The River of Doom

River of Doom

By: Scott Heaton

It was supposed to be a relaxing day of tubing down the Guadalupe River. But like most things in my life, it didn’t go according to the plan. The water was freezing cold, my tube was deflated, and to top it all off the river was wilder than usual after the recent Texas thunderstorms. It felt more like a six flags roller coaster than a relaxing weekend trip.

After hours of gritting my teeth and flexing my core to stay afloat, I could finally see the end of the aquatic ride from hell. But lo and behold, there was a small sloping waterfall to complete my tubing excursion. I’m sure on any other day it would have been a delightful dip down to the finish, but today it seemed like Niagra Falls.

I sat up on the tube as high as I could and clenched the flaming-hot, sun-soaked rubber of my tube mumbling a silent prayer to the river gods. And then I heard her…

A girl was crying about 10 yards in front of me, holding onto a rock for dear life. She lost her tube somehow and her crocodile tears made her look like she was seeing the Grim Reaper march toward her swinging his bloodstained scythe.

Being the modern gentlemen that I am, I could not let the damsel in distress remain in her state of peril, so I waddled on over to her watery prison and bravely offered her my tube so that she could safely float down the rapids. Without acknowledging my fearless sacrifice, or even voicing the smallest feelings of appreciation, she ripped the tube from under my butt and tumbled down the rapids, not looking once at her savior who was stranded in her former state.

I would like to think I stayed calm in the situation, but freezing water pounding against your sun-burnt chest can rattle the mind of any man. I recalled our so called ‘training’ before we got on the river, from the toothless redneck who droned through his speech that he had probably given everyday for 20 years,  “If ya find yerself without yer tube, make sure ya put yer feet in front a ya.”

So I did the only thing I could, I put my feet in front of me and braved the deadly rapids.

Down and down I tumbled crashing into more rocks than I care to remember. While my head came above the water in precious spurts, I could hear the crowd gathered on shore gasping in horror each time I pounded another stone.

“At least I’ll die a hero,” I thought, “That is, if that stupid girl would ever tell anyone what I did.”

But despite my pessimism, I survived the falls and somehow crawled out of the river of doom. My worried friends pulled me out of the river and tried to stifle their concern upon seeing my cuts and bruises. My pride was doing ok, knowing that I had done something noble. Then, the prettiest girl in the group walked up to me, and I thought for sure she would confess her undying love after having seen my selflessness.

She had a towel over her shoulder that she extended my way and bent over so she could whisper in my ear. I thought I could die and go to heaven… that is until she told me,

“Scott, you lost your trunks in the water, and you must’ve rolled through a nest of leeches.”

To this day my friends still call me leech-butt.

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