I’m sitting next to the pool in the shade. I just cracked an icy beer and my fingers before settling in to tell you about Key West – day 3.
Yesterday, we woke late and milled around drinking coffee. Later, after throwing on some shorts Charlie and Jennifer took off on the scooter while Ellen and I set off to rent bicycles for the week. We found a place just off Duval.
“Do you have any deals for the week?” I asked the woman who worked the bike booth.
“I give you bikes for $40 each ‘til Sunday.” She said in a heavy Spanish accent.
“Great. We’ll take them.”
She led us over to the bikes and Ellen pointed to a pink one. She unlocked it and rolled it over to her. She went to get the next pink bike in line when I said, “Uh, I don’t ride anything that’s pink………except women.”
She smiled knowingly at me [it was women’s week, after all] and unhooked a blue one to my liking. We took off on the bikes and headed to Malory Square. There we met Charlie and Jennifer for lunch at Hog’s Breath. (not the first time that day we would be there.) After lunch we walked around the square and shopped. Next, we headed down to Susan’s store to visit her. While we were there Charlie and I looked at the sterling silver bracelets with the different beads. We were both fans. Susan’s manager had told her that day that if there was anything in the store that we wanted that she could give us her store discount. We decided when we came back later to pick her up before she closed that we would get bracelets then.
Ellen wanted to go to Blue Heaven and treat us all to Mojitos but when we got there it was closed until October. Plan B: Happy Hour at Fat Tuesdays. After frozen rum runners we decided to go back to the hotel and take a dip in the pool before getting ready to go out that night.
That night we rode down to the pier for seafood. Jennifer and I were craving oysters [I had a slimy wing-woman]. We chose a restaurant facing the water and the pier. The moment we sat down this huge storm rolled in. The servers ran around closing the rollup doors on the side of the restaurant facing the docks. Before they could close them I literally had to grab the basket of crackers from flying off the table. Things were whipping around, hair blowing, etc. [it wouldn’t’ have been a good night for Shari] Once the windows and doors were sealed shut we started getting dripped on from the ceiling. As drops of water plopped into my beer Ellen said, “I’m getting really wet.” Sure enough there was a constant stream of water coming down and filling up her plate of conch fritters.
“Do you want to move tables?” the server asked.
“What would make you think that?” I said with a bit of sarcasm.
We immediately scooted over to another table that proved to be no better in the water/dripping situation. We were finally resigned to just moving the food out of the way of the drips and letting the waters and beers get dripped in. I could only wonder over what all the water traveled over before it dripped down into our beer glasses. My imagination ran wild as I thought of my Bass lighting up fluorescent green from acid rain. I shook the thoughts out of my head and took a bite of Charlie’s soup and almost choked it was so bad. I had to wash the taste out of my mouth with one of Jennifer’s French fries.
“What the hell is in that?”
“I don’t know.” She said.
“Well, you ordered it. Don’t you know?”
“It’s supposed to be chicken tortilla.”
“What chicken? What tortilla? I ate something that just congealed in my mouth.”
“I think it was an avocado.”
I bit into a soggy, rubbery conch fritter. Of all the places we had been so far this one was defiantly the worst. However, I do have to say it wasn’t a total loss because the oysters were fabulous and cheap. I was happy about that. I would probably return just for them.
The storm moved on and we walked to our bikes and scooter and wiped the seats off with napkins we took from the restaurant. We took off to Susan’s store where Charlie and I did purchase the bracelets and beads we chose earlier for a fraction of the cost. Bracelets on wrists Susan closed up the store and hopped on the back of the scooter with Jennifer while Charlie rode her bike. Her leg was still sore from falling off the dance floor the night before at Aqua. We pulled up and parked around the corner of Hog’s Breath where the band “Sister Funk” was playing. Even before we got to the entrance we heard the music. We shoved in at the end of the bar where we were earlier that day. As we were trying to flag down the bartender an attractive brunette next to us [named Sarah] was just handed a Hog’s Breath beer.
“Hey, what’s that beer like?” I asked.
“Oh, it’s a bit like an amber, a little sweet. Do you want to try it?” she pushed it towards Charlie and I.
“I’m not going to put my mouth on your beer.” Charlie said.
“I am.” Picking up the beer and taking a swig. “Yeah, that’s nice.”
“Well, maybe I want to try it now that you tasted it, Lanie.”
“Sure, take a drink.” Sarah said.
Just then Charlie picked up the beer and took a huge swig and whipped her mouth and said, “Yum.” Sarah picked up her beer that we had just drunk half of and said, “See you girls later” and took off to the other side of the bar.
“See you just scared her off tonguing her beer and all that.” I chided Charlie.
“I did not.”
“You did, too. You practically fucked it with your tongue.” I said as Charlie spat her beer out across the bar narrowly missing Susan laughing so hard. I laughed, too. Susan was telling another couple that had came over to visit the story of falling off the dancefloor and hurting her leg when Jennifer joked, “Just rub an onion on it.” Then I almost spat beer across the bar. Susan would never live down the onion story.
The night, beer and music flowed on.
“Why aren’t you out cruising?” Ellen asked me.
“I’m going now.” I said, getting up and heading to the other side of the bar where I saw Sarah go. I found her on the other side of the band and struck up another conversation with her. She was from St. Pete and her girlfriend was coming down the next day. I invited her back over to our group after talking and laughing with her between band sets. I walked back to the group with her trailing behind. Everyone was giving me the eyes and I whispered into Ellen’s ear – “She’s taken but fun.”
We partied on with Sarah making the rounds and joking and talking to everyone. I was getting to the mischievous point of my drunk where I wanted to do something. Most of the times it’s steal something whether it be a sign, coaster, beer glass or even just a cigarette out of someone’s pack sitting on the bar. This time it was a t-shirt hanging on the wall.
“Come on. I want to steal a t-shirt.” I said to Charlie. She nodded – we were cut by the same cloth when it came to drunk mischief. We went to the back of the restaurant where they had the shirts stapled to a piece of cardboard velcroed to the wall. Charlie ripped it off and was getting ready to shove it down her scanty shirt.
“You’re really going to put that in there?” I asked.
“Yes. But wait. Where’s the camera?”
“That one.” She said pointing above us.
“Oh, d@mn. We’d better not do this or else we’re going to get thrown out of here.”
She put it back up on the wall and we walked away from it like we hadn’t been up to anything. We walked to the opposite side of the bar and looked at more t-shirts displayed there behind glass this time. We turned just as we saw something run across the back of the restaurant.
“What was that?” she pointed.
“I don’t know. I think it was a chicken.” There were hundreds of wild chickens here wandering the streets although, deep down inside I knew all the chickens were probably asleep that time of night. I didn’t want to believe the alternative. Charlie confirmed my fears by saying –
“I think it was a rat.”
“No, nooooooo. It wasn’t’ a rat. No. A CHICKEN.”
We walked over to the side and she pointed behind the jukebox and said, “It went behind there.”
“Where?” There were more boxes and I thought there might be t-shirts in one of them. Just when I reached down to open one she yelled.
“There it is.” Pointing to something dark that came out from under the jukebox.
I screamed like a girl and ran across the back of the restaurant. People sitting at tables even up front heard me and when I turned, Charlie was bend over laughing pointing to some rubber gasket that had rolled out instead of a rat.
“Dude, you scared the shit out of me.” Then, we were both keeled over laughing and I said, “I have to go to the bathroom. I almost pissed myself.” And we laughed harder.
We walked back to our group and Jennifer said, “What have you two been up to?”
We looked at her and the group wide-eyed and said, “Nothing.”
We said goodbye to Sarah after that each of us giving her a hug. I was last in line when she turned to me and kissed me on the side of my mouth and said, “See you later.”