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Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Well It WAS Called a HoJo...

“I’m starting to have feelings about this gal,” I say.

Mary leans over the railing and peers into the dark of a heavy Florida night.  She jerks her chin toward the woman lurching through the parking lot.  That one?   

I nod. 

“What kind of feelings,” she says, straightening.  “Deep-rooted feelings?  Feelings of longing and/or despair?”

Mary’s been a little keyed up since the flight.

“Feelings of nausea and fascination,” I say. 

We watch as the woman, a tall angular female clad in less than a yard of black fabric, walks through the lot.  The five-, maybe six-inch heels she is wearing give her the perplexing, jerky grace of a spider one shot of vodka past sobriety.  Pale and, well, lunar, somehow, she knocks sharply on a door several down and one floor below us. 

The door opens, and she slips through it.

Mary turns to me.  “What are ya thinkin’?”

“It’s not pizzas she’s delivering.”

“A hooker?"  Mary leans over the railing again, cranes her neck toward the door on the ground floor.  "So suspicious,” she says.  She straightens up, holds out a piece of fruit.  “Meth-addict orange?”

I take it.  The woman who had approached us at the convenience store a couple blocks down had had the hood of her jacket stuffed with them.  “Mmm,” I say.  “Meth-addict oranges are the juiciest.”

Mary nods.  “Nothing says Sunshine State like a parking-lot fruit deal."

We sit down, peel our oranges, drop the skins into the ash can outside our room.

"Ima giver 10 minutes."  Said from around a mouth full of orange.

"That's just rude," I say.  I spit out a seed.  "Terms and conditions are a good three minutes alone."

"You know everything," Mary says.

I shrug nonchalantly.  "I read," I say.

We laugh, eat another orange.

"What did we pay for these again?"

"Three bucks."  Mary pops another segment into her mouth, stands up, and leans over the railing again.  "Door opening!"

I stand in time to see her leave.  Mary hands me a piece of orange, and we watch her adjust a strap or two as she heads back to parking lot.

People never look up.

We watch as she walks from one side of the parking lot to the next,  She pulls a phone out, texts something.  She puts her phone in her purse, then disappears behind a parked car.

Mary tugs at my sleeve.  "Is she doing what I think she's doing?"

I shrug, grimace a bit.  But she is.  The woman is peeing behind a parked car.

"We should stay here more often,"I say.

"Both inexpensive and scenic," Mary offers.  She puts a piece of orange peel in her mouth, gives me a grin.  "What-say we find a new place to stay tomorrow?"

After a few moments, the woman stands, adjusts her clothing and checks her phone.  Another quick text, and she walks through the parking lot and toward another door just a few doors from the first one.

And we watch as she knocks again.  


vanilla said...

New accommodations in order. Nah. Could happen anywhere.

Shelly said...

She's a hard worker, that one.

ThreeOldKeys said...

Gotta work some tough hours when you're in the TV repair business.

Anonymous said...

A little freshen up in a dark corner and on to the next....what a life.

jenny_o said...

That is just so sad. And icky. And sad.

Nancy/BLissed-Out Grandma said...

You do live on the edge, Pearl. And the reports you send back are priceless.

Glen said...

I'm with Jenny_O on this one - quite sad -- pips in oranges really bring me down... seriously though it is dark.

really well written that, Pearl - really painted a bleak picture while managing to keep some lightness in the viewers above. nice work.

Daisy said...

Oh my.

Yamini MacLean said...

Hari OM
...crikey... here I am sitting blinded in the very first sunshine of the year 2015 and somehow I land in darkness... but brightened by another brand of orange. A sweet kinda sour... YAM xx

joeh said...

I also have to agree with jenny-o, but still entertaining.

"Less than a yard of fabric" You do turn a phrase!

jenny_o said...

I wonder if I need to clarify - I found the story sad, but as always Pearl's writing was a joy. My reaction was to a story well told. Pearl, you brought the sadness to us, which is not a thing easily done. And, yes, the humour in there helped to balance the sadness. It was just right.

Catalyst said...

It's nice to know Florida's economy is doing well, with meth addict orange sales and, uh, . . . other varieties of commerce.

Elephant's Child said...

I'm with jenny_o here. Sad and icky indeed. And proof that woman's work is never done.

Jono said...

Nothing like people watching for entertainment. I spent a lot of time at the beach and on the boardwalk having wildly various thoughts about everyone else.

Jacquelineand.... said...

Sad story told with a bit of humour. It can be difficult to avoid pathos with such a tale; well done.

I do hope she has a plan for retirement; a lot lizard's working life is short.

Gigi said...

A story well told - and sad & icky (thanks Jenny O for the perfect description). Unfortunately, it seems, no matter where you stay in a tourist town (or any town really) you will find these scenarios playing out over and over again.

And yeah - people NEVER look up.

River said...

Sad and icky, yes, but at least she's getting work, not spending the night alone on a street corner waiting for a customer while the cars rush by. Perhaps she's putting herself through college?

Rose L said...

My, My, My...what a colorful place!

Linda O'Connell said...

Years ago when we "elders" were vacationing on spring break, a young lady fitting the description banged on the door next to us and said, "Let me in. My mom thinks I'm at church camp." Oh boy!

You, Pearl are an observer of people and a yarn spinner that keeps readers entangled in shenanigans. That's a compliment.

Diane Tolley said...

Further proof that hauling a boatload of electronics on vacation for entertainment purposes would be entirely unnecessary.