I love abandoned buildings, I love to photograph them and learn of what they were in a previous life; in a strange sense, I have a deep connection to them. I have always had abandonment issues and ultimately, my father, my first boyfriend, my girlfriend, a guy I was seeing and my most recent relationship had all abandoned me. Left me like a pile of rotting garbage, no more important than the litter on the side of a highway, embarrassed to even exist.
I was at an abandoned water park in the Mojave Desert. Maybe you have seen it on your way to Vegas, if you come from the California side. It is known as Rock-a-Hoola. I have gotten to explore the place twice, once illegally, and the second, with permission from the owner, who is now my friend on Facebook. This story is about my illegal time exploring the place; with the guy I was seeing who ultimately abandoned me.
The guy, let’s call him Matthew, like to act tough; he was a New Yorker and that to his Big Apple, small brain equaled big balls. And big balls did not mean bravery, it meant destroying shit and vandalizing buildings. I used to live in Utah and anytime my family and I needed to be in California, we always passed this water park, I had nothing but respect for the place, so I veered off from him.
I poked around in the gift shops and the food stands. The pools and the rental buildings. Taking nothing but photographs (and three cups with the name of the park…), while he was busy trying to break dried up water hose in the kiddy pool. I went downstairs to the maintenance room for the kiddie pool, as far as I could go before I was met with stagnant water, complete with the funky smell of stagnant water.
I came back up and discovered Matthew was gone. I slid my cellphone out, in case I had to call for a ride. Full bars. Stranded my left foot. Alone or not, I would continue to explore the water park. And that is when I found the mecca, the bathrooms! Bathrooms, for a good portion of my life, have always been creepy. Bathrooms and basements. Nope Nopity Nope Nope rooms.
I have seen the movies; I know what happens in them. I stepped a foot into the woman’s bathroom when Matthew jumped out, causing me to scream; he doubled over laughing, ten points to Mr. Douchebag for making the horror nerd scream! “You are such a pussy!” I drew my fingers across my brow and pinched them together.
Yeah, I’m the pussy, when not even an hour ago, he was screaming and making me lead the way through a maze of abandoned garages behind an abandoned mechanic’s garage because a twig snapped. Yeah, okay, Matthew. I did not mention that, all I said to him was, “At least I’m not afraid of snapping twigs.”
There were about six stalls in the building. No doors, just shower curtains to separate you and the outside. All the curtains had been folded over the dividers expect the end one which was still closed. Guess which one I headed towards? Yes, I understand that there was probably no one it, but I wouldn’t be telling this story if that were true, would I?
As I got to the fifth stall, I heard growling, but not like an animal; that was to be expected, nor was it the silly growls of zombies you hear in movies. It was human. I made my way back to the entrance and Matthew walked to the stall. “It’s getting late, Matthew. We should head back to LA.”
Matthew threw me a very cruel look. “Californians are pussies!”
“I’m from Utah!”
He grabbed the curtain and pulled it back, his face went as pale as snow and a snarl snaked its way out from the stall. “What are you doing!?”
The cock knocker was pulled violently into the darkness and I ran. Through the park at full speed, on the phone with my mother, begging her to come pick me up, in Yermo, away from the water park…