- Travel and Places
Debbie and The Water Monsters (The Invasion of Destin)
Water monsters exist. They are real. Take my word for it. I would go as far as to say that it has never been disproved that the Creature of The Black Lagoon didn't live once upon a time. And given that in a more simple and innocent time, these flesh-eaters only lived in comic books. And for the time and our mental levels of ourselves and children, this was A-Ok. No nightmares after lights off tonight, "Tommy." Nothing lives in your closet or underneath your bed. Sleep well, my fine young American.
No use wasting time or space trynig decipfering what is and what does not go into the making of a monster. A doggone'd good monster. We of American blood are more sensible than that. And this is not about a comedy piece of work, but it "is" one piece of work that may invade your dreams in this very night when you have planned all day at your office to have a long, restful sleep. This could be "that" thing that most times happen when one has their heart set on something good.
This horror film took place sometime in 1998 at the old, damp, and musky castle of a set of modern-day monsters who lived so obscurely that no one ever revealed who or what they were. These monsters were slicker than any Maverick, Bo or Brett who ever raked in a poker pot. But wait. These monsters were not your average, assembly line monsters. These were water monsters. Not fish, mind you, but monsters just the same--able to growl, claw, and move gracefully in any body of water, clean, polluted, or imported.
All honorable mentions of film, book, and TV have predictable plots when monsters are involved. They are either accidentally-created by some overly-intelligent, anti-social "Tedd Lushe," (pronounced Louishe), who played a shy kid in school and with the flick of a laboratory graduate and a few unlabeled chemicals, a huge blob of purple smoke would fill the room and in a few short moments, "Tedd" would magically turn into some awful-acting and looking thing with five legs, four eyes and scales that were sharp enough to cut a pound of Wisconsin cheese and still walk without stumbling. And this beast would, just for affect, growl deeply and frown into the camera. This is what real monsters are like. Honest to the bone. No hypocricy whatsoever.
With "Tedd," now roaming the city scape at nearly 10 p.m., when the nightclub scene really begins to jump with matching Zoot suits, sharp-brimmed Panama hats jingling their boorish watch fobs into some club shunned by decent party people, the script always and inevitably call for some signal or secret message to be sent by "Tedd" now a nameless monster slobbering, drooling on the nasty sidewalk headed for some secret location completely baffled by "Sgt. McCloud," the beat cop.
Monsters even Water Monsters have a method of preparing for a trek and although a lot of breaking a few cheap lamps, maybe a rip made in dad's beaten-up recliner happened, Water Monsters did have one thing in mind: Clawing and growling their way to a scenic location where even they might fit in once being checked into even the most seedy motel room. These guys never thought about things like: if the TV worked or if they would have to feed a quarter in some brown box near the bed good for two hours of viewing, how near the 1955 model ice machine was located and if maybe one walk-way had a lightbulb that worked.
These Water Monsters were uptown monsters because they had a good-looking automobile and ready to rock. But one thing held them back--a comfortable seating arrangement, the key to any road trip. Ask anyone. The driver, a seasoned vet, a Great White, manned the wheel because of the experience and ability to negotiate traffic. Monster Squid was on the passenger's side sitting quitely all except he was addicted to those late-night Classic Rock stations where he could hear Pink Floyd's "Money" almost every hour. It was the cash register sound on this song that kept him hooked. Then holding down the backseat was Giant Squid, not much of a talker, but a great listener sat on one side to eyeball a subdued Barracuda who was seeking life beyond the road. So there they were. Four Water Monsters out of their comfort zone and on the road headed to the quietest vacation time in the world: Destin, Florida. Basically, there was little arguing except when Monster Squid's eyes would roll violently--do some slick air guitaring while Great White sneaked the radio dial on another FM station to hear Joan Jett with her signature song, "Wild Thing." Monster Squid always had a thing about Jett's eyes and hair.
" . . .you make my heart sing.
. . .shake it, shake it , shake it, Wild Thing."
Along I-65 South to FL-293 South out of Birmingham, AL., it's in the ballpark an easy four-hour jaunt with ample eateries along this southern wonderland featuring huge Pro-Gambling billboards scattering down and interstate dotted with Cracker Barrel's and plenty of Opie's Gasoline Truckstops built with adjacent trucker-friendly convenience stores and restaurants which any seasoned highwayman will tell you that regular citizens, (non-truckers), are not treated well in these establishments and seething with discrimination oozing from every orifice in the fake pine paneling on the walls. The Four Water Monsters were smart enough to speed by an independent restaurant named "Alice's" and eat their fill of country fried steak, fried eggs, a ham steak and two gallons of black coffee. Great White made sure that the rest of the monsters were going to sleep most of the way toward Destin just so she could concentrate on the traffic.
Funny how an automobile can sound when you are the victim of Ashphalt Hypnotism. A person grows sickly and very dizzy. Monster Squid slept his way down I-65 South, but listened subconsciously to each bump and rough spot that Great White's 1988 Cadillac Fleetwood hit going over the speed limit of 70 MPH. Great White's speedometer was a cool-running of 85 MPH, obviously a game for what few Bama State Troopers might be dozing at rest stops nearing the Florida line. Giant Squid and subdued Barracuda dozed off and on to count down the miles to the perfect vacation spot, Destin. But mostly the two told corny jokes they had told and heard thousands of times, but laughed hard due to them being mentally exhausted from the ride so far. At one point, subdued Barracuda suggested to Great White that she find David Allan Coe on any available Country Music FM stations that were near so she could hear Coe's hit song, "The Ride" so she could harmonize the song with her friend, Giant Squid, but gave him a slick nick-name, "G.S."
"I need coffee . . .NOW!" Monster Squid said in his sleep. He was always talking in his sleep. At home or traveling. With proper fish and other underwater life, "M.S." could attract loads of loathsome embarrassment which Great White hated, but afterwards told him how much she loved him. "I want coffee . . .NOW," Monster Squid yelled again. The other three Water Monsters giggled. But what if, Great White thought to herself, if Monster Squid was having some sort of a medical emergency? No form of squid or fish repeats itself that much and only wanting coffee. Something for Great White to think about.
" . . .have you paid your dues, can you sing the blues, can you bend them guitar strings . . .? subdued Barracuda was enjoying the last few notes of Coe's song and somehow the song sounded much better it being on a Florida station rather than the scratchy sounds heard behind the song on the FM Country stations near Birmingham. Monster Squid tried to get an intelligent conversation rolling by remarking that the scratching might be an oversight from some flimsy, clumsy electrical engineering work thanks to the Country FM stations not checking engineers like this for they would surely find inklings of an alliance with ISIS--certainly no road in Alabama would be safe if the secret were revealed.
"A few more miles and we will be in Destin! Yeahhh!" Ahhh, Destin--the pinnacle of peace. Great White said so loudly that Monster Squid jumped himself awake, but soon smiled that smile and said, "Coffee? NOW?" seemingly his mind was on a loop only asking for hot, black coffee. Great White had heard all of this before. It was surely time for a break and time for the Water Monsters to stretch their tenacles, fins, and other valuable parts as they came to a stop at a very clean looking rest stop just three and a half miles inside the Florida line. A huge billboard, one probably paid for by the State of Florida's PR Department to attract more visitors, read in huge block letters, "Wel--Ya-ll--Have--Come to Florida! Hello!" Even the sleepy Great Squid, stiff from riding, caught the obvious play on words and subdued Barracuda grew angry for not being able to find a female restroom fit to use.
"We going to the room now?" Great Squid softly asked while trying to get Great White's attention for truth be known, "G.S." was hungry and needed food. Not that cheap truckstop junk food. No beef jerky for Great Squid. He needed solid nutrition. Some place like "Alice's" that they had a few hours earlier before the sun came up. "G.S." had a memory for small details.
"Sure thing, Great Squid," said Great White smiling her teeth being so appreciative. She loved having Monster Squid, subdued Barracuda along too for soon, Cuda and "G.S." would be married and life would being anew for them. Things like this made Great White very happy. Monster Squid only wanted black coffee, a nap, and some time in a pool with clear, clean water. It was almost like a religion for him. Sure he loved Great White and subdued Barracuda--even Great Squid was a pleasure for him, but it was so hard for anyone or anything to replace his love for hot, black coffee and cool, clean water in a pool in Destin, Fla.
" . . .I was thumbin' from Montgomery. Had my guitar on muh back . . ." subdued Barracuda, with no help of anyone, found another Country FM station smack dab into the city limits of Destin long about 500 yards from their hotel: The Sand Star Motel, E-Z Rates. Free HBO, signs flashing. This was the life. This was what the Water Monsters had worked for and even saved for--and had given up many good meals and side trips to just stay over the Labor Day weekend in Destin. These Water Monsters were not dangerous forms of life. In fact, Great White often said, during family talks, about one day subdued Barracuda having her and Monster Squid a little squid of their own, but that only made Cuda' blush, so Great White just changed the subject.
God bless these Water Monsters for hauling all of their luggage with their tenacles and fins all in one trip to the front desk to get checked in for a long nap and then some swimming in Monster Squid's dream place: cool, clean water in a pool. Yeah, man. You can't beat it, Monster Squid was known to tell people near their home what a paradise Destin really was. "M.S." would have made a fantastic public relations man, but didn't like working on commission.
And . . .God also bless perky little "Nichole," the gum-chewing, vacant staring, hair-twirliing Guest Clerk who was assigned to take care of every need from the biggest to the strangest for the Water Monsters. This was their first vacation trip to Destin and the first time for them to lodge in The Sand Star Motel. What a move that Great White engineered some eight months ago during one cold winter's night when talk surfaced of the Water Monsters all going to Destin for the Labor Day weekend. It was like someone had went all in during a big poker game with a $4,500.00 pay-in fee. Now the pot was over $500,000.00 and Great White was holding three of a kind and two Kings--always a winning hand if you also know how to bluff. and Great White did how how to bluff for she was a seasoned vet of playing Rook with her folks.
"Uhhh . . .my name's 'Nicole,' and uhhh, I will, like, uhhh, take care of ya', so let's start with uhhh . . .your names, reservation receipts and driver's license," she managed to say all of this on her Trainee's card that the company had laminated and screwed onto a small silver chain that was now screwed into the granite wall. These realtors, the money men who owned and sold Destin every hour of the day knew how to build Welcome Centers alright. Even the huge office smelled of success mingled with jelly doughnuts and hot coffee. Plus, and you knew that there had to be a plus, a huge photograph of "Louis" and "Bryan," two very successful real estate moguls who lived anywhere they wanted. Both had black hair and kept it razor cut and slicked down with Mousse. But why was their huge photo hung in plain sight in this huge office? It was certainly not for perky little dunce, "Nichole's" benefit.
" . . .okay now. Here are our receipts showing the money we wired to you and how much. Plus our driver's licenses and other papers that you said that you'd need," Great White said very excited. She was way past ready for seafood, a long swim and a long nap.
" . . .Uhhh, hold it," perky little "Nichole" said slowly while standing perfectly straight and gazing into space. Great White, not used to this custom, started to say something to this beautiful African-American girl in her early 20s, who just mouthed, "it will be 'awite!" so Great White was now relaxed, but still, like the rest of the Water Monsters, "Kili," the gorgeous African-American girl, who Great Squid whispered, "she's just gotta be the office manager--from how she uses her mouth so professionally," to subdued Barracuda who was not as patient as her mom, Great White.
A middle-aged gentleman, "Timmy," dressed in golfing attire, slowly and quietly walked by a still and staring "Nichole," who by now was causing other clients to mumble and other check-in employees to shuffle their feet, take early lunch, and just get clear of this "Nichole" for fear that she was experiencing one of her many drug-related flashbacks that she did tell the office manager about when she was hired about a month back.
" . . ."Timmy," would you go over there to "Kili," and ask her for a blank Rental Contents Sheet?" "Nichole," said in a very manly voice. Uh, oh! Could be demon possession being located so near to Louisiana where it has been proven that Voodoo Queens have made a good comeback due to the Demoractic contingency of Washington being so open-minded and tolerant.
" . . .May we get on with our checking in? We are tired, ma'am," Great Squid snapped but quickly forced a smile to hide his obvious anger. "Who's this 'Louis' and 'Bryan' characters?" he added patting his tentacles on the new carpet.
" . . .Uhhh, yes, ma'am. I, uhhh, just need yeeew to sign here, here, and here. And uhhhh, initial here, here and back here. Now I will give you a free rental map that "Louis" and "Bryan" paid us to say, (giggle, giggle, cough), naww. Kidding. You can follow the green arrow right to House Lodge No. 11, right down on New Tree Street and have a great, uhhh, three days," perky, now-hurried "Nichole" explained.
" . . .'Nichole,' sweetie. Where is the place where we can swim? I was told on the phone months ago that we would have a place to swim," Great White, who had sharp teeth plus a sharp mind to boot asked and then smiled at this "Nichole."
" . . .Uhhh, looka here. Do yeeew see this off-yellow . . .? No. Wrong map. Do yeeew see, oh listen. I've been down that street. Just get settled in your house and look across the paved road where you left the road and parked here and then just walk across the road to swimming paradise," "Nichole" said with her hands set firmly on her hips. Cuda' noticed this obviously-female move of flirting and snapped her blue eyes loudly causing "Nichole" to look away.
Note: Don't mean to be a hub spoiler, but look above toward the end of "Nichole's" instructions and you will understand the ending a lot better.
Around an hour later, the Water Monsters finished unpacking and unpacking in their rental home, No. 11. All of them talked, laughed, Great Squid lit up a cigarette something that he had not done in the now-six-hour trip from Birmingham to Destin. "G.S." respected Great White and her non-smoking lifestyle and her no smoking in her Cadillac. "G.S." was very humble.
Monster Squid was taking turns from pacing the luxurious hardwood floor to staring at the expensive-looking above ground pool across the access road. No one saw him, but Monster Squid let a drop or two of squid drool drop slowly to the floor. He was hooked on clean, cool water in pools as well as hot black coffee which was now no part of his mind.
A huge Big Ben-like invisible clock should have struck the hour . . .
"It's time, folks," Great White announced showing off her new bathing suit to everyone's approval.
"You mean," Monster Squid said having come back to reality from staring from the open window. "It's time for us to . . .uhhh . . .go in that pool over there . . .and swim?"
Great White, Great Squid and subdued Cuda' didn't say one word for speaking yes was not needed. In unison all four began to run frantically over the somewhat busy black access road. Horns blew at the four Water Monsters, but these excited vacationers never knew any better from seeing four Water Monsters from up northwest Alabama who had made a six-hour trip, their first trip to Destin for a four-day vacation including Labor Day. Most of these people in vehicles who blew their horns now laughed and joined into the laid-back party atmosphere of Destin. It was purely hypnotic.
" . . .you likin' this, Great Squid?" asked Monster Squid doing a decent dive from outside the pool.
"Oh, yeaaah. I could get used to this alright," Great Squid said winking at subdued Cuda.
Great White, who did not know how to swim because someone had scared her when she was seven, was only content to walk around the edge of the beautiful pool and ever so often, she would walk into the wading length of the end of the pool designed for young kids. But it was a bit strange for there were no young kids. Actually there were no adults. Monster Squid for once had not showed any paranoia on this trip whatsoever.
(John Williams conducting the London Symphony Orchestra doing music from Star Wars here).
No one of the Water Monsters even noticed this middle-aged woman who looked so much like a Floridian that she didn't cause the monsters any discomfort. "Debbie," must be into physical fitness for she was power walking back and forth and around the luxurious pool where the Water Monsters were frolicing in the cool, clean water that made Monster Squid very happy.
"Uhhh, Monster Squid, where's the people? I thought that Destin was a party town," Great Squid asked now growing worried.
"Hey, 'G.S.', buddy, it's Labor Day weekend and probably we're the ones who are early--the real party people have not made it to here yet. Relax and have a great time," Monster Squid said while watching "Debbie," talk on her wireless phone and move her head up and down. Still, no one was really concerned about what was really going down.
"Uhhh . . .you people had best be gettin' outta there!" "Debbie" said and pointed to us.
" . . .Huh? What?" Monster Squid replied.
" . . .you people better leave . . .I've called the Sheriff's Department and they are on their way," "Debbie" said, but did not use any curse words.
" . . .Uhhh, you mean . . .that . . .this place . . .is not . . .where we were told to swim, a "Nichole" told us?" Great White asked.
" . . .No, ma'am. This is private property and . . ." (Monster Squid stopped her explanation).
" . . .We're very sorry, ma'am. We are leaving and we did not know . . .uhhh," Monster Squid said drying off quickly and looking for somewhere to hide.
" . . .you all can go down to the beach and down to that Visitor's Center at that big house and I will tell the deputies that this was just a misunderstanding . . .so get going," "Debbie" said now very nice. As we were scampering away, I noticed the tag on the front of her new Cadillac. The tag said that her late husband was Retired From The Destin Sheriff's Dept. And She Was an Honorary Member."
When the Water Monsters finally made it back to Rental House, No. 11, they all watched out of their windows to see a couple of brown-uniformed deputies from Destin (with blue lights going) talking to this "Debbie," the middle-aged widow of these guys' late co-worker.
The Water Monsters did not venture into daylight until 12 noon the next day. All four whispered that this embarrassing event was NOT their fault, but "Nichole's" ignorance.
"Debbie," although she never lifted a finger or took a stick to us in the private pool, made cowards of us, the Water Monsters. Every one of us.
Four against one is never good odds in horse racing or gambling. But that one time the odds were with "Debbie," and she is to be credited.
And with a clear conscience, I can really believe that her late husband was looking down from his lofty balcony in Heaven where he earned his valored place and smiled.
Epilogue: This work is not a children's play or test. You are only asked to read the words of this hub without drawing any conclusions or pre-conceived notions. Your only question would be: Who or What were the Water Monsters?
© 2017 Kenneth Avery