[This was submitted to a local literature group’s “blue” contest.]
“Curacao,” I told her.
“Curacao? What the fuck is that?”
“A shade of blue.”
“Bullshit. It’s some gay liqueur.”
“Yah, but it’s blue. Curacao blue.”
She rolled her eyes. “It’s not a fucking color name. It’s a blue liqueur. You’re thinking of cerulean.” She passed me her cigarette, a Pall Mall non-filter she’d bummed earlier from the Jamaican cab driver.
“Well that’s the color blue I am, whatever it’s called.” I took a drag and let the smoke creep out my nose. I watched it hang in the air and batted it away with a wave. Christ it was hot. Not a whiff of a breeze, even on this beach. The sea was as still as the dog track on Sunday morning. “Not the blue like this though,” I said, nodding at the ocean.
“That ain’t blue. That’s green. Like a coral green.”
I took a slow breath. “They’re all just shades of a mood.”
“This booze talk is makin’ me thirsty,” she said. “But I’m too hot to do anything about it.”
“All you gotta do is raise your hand.” I craned a look over the corner of the chaise lounge and raised my hand in the air. “Hey mon!”
A big dude in a flowered shirt waded through the sand in his bare feet. Dark as baker’s chocolate and built like a Brahma Bull. Big white smile and mirror Ray-Bans. The tray in his hand looked like a coaster. “Yes mon, can I get you somptin’, sir.”
“I would love a Painkiller, if you don’t mind.” I nudged the young lady next to me. “Watchoo want?”
“Red Stripe,” she said.
“And a Red Stripe for the lady, please.”
“Comin’ up,” he said, ambling away in no hurry.
I put my head back on the chaise. Nothing to do but just lay here under this bamboo lanai until my time came, watching tan women frolic in the dainty surf. Barely covered tits and ass and a lot of brown flesh glistening with cocoa butter. What I’d left my wife and daughter for fifteen years ago. Now the stink of it gave me a headache. My own secret prison.
I looked at her pale white skin in the gaudy bikini she’d bought in the airport gift shop. “Whyn’t you lie in the sun?” I asked her.
“Cuz I don’t wanna sweat my ass off.”
“You could use a little color.” She had an attractive figure, like her mother, but she hadn’t taken care of herself.
Her head lolled sideways against the chaise pillow. Her eyebrows wrinkled above her shades. “Whyn’t you drop dead?”
Her words crawled inside my rotting guts. How could she know I would oblige her so soon?
“Not sure your mom is ready to see me yet.”
The Bull shambled through, dropped off our drinks. I signed my initials and room number, added a $5 for him.
“Keep them coming until I give you the signal, eh bro?”
“Ya, mon.” He flicked a slow salute and chugged off.
She raised the sweating bottle to her lips.
“What color are you?” I asked her.
The bottle paused, then tilted upward sharply and beer gurgled into her downturned mouth until she nipped it off and swallowed. She wiped a drip from her chin. Her head reclined.
“Don’t leave me again, okay?” She reached out and put her bottle-chilled fingers on my wrist. “Okay?”
Filed under: flash fiction | 10 Comments
Tags: alcoholism, alienation, blues, death, divorce, father and daughter, short stories