From the rooftop of Buster’s on the Beach, the Living and Dyin in ¾ Time Boys would be able to watch the entire show. And what a show they all knew it would be. The Miss Mexico pageant had come to Mahahual, and as luck would have it, the oceanfront Malecon glorietta, a couple doors over from Buster’s, was the perfect location to film the pageant’s most popular category, the swimsuit competition. The footage would be added to the next night’s national broadcast of the entire event from Chetumal, the state of Quintana Roo’s capital and Mahahual’s parent city. A stage was built with the beautiful, warm Caribbean waters in the background. Bleachers were set up all around, lighting and sound guys had rigged up a stage worthy of the Rolling Stones, and special chairs where arranged in front so the select few could sit with the governor and all the local muckity mucks. It had the makings of a spectacular evening. Buster just watched as the show was gearing up to start, shook his head and laughed, “This ought to be good. I can’t help but think, this has all the makings of a Kennedy Center goes to Pigs Knuckle Arkansas kinda evening.”
“Come on Buster. Don’t be so negative,” said Ernie as he pulled his chair up the roofs edge and settled in with his cold Corona and shot of El Compadre. “Look at this place. It is perfect for this. The moon is just coming up in the background, there is not a cloud in the sky, the breeze is perfect. I think you are wrong big fella. This is such a perfect evening, not even we can screw this one up.”
“It looks like they are starting, so I guess we’ll find out soon enough,” piped in Bill from Nebraska, this night’s honorary guest to the Livin’ and Dyin’ in ¾ Time Club. Bill was in Mahahual with a group of Omaha divers, enjoying the spectacular reefs, great ambiance and doing all the things their wives back in Nebraska would never allow them to do. Like sitting on a roof in beach loungers, drinking tequila and smoking Cuban cigars with a bunch of loco ex-pats, all the while watching some of Mexico’s most beautiful women, strut around in skimpy bathing suits. Life was good for Bill right now!
Suddenly Ronny popped up on the roof with his usual ear to ear smile that said he was up to something. “Sorry, I’m late. I had to wish my date for later tonight, good luck before she went on stage,” he crowed as he reached into Buster’s cooler and grabbed a cold beer. “Guys, tonight we need to root against Miss Tobasco, my date for later. If she were to win this thing, I’m thinkin’ my date is off. If she loses, she takes plan B, which is me.”
The entire rooftop erupted in laughter.
Bill was the only one left speechless, but also was grinning from ear to ear. Livin’ and Dyin’ in ¾ Time was looking like a lot of fun.
“Okay Ronny,” Buster finally said when he quit laughing, “let’s hear it. You expect us to believe you have a date with Miss Tobasco? Explain amigo.”
“They had all the ladies over at the port today doing photos and I got stuck cleaning the real estate office windows. Great day for that too! Anyway, I kinda hit it off with Miss Tobasco. What can I say.”
“You can start by saying what kind of line of crap you spun because Miss Tobasco ain’t gonna go out with the likes of your penniless, hairless, toothless, old wore-out ass,” laughed Buster.
“Yea, you’re right. I used a number 16 on her. Works every time.” Ronny looked at Bill and explained, “A #16 is the one where they somehow come to think I run the port. Works every time. I keep my hat on, my teeth in and my port badge in plain sight. Just act like you own the place, which I’m pretty good at anyway, Ernie can you hand me Buster’s tequila, and they believe I’m the man. And being the man can go a long way with the ladies down here.”
“But don’t they eventually figure out that you don’t really run the place,” asked Bill.
“Well of course they do. But with just a little luck and a couple tequilas, not tonight she won’t,” laughed Ronny.
Yea, well, I hope it’s very dark wherever you guys go,” laughed Rick. “You might want to leave the light off too cowboy.”
Buster looked down, where he heard a commotion coming up the malecon, and said, “Uh oh, it looks like the circus has come to town.” They all looked over the edge of the building and saw Pepita, the town’s “Queen Boracha”, and she was dressed to kill and liquored up to the max. She was actually one of the best lobster fishermen in the town, and could free dive to shoot lobster, as well as drink tequila, or fight with any man in town. She was a real man’s woman, to say the least. Built like a refrigerator with a head, tonight she had on a red sequined mini-dress that was at least 3 sizes too small, her face was smeared with red lipstick and all manner of face paint, and with a fruit filled bonnet on her head to complete the ensemble.
“Yo soy la verdadera Senorita México,”, (I am the real Miss Mexico) she was yelling as she staggered toward the pageant. A crowd of locals had begun to follow and cheer her on, a few were almost as drunk as she was, while others just watched on with the same morbid curiosity one has when they watch a train wreck about to happen. As she and her entourage approached the entrance, as fast as she could say “orale!” (let’s go!), 3 police grabbed her and quickly did her an about face. They dragged her kicking and screaming away from the show and very ungracefully tossed he into the back of the police truck and away she went to sleep it off in the local jail. As the music drowned out the entire event, the cameras continued to roll, the girls continued to strut and the crowd continued to be both beautiful and important. Thanks to Mahahual’s finest, a potential disaster was averted.
“Wouldn’t you know it. You can’t get a cop around here ever when you need one and the one time you don’t want one, they show up and do their job,” laughed Ronny. “How funny would that have been to have Pepita take the stage with all the other beautiful ladies. That is the stuff legends are made of.”
“Shhh, listen. Do you guys hear what I hear,” asked Buster.
They all stopped and listened and Ernie finally said, “No, that’s not what I think it is, is it?, Surly not?” But it was.
Every so often, the nice folks from the parent city of Chetumal, and the host of the actual events of the evening, sends two goobers with a pickup truck load if mosquito spray to Mahahual, where they drive the streets fogging the town with what it assures us all, is perfectly safe stuff to breath but will keep the mosquito population in check. Locals all choose to believe the spray is less harmful than dengue fever, malaria and a whole host of other bad stuff the mosquitoes bring. so they say what the heck. Right, wrong, good or bad, they do it and when they do, it is messy. Dumb, who drives the truck, and Dumber, who sits in the back and mans the spray gun that fogs everything, including himself and the cheap dust mask he wears while they drive the streets of Mahahual, as well as the malecon, laying down a layer of poison fog 20 feet thick as they go, and damn anyone, or anything, that gets in their way. They barrel through oceanfront restaurants, lounging tourists, whoever and all with no regard. Perhaps “Dumb” and “Dumber” might be a bit harsh, but how smart could you really be to spray poison all over yourself for $20 a day? Apparently not smart enough to recognize the Miss Mexico Swimsuit Competition when you see it.
It quickly became apparent to the boys, who watched from high above the fog, that whoever in Chetumal in charge of the mosquito abatement program was not in the same building as the people in charge of the Miss Mexico Pageant. Dumb and Dumber plowed right past the line of police, who were all watching the girls and did not hear the buzz of the sprayer over the loud music as it approached. Suddenly, the entire area was a giant multi colored fog and the crowd loved it. Seems most thought it was some sort of special effect, fog machine, so the girls got even more pumped and really began to strut their stuff.
The guys were all rolling with laughter, as they watched the rickety little truck drive a couple more blocks to the lighthouse, where they did a u-turn and again headed back toward the crowd. The fog was beginning to disperse when again the place was filled with white poison. The music played, the cameras rolled and the girls look marvelous!
In the midst of all the fog and commotion, nobody noticed Angel position his taco cart right at the edge of the glorietta, hoping to sell a few tacos to the crowd as they were leaving. He parked next to a power company junction box that services the malecon with electricity, opened the box, and spliced the lights for his cart into the system when nobody was looking. Suddenly, all the lights on the malecon all went off, including those at the Miss Mexico Pageant, and Angel’s taco cart lit up like the Vegas Strip in the middle of the desert. The music stopped, as did the filming and the strutting girls. All 500 people at the event, as well as all the locals stopped and looked at Angel and his taco stand. His special on the chalk board sign was 2 tacos and a coke for $30 pesos. The Livin’ and Dyin’ Boys sat in the candle light of Buster’s rooftop and roared with laughter.
It took almost 10 minutes to fix the power and Angel had to provide the police and the power workers all the tacos and cokes needed to get the job fixed. Finally, the lights came back on, the cameras and music came back to life, and again, the pretty ladies strutted their stuff. It was like nothing had ever happened. When the last lady had strutted across the stage and the group took their bows, the lights came on and the crowd began to make their way to the malecon bars and restaurants for an evening of fun on the Mexican Caribbean. Ronny took off to find Miss Tabasco and the Boys finished their Cubans and the rest of the El Compadre bottle.
The next night, the guys were all at Buster’s watching the actual beauty pageant when in walked Ronny, the ear to ear grin gone from his face. “Did Miss Tobasco show up because she sure didn’t last night,” he said as he pulled up a chair with the Boys.
“The trusty old number 16 didn’t work so well last night, huh Jethro,” laughed Giles.
“Up yours Tinkerbell.”
“Hey, if I can interrupt you two’s little love fest for a second,” piped in Buster. “Ronny, you missed the swim suit competition. You should have seen it. Those TV editing guys did a great job. Mahahual looked like the beautiful little paradise that it really is, and not the bunch of backwoods, redneck, dumbasses that we can also be from time to time. Lucky us, no Pepita in sight. All the side shows ended up on the cutting room floor. The town looked awesome. They timed it so the moon was over the water in background, the coco palms all lit up and the music and the lights, wow, it was cool. When Dumb and Dumber gassed the place, you should have seen the special effects they added. They made it look like the coolest part of the show.”
They all went on and on about how nice Mahahual looked and how it would help tourism in the area and so forth. The Coronas began to flow and soon, with the swim suit competition over, the guys lost interest in the pageant. It was Miles who stopped the conversation when he said, “Hey guys. Check it out. Miss Tobasco just won Miss Mexico. That means it elevates Ronny’s status with the ladies considerably. You were now stood up by Miss Mexico! How many of us can actually say that?”
“Giles, I’m gonna take that as a compliment and buy you a beer, you little puto,” Ronny said as he grabbed Giles in a playful headlock and forced him over to the bar. Buster changed the channel to ESPN and Rick and Ernie went to chat with a group of pretty young ladies from Switzerland. At the same time, with very little fanfare, last night’s moon was once again, quietly rising through the coco trees on Buster’s beach. Ahhh Mahahual!
And so it goes, when you are Livin’ and Dyin’ in ¾ Time.