Thinking of Mexico
Another short story from the archives ….
Thinking of Mexico
A cacophony of noise rumbled around the small area, everything from the cluster around the pool table to a few random knots of people ‘covertly’ glancing at those in other groups. The lighting was dim, except for a few neon signs here and there. The mirror behind the bar reflected the stories of another day. It was pretty much the same tapestry every night; all the other things can come either as bonus, or disappointment.
“You want ‘nother Sunrise?”
“No, I probably should be getting home.”
“Family waitin’ on you?”
“Just three obnoxious kids and an unappreciative significant other. Let’s not forget old Buddy-dog with a bladder control problem.”
“You don’t wanna another drink? I’d be drinkin’ the whole night if I had that waitin’ for me!” A bar rag swiped across the counter, chasing the stains.
“If I could lose myself in sweet Sunrises, I’d be swimming by now. A crumpled ten spot drops on the counter. “But, may the good Lord help me, sometimes I still love the mess called home.”
“Ever think of just getting’ out, just packin’ and leavin’?
“Every time me and Brawny are picking up another puddle.”
He chuckles, picks up the wadded bill. The cash register sings its tune and receives its prize.
“Say you pack up, no regrets, no guilt. Where’d you go?”
“Some place warm like Arizona, sunny Southern California, Mexico … Somewhere to get out of this god-awful weather for sure.”
“Gets to a person don’t it?” Nothin’ but dark, grey, ugly sky. Mexico sounds nice … I’d love to have a bar down there on the beach. Dazzling women wearing next to nothin’ asking for drinks. Me a flirtin’, them leaving big tips. Man … That would be nice!” The bar towel traces three circles around an adjacent peanut bowl.
“Beachside. That sounds real good! I can feel the rays splashing on my skin, the water tickling my tootsies, and the drinks being brought out to me nonstop. Let’s not forget the cabana boy.” She glances at the vintage Budweiser clock on the wall with the Clydesdales which reads 5:45. “I guess I have time for one more. I’ll just say I had to work late. Not that dinner would be waiting for me or anything like that.”
“Ain’t that the truth. Comin’ home to a home cooked meal, not some boxed food comin’ out of a microwave. People just don’t know how important that is no more. Last time I had home cookin’ was when Mom died three years ago!”
“Anytime I get a home cooked meal is when I cook it myself. Even on Mother’s Day. Everybody has their excuses why they can’t do it. Yeah … Mexico does sound nice. Hand ground tortillas filled with fresh beef, homemade salsa and garden fresh veggies. Someplace where the family appreciates all that you do for them”
“At least you have a place with a family to not appreciate you. I go home to a dead house.”
The bar towel finds a resting spot over his shoulder as he saunters down the bar to serve two suits that just sat down. She swept the ends of her side bangs over her ears, and watches the proceedings reflected back in the mirror. On his way back he fishes in the peanut bowl and fishes out a few.
“In Mexico I wouldn’t have to listen to the kids whine that they don’t have the latest X-Box game, or that they can’t find anything to wear. Or the dog barking at its shadow, or not making it outside in time yet again.” The tête-à-tête continues as though there has been no break. That would all be drowned out by a Mariachi band, or perhaps Jimmy Buffet, and the waves crashing on the white sands.”
“You’d have the sand and the sea, palm trees and sunshine. None of this concrete, insane traffic or crappy weather.”
“No flipping deadlines, no 8 to 4:30, no business lunches to wear a smile to and listen to the same lame jokes, no little league mothers, no grumpy ass husband. My toughest decision would be to wonder which sunscreen level to wear with each swimsuit.”
“There would be fresh ocean breezes to inhale ‘stead of stale cigarette smoke, there would be these fire tiki torch things ‘stead of neon lights.”
Sighs echo, the now quiet jukebox is changing songs, the only sound the thwack of the nine ball zipping towards the corner pocket. They exchange glances …
“We could do it don’t cha know.”
“Well … You got the business know-how, I got the bar know-how. We could take all the money in this till and make a dash for Mexico. It would take less than two days.
“That would make for one hell of a road trip wouldn’t it? No looking back until the Mexican stars are over our head, and Mexican sand under our feet.”
“How ‘bout ‘La Cucaracha’?”
“Why name the place after a cockroach? That can’t be good! Eew!”
“How ‘bout ‘’Livin’ La Vida Loca’?”
“That has a good ring to it.” She gave a laugh that left champagne bubbles and giggling thoughts in its wake. An audio work of art.
“Leave behind the arguin’ kids, the sexless nights, the pissin’ dog. Leave it all behind!”
*sigh* Walks on the beach under a full moon …”
“Homemade food every night.”
“Sounds good don’t it?”
The jukebox and erupting cheers fill the silence. A few more bills find their way to the counter. She glances over at him, looking at him critically as he prepares a round for those at the pool table.
“Nah this ones on me.” A pause … Then a sigh to expel the thought. She looked at the floor, half expecting the dark wood to have an answer. “No … My husband would kill me if I left him with the kids. I guess that I probably would MISS them too.”
“Kinda grow on ya huh?” The towel folds into a neat square. “Well I understand.”
”You always do.” She scooches of the stool, reaches to up her purse and jacket, and turns to head towards the door. “Same time next week?”
“You know where to find me love.”