I went to the Jail on Christmas Eve because I felt sorry for the ladies. Meanwhile Sally is right where she wants to be. Inmate #123432143 at the Key West Detention Center. “See,” she confided to me that evening, “I’m a lesbian.” Sally is short, she is wiry and aging abruptly, meanwhile her blue eyes twinkle when she speaks, her head thrown back. “Three hots and a cot, and all the pussy I can eat. If you’ll pardon my French, this place is fucking Paradise!”
Later, driving to Sunny’s house, I had brought along a Christmas gift which happened also to be contraband, a perfectly rolled joint stuck inside my wallet, and every cop car I passed I considered how I might end up back at the
Detention Center. At least I know everyone there.
Sunny read ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas, which I’d never heard before. Her boyfriend of near a score years clamped back tears as he watched her. Thirty of us sat in their pretty garden lit with fairy lights laced through the foliage, and under a dark sky with its paths of stars of crushed diamond. It was a beautiful evening.
They mingled their Christmas traditions, his of soup on Christmas Eve, and hers of baking bread, with olives and rosemary. And reading ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas”.
Drinks were nobody’s tradition, ‘Drunken Snowmen’ which came out of the blender like a white carpet. Into the blender went the contents of many a large bottle, plus a tub of vanilla ice cream and, most impressively of all, whole candy canes, which crunched up to nothingness, at least visibly. I didn’t try it.
Next day, on my way to an annual gathering of luminaries I received an invitation from Captain Al and Candace to watch the sunset with them aboard the Reef Chief. I dithered with my options. There was the perfection of the artist hosts, and their friends, and all at the perfect hideaway house down the end of a long driveway, making my decision all the knottier. How to decide? I wanted everything. But I might see dolphins! Gracelessly I dumped the defrosting frozen Key Lime pie, and sped away.
I found them at the wharf, where Captain Al helped me into a white dinghy, and we powered past moored boats and
away from the docks. In the harbor we picked up a friendly pirate living aboard his sailboat with two extremely relaxed cats. And then we puttered out to Captain Al’s boat, an antique schooner of approx 65ft, replete with two giant masts and a working canon. Captain Al’s home, “I haven’t slept on land in twenty years,” he announced, smiling into the sun.
Sea life with its twinkling calming ways took over and Time sluiced and churned up deep currents. Toward the end of sunset we saw three dolphins sliding slowly in gentle hoops through the calm cater, dorsal fins slicing against the peach tones of twilight. The dolphins are mesmerizing, like glimpsing Nature winking.
Happy New Year!