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 Swimming with Suzie

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Faulerro

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PostSubject: Swimming with Suzie   Mon Mar 14, 2011 3:18 pm

The thing about Suzanne Rickley; the altogether important, nay essential, thing about Suzanne Rickley that one absolutely needs to bear in mind is that she is, without a shadow of a doubt, insane.

Now I realise that I used an overabundance of words to state that, but I feel it necessary to get my point across here. That way I can only hope you will understand the suffering one has to go through when being even so much as loosely associated with that woman.

My name is Kendra Forry (please excuse the feminine name, my parents didn’t pay close enough attention when I was born) and I’ve known Suzie for going-on six years now. There are times when this feels like a great blessing, but those pale in comparison to how often it feels like a burden.

Take today for example. It had started well enough; I was met with a rampant knocking on my front door and opening it treated me to the sight of that colourfully-clothed pixie herself bouncing up and down in excitement. This was nothing unusual but I’ll admit that regardless of how rarely this ends well, I feel her enthusiasm infecting me every single time. She has that effect on me.

“Hey Kendra, hey Kendra,” she jabbered at me with all the subtlety of a fire alarm, “We’re gonna go swimming today!”

I did my best to rub the sleep out of my eyes, brushed my lengthy light hair out of the way of my vision and grumbled back, “Good morning to you too, Suzie.” Contagious though her enthusiasm may be, even it bows before the might of my tiredness.

“Swimming, Kendra!” She poked me in the chest for effect, “Everybody loves swimming! Let’s go do some!”

“Aren’t you still tired from yesterday?” I asked wearily, “You know, when you chased that duck a whole ten miles?”

“Not even remotely! Come on, let’s goooo,” she exclaimed, yanking me by the dressing gown, “We absolutely have to go right now! I need to maintain my drop-dead gorgeous figure!”

“Can’t I get my swimming trunks first?” I yawned at her, unmoved by her attempts to pull me out of the door due to sheer sleepiness.

She let go and pondered this for a moment. She really looked deep in thought; hand clasped around her chin and finger pressed into her upper lip.

“I suppose,” she admitted reluctantly, and motioned towards her backpack, “I did bring my swimsuit,” she then grinned at me and gave me a painful pat on the back, “Alright then! We can spare the leisure centre your bare butt this time! Go get ‘em!”

And so I am being forced into going swimming with the queen of hyperactivity herself. As I fetched my white and blue trunks I allowed myself the thought that perhaps this day would go nicely. I mean, it can’t possibly be all that bad: as overwhelmingly annoying as Suzie can sometimes be, I’ll admit I have quite the thing for her, and the thought of seeing her in a swimsuit is certainly good enough incentive to go along with her sudden need for a swim.

No, dear reader, you are not mistaken. The Suzanne Rickley that I spent several paragraphs setting up as a disaster waiting to happen is actually rather amiable, hence the aforementioned “blessing” part. I am quite ashamedly attracted to her regardless of the headaches she gives me, and have not had the nerve to tell her this for a number of reasons; the primary one being that I’ve no idea how a volatile person such as her might react to such a confession.

Another reason worth mentioning is that it’s trying enough being her friend: imagine what a romantic relationship would be like.

I returned, fully-dressed, with necessary swimming gear stuffed in a plastic shopping bag. For a moment I am surprised at Suzie’s patience, until I notice the choc ice at which she’s sloppily licking away.

“Helped myself to one o’ these, hope you don’t mind,” she casually notes, before gesturing to the outside, “Onward!”

Then I was being dragged again, all the way to the local Leisure Centre, by a short, blonde-haired ex-wrestler from California. Just another day for Kendra Forry.

I think it all began when Suzie retired in 2005. Well, I say retired, but in actuality she had just stopped wrestling and that was it. It was at this time that I met her, while I was playing an overseas gig with the old band. It was in Memphis, where she had decided to stay after abandoning the company she was working for and completely failing to give any form of notice. Naturally I’d recognised her, having passing knowledge of wrestling and mostly finding myself distracted by the ladies of the sport. She didn’t have the slightest clue as to who I was. Understandable, since Raw Sofa never really amounted to much in the world of music.

Though not imposing physically – she was half a foot shorter than me and pretty skinny – there was something intangible about Suzie. When I first met her, I had thought she was just excitable and a bit unorthodox. Of course, it would be later that I came to the conclusion that her mental state was far from stable, and the first indication of that was when she single-handedly drove my band members apart (that particular horror story is best reserved for another time) and then followed me back to my home of Kent when I’d left the states dejectedly. Before I knew it, she was living just down the street from me, and these adventures had been happening regularly ever since.

Her hair, tied up in loop, ponytails and curls in a style only she would be seen in, bopped up and down with her movement. A common sight for certain, and when she kept her mouth shut and didn’t engage with other people, creatures or objects, it was quite pleasant to watch. Clad in bright primary colours, there was a simple, youthful charm to her. Of course, this wasn’t always a positive thing, but I tried not to focus on that. Not today, when I’d finally get this opportunity.

The journey itself was filled with conversation, though I use that term very lightly. In reality, one is more likely to be talked at rather than to when in Suzie’s presence. I rarely get a word in, as a matter of fact.

“What do you think of pop tarts? They do have them over here, don’t they? I swear I saw them in one of the stores here. I think they’re okay, but they take waaaay too long to cook.”

“I was thinking of buying a hat. Do you think I could pull off a hat? I dunno, man. It’s like... that hat’s gotta be there on your head all day. I’m not sure if I could cope with that kinda responsibility.”

“Nah, trees piss me off. Always getting in my damn way. They make me cuss like crazy, just thinking about the things. My uncle used to cuss a lot. Drank a lot too. Mostly cooking oil. He was partially blind, you know.”

“I could never learn to play an instrument. That’s just too much power for one person to possess. Music is a weapon, man.”

This onslaught of nonsense came to an abrupt close the moment the leisure centre came into sight. The massive complex, host of a very fancy swimming pool, cut off the ramblings of Rickley as soon as she laid eyes upon it. I couldn’t help but notice the flume that protruded from one of the walls, which had to be one of the selling points of this exceptional swimming experience. I didn’t need to look at Suzie to know she was awestruck by it (but I did so anyway, as is my custom).

“I must slide down that. Before I die, I must slide down that flume. It is my destiny.”

“Man,” I piped in at last, “You’d think this was an indoor waterpark.”

Suzie wasn’t listening. She was already storming ahead. I let out a sigh and followed her.

Her rush to the pool was halted by the realisation that she would have to pay for the privilege of using it. I cued up another sigh, knowing that this swim would be another deduction from my steadily-diminishing bank balance.

We took our key-bands and filtered off to our respective changing rooms, and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t cast her a glance as she disappeared behind the door. Inside I took a cubicle, away from the other undressed men, to slip on my rarely used trunks. Sometimes I do so despise hormones and their tendency to override common sense; otherwise I might be at home now and not about to make a fool of myself in front of happy swimmers.

I mean, not just because I’ve every intention of staring at Suzie, I should clarify, but because I can’t swim.

I reassured myself with the thought that I wouldn’t really need to demonstrate the backstroke to use this facility, and that there would be a shallow area that I could stick to. With that I put on my bravest face and exited the changing room.

Suzie proceeded to scare the absolute living hell out of me by waiting right at the exit.

“There you are!” she shrieked (and I shrieked in response), “Jeez, take your time, why don’cha!”

Before I could voice my displeasure, I suddenly realised something: my admittedly lecherous goal had been achieved. For the first time in the nearly-six-years that I’d known Suzanne, I had finally seen her in a swimsuit.

I want to take a moment, if you’re willing to oblige my masculine putridity, to state the importance of this to me. Even though Suzanne Rickley is a bit bonkers to say the least, and I had spent a lot of time around her, I had never witnessed her in scantily-clad form up to this point. She wasn’t a prude; in fact her usual clothes bared at least some skin. For some reason though, even when we’d gone to the beach, she never dressed like she did today. It was enough to drive a pervert as mad as she was.

But here she was, right in front of me. Hell, this so-called “swimsuit” of hers looked remarkably like a bikini. It was a sensory overload. If I were an anime character, my nose would have bled with such force I would have become airborne. Since I’m not, I simply stood there like an idiot and held up the other men looking to exit the changing room.

“So what do you think?” she grinned, posing in a manner that only served to render me even less capable of movement.

My response came out as incoherent garbling, punctuated by stuttered attempts at real words.

“Glad to hear it,” she exclaimed, and yanked me by the arm, finally dislodging me from the doorway. I heard many grumbles of “finally” and slurs regarding my sexual orientation from the other men as they took this chance to exit the changing room. I’m almost certain that at least half of them were distracted by the sight of Suzie along the way.

“Kendra, you’re such a dope,” she snorted in amusement, “Would it kill you to compliment a gal without reciting poetry?”

Was that really what my embarrassing attempts at speech before sounded like? Then again, this was Suzie saying this...

“Anyway, we’ve got a pool waiting for us,” she bubbled excitedly, and again yanked me by the arm, “Onward!”

I should mention that Suzie is fast. Quite unnaturally so. I often wonder if she has some comic book hero-style backstory that she’s not telling me about. She was fast this day as well, to the point of nearly dislocating my arm as she dragged me at full pelt towards the pool. I was almost certain there were signs discouraging that sort of behaviour on wet floors, but reading those would take time that Suzie wasn’t willing to waste.

She came to a stop when the pool was before us, and it was nothing short of majestic. An utterly huge beast, with alternate sections, intimate mini-pools dotted around it, a multitude of flumes like the one we saw outside, and from the undulations of the water there seemed to be a wave machine. I had never used this before, so the sight was just as much a surprise to me as it was to Suzie. While swimming and I aren’t on good terms, I found myself wanting to try this anyway.

Luckily for me, Suzie was quite willing to accommodate me. And by that I mean she started running again even though we were at the edge of the pool.

One enormous splash later and I was underwater, struggling to get to the surface. Suzie still had me by the arm, and with deceptive strength was able to bring me back up. I gasped desperately for air, and she responded by laughing uncontrollably.

“Oh god, you should’ve seen your face,” she blurted out, almost overcome with amusement, “Kendra, you’re so stupid.”

“Thanks,” I managed to cough out when I was capable of speech. I was just fortunate not to have taken in any of the water: I’m fairly certain drinking chlorine isn’t wise regardless of how diluted it may be.

We were in the shallow section of the pool, which made my submerging all the sillier. At least this meant I could stand up. The water was actually pretty warm, I was thankful to discover. Not having to swim or even tread water, I let the panic subside and relaxed. This was more like it.

Then I got yanked away again as Suzie began her journey to the other end of the pool. So much for relaxation.

“Um, Suzie, I haven’t had a chance to mention this thus far,” I began, fretting more and more as the floor vanished beneath me, “But I’m not so good with swimming.”

“What d’you mean?” she asked, continuing to pull me farther out.

“What I mean is I can’t swim,” I admitted nervously, and felt all the more awkward as others looked on at this fully-grown man being dragged across a pool by a short blonde girl.

“Don’t be silly, everybody can swim,” she turned and gave me a funny look, “It’s easy. Here, try it.”

With that she let me go. And I sunk to the bottom.

Another yank later, and I was back up, gasping like crazy. I could distinctly hear laughter even with my soaked ears.

Suzie shook her head as I did my best to rid mine of moisture, “Wow, you’re really hopeless. Why did you wanna come here if you can’t swim?”

“To be fair, this was your idea,” I pointed out. Naturally I neglected to mention my ulterior motives for coming along.

“Whatever,” she dismissed, “I’ll just have to keep hold of you, then!”

With that, I was pulled closely to her. This too was a new experience for me, and it made me forget about the potential danger of being in the deep section of the pool.

Then she got distracted. The flume loomed above her. I was dropped again as she stared at it in awe.

This time I did my best to keep a hold of her, but the realisation that I was touching her bare skin threw me so much that I still fell to the bottom.

When it became clear that she wasn’t going to help me, I tried my best to get back to the surface. I remembered being taught how to swim, and desperately attempted what I’d learned. Except I still couldn’t do it. The best I could do was reach out for her, and with a pathetic attempt at fluttering upwards, I eventually took hold of her foot. This seemed to wake her from the trance she was in, and again she effortlessly saved me from drowning.

“You’re making a habit of this, Kendra,” she frowned at me as I frantically inhaled as much air as I could.

“Is the lifeguard paying any attention?” I spluttered out.

“Not to you or me,” she grumbled in a surprisingly bitter tone, and I noticed her gazing at the particularly well-built man sat on the other side of the pool, “He’s occupied with those sluts over there.”

I was reminded then of Suzie’s irrational anger towards most other attractive women, especially if a good-looking man was involved. The strange thing is, despite her great looks Suzie didn’t seem to interest fellows like that at all. Well, that’s a lie: she’d interest them right up to the point she started talking. Then they all seemed to slip away.

She’d never dated anyone around here as long as I knew her; and trust me that I’d know if she did, because she makes regular reports on the failures of her love-life. I probably don’t need to tell you how conflicted I am to hear these tales.

I looked down at my own body; my wiry physique hardly as impressive as the lifeguard’s. I wouldn’t say I’m hideous, as a matter of fact I was the looker of Raw Sofa (though that isn’t saying much), but at this point I was all too aware of Suzie’s preference of men: bulging muscles and zero personality.

“Okay, now is the time,” Suzie exclaimed suddenly, derailing my train of thought, “I’ve gotta use the flume. Maybe that lifeguard’ll notice me if I do!”

She swam us both to the opening of the flume, which was not being used at the moment, much to my relief.

“Stay here, Kendra,” she demanded, and before I could protest she added, “Don’t worry, just kick your legs! You’ll stay afloat!”

“Why do you need me here, though?” I worriedly asked.

“Jeez, don’t you understand anything?”

I don’t understand what you’re babbling about, I thought.

“You have to wait here while I go up there,” she explained slowly, as if talking to an ignorant child, “Then when I come down, you catch me! It’ll look awesome!”

I wanted to discuss with her the precise details of this plan and why it couldn’t possibly work, let alone “look awesome”, but she was already on her way. I followed her instructions and kicked my legs, and surprisingly I was able to prevent myself from sinking again without too much effort.

I kept a keen eye on her as she sped up the stairs at a pace that couldn’t possibly be safe, and then reached the flume. She looked down to me and gave me a thumbs-up, as well as yelling something I couldn’t hear, before throwing herself into that flume with no regard for her body.

I watched her slide down the translucent surface, curving and twisting with the flume, getting closer and closer by the second. I readied myself for her arrival.

The sound of her ecstatic screams became steadily louder and louder. I put both arms out in hope of catching her.

I didn’t. Instead, my face caught both of her feet. At ludicrous speed. I was caught with an unintentional dropkick that drove me down to the bottom of the pool again.

The commotion must have alerted the lifeguard, as he was the one to retrieve my motionless carcass this time. He dropped me onto the floor, and seeing that I was still breathing fine, just left me to lie there. My nose was actually bleeding now. I looked like a drowned rat.

I had hoped Suzie would come to check on my condition, but that wasn’t to be. As I gazed over from my prone position, it looked as though the accidental kick had fired her up. I did so hate it when she got fired up. It was though she was a professional wrestler again; launching herself off whatever surface she could clamber onto.

Much to my horror, this particular leap culminated with her grabbing one of the “sluts” she’d shown distaste for before by the neck, and pulling her down into the water. Oh dear. This was new.

I let my eyes settle on the roof and enjoyed our time in this leisure centre while it still lasted, the sound of screams, curse-words and that high-pitched maniacal laughter of Suzie’s echoing around me.

Ten minutes later we were both removed from the building, still soaking wet and in our swimming gear, my bloodied nose barely clogged with the shirt I was wearing prior to our visit. Suzie was still excited, pacing around and spewing more of her insanity.

“Did you see that? I was incredible! I took all of those sluts out! Oh man, I was a superstar!”

“You’d better hope they don’t press charges,” I groaned, my voice sounding ridiculous due to the state of my nose, “That counts as assault, Suzie. And they didn’t actually do anything to you.”

“Sure they did! They stole my beloved lifeguard! The love of my life; the Romeo to my Juliet!”

“You mean the man who grabbed you by the bikini bottoms and tossed you into the changing rooms?”

“He did that out of love!”

“Your view of the world absolutely terrifies me, Suzie.”

“Man, though. I haven’t felt this alive in a long time!”

“True, you haven’t acted quite so erratic since yesterday.”

“Yesterday?” she asked, thinking for a moment, “Oh yeah, the duck. That was nothing like this, though!”

I had to admit, she was right. Insane though she might be, she hadn’t attacked anybody up ‘til now.

“Makes me really miss it,” she said, and for the first time today she sounded subdued, “Wrestling, I mean.”

“Really?” I asked, wide-eyed.

“Yeah,” she nodded, her voice still uncharacteristically quiet, “I don’t get to really let loose much any more. That’s why I’m so... all over the place, you know? Back then, before I all the political crap put me off, it really was a release for me, you know? Today reminded me of that. It’s like, I feel so much better after that little scuffle...” Her voice trailed off.

I was astounded by all of this frankness. I was even more astounded that it actually made sense.

“Well why don’t you try it again?” I found myself saying, “Couldn’t hurt to give it another chance.”

“Maybe,” she smiled, “God, it’s so weird for me to dwell on something instead of just doing it.”

“We all have our moments of weakness,” I said with a shrug.

There was a silence between us. This in itself was odd for the loquacious Suzie.

“Hey, Kendra,” she finally spoke up, “Sorry about kicking you in the face.”

I actually laughed at that, “Don’t worry about it; it was an accident.”

“I was just wondering why you put up with stuff like that. I don’t mean to hurt you or get you all embarrassed, but it seems to happen anyway.”

This honesty really was throwing me. It seemed so unusual for the crazed Rickley that I knew. It was hardly unwelcome though, to be perfectly honest.

“Somebody’s got to deal with you,” I smiled at her cheekily.

Suzie seemed contemplative, but was quickly back to her usual self, grinning from ear to ear, “You’re such an idiot, Kendra.”

“So what do you want to do now?”

“Hmm, we could go down to the seafront again,” she suggested, “Maybe I’ll actually catch that duck this time! He was way too cocky when I let him get away!”

And so we did just that. We didn’t even bother to get dressed for it. The reactions of the people there were priceless.

Yes, without a doubt, Suzanne Rickley is insane. Knowing her can be an absolute burden. But I’m happily following her around every single day.

I must be pretty mad myself.
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Faulerro

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PostSubject: Re: Swimming with Suzie   Mon Mar 14, 2011 3:20 pm

OOC: Credit to my friend Iain for the mildly in-character use of Kendra, an old character of his I enjoyed writing for in the Mystery of the Forum days.
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PostSubject: Re: Swimming with Suzie   Mon Mar 14, 2011 4:59 pm

ooc: I enjoyed that immensely. Very Happy

For more reasons than you'd think I would.

Awesomely hilarious.
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