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Drinking with Bob and John was always a lot of fun. Bob had this video camera that was so cheap it could only film in black and white, and you had to plug it into the TV and record on a VCR. Sometimes we'd point it at the television which would create this vortex of spinning chaos that could kill your eyes if you looked at it for more than a few seconds. It was amusing to watch ourselves the next day, especially if I couldn't remember what happened the night before. Not that we did anything too crazy—silly, mostly. Except for that time we wrecked Bob's basement apartment and threw some of his grandparents' porch furniture into the "crick", as they called it.
One night, before we started drinking, Bob and John said they were going out in a rowboat later; Bob's house had a dock in back. Boats are high on my list of vehicles I try not to ride in if I have a choice, so I refused to go along. They tried to tell me how cool it was to go rowing at night, but I couldn't begin to fathom why anyone would do such a thing. I hate the prospect of being stranded in open water where all matter of slimy creatures lurk below, possibly with ill intentions. Silly, I know, but phobias are, by definition, irrational. Though, I'm not sure it's a phobia, but more of an intense aversion.
The next thing I remember is getting in the boat. I know... I said I wasn't going to, but cheap beer has a way of making you do things you wouldn't normally do. I've got a distinct image in my mind of stepping into the rowboat, having no reservations at all. I really should have known that would happen.
Gracefully, we drifted down the creek towards the bay, aided by Bob's steady rowing. Before reaching the bay, we had to pass under a small bridge. I'd driven over it hundreds of times, but this was a whole nother obstacle entirely. It was almost pitch black out, and even darker under the bridge. I expressed my apprehension, which prompted Bob and John to spin a wonderful little tale of how there were thousands of spiders hanging from the underside that would descend upon us if we made any noise while passing through. I was too inebriated to be as terrified as I would have been sober, but I can vividly recall the sense of panic and helplessness I felt then.
I must have blacked out, or passed out, because I don't remember coming out the other side. I just know that when I came to my senses, we were in the middle of the bay. In the distance I could see the lights from Dune Road, a long stretch of million dollar homes and beach clubs just waiting to be washed away by the next hurricane. Suddenly, I realized... I was in a boat.
Bob and John were rather amused at my situation. I remembered getting in the boat, but I knew it was only because I was wasted. I desperately wanted out, but we were still a little ways from land so I tried to contain myself. I felt threatened by the dark waters surrounding us; my friends were at ease. They'd brought some beer with them, so I figured it wouldn't be so bad if I just got drunk again. Then I wouldn't know what was going on.
The sound of a speedboat was gradually closing in as Bob continued to row towards Dune Road. I thought nothing of it, but John started freaking out, saying it must be the Coast Guard. I was skeptical, and rightly so, because it turned out to be a civilian. Unfortunately, John had already thrown the beer overboard in fear of being caught rowing while intoxicated; or maybe because he was under twenty-one. My only comfort in this nightmare was now drowning in the muddy waters beneath.
As we approached our destination, I assumed we'd dock the boat and then walk back to Bob's house. I'm not sure why I thought that; it seems stupid in retrospect. However, when I was informed that we'd be rowing back, I threw a hissy fit. I didn't blame Bob and John for taking me with them, but I refused to get back in the boat. They told me it would take forever to walk, but I insisted that I'd get there first. They just laughed.
This wasn't the first time I'd walked alone in the middle of the night down the streets of Westhampton Beach. I was usually high on something, but coming down from the alcohol was a pleasant sensation for the hike back to Bob's. The weather was perfect, not humid, just warm enough to wear a t-shirt. As cars passed by, I wondered where people were going, what they were doing at that time of night—partying, I supposed.
Even though I wanted to be the first one back to the house, I didn't bother putting any hustle into it. I took my sweet time, mostly because my feet started to hurt like hell halfway there. My shoes were wet, too. I kept wondering if Bob and John would actually beat me. I didn't know what time we'd gotten in the boat, so I didn't know how long it took us to get to Dune Road.
As I came up on the house, I noticed the lights were on in the basement. I assumed it was because Bob and John were already there, but they must have just left them on. I collapsed on the couch, threw off my shoes, and started rubbing my feet; God, that felt good. I think it only took me an hour to walk back, and I wasn't surprised it would take longer than that to row a boat the same distance, especially since the guys must've been tired from rowing the way there. I figured my friends would be arriving in the next half hour or so, so I just laid back and closed my eyes, exhausted from the journey.
When I woke up, the sun had risen. Bob and John still weren't back. I thought maybe they'd gone to get something from 7-11, so I looked around for a sign that they'd come and gone. The room didn't look any different than before I'd passed out, so I went down to see if the boat was there. It wasn't.
Standing at the end of the dock, I surveyed up and down the creek. I thought I saw something floating by the bridge but it was too far away to make out, so I ran in to grab Bob's binoculars. I raised them to my face, pointed them in the direction of the bridge and narrowed my eyes. There I saw the rowboat, floating aimlessly, with no passengers. It was crawling with thousands of spiders.
Written by Umbrello