TRAVEL BUG TALES: WHAT DO WE DO NOW?
When Frances didn’t return to the hotel the evening after her boat ride, we were concerned but we still thought she’d show up, eventually. We took a survey among our fellow travelers and the consensus was we were worry warts. Frances had made a love connection and we’d hear from her soon.
The Day After
Well, she didn’t come home that evening and if she was having a good time, well then, that was OK, but geez, couldn’t she send a smoke signal or something. This is where the whole cellphone thing comes in handy, but it wasn’t a thing yet. Back in our day, people not only didn’t have cellphones. Sometimes they didn’t have phones at all. It wasn’t inconceivable the casino dealer didn’t have a phone. He’d called her the other day, but it could have been from a pay phone. We didn’t even know his name.
Debbie and I decided to stay around the resort, so we’d know whether she showed up or not. We refused to stay in our room by the phone, but we wanted to be reachable. There was a low buzz filtering through the resort. Someone was missing. Damn kids, some would say, so irresponsible. Oh my goodness, others would say, and encourage us to contact her parents.
Contact her parents! That’s the absolute, very absolute last thing we wanted to do. We talked about it and decided it didn’t make any sense. Frances was going to show up and then we’d all feel very silly – but what if she didn’t? What if she was at a hospital somewhere, in need of her asthma machine? Never, ever, never do this to your friends – ever!!!
By the end of the day we talked to the Adventure Tour people. We didn’t want to alarm them, but we’d lost Frances. They didn’t seem all that worried. They did a lot of these college tours and someone was always disappearing, but they always showed up, just in time to catch the plane.
I’m pretty sure this is the evening we discovered two things, coconut rum and that a store across the street had Dr Pepper, along with other American things. We borrowed big plastic iced tea glasses from the buffet, filled them up with chipped ice and poured the coconut rum over the ice. The first time we may have sprinkled a little Coke over the concoction, but we soon dispensed with that altogether, sitting in the dark around the pool enjoying the smooth liquor.
There was no pretending now. We were worried sick about Frances and we began to wonder why we’d waited so long to sound the alarm. We’d be on TV. People would stick their microphones in our faces and ask us why we hadn’t notified the authorities immediately. Heck, we didn’t even know who the authorities were. Adventure Tours was in charge of everything and they’d blown us off.
Debbie and I both still felt she’d show up, but we were also worried sick she wouldn’t. If you drink enough coconut rum, you will go to sleep, even if your friend is missing. The next morning the phone rang. Who was calling? Come back next week and find out.