Ophira lived in a wee house in University Square, Tampa. It had one floor, three bedrooms, two baths, a handful of family members, a couple pets, some plants, and an occasional staring contest.
Mauricio lived in Lowry Park North, but Ophira wasn’t allowed to go there because Mauricio was afraid that someone would tell his girlfriend. Ophira didn’t like Mauricio’s girlfriend and Mauricio’s girlfriend did not like Ophira.
Mauricio did not bring his girlfriend along when he and Ophira went to St. Pete Beach. They frolicked in the ocean water, and attempted to have sex. Mauricio and Ophira were big fans of science, so Somewhat quickly they concluded that it is impossible to have sex underwater, and absconded to Ophira’s car to have sex therein.
“I hate Mauricio’s girlfriend,” Ophira told Amit on the telephone. “She’s not even pretty.”
“Hey, listen,” said Amit. “I’m going to a wedding on Captiva.”
“Oh, my family used to go to Captiva every year. There’s bioluminescent algae and little crabs and stuff.”
“Yeah? Do you want to come along? You could pick me up at the airport.”
“Why would I want to go to a wedding?”
“Well, it’s on the beach and they’re going to have a bouncy castle.”
“A bouncy castle‽ Are you serious?”
Amit prepared to go to the wedding and Ophira became terse then unresponsive. After he landed at RSW, he called Ophira, but instead of answering the phone she startled and fell out of her chair. Amit arranged for other transportation toward the Sanibel Causeway. Ophira bit her nails for a few hours, then went to her car and drove to Cape Coral.
Ophira cruised around Cape Coral for a while, until she spotted a teenager cleaning a minivan. She parked her car and approached him.
“Whatcha doing?” asked Ophira, pretending to chew on imaginary gum.
The youth slid the minivan door open. “I’m cleaning,” he said hesitantly.
“Didn’t your parents teach you not to talk to strangers? I could do all kinds of horrible things to you.”
They conversed for a bit. She recounted a story of her personal hero, a twelve-year-old girl who seduced and manipulated older men into ruin. She rehashed the mysteries of Mauricio’s girlfriend. She waxed poetic on her love of bouncy castles. The youth listened, hypnotized.
“What’s your name, kid?” Ophira yawned.
“Arjun,” he replied.
“How old are you?”
Arjun thought about it. “15,” he said.
“Hmm,” Ophira stroked her chin. “Can you sneak me into your room so that your parents never find out about it?”
Arjun’s eyes went wide.
MEANWHILE, on Captiva Island, Amit had learned that even though the Tenderly had multiple indoor jacuzzis, General Fitzpatrick and Mrs. Fitzpatrick had decided it prudent to have sex in the hot tub on the deck; that the execution of this plan had somehow necessitated a lengthy cleaning process before the hot tub could be used again; that that’s why workmen were cleaning the hot tub; and that the Fitzpatrick children had gotten General Fitzpatrick and Mrs. Fitzpatrick to agree to not do that again, with an added suggestion that they not be seen doing anything else naked in public.
A girl walked up to Amit. “Hey, I heard you lost your plus-one. Are you here alone? What a loser!” she giggled nervously, then stared.
“Leave me alone, Darlene,” sighed Amit.
Darlene’s face reddened as she spun on her heels and stormed over to Lisette. “Oh my god, did you see that? I practically threw myself at him and he was abusive toward me. He probably has all the classic signs of being an abuser. Did you hear about that girl he dated in Ohio? I bet I know why that ended.”
“Oh really?” said Lisette distractedly, looking Amit up and down. “So he’s single now?”
Darlene glared at Lisette as Amit wandered back outside to stare at the hot tub.
“Hey kid,” said Ophira, “bring me some snacks.”
“I don’t bring food into my room,” said Arjun. “It attracts pests.”
“Is that what your parents told you?” scoffed Ophira. “Don’t be such a wuss.”
Three minutes later, Ophira was finishing a bag of paprika puffs. “These are great, Arjun! Where do you get these?”
“My cousin sends them from Europe,” he explained.
“Now get me a diet soda.”
Amit strolled along the beach, then yelped. “What’s biting my legs?” he cried out.
“Those are sand fleas,” said Nessarose.
“What are sand fleas?” asked Amit incredulously.
Nessarose rolled her eyes. “Stop being a baby and have a drink.”
After the sun went down, Amit began to notice the crabs, and this made him drink more.
When everyone was soused, General Fitzpatrick announced that they were going for a swim in the Gulf, in direct contravention of safety guidelines. Most of the guests were wise enough to refuse, but an eightsome swam out, occasionally stopping to slap the algae, but continuing until they reached the sandbar that General Fitzpatrick correctly claimed was there.
Then screams echoed through the night as all the jellyfish attacked everyone invading their sandbar.
The crestfallen swimming party eventually made it back to shore.
“Pee on the jellyfish sting,” commanded Nessarose. “It’s the best cure.”
“No!” shouted General Fitzpatrick’s daughter. “Urine makes it worse.”
Things quickly escalated from Nessarose and General Fitzpatrick’s daughter screaming at each other to the beach dividing into three factions: those siding with Nessarose, those siding with General Fitzpatrick’s daughter, and those who had no idea what was going on. General Fitzpatrick had no interest in any of this, and went straight to bed.
“It’s getting late, kid,” said Ophira. “I’m taking your bed.”
“What?” squeaked Arjun.
“Look,” said Ophira, “your bed is small and there isn’t room for both of us. You may sleep on the floor if you’re quiet and don’t bother me.”
“What?” squeaked Arjun.
“Are you deaf, kid?” Ophira grunted and then went to bed.
Arjun blinked in confusion, then tried to fall asleep on the floor, without much success.
Ophira got up in the morning and said, “Before I go, I want to teach you a valuable lesson.”
“What?” groaned Arjun, getting to his feet.
“You should be careful talking to strangers. Now, I told you that I could do horrible things to you, so this is not my fault; it’s yours,” she announced, then sucker-punched him in the gut.
Ophira climbed out the window as Arjun doubled over.
As the ceremony began, only a small minority of the wedding party was visibly suffering from jellyfish stings, which may or may not have helped with ignoring the sand fleas.
The ceremony ended shortly thereafter, and now that marriage had been accomplished, everyone turned their attention to food and drink and swimming less irresponsibly than the night before. Guests that needed to return home sooner departed in waves and Amit started to appreciate the more peaceful environment.
He heard the deck door slide open behind him and turned his attention away from the hot tub.
“Hey, mofo,” Ophira shouted as strode stylishly out onto the deck. “Where’s this bouncy castle?”
Amit blinked in surprise. “That was yesterday. You missed it.”
“Oh,” she frowned. “So I met this South Slav guy with a really sexy forehead, and I need some advice. I don’t know if I should call him or wait.”
Amit pointed to the hot tub and told her the story of General Fitzpatrick and Mrs. Fitzpatrick and the hot tub.
“What?” said Ophira. “How could they have sex underwater?”
“What do you mean?” asked Amit.
“Well, it’s impossible,” she replied.