It was our first morning on the beach. Perfect sun, scant clouds on the low horizon, my tummy full of fresh mango, papaya and pineapple. We’d arrived at our resort late last night after an entire day of travel, mainly preparations: dropped Duke at the boarding kennel, asked local police to keep watch on our house, called my sister to say “hasta luego.”
And now, the beach. Aaahhh. I applied SPF, and watched Benny as he arranged his towel, and got out his latest Sidney Sheldon novel. Nearing 50, he looked great in his new checked blue suit, the board style that I preferred. Up to him, he’d wear one of those heinous ass- crack sliver of material things. As we all know, those who ought not to wear them always do, just like the skimpiest of bikinis. Chalk it up one to hot weather, yet the bennies of vacation outweigh the inconveniences.
“I wonder if our beach server will be the same this year?” Benny asked.
“You mean Serapio?” I chuckled. “Don’t go too far in the ocean, it’s dangerous,” I imitated him. Except he’d say, “Down yer ass,” instead of dangerous.
“That guy was a perv,” Benny said.
“You’d better put on some SPF, it’s going to be a scorcher.” I handed him the bottle. Lay back against my towel, stretched out, all the way to my toes. “What a gorgeous day.” Average home temperature: 25. Here? 78.
Slowly, in twos and fours, people selected beach lounges near us.
“Look at the size of that iguana!” Benny said. “He’s climbing those massive rocks.” There was a breaker wall, twenty yards behind us, beyond that green grass, hotel rooms and restaurants.
“Guests probably feed them.” I gazed over, already fuzzy. It required me to sit up and I suddenly felt drugged, like the effort was way beyond my capability. “I don’t see it. ” I was glad, iguanas freak me out. They look prehistoric, like miniature dragons. Benny always re-assures me “they won’t hurt you” but we’re in their environment. And nature is unpredictable.
“Uh oh, I do see someone else,” I said, nodding down the beach.
“Oh, Christ, he’s up early.”
“Gotta sell to the fresh batch who arrive on Sunday mornings.”
How did we know? We were suckers our first trip here. It was our honeymoon, so we were wide-eyed, eager. And yes, a little green, naïve. The Parrot Man photos were the least of our negligent expenditures. Pricey at 15.00 a pop, our favorite photo still sits on our antique hutch.
“Just pretend you’re asleep,” I suggested to Benny, fishing my iPod from my backpack.
“Hell, no,” Benny said. “These four are gonna get screwed! I want to listen,” he nodded toward the young couple and parents. “They’re the ones who shared our transport from Cancun, remember? From New Jersey, getting married here this weekend.”
I nodded, watching the Parrot Man weave closer, trudging down the beach, a scarlet Macaw on his right shoulder, a blue gold Macaw on his left. Sure enough, he slowed by the new beach guests, the wedding couple ripe for picking.
“Hello, my name is Enrique, without the Iglesias.” They all laughed.
“Here we go,” my husband smiled, setting his novel down. “This is going to be good!”