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Of Aquariums and Strippers

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Almance was a truly bustling port town that was a must see for anyone who had been sailing for extended periods of time. The food was so cheap that a five-course meal might only cost twenty bucks. The entertainment was some of the best in the world, but also affordable to the traveling sailor. There were theaters, circuses, zoos, aquariums, concert halls, and museums taking up almost every block. But that was not what our lovely men were looking forward too.

“Yes! Almance here we come!” Jean said, ecstatic for the day ahead.

“I hope the Amethyst Room is open this time. I have the biggest craving for a red-head,” Yassen said, helping prepare the ship for docking.

You see, our lovely gentlemen were excited for a particularly well-known strip club that went by the name “The Gemstone Lounge”. It was known as having some of the most exotic, beautiful, and talented women in the world, at least in the strip club world. And like everything in Almance, people were able to get five-star entertainment at one-star prices.

Ted laughed. “Forget Amethyst, I’m going straight for the Opal Room. It has the best food.”

Jean shook his head. “If I wanted good food I would go to a restaurant. I want girls. I was thinking of starting with Peridot and making my way to Sapphire.”

It was then that Ikuta whacked Jean on the back of the head with a map. “You’re not going to The Gemstone Lounge.” His voice sounded like he couldn’t believe the conversation he was hearing. Surely Ikuta couldn’t be surprised that Jean wanted to visit some strippers. It had been months since he last got laid and he wanted to see some pretty girls before they set off again.

“Why not? We always go.” Jean rubbed the back of his head and glared at the captain. Sometimes Ikuta was a bit too high-strung for his own good. Maybe he needed to get laid.

“Because you promised you would take Hisui to the aquarium. He’s too young to be in a strip club so I hope you were talking about Almance City Aquarium.” Ikuta crossed his arms and glared at Jean.

Jean laughed nervously. “Oh yeah, the aquarium. The thing that takes seven hours to get through. I am going there with Hisui. Good catch, boss.” He gave a thumbs up and Ikuta rolled his eyes and walked away to talk with Dom.

James patted Jean’s shoulder. “We’ll go in Peridot, just for you.”

Jean whipped around and stared at James. “Wait, you guys aren’t coming with me?”

Ted shrugged his shoulders. “Well, it’s the Gemstone Lounge. We can’t just miss it to go look at some smelly fish.”

The crew nodded sympathetically.

“Ugh, come on, guys! You know no one good is going to be there at eleven in the morning!” Jean said. He didn’t want to be the only one who didn’t get to see the strippers.

“Well, you have a point. And getting drunk at eleven isn’t good for the liver,” James said, stroking his chin.

“Besides, Hisui’s got a short attention span. He’ll probably be ready to go by the time we get to the penguins.” Ted added.

Jean cheered. “Alright, we’ll rush through the aquarium and then go to the strippers.” There was another whack to the back of his head.

“You will stay as long as Hisui wants to stay. Besides, you aren’t going to get laid by any of those men and women anyways so it really it a waste of money.” Ikuta said as he walked by the group again.

“You know, we would have much more fun if the captain got laid,” Fox grumbled.

“I can hear you!” Ikuta shouted. The crew scrambled to look busy, hoping to avoid the wrath of the captain.

oOoOoOo

“I can’t wait to see all the fish and stuff that live in the ocean. Dom said they even have sharks and dolphins here. It’ll be so cool to see them up close!” Hisui chattered away, skipping along the road towards the aquarium. Normally, Jean would have told him to slow down and conserve his energy. But the faster Hisui burned out, the better. The only problem was that the men needed to walk just as fast so as not to lose Hisui on the busy streets.

“How long do you think he’ll last?” James asked, panting slightly as he struggled to keep up while also not run into anyone.

“At this rate, he might be tired by the time we get to the coral reefs!” Yassen said, smiling slightly. He was starting to sweat as he continued to weave through the streets.

They arrived at the aquarium and bought their tickets, getting strange looks from other people in line. It wasn’t every day that you saw big, scruffy men taking a kid to an aquarium. It didn’t help that Hisui was dwarfed by James and Wood, making the group stand out even more.

They had barely entered the building when Hisui ran off towards the open ocean exhibits.

“Hey!” Ted shouted, barely catching onto Hisui’s shirt. “Just be patient, we have to plan out our visit so that we see everything.”

Hisui groaned. “We’ll see everything. This place just loops around so if we go this way or that way, we’ll still see everything.”

Ted’s face twitched but he let go of Hisui. “Stay in our line of sight at all times,” he said.

Hisui smiled and rushed back towards the open ocean exhibit. The men rushed after him.

“Then again, if he’s going this fast throughout the entire thing, we might not need him to tire out.” James chuckled.

Sadly, Hisui slowed down as soon as he got into the dark, cool room. He took his time to examine each of the species and try and match their picture with the living counterpart. And he enjoyed discussing each and every tank with the crew, making sure to point out his favorite and ask for opinions on others.

“I like that one too, Hisui. Nice and colorful,” Jean said, trying not to yawn. Of course, sometimes Hisui would retrace his steps to some of the tanks and sit there and stare at them some more.

“Do you realize how many fish there are in the ocean? I never knew there were so much!” Hisui exclaimed, leading Wood through the shark tunnel. “Isn’t that the same type as the one Ikuta killed?” He pointed towards one swimming overhead.

“I think so. There was a lot going on that day.” Wood replied.

“They don’t seem as scary now that they’re behind glass,” Hisui said.

“Idiot, you’re the one who jumped into the water!” came the unanimous reply. People stared and pulled their children away from the group.

They stopped for lunch at the mid-way point and Ted lamented the fact that he could be eating lobster off a naked person’s body right now. This earned him a whack from Jean since Hisui was sitting right there and they did not need to be discussing strippers and the virtues of eating high-quality food off their naked bodies.

After lunch, they continued to trek through the aquarium. Of course Wood wanted to stop and watch the sea lion show which took another hour. And then Jean wouldn’t stop running on the treadmill, trying to go as fast as an otter. The otter won every time. James got stuck in a tube that was supposed to lead to a viewing deck and Yassen and Ted spent the next thirty minutes trying to pull him out.

Hisui just kept running from exhibit to exhibit with no signs of getting tired. Instead of losing energy as the day went on like everyone had hoped, Hisui seemed to be gaining energy.

“Maybe he really is half sea-creature and is drawing power from being around all this water.” Jean hypothesized after they exited the flash flood room. It’s probably exactly like what you’re picturing. You stand in a tiny room for three minutes only to have water rush through and soak your clothes all the way through. Hisui really liked that room.

Finally, after what felt like an eternity, they stepped out of the Alamance City Aquarium and into the fading sun.

“Good God what time is it?” Wood asked.

“Probably close to eight. Let’s get you back to the boat, Hisui,” Jean said, taking Hisui’s hand and leading him back towards the ship. Hisui wasn’t nearly as fast getting back as he was getting to the aquarium. But in about ten minutes, Hisui would be dropped off and the men could finally get to the Gemstone Lounge. Friday was karaoke and the best singer got a kiss from each of the strippers.

Ikuta was waiting for them at the ship, the sun finally setting completely.

“Hey kid, how was it?” he asked, leading Hisui away from the men.

Hisui yawned. “It was so much fun. Thanks for taking me, guys!” Hisui smiled at them, making Jean feel a little guilty that he tried to rush the kid along.

Ikuta ruffled his hair and pushed him towards his cabin. “I got you some dinner, go eat.” Hisui scampered off, making Jean wonder just how much energy the kid had left.

“Well, I am going to go to sleep,” Ted said, yawning and stumbling down to the hold.

“Good idea, I’ll go get some pizza and bring it back here for us to eat,” James said, stumbling off the ship.

“Uh, guys, you don’t have to stay here. You can go to the Gemstone Lounge now. I can watch after Hisui.” Ikuta said.

They stared at him. “Yeah, we’ll go, after a quick nap and some food.” Jean stumbled after James to help carry the pizza back. The Gemstone Lounge could wait an hour or two. It was only eight o’clock and everyone knows the good strippers don’t come out until midnight.

Except they never woke up until the morning. And by then it was time to leave.

“Next time, I’m not tagging along with you,” Yassen hissed, glaring as the coastline faded away.

“Don’t blame me, you didn’t have to come!” Jean snapped.

Hisui came up and gave them bot hugs. “Thanks again for taking me. I had a lot of fun.” He scampered off towards Ikuta.

Jean and Yassen stared at each other. “Well it was fun,” Yassen said.

“And Ikuta’s right, there was no way in hell we were going to sleep with any of them.” Jean laughed.

“It would also be weird to jerk off with Hisui around.”

“Yeah, of course.” Jean nodded. “And I am sure the Gemstone Lounge will still be here when we come back.”

It will, of course, be a shock when the crew comes back a year later only to discover the Gemstone Lounge was shut down because the strippers would spike clients’ drinks with ecstasy. But hey, Boobie Bungalow is supposed to be a pretty good place.