Hallucinations.  That’s exactly what tequila did to me on my 18th birthday.  Friends faces swelled into distortions.  Sounds became warbled.  I laughed and laughed at the most serious sentences.  It wasn’t pretty, just a warped, mysterious world inside my head.  That’s when vomitius arrived.  I never thought the cool touch of white porcelain against my cheek would feel so good.  Anyway, ‘hallucinations’ stuck to my head like gum when I gobbled up Dalene Heck’s engrossing narrative.  Please enjoy today’s kick-ass Summer Chick Tale.

It was a sunny day, but they all were.  Living in the Caribbean means dealing with that fact – there is little reprieve from the intense heat unless sitting in the ocean every day is a real possibility.  But even that gets boring after awhile.

And so instead, on a random Sunday afternoon, I found myself sitting on the hard wooden stands for a baseball game, thankfully under the cover of shade.  Being one of the first to arrive, I had my choice of seats, and settled behind the back stop but near the players box for the home team.  Perfect view of the infield, and a great line on the pitchers mound, which would enable me to take photos for when my husband took his turn on it.

I was excited to be there.  We both were.  Baseball in Central America is like hockey to Canada. This was the place to watch.  And I couldn’t help but feel nostalgic about the experience.  I was reminded of many weekends growing up where long summer days were spent watching my Dad man the first base for his team.  Fans filtered in with beers in their hand, snacks were being sold nearby (exchange nuts for local baleadas, however).  All I needed was to hear some Steve Earle filtering from a truck stereo beyond and it would have felt just like home.

As the crowd started to grow and the game began, the excitement among the players and in the stands was obvious.  In a field of large men of local heritage, my husband was the lone white skinned player.  Not a short man by any means, he still dwarfed in comparison to those around him.  I couldn’t tell if he was nervous, but I sure was for him.

And my nerves grew as I quickly realized, this was nothing like home.  Beers were not the only thing on tap, a full table of liquor opened up beside me as fans began to partake.  The later into the day it got, the more “lively” the crowd became.  Questionable calls by the ump would be met with a course of the vilest protest.  An injured player was not met with the usual cheers upon his rise from the dirt, instead a lady beside me generously offered up her urine to clean the wound.

I tried to ignore it all and stay focused on the game.  My husband was pitching well and at least no one in the stands had verbally attacked him yet.

My attention was sidetracked before long.  To my left an argument was brewing.  While the two gentleman, standing directly beside me, were managing to keep their voices low, the tension was palpable.  Their bodies were stiff, their faces only inches apart.

Suddenly, the taller man in the tilted fedora landed an open-palmed slap on the other.  He landed another.  The abused man stood stiff, absorbing the blows, not retaliating at all.

I turned back to watch the game, moving a couple of inches away but desperately trying to ignore it all in hopes that it would just end.  Suddenly, everyone around me had jumped out of their seats and rushed to exit the stands.  I turned back to see why, and gasped out loud.

All I saw was the gleaming white handle of a gun.

A trained ninja, such as myself, does not think.  There is only sudden reaction to sudden threats.  I wasted no time in launching a swift side kick to the strong, sinewy hand gripping the gun.  It dislodged and fell through the split wood planks to the ground below.  In shock, his arms dropped to his side, allowing me to quickly land a strong front kick to his exposed chest.  He stumbled backwards and down the three steep stairs to the bottom of the stands, cracking his head on the cement base of the backstop. 

With rage in his eyes, the victim of his assaults laid flat out on the stand, reaching through the cracks until two fingers felt the barrel of the gun.  An axe kick between his shoulders crushed his efforts, and as he cringed but rose to full height, I propelled into a tornado kick.  First, I knocked my right heel against his chin, landed, and spun counter clockwise, bringing my left knee all the way around and kicking again with my right.  Stunned, he sank to his knees, and I extended again into a front kick, sending him down the stairs to a similar fate as his previous attacker. 

My work here was done. 

I quickly gathered my things and moved to the bottom of the stands.  The baseball game had stopped, and my husband walked over to the edge of the fence.  “What happened?” he asked.

“I don’t really know, I think one guy pulled a gun,” I whispered, shaken.  Both men were still locked in a threatening gaze while hundreds of anxious eyes peered on.

“I think maybe you should take the truck and go,” he said.  I nodded, and he began to walk me to the bottom of the hill.

Author bio: Dalene Heck was once a corporate climber, but woke from that maddeningly bad dream in 2008.  Her and hubby, Peter Heck sold all their possessions and have been traveling since 2009.  They share their experiences, opinions and stories from the corners of the world at www.hecktictravels.com.  Or seek them out on Twitter or Facebook.  You won’t be disappointed.

Summer Chick Tales was conceived from my love of the season and my obsession with slurpees.  I always have one every summer.  I also love women writers.  Lots.  If you want to submit a story or be in charge of the mojito station, see the editorial schedule.  Come on, join the XX chromosome party.

Photo: Michelle Hofstrand

 If you haven’t heard, I’m participating in the Ultimate Train Challenge starting in September. Part of the Ultimate Train Challenge is our commitment to raising $10,000 for charity, by partnering with the Vietnam Veterans of America Foundation and the Da Nang Association of Agent Orange Victims.  Each dollar will go directly to children at the center near Da Nang who suffer from the effects of Agent Orange to this day.  You can help donate by purchasing Eurail tickets through my website or donate directly by going through the Ultimate Train Challenge site.  I’d like to thank our European sponsor, Eurail for supporting this important cause.