti. You can reach them at [email protected].
Art by Julia Young.