Sunday, March 13, 2011

A River Runs Through It


Two in the morning and I can't sleep. When I am in a hotel I tend to drift in and out of sleep throughout the night. I glanced around the room and noticed my new room mate had not returned from the trip to the Casino. For a moment I wondered if he were alright, if something bad might have happened. He entered the cab outside our hotel in a very drunken state. Being drunk in a strange land, heading for a Casino with lots of money seemed like a bad idea to me.

But, I was enjoying the quiet that came with his absence. I thought about the long run I had planned at daybreak through International Park and slowly drifted back to sleep.  Finally at rest, I fell into a deep dream state.

Suddenly, the front door rocked and began to shake, "Hey, Texas. wakeup I forgot my keycard. Texas...., Texas......, come on, man, open the door." The marine had returned and was banging on the door with his fist. "Wake up, Tex, I gotta get in!"

I hurriedly scurried to the door, opening it as quickly as possible. "Shhhhh!, people are sleeping big guy. Your going to get us in trouble, come on in and go to bed."

"Texas, you need to loosen up! We are in Canada! Can you believe it! Canada! We just gotta have some fun while we are here. Tonight the party is on me, my friend! We better get to bed, Tex, got to work tomorrow, you know!" He slumped to the side of his bed and began taking his shoes off, struggling for a few minutes he finally gave up and fell back on the bed into a deep sleep.

I lay back down on my bed and thought about the two to three hours remaining until daylight. If I can just make it until dawn, I can go for a run. All I had to do was wait it out,  take a deep breathe, stay calm and wait it out. I looked out the window into the dark summer sky. Wait...

"Got to pee! Got to pee!" The marine sat straight up in bed, and repeated "Got to pee!"

He staggered to his feet and headed toward the bathroom door, I pulled the covers tight over my head. It was going to be a long three hours. I heard the sound of water striking a solid object, "Christ," I thought, "he forgot to raise the toilet lid." What else could this guy do? I pulled the cover tighter and wondered how I was going to go in that bathroom in the morning.

Suddenly, a stranger sound, one that totally puzzled me. It sounded like water falling on carpet. Carpet? The bathroom wasn't carpeted. I lifted the covers and looked around the room. The giant marine was using the dresser as a toilet. Urine puddled all over the top and was running down the side onto the carpet. "Hey, soldier, your not in the bathroom." I shouted

He turned toward me still eliminating the foul liquid as it puddled at the foot of my bed. "It's ok man...it's ok.  Use what you want to as a toilet, just take a step back." I lowered my voice in the calm manner a teacher does when he wants to draw students attention and get them to focus. The marines eyes were rolled back in his head and he was slowly drifting back and forth as the river of pee continued.

Now, I have never seen a man with such a large bladder. The river ran for a long time before finally slowing, first to a trickle, then short burst of streams. It stopped and he stood in the room silently, two short gutteral booms eminated from his body. He sighed and fell belly first on the bed.  As quickly as his body landed on the bed the drunken marine went into a deep sleep.

I stared at the dresser and realized the all my running clothing was in the drawers now soaked with the marine's bodily fluids. My heart sank.  I hoped that the drawers were water proof and that somehow I could get them open without distrubing the fluids that lay all around.  I looked at the water soaked floor and realized that it was soaked all the way to the bathroom.

I lay back on the bed staring at the ceiling. My pride of being a specially selected teacher had faded and was now replaced by the realization that I had five more nights to endure in the land of our northern neighbors.  How am I going to do this for a full week? What should I say to total strangers? What do I say to the cleaning staff?  Sleep was now impossible, I pulled my pillows up and sat back on the headboard. It's going to be a long week.

In the bed next to mine lay the giant marine snoring and reeking of beer, urine and his own bodily odors. Blissfully he slept unaware of the physical havoc he had caused in the room and the mental wreckage he had created in the mind of  his new"Texas Little Buddy."  Suddenly, the river flowed again as his bladder emptied onto his bed and down the floor.

I slid down into my bed and pulled a pillow over my head and began to laugh. I had crossed the boundary of reality into the shadows found at the entrance to the unknown. I saw Rod Serling with a lit cigarette, smirking his little smile and nodding his head approvingly. I was stuck between real and unreal for a week in the summer of 2008. The blinking neon sign said Calgary, but, I knew better. I had entered the Twilight Zone.

Part III, Home on the Strange March 15.