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You steady yourself and lift yourself up on the seat. Glancing over the crowd, you notice plenty of people eager to dunk you. When you look back upon this moment, you realize you had vastly under-appreciated how warm and dry you were. You smile, wave and joke. You begin to think that this experience won’t be too bad.
The first challenger steps up. You get nervous and shift a little on the slippery plastic seat. Your eyes trace the trajectory of the balls as they arc towards to the target that will send you plummeting. They thud against the backboard, the vibrations edging you further down the seat. Three balls are thrown and all of them miss their mark. You are safe, for now.
Eventually, one of the balls lands squarely on the target and you are dropped into the freezing abyss. Your legs automatically tuck forward and you are completely immersed in the water. The shock of the cold leaves you breathless. You manage to right yourself and spend a few seconds composing yourself. Wet hair is pushed away from your eyes. The world is oddly serene as distracting noises are muffled by the water in your ears. As you reset and clamber back onto the seat, you shiver a bit.
Unfazed, you sling taunts wildly into the crowd. Team affiliations, articles of clothing, accessories, they are all fair game for mockery. you see the look of determination in their eyes as some of those taunts hit home and they grab a ball to test their aptitude. For a brief moment, you are thankful for the chain-link cage that surrounds you.
Not everyone manages to dunk you. Rather than aim, some people throw the ball with as much force as they can muster. Inwardly, you are thankful for those people. Occasionally, the ball hits the target, but only the edge and the mechanism isn’t triggered. The phrase “little miracles” flashes through your mind. The fall is inevitable though. Men, women, young, old, you can never truly anticipate who will manage a lucky shot and reintroduce you to the water once more.
You call out to your friends, you challenge them to dunk you. One-by-one, they decline. You wonder if that’s a good thing.
As time passes, you are plunged into the icy water over and over again. Resetting the seat and climbing back on takes you longer and longer. You learn to dread the metallic chunk sound of the seat support releasing. You begin to wonder why you had volunteered for this in the first place. You easily could have spent your afternoon happy, warm and dry. The breeze, once a welcome friend, chills you to your core. You joke with the audience, but less and less as the cold distracts you.
Towards the end, there is a lull and you begin to air dry. You use that fact as patter, but you secretly hope to stay dry until the end. Your hopes are soon dashed.
After last call, you hop out of the dunk tank onto the cold, wet grass. The sudden impact sends a jolt of pain through the balls of your feet. You begin to dry yourself with your towel. People tell you that you made a brilliant annoying, obnoxious intern. You wonder if it was really an act.