Forgive me, but writing this is like trying to remove a stripped screw from under a snowy porch in the freezing rain after midnight. Brutal.
But that’s what four days in Key West will do to a man if the trip is done correctly, I suppose. Rendered brainless but still dreaming, the wrist keeps turning but the bit just won’t catch.
That’s fine. I have the memories of last week still somewhat fresh in my foggy head. All I have to do to think back on the fiesta in the sun is reach under my sweatshirt and peel a line of dead skin from my shoulder blade. Living off island beer and Mahi tacos drenched in cabbage and jalapenos, I spent my time at the end of the scorched earth hiding from the world in the great wide open.
While the masses gathered around the globe, pushing back on the new world order known as Trumpsville (formerly called Chumpsville) I decided to get off the reservation and strip down to nothing, sink myself to the bottom of the salt water pool at a roadside hotel and block it all out.
“Hello darkness my old friend, I’ve come to talk with you again.”
Neither I or my buddy “Sweetness” who joined me on the trip could rise up for anything other than another round of sunshine. We were in no condition to consider the ramifications of anyone’s lost freedom, not there, not in the Keys. Beaten, uninformed northerners with more bloat than knowledge, the two of us had very little to offer any concerned citizens other than a hearty slap on the back and a promise that the world will keep spinning.
Shameful, I know.
At dusk on the first night, while Sweetness bathed his sunburned feet in a vat of lime scented lotion in the hotel room, I decided for the both of us that we would fend off any sort of chatter regarding the state of the world and instead form our own “Protest Against Action.”
We would do nothing for four days. No convictions, no deep conversations, no selling, no politics, no judging, no hate, no love or theft. Nothing. We would simply follow the sun to Mallory Square and veer off in a thousand directions before getting there, making waves along the way.
“What do you think of that, Sweetness?” I asked, my chest a bit puffy. “You pickin’ up what I’m puttin’ down?”
“Whatever” he said, working his fingers through his slippery toes. “Just stop talking, please.”
We would engage with the global community, sure, sometimes with interest, sometimes not. One towering gent from Ohio spit in my ear for a half hour telling me how he had punched his boss in the face earlier that day on a company chartered boat trip.
“That can’t be good.” I said, taking a step back. “Getting fired on vacation.”
The man took a deep drag off his soggy cigarette and laughed. “He didn’t fire me, A-hole!…And the Patriots suck!”
I dismissed myself from the conversation, escaping from the aggressive nature of man and the narrow trail of shadows he creates. Our mode of action on this sojourn was inaction. This cat was toxic, too much work. And work was not on the menu.
But then, a few days later, while I stood outside the Hogs Breath Saloon listening to a duo cover the Box Top classic, “Cry Like a Baby”, a premonition came to me. Music! Music will solve all this hate, this fever of darkness that’s dividing our nation hour by hour. Music is what our new President needs.
“Sweetness,” I asked. “Who do you think Trump listens to?”
Looking up with one eye open, Sweetness replied, “He doesn’t.”
He doesn’t, that’s right! Clinton loved the sax, Obama loves Springsteen, Kennedy hailed Sinatra. But who does Trump listen to when takes his wig off at the end of the day? No one, I was certain. Not pop or classical music, not the blues or jazz or even soft rock. None of it. And there lies the problem.
With that, I hurried Sweetness to the nearest clothing option bar and took a seat overlooking Duval Street. We studied the crowds, their nicks and scars, and formulated a mash up of music for President Trump that I think could save the planet from becoming a fiery hell. Anthem rock, Iranian fusion, Persian metal, Mississippi blues and a host of L.A. essentials. This medley of songs I would mail to the White House on a thumb drive in hopes that it would meet the Great Orange One before…well., before the worst happens.
“Okay,” I announced to Sweetness. “This trip’s a wrap. I’m done. Our Protest Against Action ends here.”
“You got a screw loose, buddy.” Sweetness said.
Yes I do. Finally.