I had an affection toward tourists. They humored me and were just so darn cute. You could spot them a mile away, even the seasoned ones. Visitors who came to Port Summerville year-after-year became less conspicuous than their rookie counterparts. Though they blended in, the locals still recognized them. The newbies were more visible. The first hint of amateur status was they took pictures of everything, and I mean everything; palm trees, birds, houses on the beach, clouds, more birds, and then each other. They went through a dozen rolls of film and hadn’t even checked into their room.
If you went to Wal-Mart and looked in their tourist shopping carts, you’d find new fishing gear, wine for her, cheap beer for him and Shasta black cherry soda for the kids. The kids bugged dad to death for the sand bucket and shovel thing, which usually ended up in the trash can after a day on the beach.
By the typical days end, dad would be drunk and Mom furious because he passed out right when little Joey caught a tiny perch. Since he controlled the camera—no picture. Susie yelled her ass off because Joey threw her dolly into the water, and everyone had a third-degree sunburn because someone forgot the sunscreen. Dad sobered up, tripped over the beer cooler, fell into the channel and took his new fishing pole and bait bucket with him. A few other tourists dragged him out, minus the fishing pole and bait bucket. They could get the bait bucket in the morning if the tide was right, but the new pole was a goner—they don’t float. Mom was not only pissed but also embarrassed. Susie was still screaming and little six-year-old Joey cussed like a sailor because he thought he had a fish and it got away.
This was when the real fun began. Dad wasn’t too drunk anymore, but not sober either—a dizzy place somewhere in the middle. This wasn’t a real vacation; just a little weekend getaway. No time for the kid’s sunburns to heal and a week before school let out for summer break.
Dizzy Dad would be thinking; Little Joey and Susie showed up at school still bitching about the sunburn. Their lips were covered with fever blisters and yellow stuff was oozing from their skin.
“What happened?” the teacher would ask.
And the little traitors would give the short answer. “Daddy got drunk and forgot to put sunscreen on us!”
The enterprising teacher was compelled in the best interest of the children to report him to the authorities. A Child Protection Agent would come to the house, accompanied by the police. They would interview all the parties involved, determine guilt and arrest dad on the spot. The charge: Endangerment and neglect of a child. FAN-DAMN-TASTIC! Another agent would remove the kids from the home and haul them off. Dad would be in handcuffs, and mom crying and screaming to high heaven.
“Goodbye career I spent an entire lifetime killing myself for! So long wife and kids! All I wanted to do was take a weekend vacation with the family. In the end, I’ve lost my job, I’m in jail, the kids have been placed in foster care, and my wife of fifteen years left me, all because I forgot the damn sunscreen!”