In a small town like Mahahual, seems pretty much everyone knows everyone else, as well as everyone else’s business. At least some always seem to think they do. Mahahual is like most small towns though, where there is little to do, except gossip. You can only dive, snorkel, fish and hike jungles for so long before they get old, and that leaves just drinking and gossip as the only things left to do … and those really don’t mix well. In Mahahual, seems gossip is usually the second or third favorite past time for many. For some, it is even more like sport, occasionally even a contact sport! It is important to remember though, there are two kinds of gossip in Mahahual; there is CMR, Costa Maya Rumor, and there is CMF, which is Costa Maya Fact. Very difficult to tell the difference sometimes, and often, a very fine line between them as well. But the truth of the matter is that the truth never stops some good gossip in our little Mayberry town, so figuring out what is CMR, and what is CMF, is often difficult.
Buster, having been around Mahahual for many years, and having been on the bad end of much CMR, hated gossip and always was getting on the Livin’ and Dyin in 3/4 Time Boys for sitting around his place and “gossiping like a bunch old women”. He even claimed to have an official bar policy of “No Gossiping Allowed”, which of course, like all of Buster’s rules, they ignored.
Today the big topic was Doña Lucy throwing her shoe at “Dirty Mary” as the Boys called her, a gringa with a much too large vacation home in the Placer Beach area, as well as a much too large libido for an old lady like her, conveniently forgetting the boxes of viagra in their own drawers back home. Seems Doña Lucy caught Mary and her husband Mario in the kitchen making guacamole, and there were no avocados in the room, so to speak.
“No, I didn’t see it, but everyone else did,” laughed Giles. “Doña Lucy, threw here shoe and hit that crazy old lady up side her head! Then told her if she ever saw her with Mario again, it would be a lot more than a shoe to the head next time.”
“If all she got was a shoe to the head from old Doña Lucy, Diry Mary was Lucky Mary,” chuckled Rick, who had been yelled at more than once by the Doña in her store. “That old lady really will kick Mary’s old wore out ass. Not sure who I’d root for in that little battle, but I darn sure know who I’d bet on.”
“I heard,” said Giles, “that was how Mary paid Mario for his beach work. Can you believe that. I mean really. Its bad enough that anyone get paid $20 a day, but to have to swap that for sex with Dirty Mary, is disgraceful. She should have at least paid him overtime for having to have sex with her.”
“It would take a lot more than time and half to get me to make guacamole with that lady,” laughed Ernie.
“Hey, I’ve hired Mario before and believe me, he ain’t worth $20 a day,” piped in Buddy from the next table. He and his wife Sasha, or Ms. Sasha as the Boys called her, the self-proclaimed king and queen of Placer Beach, had been listening in to the conversation and decided to throw in their two cents worth. “When Mario works for me, he spends more time under the coco tree sharpening his machete and napping than he does working. I doubt very seriously if a woman like Mary would be “making guacamole” with that clown.”
Giles, a gay, opinionated, fire-breathing liberal, hated what he called “stick up the ass, country club, holier than though because they are richer than thou, conservatives, and therefore hated Buddy and Sasha, who in turn, despised Giles because he was … Giles. Putting them in the same room could cause who knows what. Putting them at the table next to one another, will usually cause a show.
“So you pay a guy $20 to work all day in the sun on the beach at your mansion,” asked Giles, ” and you bitch because he doesn’t work hard enough. Are you serious.”
“Here we go,” whispered Rick to Ernie, who just smiled and winked back.
“Hey, it’s the going rate,” replied Buddy, sipping his Modelo from a glass.
“No, it is the going rate that one poor Mexican pays another poor Mexican. It isn’t the rate a rich gringo pays a poor Mexican. When that happens, it is viewed as exploitation, you baffoon. It’s the gringo tax. You pay more because you’re a gringo and can.”
“That’s discrimination against us gringos,” growled Buddy.
“Yup,” replied Ernie. “Just like when a Mexican gets paid less in the US, for no other reason than they are Mexicans. Same discrimination isn’t it?”
“No,” piped in Giles sarcastically. “When he pays a Mexican less in the US, it is also just his paying the “local rate” as he likes to call it, not discrimination. But it’s not the local rate, it’s the local Mexican rate. Right Buddy? You pay them less, because they are Mexicans. So why can’t Mexicans have a local gringo rate, just because they are gringos, and not get called for discrimination. Seems like a double standard to me.”
“You’re just twisting my words you little twerp,” replied Buddy, looking around to see if any others were listening to Giles get the best of him.
“Don’t you get it,” laughed Giles. “Locals view guys like you as exploiting, not helping the community. You want Mario to work hard, pay him double. You pay a lot more than $40 for a days for manual labor in the US. Not like you can’t afford it, and guess what, he knows it!”
Suddenly, Ronny came bursting through the door, followed by a small man struggling to carry two cases of El Compadre tequila. “Okay senior, just put those over on the bar,” he told the old man as he slipped him 5 pesos. The old man looked at the 5 pesos and back at Ronny, who was gone and now pulling up a chair at the table with the Boys. Buster motioned the man over to the bar, where he pulled an orange soda from the cooler and handed it to him. He smiled and thanked Buster, and ignored Ronny as he walked out.
“So what is with the boxes of El Compadre Ronny,” asked Buster from behind the bar. “I’ll take them, but what’s the deal?”
“Sorry, no deal on those babies,” said Ronny. “Those two cases of El Compadre are part of my plan.”
“Here we really go now,” laughed Rick, sitting back in his chair, eagerly waiting on “the plan”.
“To be honest, I don’t know how I didn’t think of this before. Came to me last night actually, while I was watching Smokey and the Bandit.”
Ronny was a good ol boy from South Carolina, who in his refined cinematic judgement, thought Smokey and the Bandit was the greatest movie of all time. Even better than Animal House according to Ronny. And Burt Reynolds was his all time idol, and who he patterned his own personal style around, since they had so much in common. Handsome and hairless, and like Burt, only took his hat off for two things, and only one involved sleeping. Nobody could actually ever remember seeing Ronny without his hat on. Nobody!
“Boys, those two boxes of hooch right there is gonna make me enough money to cover my rent for a whole year,” he said confidently. “You remember how Burt was running Coors beer in the movie up north because they didn’t sell it up there, don’t you? Well, I decided to do the same with this El Compadre. People love the stuff when they drink it here and when we say you can’t buy it in the states, you see what they do. They buy all Buster has in the place. Get it? El Compadre today is like Coors was back in them days. People are paying 75, a hundred bucks for good tequila back home, so no tellin’ what they pay for stuff that actually taste good and has that “black market snob appeal” fools and their money love so much.”
“So how are you going to get this stuff back to South Carolina and sold,” asked Rick.
“Got it all worked out. You remember my buddies Snake and Booger from back home?”
“You mean those guys you were going to have a fake revolution in Belize with a few years ago,” laughed Buster. “Seems like that didn’t go so well if I remember right. Something about they got too drunk in Honduras and couldn’t get off the ship in Belize for you guys to pull the scam. You mean those guys, right.”
“Yea, yea, you guys think they are a couple redneck, in-bred Jeds, I know. I’d probably think the same thing if all I knew of them was that little screwed up Bay of Pigs adventure. But I know these guys, and they can do this one.”
“Explain,” said Buster with a doubtful grin.
“Okay, here is the plan. Snake and Booger are here this week on the Canival Valor. I got 24 bottles of El Compadre here, so the boys are gonna show up here with a few of their friends and they all take a bottle each back with them. That way nobody has to take more than one or two bottles each and I don’t have to pay the import fees. When they get back to Florida, the boys just gather the bottles from everyone after they leave and it is off to market.”
“And you really think those people won’t drink your tequila?”
“Buster, Buster, Buster, do you think I just fell off the turnip truck yesterday. For your information, they will take all the bottles from everyone as they go back on the ship and not give them back until the last morning, as everyone is leaving. Ain’t nobody in the mood for tequila on the last morning of any cruise. Snake and Booger are going to be the first two off the ship, so as the people pass them, they can get each bottle.”
“I don’t know Ronny, that don’t sound all that fool-proof to me and believe me, with those two, it needs to be FOOL proof.”
“Don’t worry, I got this,” he replied. “Hey, by the way, did you guys hear, Doña Lucy beat the crap out of Dirty Mary with a stick because she refused to pay her husband for some work.”
“CMR, Ronny,” scoffed Giles.
“Is not, Tinkerbell,” replied Ronny with confidence. “CMF. I heard it from Doña Lucy’s nephew, you know the kid with the cokebottle glasses.”
Behind the bar, Buster just shook his head and wondered what he had around that he could use to make a sign that said, “No Gossiping”.
A few days later, on Saturday afternoon, several hours after the Carnival Valor had ported back in Florida, Ronny came walking in, and from the look on his usually happy-go-lucky face, the El Compadre project might not have gone well.
“Well Ronny,” asked Buster. “How did Snake and Booger do with the tequila?”
He just shook his head and said, “Okay, if I ever say I’m tryin’ another thing with those two stupid, in-bred, hillbilly-idiots, slap me. Just slap the crap out of me and say El Compadre.”
The Livin’ and Dyin’ Boys were all laughing away at their usual table, knowing this Ronny story was going to be CMF, not CMR. Ronny sat down and asked someone to buy him a beer because he “was going to be a little short this month.” Buster brought him a cold Montejo and Ronny sat back and said, “How was I supposed to know they gave the bottles back the night before, because the ship ports so early. I guess ol’ Snake and Booger had the tequila bash of all time last night. Not sure how many of my bottles they went through with all their new-found friends, that was supposed to be mule-in’ my tequila, but that whole “they’ll be the first off the ship” plan went out the window sometime after midnight, with all my hooch. They were actually the last ones off the ship. Had a few problems with security and housekeeping last night that had to be settled before they could leave. Didn’t know they had a jail on them ships either till now. Figures, Snake and Booger would be the ones to learn that the hard way. I should have known. I should have known.
Juan Gordo, the waiter, came by to drop off food, and Giles asked, “Hey Juan, what ever came of Doña Lucy hitting Dirty Mary with her shoe?”
“Doña Lucy no hit Doña Mary with her shoe. No, no! Who tell you dat. No, Doña Lucy hit Mario with a fish because he give Doña Mary a pair of her shoes and she see her wearing dem.” He lowered his voice, and whispered, “I tink Mario y Doña Mary make the guacamole when he clean her beach. Pero, no say aqui!”
“Hmmm, guys!” said Buster, pointing to his new sign. “Can’t you guys read!”
“Oh, yea. I saw that,” said Giles. “I think that is a great idea.”
“No kidding,” said Rick. “You can’t slam a door around here without everyone in town knowing about it. Like a bunch of old women.”
“I totally agree. An official NGZ. No gossip zone,” said Ernie.
They all looked back at Juan, and Giles said, “Well everyone in town knows about Mario and Dirty Mary. But she hit him with a fish, huh. What kind of fish?”
“Was it a big fish?”
Buster just shook his head and turned back toward the bar laughing.
And so it goes when you are Livin’ and Dyin’ in 3/4 Time!
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