Posts Tagged ‘extreme’

An icy wonderland

March 2, 2009

Ten, Omar, Mohammed, and I decided to go to Dubai Mall. I was driving my Hummer limousine, Mohammed had shotgun, and Ten and Omar were in the spacious back part. Which had an ice-skating rink in it. They were rehearsing.

We get to the mall and manage to find parking, grab our skates, and enter through the entrance near the aquarium. There, we had to stow away our normal walking shoes and slip on our skates, because the entire mall was covered in ice. So instead of walking from store to store, one had to skate. Which was good news for us, because only few people could skate well enough to shop in that manner, so there wasn’t too much people-traffic.

We made our way through the mall, stopping at the Adidas store to buy some french fries (weird, I know), and finally reached our destination: a huge rink smack-dab in the middle of the mall that had bleachers full of about ten thousand spectators. The show was about to start!

Ten and Omar changed into their costumes, and for some reason, Mohammed and I weren’t in the show. But we were like, crew people, in charge of music and lighting and such.

Anyway, I cross-faded the lights and Mohammed aimed a spotlight at the announcer. “LADIES AND GENTLEMEN…” boomed his voice, “WELCOME TO THE THIRD ANNUAL ICE-SKATING EXTRAVAGANZA!” While he was talking, I was supposed to get my music ready for the routine, but my computer was refusing to work! I tried restarting it and everything, but nothing seemed to get my iTunes open. Which sucked, because I foolishly forgot to make a backup of the music I needed. “…LET THE SKATING BEGIN!” Shit! Ten and Omar had already taken their positions, waiting to hear the music cue, but I couldn’t get anything up and running!

“Listen loser, you’re gunna have to improvise,” I told Mohammed. “Don’t worry about it, I got it covered. I’m gunna sing the song myself,” he replied smugly. This actually did worry me, because Mohammed can’t sing for shit. Let alone in front of ten thousand people for some huge ice-skating event.

Suddenly, the music starts. What? How is this possible? I thought. It sounds exactly like the real song! With syncopation and rhythm and snare drums and backup harmonies and instrumentals and everything! I turned to look at Mohammed, who was now plugged into an amp, and he just winked at me. “Dude, seriously. This is fucking weird, how are you doing this?”

He then explained to me that because he’d heard the song so many times before, and because he’s part bedouin, part robot, he has the ability to use his brain like an extensive CD-ROM and burn shit onto it. So the music we needed was written onto his brain, and all he had to do was set up the necessary connections, and the music would play. This same procedure could be used for anything, including studying, watching movies, learning languages, memorising dance moves, and everything else one can possibly do in life. I was in awe.

Meanwhile, Ten and Omar started their routine. And they looked amazing! Ten landed the triple axle perfectly, while Omar skated backwards in front of her, matching her every move in reverse. Then came the part of the routine where he had to lift her over his head and spin on axis, let her go so she would fly through the air, then do some weird flip-thing, and she was supposed to land on the other end of the rink and spin to a stop. This is the part during their practice runs when they usually messed up. Because he’d throw her too far, and she’d end up crashing into the bleachers. So I crossed my fingers and hoped for the best.

They waited for the crescendo, then he lifted her into the air, and began spinning. After eight counts, he was supposed to fling her across the rink. Eight counts came and went, but the instrumental cue never came. In fact, it sounded like the CD was skipping. But then I remembered: there is no CD! I look at Mohammed, and he’s just standing there, looking confused. “Uhm… Sorry Ona, I don’t remember the next part of the song! My brain is stuck in this loop!”

I looked back at Omar and Ten, and things were not looking good. Because the rule of skating is, you follow the music cue. There was no way Omar would let Ten go until he heard that first note of the violin. So they were still spinning spinning spinning spinning spinning, faster and faster and faster. The ice underneath Omar’s feet was beginning to crack. He was literally drilling a hole through the rink!

“C’mon Mohammed, THINK! You know the next part! It’s like da-da deeeee, dadadaaa dum… da deeeee, dabadabadaaaaaaa… Remember?!” He obviously didn’t. His brain was indeed stuck. Stupid advanced bedouin-robot technology.

There was an ear-splitting crack, and the crowd gasped as the ice finally reached its brink and shattered, forcing Omar to stop spinning. He flung Ten in the direction he was supposed to, she flew gracefully through the air, and landed on a floating patch of ice on the other end of the rink. The audience went wild! They thought this was part of the performance! Omar and Ten were now on opposite ends of the ice-skating rink, which looked more like a semi-frozen ocean, with patches of ice strewn about the place. 

Not sure of what to do next, the two skaters began making use of their small ice-patches and did their own solo performances. But you could tell it was difficult, because the ice was all wobbly and stuff. I had to think fast.

Quick as a bolt, I turned the lighting machine on autopilot and ran downstairs to the garage where the Zamboni was parked. I jumped in the driver’s seat, put it on the submarine setting, and slowly submerged under the water, completely hidden from the crowd. Once I was fully below the surface, there was another garage door that opened into the rink, but from the underside of it.

I slowly cruised forward. On the dashboard were several buttons, with various useful functions. I was particularly concerned with finding the “ice restore” button. Finally, I found it. I then positioned myself in such a way that when I pressed the button, ice would shoot out from the top of the Zamboni, to reach the surface, and fill in the gaps. I did this for the entire length of the rink, and could see that Ten and Omar were back on track, because they were continuing the last part of the routine. Looks like Mohammed remembered the rest of the song after all! Now all I had to do was get back to the garage.

I turned the Zamboni around, to head back to the garage door, but it was nowhere to be found! Apparently it was only an entrance, not an exit. And the only other door led to the inside of the aquarium, where I definitely did not want to be, because there’s like, sharks in there. And everyone knows that sharks eat Zambonis for dinner. 

I heard the muted, underwater sound of the crowd applauding frantically, and looking up, I saw they were throwing roses and stuffed animals and other paraphernalia onto the rink, indicating their extreme level of enjoyment. Ten and Omar bowed several times, and after a while, skated off. Meanwhile, I was still trapped under the surface.

A penguin swam up to the passenger-side window and gazed sheepishly at me. He then took out a piece of paper and started scribbling something on it in permanent marker. When he held the paper up to the window, I could read what he wrote: nEEd hELp?

I nodded and signaled to him that yes, I did in fact need help, and he scribbled back: wAKE up!

And then I heard my phone ring, and Muaz was calling, telling me to wake up and come to uni.



January 20, 2009

My mom, sister, and I were at a theme park. It was HUGE and totally awesome, a combination of Six Flags, Disney World, and Aquaventure. Ten and I went on one of the roller coaster rides, and it lasted like eight minutes and somehow ended in one of those river-things that has a slight current, so you don’t really have to swim, you can just kinda float there, and it carries you around. Meanwhile, we had no idea where Ma was.

So we’re just floating around, when we find a little tributary with a sign that says “Extreme Zone –>” so we obviously swam in that direction. We could tell immediately that we were heading towards an extreme zone, because the once calm river transformed into quite a rapid one.

All of a sudden, from the left river bank, this crazy woman leaps out of the bushes and into the rapid river, landing right in front of us. Ten and I just kinda look at each other, and when the crazy woman resurfaces, we both roll our eyes. “Typical,” says Ten. The crazy lady was Ma.

“Hey, I got you guys something!” my mom said to us. Mind you, we’re still careening along a rapid river. So I’m like, “Okaaay, what? What’d you get us that’s so important, it couldn’t wait till we’re on dry land again?” And my mom holds out this bento box, which is divided into six sections, each section containing not a delicious Japanese delicacy, rather, live baby cats. But not kittens. They looked more like fetuses. And they were each tiny, like the size of a Bic lighter. And they didn’t have hair yet either, they were kinda slimy and gross. 

“Uhm, thanks?” Ten and I weren’t sure of what else to say. We were kinda speechless, actually. After a few awkward moments (my mom was just floating there, smiling widely, arms extended, box full-o-fetuses in hand), we finally reached a dock-type thing, where we had to get out of the water and go stand in line. Similar to the line that takes you to Jumeirah Sceirah, for those of you who have been to Wild Wadi.

Anyway, so we’re standing in line, completely oblivious to what we’re getting in to, when these skate-boarder slash surfer dudes approach my mom. “Aww, those cat fetuses are wicked cute! You’re so rad! Where’d you get ’em?” And my mom, thinking she’s so cool (and visibly blushing) starts talking to the punks.

Meanwhile, Ten and I are becoming increasingly worried because as we advance in the waiting line, the screams of terror from people in front of us get louder and louder. Soon, we’re at the front of the line, and we see the death trap before us: it’s a huge obstacle course, in the ocean, with spiky traps all over the place. And since people have fallen and died just recently, there’s blood in the water attracting angry-looking sharks.

The first part of the course involved a tight-rope that stretched for about ten meters, leading to a trampoline. Then there was a stretch of open ocean (with killer jelly-fish lurking beneath the surface), with two rings of fire in between the trampoline and the next platform. Beyond that, we couldn’t see. Ten and I were freaking out, but my mom was too involved in a conversation about extreme sports with the punks to notice the lingering cloud of doom.

I was up first. I managed to make it across the tight-rope and ten waited on the trampoline for Ten. When I saw that she was like a meter away, I jumped on the trampoline, through the rings of fire, to the platform on the other side. There I waited for both Ten and Ma, who managed to get across safely.

The next leg of the obstacle course was tougher, however, because it involved a rope ladder that led to a big bouncy castle, balancing on nothing but a skinny pole, which was floating on the water. So it was really unstable and it looked as though this is where most people died, because there were a lot of greedy sharks surrounding the bouncy castle. I went first. Once atop the castle, there was a notice board that said I must wait a full minute before jumping down onto another platform that would lead me into the next level. So I tried to signal to Ten to wait, because she’d make both of us fall into the water if she didn’t. But she mistook my frantic waving for a sign for help, so she and my mom quickly scampered up the rope ladder. 

Once they were on the bouncy castle, it actually became easier to balance, because we formed a triangle that stabilised the entire structure. “Whew, this is pretty extreme!” my mom exclaimed. Then, to my horror, she reached down to set the bento box on the floor of the castle. This threw off the perfect balance of our triangle, and caused the bouncy castle to start bouncing, and bento box flipped in the air, spilling all six cat-fetuses into the air (in slow motion). 

“Nooooooo…” Ten screamed in a deep, slow-motion voice as she bounced over to save the cats. She managed to grab two of them and throw them back in the box, but the other four bounced off the castle, heading for the water. I pushed my mom, with the bento box now containing only two fetuses, off the castle and to the safety of the stable, wooden platform below. Then I pushed Ten off, with one of the fetuses in her protective clutches, to go stay with my mom. And then I went over the edge, to try and save the remaining cats.

I landed in the water and looked around for the cats, but it was kinda difficult because the water was really cloudy. Three sharks started swimming towards me at full speed and I was prepared for the worst. But instead of eating me, they grabbed me and pulled me down to the bottom of the ocean, where I saw the three now dead-looking fetuses. I grabbed them, and the sharks helped me back to the surface at warp speed, where I collapsed onto the platform, gasping for air. The three fetuses looked really dead.

Ten and my mom were in hysterics, and the other three surviving baby cats in the bento box were crying over the loss of their brethren. I performed CPR on the fetuses by using my pinkies on their little chests and a straw (I don’t know where it came from) to refill their tiny lungs with air. Miraculously, all three started sputtering and coughing, and I placed them back into the box while Ma and Ten embraced each other with tears of joy. In retrospect, it was a very lame moment.

Anyway, we somehow managed to finish the extreme obstacle course and were about to get ready to go home when we noticed that the fetuses were now bigger. Like, way bigger. They were popping out of the box, actually. So we stopped and took them out of the box, and they just kept growing! Within seconds, all six fetuses were the size of normal cats. And they didn’t stop there… Before we could say Barack H. Obama, they were the size of panthers. And they didn’t stop there either. They just kept growing and growing and growing, and soon they were as large as whales. And then they stopped. So now we were surrounded by six whale-sized cats. And they looked just as shocked as we did. 

An old gypsy started cackling near us, breaking the silence. “What the hell are you laughing at, freakish old gypsy woman?” Ten asked. “The prophecy has finally come true!” the gypsy shrieked. Ten and I just looked at each other. “Uh, what prophecy?”

The gypsy explained that in Japanese mythology, there were six gods of the six elements (air, water, earth, fire, mind, and heart) who transformed themselves into fetuses, and the “chosen one” would purchase them and subconsciously scatter them into the water element. There, they would take on the Power of the Koi, in which they would grow into the size of their surroundings (hence their whale-like attributes). Then, they would disperse to six different corners of the globe and do something cool. I forgot exactly what. Bring peace to the world? Something like that.

Anyway, after she explained all that, we looked at the cats, and they just kinda sat there. One was licking his butt, another was trying to catch a bird flying near his head, and the others looked bored and cat-like and literally just sat there. “Uh, I don’t see them dispersing,” my mom said. “Yeah, they look like normal cats, just… bigger,” noted Ten. “I think they’re just hungry,” I added. The gypsy looked confused. “No! It’s not supposed to be like this! They’re supposed to gallop into the sunset and do godly things! This is not right!” And then she started getting pissed at us, as if it’s our fault that the giant cats are just being giant cats.

My mom and the gypsy started shouting at each other, and Ten and I jumped on the back of the cutest cat, and started petting it and stuff. Meanwhile, the evilest-looking cat (who had an uncanny resemblance to Feb) yawned, picked up the gypsy with his paw, and ate her. It then picked up my mom, put her on his back, and walked off. The other cats followed. 

And then I woke up, to the sound of the TV blasting inaugural stuff. Yay, Obama!

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