Dear Friends and Family,
As many of you know, Dan and I recently took the kids to Jacksonville for some R&R, and let’s just say we need a vacation from our vacation because this trip was a horrible, frightening nightmare! It reminded me of one of those Chevy Chase movies.
It all started the moment we pulled into the driveway at the rental house and were greeted by a flock of seagulls hopping around what looked like a big, black trash bag. But when Dan got out of the hatchback to take a closer look, he discovered it wasn’t a trash bag at all. It was a dead raccoon! The darn thing must have been there for days because the stench felt like a hot slap in the face. “Guess we got National Lampooned!” I joked. But nobody laughed. The caustic smell literally burned our eyes.
I yelled at Kevin and Bethany to get inside while Dan and I ran to the carport to look for a shovel. That’s where we found the ravens. Five or six of those dreadful black birds blocked us from entering the carport. When Dan tried to get close, they simply stepped forward, cautious and calm. They didn’t squawk or flap about or act like birds in any way that I can remember. They just stared into us. After a few weak attempts to get past them, the overpowering stench of the raccoon caused Dan to go pale, so we both made our way up the steps and into the house. Then Dan, the kids, and I watched from the window as the ravens and the gulls slowly devoured every last piece of that raccoon corpse. What a way to start a vacation! I kid you not, it was just like a scene from one of those Chevy Chase movies, but instead of laughing, I got an unearthly sense of doom in the pit of my bowels.
To the homeowners’ credit, the rental house was spotless. In fact, the two-story, split-level home appeared to have never been lived in except for the brambleberry pie left on the kitchen counter as a welcome gift. They even left a cute little note on top: “Please eat.” I handed Dan a knife and said, “Go for it, Chevy.” But he didn’t get it. He just stared dumbly and kept repeating, “Something’s not right.” He really needs to lighten up. Anywho, I cut into the pie, and a bunch of spiders burst out! Just my luck.
Well, that’s when I decided to turn this ship around. I wasn’t about to let one dead raccoon and hundreds of spiders ruin our vacation. We loaded up our beach bags and ice bags (for the spider bites) and headed straight to the sand! The beach was unseasonably chilly that day, but lucky for us, there wasn’t a soul in sight. No waves either. It was nice to spread out and work on my tan. And with the kids off looking for seashells and Dan’s mouth swollen shut (from the spider bites), I was finally able to get some peace and quiet! Boy, that sure didn’t last long.
Out of nowhere, Kevin started shouting about some light in the ocean that seemed to be moving toward us. As it got a little closer, I could tell it was a man in a rowboat with a lantern. “Oh great, who’s this knucklehead?” I said.
“And where did he come from?” Dan said, I think.
I tried to get everyone to relax and ignore him, but they wouldn’t. They just kept pointing and asking questions. This guy was turning into a real Uncle Eddie, I’ll tell you that much. Then—get this—the knucklehead started motioning for the kids to swim out to him. Can you believe that? And what’s worse, Kevin and Bethany listened! My brand new perm was ruined swimming out to fetch them.
Back at the rental house, everyone started talking about going home. But, I figured, we paid for the house, so we might as well make the most of it. I reminded everyone that the Griswolds didn’t turn back when they discovered the fun park was closed, and we shouldn’t either. That’s when Kevin started giving me lip about our trip being nothing like a Chevy Chase movie. And that’s when Dan got into the whole “something’s not right” business again, I think. I was ready to knock them both in the head.
The nail in the coffin came when we all got diarrhea, so I threw in the towel, and we went home. What a trip! Oh, and the worst part? We never got any of our deposit back. All my letters to the rental office got returned with “this address never existed” stickers on them. How do you like that?
Now you understand why I say it’s a vacation that would make Chevy Chase proud. I’ll definitely think twice before ever going to Jacksonville again.
Hugs and kisses,
Evan Greenspoon is a comedy writer and producer living in Brooklyn.
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