Happy Father’s Day, Daddy. You definitely earned your stripes. This is one fire you’ll be glad you missed!
Our Daddy, like many other dads with daughters has been through the ringer with my sister, Kim and me. When we consented to room together in college I’m not sure if he was relieved or terrified. We were after all the Notorious Duke Gals, partners in crime. Feared by some. Revered by others. This resulted in many a sleepless nights for dear ‘ol dad.
When we moved away from the safety of our dorm after graduation to the wicked wiles of South Florida Mama took it in stride and as for Daddy, well, he became a worrisome Jewish mother. Ever the Eagle Scout and always prepared his motto was to diffuse a problem well before it ever happened– as in years before it happened. For those of you who know us well, who could blame him? I’m sure we were responsible for him taking out stock in Grecian Hair Coloring for Men while we were still in junior high school, but through it all he was always there for us putting out more fires than the NYPD. So when we got the bright idea to hop down to the Bahamas for the weekend, we knew better than to tell him the truth. Anything was better than the truth. In his eyes—leaving the country opened the door for one thing–an international incident. For his sanity and ours as far as he knew we were headed to the Keys for a little sun, sand, snorkeling, and sightseeing where nothing ever happened.
“Don’t worry we’ll check in everyday,” I assured as I placed my passport in my luggage while he synchronized his watch and dictated a “phone home” schedule.
In hindsight I suppose when you place the words fire, news media, Victoria Secret teddies, and daughters in a sentence together most daddies were going to come unglued. Especially ours.
When we arrived at the resort we wasted no time soaking up a little local color and taking the island by storm on mopeds. Getting getting used to driving on the opposite side of the road took some doing. Getting caught in that dignitaries’ funeral procession in downtown Nassau was a piece of cake. By the time we’d made it back to the hotel we were celebrities having been seen by half the island as they lined the streets paying homage to the hearse and its dearly deaparted occupant as we meandered right along with it and into the cemetery dressed in our matching hats and skirts resembling the Double Mint Twins.
“Oh hell, you don’t think this will be shown CNN or something. Daddy would have a fit!”I giggled.
“Chill. You’re such a nervous Nellie,” Kim laughed later in the casino.
Because we were taking a booze cruise at the crack of dawn I had the bright idea of turning in early. Daddy was so happy when we called and said we were watching TV in our rooms. How much trouble can a couple of single gals get into tucked safe and sound in our beds at nine-thirty I asked him? Plenty.
We were both out cold when the frantic banging on the door came just after midnight.
“Fire!” Fire!” somebody yelled.
“Fire? At this hour? Do you think it’s a drill?” I groggily asked Kim as I made my way to the door.
“Yeah. A fire drill at midnight,” Kim said sarcastically crawling from bed.
I opened the door to a panicked employee who instructed me to “get the hell out” as the hallway of the 14th floor swirled with thick smoke.
“Hurry-up Kim! Get our passports! This is for real!” I shrieked. “The hotel is on fire!”
I admit I was hoping for a little adventure, but this was more than I bargained for. She grabbed her documents easily while I wrestled with the massive TV bolted to the dresser. Miss World Traveler got the bright idea to protect myself from identity theft by cleverly shoving my passport underneath the hundred pound RCA.
“Help me with this damn TV! I can’t lift it!” I shrieked.
“I told you not to put it under there,” Kim shouted. “I’m outta here,” she yelled, as I followed close behind towards the stairwell with twenty or so other bed sheet wrapped folks.
Course I all I could think about as we descended the stairs was my passport burning up in the fire and getting detained on the island and having to make that collect phone call to Daddy.
Arriving barefoot and breathless in the lobby we were directed to the massive couch facing the noisy casino which was brimming with zillions of patrons none of whom had gotten the midnight memo regarding the Bahamian version of Towering Inferno. I was surprised that we weren’t standing in the safety of the parking lot where several fire trucks had just arrived until the hotel manager filled us in.
“The small fire has been contained to a kitchen suite on your floor however, the fire marshal says you won’t be allowed to return to your rooms for another few hours,” he said.
Another few hours? I tried to cover myself with a couple of coffee table magazines strategically placed across my leopard spots and quickly discovered silk teddies are like silk sheets. Everything slides south. Our little sofa-bound group caused quite the commotion dressed in robes, sheets, and in our case sexy lingerie as folks filed in and out oblivious to what was going on. I don’t know why we weren’t offered a blanket or towel as Kim and I sat like a couple of high-class Hee-Haw Honey’s in our red and leopard teddies respectively di-rect from the Victoria Secret Adventure Collection. We were after all “eighties” gals and according to our bedside bible—Cosmopolitan Magazine—always prepared, but it was clear we resembled “local talent” with the meter running. This wasn’t a hunch, but a fact.
“Hey, Carl. Check them out,” a guy said pointing to us and winking as he passed. “I didn’t know this hotel allowed that kind of thing.”
I considered parading through the jam-packed room and swiping the corner potted palm to hide behind when a family passed with a small boy. The horrified mother took one look at us, and quickly slapped both hands over his eyes while I stayed put.
“I’ll explain why they’re dressed like that when you’re older,” she said as she ushered him into the elevator.
I thought things couldn’t get worse. That’s before I spotted the media.
“Crap! A TV station,” I shreiked as the doors popped opened and in came the news crew, mikes in hand making a bee line for us. “Hells Bells, Kim–Is that CNN!”
I could see the national news flash, “Two Georgia girls narrowly escaped a blazing fire in the Bahamas saved only by their flame resistant teddies. More news at eleven.” This of course would be followed by Daddy’s obit.
“Lets’ get out of here,” I said grabbing her hand.
“Suck in your gut and tuck in your boobs,” Kim giggled as we disappeared into the casino. Confucius say—“It is better to be propositioned for solicitation by a stranger, than to be busted by honorable Daddy in a lie.”
We love you Daddy.
Until next time…
The Possum Queen