Death by Water
There’s a new indoor water park thingy near where we were staying last week in Jugon le Lacs, in Brittany. I took the kids, hoping the wear them out so they wouldn’t be bothersome during the evening’s cider drinking. Marching out of the changing rooms (troublingly omni-sexual, by the way …) in my traditional baggy swimming shorts, I was told a firm ‘Non!’ – there was no swimming shorts rule. I was instructed to go and buy some Speedo-type things at the reception. The poor girl there pointed me towards various trunks, most looking like the sort of thing used by David to hurl his stones at Goliath. ‘Plus gros’ I kept saying ‘plus grande’. Eventually she disappeared into a back room and came out with a pair of XXXLs, that still seemed pretty flimsy. Anyway, I put them on and wobbled out, greatly amusing my children. I kept catching glimpses of myself in various reflective surfaces, and to my eyes I looked quite naked, as the trunks were enveloped entirely by fleshy overhangs and lardy extrusions. They were also, paradoxically, a little loose, and I kept having to pull them up, and tighten the shoelace arrangement around the waist.
Fortunately, the kids were soon distracted by the watery slides and tunnels and so forth, and I took a turn around the pool, doing my usual stately strokes – the reverse humber, the slaint, the breast nurdle. Eventually my daughter came and insisted that I have a go on one of the slides, and I allowed myself to be dragged up the hundreds of steps to the top. She gave me a friendly shove, overcoming my hesitation, and down I hurtled, blinded by the spay, but not neglecting to scream like a schoolgirl. About half way down I realised why the trunks were supposed to be tight. My brief-yet-saggy ones were shipping water, inflating, like some obscene balloon animal. I tried to rectify this, by squeezing the water out, but the gravitational forces generated by the slide were too great. And then I realised that things were becoming critical. A hull-breach was imminent. My yelps became ever higher in pitch … By the time I reached the bottom, closely observed by some hundreds of fascinated Breton teenagers, puzzled toddlers, and mirthful adults, my trunks had been radically relocated, and all of my reproductive equipment was entirely on the outside of the fabric, lying like melancholy roadkill or, no, like some mutant sea creature washed up on the Breton shore – part squid, part bleached sea anemone, part dead guppy, with a grey-brown fringe of weathered bladderwrack.
Sensing the guards approaching, I hurried back to the polymorphously perverse changing room, and then out into the steady French drizzle, where I threw the stupid trunks out into the muddy lake waters; and, when a hand neglected to come forth and take them down into the depths, I hurled stones at them until a grizzled fisherman asked me to stop , as I was ‘bouleverser le poisson’.
And, at last, an excuse to show off the Japanese cover of Shark Adventure …