Our fellow biobay enthusiasts jumped into the pitch black water that night with wild abandon.
I wasn’t remotely tempted to join them, and even Michael looked skeptical.
Meanwhile our new friends Colin and Denise—who’d been among the first to plunge into the murky depths—harangued us good-naturedly to join them.
“Come on, you wusses,” Colin cried, his body glowing eerily in the light of thousands of over-stimulated flagellates.
“Sticks and stones,” I recited half-heartedly.
“What are you scared of, sharks?” Denise laughed.
“Don’t be silly,” I replied as the theme music from Jaws pounded through my head. “But the bay’s full of jellyfish.”
“Rubbish!” Colin cried dismissively. “There’s not a jellyfish for miles.”
As if on cue, the father of the Canadian district attorney-in-training emitted a loud, girlish scream. “Oh my god,” he screeched.
“What’s wrong?” asked his portly wife, flailing her short, fat arms.
“I think I’ve been bit!” he gasped.
“Bitten,” I said under my breath (even in times of duress there’s no excuse for poor grammar).
“Help!” his wife cried. “Help!”
Admirably enough one of the fully-clothed tour guides leapt into the water (I can only assume there were liability issues) and paddled wearily to the man’s side.
“I’m going to bring you back to the boat,” he calmly informed the sting victim, who sobbed loudly before surrendering to his rescuer’s embrace.
Michael and I hauled our Canadian friend back onto the boat. Cate (with a C) trained a flashlight on his leg, which bore a nasty-looking red mark. “Jellyfish sting,” she said. “Nothing to worry about.”
By now the other swimmers were showing signs of concern. Even Colin and Denise had paddled nearer the side of the boat.
“What is it?” Colin called out.
“Jellyfish,” I announced with enormous satisfaction.
He catapulted himself out of the water like a shot, leaving Denise behind.
“How about me?” she wailed.
“Every man for himself” was Colin’s less than chivalrous response.
I gave them a year, tops.
The Canadian was groaning piteously. “Oh my god, it hurts like hell. Is there anything we can do?”
“Urine helps,” volunteered the drenched tour guide who had fished him out of the bay.
The wife had bobbled her way to the side of the boat and was trying unsuccessfully to launch herself out of the water. Reluctantly, Michael gave her a hand—actually, two hands. (He later complained of back pain.)
Once on the boat, she rushed with great drama to her husband’s side.
“Did you say urine?” she asked the tour guide.
“Yes ma’am. It helps with the pain.”
For a heart-stopping moment it appeared as if she might divest herself of her ruffled swimsuit and squat, for all to see, on her husband’s leg.
Blessedly she thought better of it.
“Jerry!” she cried out instead across the water to one of her pasty sons. “Come pee on your father!”
Young Jerry huffed his way back to the boat and, with remarkable composure, obeyed.