The Key Lime Cove Chronicles: Part Two

Hunting for “MONNNNN-sters”

RipTide Reef Arcade“With 8,000 square feet of fun, crafted in age-appropriate zones, there’s interactive fun for everyone.”– KLC Glossy Propaganda

After a towel-down, a wardrobe change, and a dinner of contraband homemade pizza, we took Mabel to the RipTide Reef Arcade.  All of the elements connoting the Vegas zeitgeist (minus the alcohol, hookers, and Cirque Du Make It Stop) are evident at The Rip: the onslaught of flashing lights, pulsating “ooncha ooncha” club beats, the fabulous prizes.  The mission statement of The Rip is simple: play games, win tickets, trade the tickets for unbelievably cheap, eminently breakable prizes.

Mabel’s game of choice was “Monster Hunt”:  a roulette wheel of monsters which is set in motion with a clunky, mad scientist style lever, and stopped with a pull of another just like it.  The wheel spins in a blur, blending all the monsters on the wheel into a pizza of complete obscurity.  The game talked like Bobby “Boris” Pickett, he of the ghoulish “Monster Mash” soliloquy, and it talked NON-STOP.  “Ooooh!  You’ve captured another MONNNN-ster!”  It’s an obnoxious and stupid game, yet I approved.  The monsters are of the super-cool Big Daddy Roth bloodshot-bug-eye/trip-over-their-own-tongues species, and “Monster Mash”?  Well, “Monster Mash” is FTW bomb.

Mabel two-fisted her levers with the unsettling, unhinged focus of a Dr. Frankenstein going for broke at the MGM Grand dollar slots.  Her irises glowed with spinning monsters and complete mania.  The compulsiveness that had propelled her down the Purple Little Limers Water Slide had clearly found its purpose at last.

Kate and I just tried to keep out of the way. Our tiny fiend had just netted her forth monster when she was accosted by Santa himself.  Doing the rounds at KLC with an elf named Sugarplum in tow, this Santa had no idea what he had just walked into.

[A word about Santas: In my four years as a parent, I’ve become something of a student of Santatry.  I’ve determined there are three kinds of Santas in the world: 1. The Community Theatre Santa—an aged actor who may or may not bear a passing resemblance to Santa, but who is thrilled to be cast in the role of such a universally beloved character.  They can be counted upon to ham it up at high volume.  2. The Santa Santa— The Santa Santa may look nothing like Santa Claus, but an avid love of children and the holiday compels the Santa Santa to gladly sweat beneath a stuffed coat and a fake beard from Thanksgiving until New Year.  3. The “I Look Just Like Santa” Santas grow their own white beards and sport an impressively jolly layer of fat.  Other than their uncanny “Santa is REAL!” mien, these guys tend to be pretty worthless.  Lacking a verve for the role or any affection for the holiday or children, the “ILJLSS” coasts on his looks, and expects brand recognition to do the work for him.  The best of them seem arrogant, and the worst of them, resentful of their genetic lot in life.]

The Key Lime Cove Santa was a “I Look Just Like Santa” Santa.  Not that it mattered; Mabel happens to hate all Santas.  The KLC Santa’s oddly understated, ho-ho-ho-less interruption was tantamount to a cock-block of Mabel’s winning streak.  It did worse than nothing to foster goodwill.  It was practically grounds for justifiable homicide, really.

“Have you been a good little high roller?”

Having failed to deliver the ho-ho-hos AND the jingling bells, Santa could have easily recouped public relations points by offering to take Mabel’s Christmas gift order, but instead, in a jaw-dropping act of self-destructive cluelessness, the KLC Santa decided to lead with the question “Have you been a good little girl?”

Mabel only stared at him in response, letting Santa know in no uncertain terms that he and his moralistic claptrap were not welcome here, in the RipTide Reef children’s casino.

The “ooncha-ooncha” beats hung heavy in the air.  The KLC Santa attempted to solicit a high five from Mabel, and then a fist bump. Both were rebuffed without a word. The choice was clear.  Who needs Santa, and his be-good-strings attached when you can score all the toys you want, high-roller style?  My kid may have a gambling problem, but she’s no dummy.

Sugarplum,  a dyed-in-the-felt Community Theatre Elf, shimmering with flop sweat, attempted to smooth over the tension with some skittish pleasantries dished out with an odd approximation of a Cockney accent, but it was no good.  I pocketed the tiny candy cane that Mabel refused to accept and waved the duo away. She went on to win five hundred tickets which she redeemed for a an armload of toys (street value: approximately seven bucks).

Christmas at The Rip

Paradise Lost: Slight Return

  • Dog Paddle  Mabel practices her swimming in the Sport Pool, and I help her along, guiding her by the strap of her KLC-issued life jacket.  She does the dog paddle, barking like a puppy while I do my best to avoid our getting hit/splashed by the red, white, and blue novelty-sized basketballs hurling off the back boards lining the pool’s edge.  We are more or less under siege.  I can’t decide where to attribute the symbolic subtext this situation: to the brutality of patriotism or the savagery of sports. Nonetheless, this is certainly no place for anyone with glasses.  Mabel is oblivious to our peril and continues to pump her skinny little arms and legs, chin above water,  happily barking.
  • Everywhere There are long spine boards everywhere: strapped to the wall by the Sport Pool, tucked in amid the fake tropical vegetation, within spitting distance of the exit orifices of the 4 indoor/outdoor/indoor tube slides.  These six-foot-plus wooden planks with padded head frames are frankly a buzz kill.  They loom around the KLC pool party like the awkward safety-first cousins of the surfboard, invited out of necessity and nothing else.  They stand straight up, like people, like life-size advertisements for “this could happen to you.”  I notice my first one standing watch in the emerald foliage on the perimeter of Toukey’s Big Deluge.  And then I see them everywhere.
  • Hotcha Gotcha Hot Tub  The KLC hot tub is designed to accommodate 36 people, aged 18 or older… 36 very sleazy people.  I don’t say this to judge.  I say this as a matter of fact, for if you set foot into a Hot Tub, you instantly become Very Sleazy, whether you like it or not.  The hot tub is the sexual watering hole of American Skank Culture, and by now, everyone knows it.  When you so much as dip your toe into a hot tub, you enter into a hotcha-gotcha social contract that mandates the surrender of your perceived virtue in exchange for the luxury of lounging in gloriously warm water.  Hell, even I know it and I don’t even watch any of the hot-tub hook-up reality shows that have made it so.  So for about 20 minutes of my militantly married, top-button-firmly-affixed life, I, too, was every bit as sleazy as any cast member of The Jersey Shore, all thanks to the KLC hot tub.  I didn’t dip into that hot tub with any intention but to warm my fragile granny bones and just unwind, but to my fellow Skanko-Americans– the swinging couples, the tramp-stamped girls gone wild, the stag dudes with agenda-vision– I was a librarian cougar on the prowl who liked “to party.”  Either that or an overcooked carrot cowering on the simmering perimeter of a monstrous soup intent on eating itself, which is how I felt.
  • The Voice The Voice was delighted to see me sitting by myself, avoiding all eye contact behind my steamed-up glasses in the KLC hot tub.  But the feng shui of Paradise Lost conspired against me and any chance of her forgetting about Toukey’s Big Deluge.  Resting my head on the edge of the hot tub, it seemed that TBD practically curved above me to look back at me.  Even when I sat with my back to it, the screams and the periodic roar of the eponymous deluge somehow became louder.   To The Voice, the KLC hot tub was just a cheap house in a nice neighborhood.   “DO IT.  CHICKEN.  DO IT.”

    Fake palm tree, real dust.

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2 Responses to “The Key Lime Cove Chronicles: Part Two”

  1. dawn Says:

    made me laugh! very descriptive… and thank you for the dusty palm tree photo! I know this is only the end of Part2, but it’s a great summation (so far)-

    • Hellraisin Says:

      Glad you dig it so far! We’re going back this weekend, and I’m going to pay a special visit to that palm tree. Maybe even post an update on it!

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