It was just another warm, Tropical, early summer evening at Buster’s on the Beach, and the place was fairly quiet. It was “no season”, the month between high and low season, and the town was pretty empty. Just a few tables, but all were enjoying the music, their meals and the rising full moon over the ocean. Giles, Ernie and Rick were sipping cold Coronas, listening to Mandy talk about how difficult it is “being a lesbian in a small town like Mahahual.”
“If you think it is hard to find a date when you are an old fart like you guys, just imagine how tough it is for me,” she growled as she guzzled down the last of her beer and motioned Juan Gordo to bring another.
“Wait a second, your older than any of us, so why are you calling us old,” laughed Rick, who was actually older than Mandy, and most agreed, really was an old fart.
Mandy on the other hand, looked many years younger than her actual age, because unlike the Livin’ and Dyin’ in 3/4 Time Boys, she actually did take very good care of herself. She rode her bike everywhere, ate proper and for an over 60 woman, still looked really good. The Boys on the other hand, had not weathered the test of time so good, but would argue, it was worth it. They would much rather drink beer with the sinners, than ride a bikes with the saints, anyway.
Suddenly, Ronnie walked into the restaurant, yelling over his shoulder at a very agitated Mexican man who had followed him in from the Malecon.
“Look Senior, I said I was sorry, now get away from me and leave me alone,” Ronnie yelled as he walked in and took a seat with the others, as if nothing had happened. The man looked around and saw that everyone was looking at him, and embarrassed, he glared at Ronny with the “you just wait” look, turned and walked out.
Ronny ordered a beer and finally said to the others, who were still waiting for an explanation, “What is the special occasion tonight that brings the Princess of the Coco Loco here into dive like Buster’s. Did they run out of venom to hurl down at the Coco Loco. Oh and can you tell that know-it-all, Miss Sasha, to stop telling people I’m a retard, or I’m gonna start tellin’ everyone she is a cross burnin’ racist, who has a Texas flag in her villa and hates Mexicans.”
“Oh run Forest, run. Please! Run far!”, was all she replied.
“Before you two start into each other, Ronny, what was that all about with that little old dude when you walked in,” asked Buster as he walked over with Ronny’s beer.
“Aw, that was nothing. Just some guy being an ass.”
“I don’t think so,” said Buster. “I’ve seen that guy around, and he seems like a nice and quiet guy. You did something Ronny. What did you do to him,” Buster pressed, knowing there was more to the story.
“Well, it wasn’t my fault,” laughed Ronny. “But now that you mention it, I don’t blame him for being mad. It was kinda funny though.”
“Okay, this ought to be good,” laughed Giles. “Go ahead Forest, run a little for us.”
“Honest mistake, nothing more and he had to make a big deal out of it,” was Ronny’s reply.
The gang all just looked at him and said nothing, all waiting to hear the story. Finally, he said, “Well, like I said, it’s kinda funny. You know how everyone here uses black trash bags to haul their stuff around in when they are traveling.”
“Well most people here can’t afford a nice set of matching Samsonites, so they use what they have,” interrupted Giles, always quick to defend Mexicans.
“Will you shut up Tinkerbell and let me finish,” laughed Ronny. “I ain’t doggin’ nobody, I’m just sayin’ it, okay. So anyway, I’m walking past the bus stop eating a really bad burrito I got off that new street cart over on Calle Sierra. Don’t get the chicken burrito there cause whatever that was, it wasn’t chicken. Anyway, that burrito was so bad, I could only eat a bite and decided to throw it away, it was so nasty. ”
Uh oh,” laughed Ernie, “I can see where this is going.”
“Okay, here is where I have to defend myself. Now, if you are going to carry all your clothes around with you in a trash bag, don’t set it next to a trash can and not pay attention because someone might mistake it for what it actually is, a trash bag.”
“No! You didn’t put that nasty burrito in his bag of clothes,” laughed Mandy. “Run Forest Run!”
“Well hell, it WAS a trash bag and it WAS sitting next to a full trash container. What was I supposed to think it was? A suitcase!”
Suddenly, a beautiful young lady walked into the restaurant and began to look through books in Buster’s used book store. She found one, sat down and ordered a glass of wine and began to read the cover. The guys, and Mandy of course, all starred and began to fantasize. The Boys, except for Ronny of course, all knew their limitations regarding these sort of matters, so they just watched, as the two biggest skirt chasers in town, Ronny and Mandy, began to plot their next moves.
Buster walked over and whispered, “Sorry you two, she is taken. She has a girlfriend already and she is even more beautiful than her. They came in a couple days ago. The girlfriend had to go back to France, but Monique, that is her name if you are wondering, is staying another week.”
“Woa, woa woa,” chimed in Ronny. “You telling me that hottie is a french lesbian, left all alone here for a week. That has my name all over it!”
“Oh please, Forest,” was all Mandy could say.
The whole table was laughing now and Buster said, “Let me guess Ronny, your gonna “flip” her. Show her what it is supposed to feel like to be a woman, right,” giving Mandy a quick wink.
“Wouldn’t be the first,” crowed Ronny as he sat back and pondered his plan.
“Lesbian or not, your old wore out ass has about as much of a chance with a pretty young girl like that, as Giles does with Caitlyn Jenner,” said Rick.
“Caitlyn doesn’t work for me,” was all Giles said, never looking up from the week old Miami sports page he was reading. “Bruce was kinda hot though. Loved him in those decathlon shorts. Kept the Wheaties box under my mattress for months when I was a kid.”
“Sorry Ronny,” laughed Buster, “I don’t think it works that way. If you “flipped” a lesbian … well, she must have been one very drunk, ugly lesbian who forgot her glasses, is about all I can say about that.”
“Yea, Ronny, it don’t work like that.” Mandy said, her eyes glued to the beautiful young lady. “Lesbians like ladies, and some of them like ladies with some experience, like me.”
“Maybe, maybe not,” was all Ronny said with his usual sly grin. “But in the land of hot fresh bread right from the oven, a hard old crouton like you ain’t gonna be nothing to her either. She might want a little walk on the wild side though, with something different.”
“I’ll bet you both,” piped in Giles, “that neither of you can walk out of here with that lady. She shoots you down, you buy me a beer. You walk out of here with her on either of your arms, and I’ll not only buy you a beer, I’ll pour it for you into a frosty mug, and tell everyone in the room, while I give you a foot massage, that you are the king or queen stud in this whole town.”
Ronny and Mandy looked at each other and grinned. They both knew they were going to try to pick up the pretty lady of course, and both also thought they would succeed, where the other would, without a doubt, fail. Ronny had already decided he would pass on the foot massage.
“Ladies first,” said Ronny. “Oh wait, that would means Giles is before you Mandy. Are you in on this too Giles?”
“Very funny Jethro,” said Giles, still not looking up from the sports page, “but it sounds like the words of a man who is stalling to keep from having to buy my beer.”
Mandy, now ignoring the Boys completely and fully focused on the prize, pushed her chair back from the table and said, “Okay losers, watch and learn.”
She walked over to the table and sat down. The Boys watched and waited for what seemed like an eternity. Finally, they saw what they were hoping for, the young lady reached over and touched Mandy on the shoulder and said something to her as she moved her head back and forth, as if to reinforce her rejection. Mandy, got up from the table and walked out of the restaurant and headed for the Coco Loco, where Ronny knew she would tell all her “cooler than thou” American friends who also hang out there, how the 3/4 Time Boys were really nothing but a bunch of losers, especially that redneck Ronny. “What a loser,” laughed Ronny.
“There went one beer,” was all Giles mumbled. “Welching bitch.”
Now it was Ronny’s turn.
“Okay boys, sit back and watch the real pro in action.” he said with his usual cocky confidence.
Ronnie straightened his glasses and hat, sucked in his gut and headed for the table, cock-sure and ready to show this lady what she had been missing.
Before he could say a word though, the lady said in perfect English, “Please sir, sit down.”
Ronny, somewhat taken back at first, was not sure what to make of the invitation, but quickly assumed she had simply caught a wiff of the smoke churning from the ol’ Ronny express, and quickly sat down confidently. The “sir” part was just the “daddy complex” he had read about in Penthouse that all pretty young women have.
“You don’t sound French,” he said. “Are you not Monique, from France?”
She giggled and said, “No, I am Monique from New York. My wife’s name is Gabby, and she is from France. She left to go back there for business the other day, and I decided to stay and enjoy Mahahual for a few more days.”
Okay, that was more like it now. Ronnie could smell the flip about to happen.
“I’m a psychologist, I work in rehabilitative therapy mostly and I might can help someone like you.”
“Someone like me? What is that supposed to mean?”
“Oh, I’m sorry. Mandy came over and told me about your situation and perhaps I can help. You are very lucky to have a friend like her. I work with mentally challenged people every day, some with drinking problems as well, and I understand.”
“Wait a second lady, I ain’t no drunken, retard if that is what she told you. That bitch, wait till I see her again.”
“We don’t use the word retard. Everyone has challenges. Yours are just a bit tougher.”
“What the hell did that crazy bitch tell you about me. Did she not try to pick you up?
“Not at all. She was very nice. Welcomed me to town and when I told her what I did, she mentioned you might be coming over to my table at some point and I’m glad you did.”
This wasn’t going quite the way Ronny had planned at this point. Something was flipping and it wasn’t Monique.
“No Monique, I’m fine really. That is not why I came over here.”
“First, I don’t mind helping people,” she said, softly placing her hand on Ronny’s, “especially poor and pathetic souls who really need it, even if I’m on vacation. And second, of course you came over to try to pick me up, thinking delusionally that I might fall head over heals into bed with you. Mandy told me all about that part too, and trust me, I understand and can help.”
“Okie, dokie,” said Ronny, and with that, got up and walked over to the bar. He ordered 2 beers for Giles and walked out the door laughing. He turned and mumbled, “that bitch owes me a beer” as he walked toward the Coco Loco.
“BAM,” yelled Buster. “A shot of Compadre for everyone after that.” Juan Flaco and Juan Gordo began to pour shots all around, and all got a good laugh. Monique winked at Buster and he back at her, laughing and shaking his head. Some nights, he loved his job.
And so it goes, when you are living and dyin’ in 3/4 Time.