Monday, June 21, 2010

Shut Down and Shut Up

By the end of the 2007 summer, I had
gotten a little pudgy. My restaurant
had a beer license, and I loved to drink
MY beer when I was there. I practiced
my tai chi every day, so even though
I looked soft, I was still pretty capable.

Dustin came into town and demanded
that I go on a whitewater river trip with
him the next day. I said I had too much
to manage with the restaurant, and that
it was out of the question. He convinced
me with a check for $15,000; so I packed
for a week off the grid, and left with him for
Cataract Canyon.

The subject of volleyball had come up, so
Dusty brought his net and I brought my ball.
All the way to Moab, Dustin and Scotty
mouthed-off about how they would beat
everyone and anyone in a game. I have
always thought trash-talking was really low
brow, and unsportsmanlike, so I said nothing.

But the bullshit didn't stop. Two days on the
river, and you would think these guys would
have something else to talk about-- but no.
These guys would not shut up !

I asked this tall young guy, Brandon, if he
could play, and this only seemed to fuel the
trash talk.

"Remember that last trip ? We beat everybody !
And then, just the two of us beat everybody
at the same time ! Muah ha ha ha ha ! We're
gonna kick yer ass !"

We landed at the beach at Brown Betty rapids
in the afternoon on the third day. We guy-wired
the net for tension and got some air into the ball
with the clever use of a ballpoint pen.

Dustin and Scotty are both short, but superbly
athletic. When they take off their shirts, the
muscles just ripple under offensively-tanned skin.
When I took my shirt off, a pony keg of beer
sloshed beneath a blinding moon-tan. I believe
this was a big part of their confidence, not to
mention that these two had played a lot together.

Brandon didn't have a lot of volleyball experience,
but he could really move. When it was my shot,
I placed the ball all over the court, and ran them
into oxygen debt. At one point in the second game,
they were both bent over, sweating and breathing hard.
I told Brandon loud enough for them to hear,
"Look at 'em, they're exhausted."

Rare was a set from Brandon that was good enough
to spike, but I did punch a few right down their throats
for good measure. Mostly, I fed them pain with my
serves. I heard Dustin whine, "Man, that stings."

We beat them three straight games. These two rock-hard,
deep-tan maniacs stood there with the most bewildered,
disbelieving looks on their faces. I stuck out my belly as
far as it would go and laughed punishingly as I grabbed
two fistfuls of fat and did a little dance.

Dustin never talks about that day.

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