Flash post from H Fowlers fiction a day marathon in August. Very, very rough draft.
“Sometimes there is no moral to the story. Sometimes, it’s just a bunch of stuff that happens.”
I’ve lived in Key West for twenty five years this December. When I was eighteen my folks and I decided perhaps living in their house, under their rules; wasn’t going to be a feasible option. So I followed my boyfriend down here. And when I say down here, I mean really down here. In case you didn’t know Key West is the closest point of land to Cuba in the United States; the southernmost point of dirt in the entire country; tropical living baby.
Well the boyfriend thing lasted about a month but I fell in love with the place the moment I saw it.
You’ve seen the pictures I’m sure, maybe even saved up to take a vacation for a week down here once or twice so I won’t bore you with that. I mean, it’s obviously stunning from a vista standpoint. What I fell in love with was something I doubt I can even describe properly. I mean I’m no writer or anything. Although I am one of three reporters for the Conch Republic; which is basically just the local paper here and it’s not like we do pieces on nightline or anything; just flowery local stuff on things the year round natives already know about before it ever finds its way into print.
If you lived here year round you’d find that word travels fast for a place that seems to move pretty slow otherwise. We all watch out for each other.
Especially in the winter months when the weather is perfect and the tourists come down.
Don’t think we have a problem with tourists either. We absolutely do not. We depend on them for survival. Almost every business and job exists for those six or seven months out of the year. The rest of the time we just get by on the flood of cash that rolls in during season. I won’t lie and say we all prefer the life here when the black socks and SPF 60 sunscreen, and floppy “Key West” hats (which nobody actually wears if they live here) and going into a bar without having to watch some Lilly white business man from Cherry Park New Jersey toss his cookies after his tenth rum and coke (because he’s on vacation) all make their annual migration back North.
But still, we need them and mostly they’re just good folks who wanted to go somewhere better than where they live for a brief week of their lives.
But it’s still better when they’re gone.
What was I saying? Oh yeah, describing my love of the area. I guess if you’ve come this far and read the above that’s a pretty good start to what I would try and impart. The only other thing I’d add is if you’ve ever met someone for the first time and knew after spending a few hours, or few days with them that they were going to hold a special place in your heart forever and ever; after just that brief time with them, then you’d probably know how I felt about this place after a few days.
It’s changed here of course. What place hasn’t after a quarter century? But I’m not one of those malcontents who want to wax poetic about better days. Progress is time and if you want to stop time then something’s really off with you in my book. What’s funny hear though is how we get to view progress. I mean we see it in new condo buildings and watch the increasing amount of cheesy names on our once very apropos named establishments. Cheeseburger in Paradise down on Duvall St used to be called Grumpy Joes. Didn’t know that did you. Yes the owners name was Joe and he certainly was a grumpy old guy. That was until Jimmie Buffet bought the place and made it a namesake to his now famous mantra of slow living tropical lifestyle. I don’t know what happened to Joe. I like the song though.
Anyway that brings me to the point of all this because although I have never been one that particularly concerned myself with getting somewhere; I still don’t like to dawdle.
Today is Tuesday and every Tuesday for the last twenty five years (I swear on a stack of bibles and an all you can eat fish fry) my girlfriends and I go out for ladies night to Monkey Jungle.
First of all let me say this. I’m sure you are accomplished with basic math but let me tell you I am still one hot smoking little lady and am more than capable of spending an evening out, in a bar, with those of say, lesser experience.
Yes. Let’s put it that way.
And yes we ladies travel in packs. Most of ours I’ve known since the first week I landed here. Some have gone away for various reasons and other’s we’ve ingratiated into our group, for various reasons. But we do go as a group. Men, you are lovely things but we always seem to have more fun when surrounded by our own and make you find your way to one of us, when you have to go through all of us.
Of course Monkey Jungle is not the name of any bar, or club. It’s not on the brochure of “What to See in Key West.”
It’s just an old house on the bottom edge of Duvall Street. Past the Buffets and Peel and Eat Paradise Grill and the rest of the required stop by locations our friends from the North must see. The house is just a shell really, a broken down gloomy façade to hide the local getaway heaven inside it truly is. Loud Island music, usually live and raucous, surrounded by faces you have known and trusted for a very, very long time. It’s not a secret but we don’t advertise it. It is certainly not place of decadence but we choose to present it outside as uninviting and troublesome.
We all gather at my house on XXX Duval, because it’s the closest. We laugh a bit about the day, the week, the year. We make some light road-pops to take on the short walk to Monkey Jungle because nobody ever drives in Key West, unless you’re coming in or leaving. We wear different colors of easy sun dresses built for movement; wear only the makeup of today’s tan and perhaps a few bobbles of jewelry.
Alley is wearing the seashell earrings I keep telling her I MUST borrow at some point.
And we walk down the nighttime street of a tropical village. The heat of the day has been replaced by a night sky, cicada’s chirping us along our way and the bright white moonlit sea. We arrive at the old cracked white door of the house and walk in laughing. Upon entry, the customary WOOOOOOOO is raised by all of us with arms (spirit) uplifted and it is returned back loudly, genuinely by those we know, and those we will always be with.Explore posts in the same categories: Uncategorized comment below, or link to this permanent URL from your own site.