The temperature outside the motel was only in the low 90s, but the sun atop the sky was brilliant and strong as the nation’s leadership isn’t. But who cares? I’m in Key West! I pop a beer. Guido pops a dozen freckles.
This is Rolling Rock #3, by the way, leaving 3 more in the cooler; the last of my stash, genuine made-in-Latrobe Rocks I’ve been hording for this trip. Guido and I had the first two as we crossed 7 Mile Bridge, my favorite beer ever. Mine was gone before the bridge crossing was complete, but she kept hers away from where I could grab it. Bitch.
I love Key West. I love a place where the big decision each morning is, What shirt should I carry around with me today? And this time of year the sweat pours out faster than the beer pours in. We set off on foot, of course: once we arrive the car stays parked until it’s time to leave.
We pass by the cat house a block north of the Chicken Store. One of the girls on the porch gives Guido a nod and a smile. “I like your top,” she says. “Cute.” Guido flashes a smile back and thanks her. Great, I say. The whore admires your outfit. “If you want what’s in it,” she warns me, “Behave.” Yeah.
I don’t fish, collect antiques, appreciate art, enjoy gourmet food, like to shop, or anything else KW has to offer other than the delicious weather, party atmosphere, and sense of humor. The place is a theme park where Key West is the theme. Everything about it is a lie or a parody. Southernmost Point isn’t the nation’s southernmost point (in fact it’s been moved several times). Nothing inside Hemingway House today was there when he was. Pepe’s isn’t 100 years old as they’ve been claiming for decades, although it will be in 2009. But who cares? The bars are fun, the music is lively, I bake my brains, and Guido dances all night.
Bicycling (pedaling our asses) around the island Saturday we bump up against the cemetery and decide to visit. But circling the place we find every gate mysteriously closed. Second time around I spot a workman inside, digging. “Say, my friend,” I call over, “How do you get in there?” He stops, leans on his shovel, and looks at me for a long moment. Finally: “You gotta die,” he explains.
Right. People Who Died, Died.
On the way home, heading north over the 7 Mile Bridge, we polish off the last two vintage Rolling Rocks we will ever drink. Part of my childhood, died, just died, as Ray Davies sang. Next year when we’re back, I’ll toss that part in the cemetery. However, I kept the bottle.
P.S. The menu board is from Southernmost Deli — they used up the two letter “s’s” on “Roast Ass.” Or would you prefer the “hame?” Or perhaps the “corn bef?” It’s good today, only .599 I love Key West.