It was such a bizarre week at the aquarium. On the first day of the Mega's arrival, the aquarium was absolutely swamped. It didn't help that it was a Saturday morning either. Jade was not originally supposed to work because she was going to go into overtime, however management practically begged her. The tours were running at full capacity and as quickly as she could muster, after the third she was getting worn out pretty quick.
Luckily there was only one more tour until she could go on her break.
Walking around the place was a workout in and of itself.
The aquarium was huge. It took up at least five city blocks. There was the awning covered cement ramp lined with guide ropes that led up to the entrance way. Once inside, there were more line ropes that wound left and right until they met the ticket booths. Eight of the ten were open. And once tickets were obtained, they passed through Security that was manned by non-other than the part-timers Matara and Hutaru. A lovely older couple that volunteered on occasion to help out the aquarium in exchange for free access. Hutaru sported spikey red hair and khakis with a green tunic. and his hunter green eyes inspected bags while Matara (in her purple lolita dress and teal pigtails) gathered tickets. It was a blessing they were there that day.
Once past security, then the turn stiles, there was a large cylinder shaped aquarium (8ft in diameter) holding school of local Spadefish ever circling. Underneathe sat a photo op with the Aquarium mascot, Medley dressed as one of the mermaids. Beautiful bright blue eyes, long wavy raven hair adorned in white pearls, pearl jewelry and a bright pink skintight sequined tail with matching clam bra. Thank god she wasn't anywhere near the big Mer tank because Donnie was a bumbling idiot around the woman.
Love the guy, but seriously, he was not one to hide a crush. If she were around, the boy would probably drown forgetting to take his breath.
Right after the cylinder on the left, against the wall was the front desk - or Customer Service as the sign said above Hyper. The woman practiced her wonder woman impression by handling, customer service, questions, tour information, and Roll call all at once for hours on end.
Lickily her brother, Etienne needed volunteer credit hours for his classes, that she was more than happy to give him. The teen looked almost exactly like the male version of her, except with a buzzed cut, and he dressed in a white t-shirt and jeans with a big yellow sticker that read Volunteer.
Etienne walked up and down the line assisting with simpler question and managed to deplete the numbers down by eliminating questions about directions. Byhanding out maps, and taking applicable questions about brochures, it made Hyper's job a hell of a easier.
To the right of the cyllinder was the huge gift shop where the exit is hidden after the checkouts. Sunny had at least four other retail employers working for her as the assistant manager. Ethan was supposed to be leaving in the next two days. So they were overstaffed until he skedaddled.
On that day though, it was very much not a big deal considering the work load. Ethan, with his adorable fluffy brown bowl cut, acted as security, but more often had women flirting with him - to which he professionally declined.
Sunny was absolutely flawless in adversity, so it was her time to shine. Her determination encouraged the other four to work their best, despite the crowd.
Jade stood from the bench by the giant glass windows on the other side of the giftshop over looking the harbor to walk over to roll call and start the next tour, now that the crowd had gathered, and it was 1pm on the dot. Jade walked up to Hyper's desk, reached behind the counter to the lower counter and grabbed her touring stick - a tall black metal dowel with a bright red plastic flag on top and a small rectangular sign that read "Guided Tour".
The group on the other side of the desk eyed her curiously, as she then about faced and shot them a grin. "Ladies and Gentlemen," she announced, raising her voice to the crowd in front of her and made her way to the Roll Call sign and stood on the chair to face them, "If I may have everyone who signed up for the 1 o'clock tour please gather around!"
Thankfully they gathered en masse and left poor Hyper's desk alone now.
"That's right." she grinned at the kids and motioned for them to come closer around her chair, "Scooch in." At least half of the group were children from the same church, dressed in their bright orange t-shirts with their church logo.
Then she glanced around, "Do we have everyone? Any stragglers?" The chaperones looked around and counted then shook their heads. The younger kids giggled.
"Alright!" Jade spread her arms wide, "Hello! And Welcome everyone to .. The Notebook Aquarium!" A couple of the kids squealed in delight as she continued, "My name is Jade I will be your tour guide this lovely afternoon!" she bowed lightly at her introduction, "If you stick with me, you'll get to see all the cool exhibits we have here at the Aquarium!"
The kids giggled and spouted off a couple creatures they were exicted to see, Jade only nodded, "Yep, yep! All of those! We'll even see SHARKS," she quickly pulled her hands to her mouth and used her fingers to mimic teeth, causing the kids to giggle and copy her and one of them to grip the chaperone's leg tighter, "And stingrays," This time she opened up her arms to simulate the gliding and slow flapping. Oh she was getting the kids super excited, "And whales!" She imitated a blowhole expelling with the poof sound effect, then she drew quiet, and said to them in a hushed tone "And we'll even get to see Mermaids!"
Oh the kids were losing their minds, but Jade had this under her control.
"I'm excited to show you guys, but you have to follow the rules, or we have to feed you to the sharks. And they like yummy kids." Jade remarked menacingly, causing them to giggle.
With a smirk she held up her index finger, "Rule number 1:" she pointed to the flag at the end of her pole, once they responded she continued, "Kids, if you follow the flag you won't get lost. Stay with your chaperones or your designated buddy. Okay?" She looked at everyone of them and smirked, "I don't see those head nodding." Immediately they exagerated their agreement.
This time she straightened and held up two fingers, "Rule number 2: Don't tap tap tap," she made a tapping motion, "on the fish tanks. It gives them headaches." She held her fingers to her head, "We're running really low on headache medicine. So don't give those poor fishies headaches okay?"
They nodded profusely.
Three fingers went up, "Now for Rule Number 3: If you find yourself lost. Look for someone with a shirt just like mine okay?" She held out her light blue aquarium uniform polo with the navy blue lettering and logo. Her hair was pulled back into a messy bun, which worked so you could see the word "Tour Guide" in huge lettering on the back. "Or go to the front desk." she gestured to the front desk. "That lovely lady Ms. Kenyon will let me know where you are."
At that precise moment Hyper picked up on her name between customers and she looked back at the woman, shaking her head, "I didn't do it. It wasn't me. I don't care what they said -"
Jade only smirked and pointed to the walkie talkie on her belt while the chaperones snickered, "But if these poor children are lost, who will they turn to?"
Hyper grinned and said playfully, "They gonna turn to the sharks, because getting lost means you're shark bait. And they gon' eat you." The kids half cried out into giggles, "Om nom nom."
The woman who had been next in line snorted and suppressed a giggle fit when Hyper finally turned around and apologized for the wait. The woman waved her off and started on her return (probably a little more cheerfully this time).
Jade in turn crouched down and said in a loud whisper for them all to hear, "If you give her chocolate, she won't feed you to the sharks."
The kids looked on, a cross between horrified and amused.
"Okay!" Jade straightened, starting off loud, "Do you remember the rules?"
The chaperones listed them off, guiding the kids with the cues of Jade's fingers.
"By george I think we have an adventure on our hands!" Jade raised her pole to lead the charge, "Alright! Let's begin this tour!"
Don't worry this is only the first part of the aquarium description, there will be more. Jade will guide us through the exhibits as they roundabout back to the foyer.