"South America on $320" story # 14

Store Bay, Trinidad & Tobago           July 7, 2002

When I wasn't euphorically frollicking around Tobago, there were sailors' functions I could go to. And, I just realized, you can't spell "function" without "fun!"
     Although, if there was a way to, I think the sailors would've found it. They might've spelled it like this: "boringction." That way would've been more accurate, though they probably would've encountered problems attracting people to go.
     I was like a hard-core conservative hitchhiking to Woodstock. Like the pope at a burlesque house. Like Barney the dinosaur working in a Nazi concentration camp. Like Manute Bol in Muchkin-land. Like my nemesis, Pansyckas (rrrgh!), in heaven.
     In the luxury-loving sailing crowd, I was out of place. One night, a taxi transported me and Dexter's family after a day-long "incredibly boringction" at the Tobago Hilton.
     I was delirously desperate to hear somebody - and it looked like it was going to have to be me - say something interesting. My mind and mouth began roaming freely.
     The taxi-driver dropped us off and asked Dexter's dad, Eugene, "You look really familiar. Are you sure I don't know you from somewhere?"
     "Have you ever watched the Cosby Show?" I interjected, introducing my opinion that Dexter's dad looks just like Heathcliff Huxtable's light-pigmented father.
     "That's not it!" said Eugene.
     I returned like a hummingbird to my heated debate with Dexter's brother on whether or not squid and octopi are going to collaborate forces and soon take over the world. "Look," I said, "if you re-arrange the letters of octopus, it spells: 'scoot up.' Ha!
     "As in, 'scoot up' the evolutionary chain, to DOMINANCE!"
     A nightly ritual aboard our boat, Xanté, was that Sandra would make us a great, big dinner, and, once it came to us - no matter how hot it was already - Eugene would unconsciously douse it with radioactively-spicy Indian-Trinidadian pepper sauce. This stuff went real good with the Trinidadian cooking.
     And the cooking went good with having a tongue. One night, Sandra below in the cabin hoisted to the deck a plate with hot duck meat, chicken, curried potato, and roti skins. I took the tattered, powdery, tri-layered roti dough in three fingers, pinched a piece of lime-green, plains-of-New Delhi-tasting potato, chomped my fingers down on a tender, white ball of duck, deposited this golden morsel into my mouth, and braced myself for divinity. If I wouldn't have been numbed by the sweet, curry mush bouncing around my taste-buds, I would've surely jumped up from my seat, spread my arms to the breadth of the boat and wrapped them like a monster around the food of all the visiting sailors, and jumped off the boat to swim away to a dark cave where I could eat it all alone and no one would bother me. Mmmmmmmm, my heart stops just thinking about that meal.
     The night that followed was our last in Tobago. We went ashore to a grassy plateau for yet another sailing function. My goal for the night was to speak with the prettiest sailor there.
     I stopped her, as she held a drink and walked through the crowd. She had caved-in cheeks, and her skin bore a delicate, cappucino tint. Her head grew larger from bottom to top, with a square smile and dark-outlined, rectangular eyes. And - whew! - was she pettite. Two days earlier, she'd worn a pink-brown bikini and her stomach bent inward like a dying street-dog's.
     She was prime. The type of girl you can fit inside your armpit, and when you put your arm around her you cock your head to the sky like Superman because you feel you have super-powers with which to protect her with.
     "Morvyn." was her name. A red dress searched for her excellent, frail body.
     She went on. She was half-Scottish and had been named for a mountain in Scotland. She'd visited it, and I asked how it was.
     "Beautiful ... just like myself." And then we both laughed, because we knew that had been the only response possible.
     She'd travelled South Africa, mentioning Krueger National Park, and had just graduated from nursing school in Miami.
     "I'm glad you stopped me." This was either a lie, or she'd fallen victim to the deceiving long hair I now wear which makes me look somewhere between the ages of twenty-five and forty.
     I'd known she was older. She was thirty, to be exact. She asked my age.
     And that was about the last I saw of Morvyn. At least she was interesting.
     Apparently, I'd gone the whole of Sailing Week without picking up any of the attraction a strapping sailor-boy achieves. Maybe I should've shown Morvyn my hardy pirate impression.
     "Arrgh, you wee bird, you'd make me a great cabin-mate in the capt'n's moorings. I could show you my jib, and you could show me your swazzle. Sandra! Eugene! bring me some curried duck booty or I'll swab the poop-deck with you scurvy scogs! Arrgh, arrgh, arrgh!!! A sailor's life for me!"
     On the boat ride back to Trinidad the next morning, I managed to not feel queasy for a whole TWENTY minutes of the long journey. Yep, I'm a sailor.

Later, First Mate Oddyseus

Thanks, Sandra and Eugene McShine!!! For so nicely inviting me to a great Sailing Week in Tobago ...

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