Friday, August 14, 2009

The Kiss - A Short Story

©Copyright 2000, Carroll Williams - all rights reserved
A lawyer spends some time on a tropical island

Steve made the flight from Miami to Caracas, Venezuela aboard an American Air Lines Boeing 757 jet with all the latest bells and whistles. In Caracas he boarded a six-decade old Douglas DC-3. The ancient twenty-one passenger airliner lumbered into the air at barely seventy knots and cruised at just over a hundred. The old bucket of rivets connected a number of small island airports strung out for over a thousand miles along South America’s northern coast. It only flew in good weather and only then when spare parts were available.

After four island landings and three hours flying low over crystal-clear coral-studded waters the pilot throttled back for an approach to Espiritu Santo. The ancient aircraft swung low over a row of palm-studded hills and dropped precipitously onto a white sandy runway. Flocks of brightly-plumed birds scattered noisily in every direction. A dozen iguanas scurried from the airstrip to the cover of the nearby jungle.

Steve left the aircraft along with seven other weary travelers, each seeking total and complete solitude at this remote beach resort. Espiritu Santo was an island just two miles wide and five miles long, but best of all, it was light years away from the pressures of his law practice. The population consisted of about two-hundred folk of various races and ethnic backgrounds. This part of the Caribbean had always been a refuge for escapees, runaways, outcasts, and people of questionable virtue.

Steve’s primitive cabin sat about fifty yards from the beach and about a hundred yards from any other cabin. Here he could enjoy the sounds of the jungle and the hiss of surf driven onto the wide white sands by the southeast tradewinds. An ancient iron four-poster double bed sat next to an unglazed window. Every stud and rafter in the structure was exposed. Above his bed he could clearly see moonlight streaming through thin spots in the palm-thatched roof. Mid January was a month and a half past the end of hurricane season so he could expect clear nights with no rain. This cabin would leak like a sieve in a tropical downpour.

On his fourth day, Steve could stand the isolation no longer. He dug his cell phone out of his bag and called home. Lidia had been totally understanding about this trip. She knew Steve needed to decompress. She had teased him about beautiful island native females and warned him to be careful.

“Hi, Lidia, you can’t believe how really primitive this place is. There is no electricity, no running water, but there is a small bar and club down by the beach. It rocks into the wee hours every night. The locals all hang out there.”

“Steve, what about the locals? Are there bikini-clad beauties all over the place?”
“No Honey, and I can assure you that even if there were I would hardly notice.” He chuckled.

“That’s my man. Just remember that for the next week or two.”

They talked on for a while. Finally Lidia said, “Steve, do what you want to reduce stress and come back to me a new man. O.K?”

“Sure honey, this place will make a huge difference in me, I can assure you. Gotta go, the cell phone battery is getting weak. I’ll call you again before I leave here. Love you. Bye.”

“Bye big guy, love you too.”

Steve punched the phone switch to off, rolled over and went to sleep.

For the next several days he snorkeled in the crystal clear waters; walked along miles of white sandy shore line, and explored palm hammocks in the low hills beyond the sparse settlement. He marveled at the variety of birds and small animals on Espiritu Santo. He watched iguanas catching their prey, and once saw a Cayman, a salt-water crocodile, catch a large white water bird. Nature could be so beautiful and yet so cruel. Well, Steve thought, every creature has to eat and feed its young. Even lawyers can be predators at times.
* * * * *
She was an island native born on Espiritu Santo. She had never been far from the place of her birth. Her lithe body was curved in all the right places. Some would say she was beautiful, others might disagree. When she moved into Steve’s cabin no one took notice. She seemed to prefer a hammock beside Steve’s bed and directly under the open window where the Tradewinds blew.

On his last night, Steve went to the club where he spent the evening drinking and dancing with the locals until around two in the morning. This was truly a remarkable vacation. Lidia simply had no idea just how remarkable.

While Steve was partying, his roommate abandoned her hammock and crawled into his bed. This would be an unusual night for her as it would be for Steve. It was his last night on the island and it seemed she wanted to share it with him. Steve finally wandered in and collapsed onto the bed. He fell asleep almost before his head hit the pillow.

She wore absolutely nothing; no clothing, no jewelry. Her naked body glistened in the moonlight. She reached out and took hold of Steve. He rolled toward her. She kissed his neck passionately just below his right ear. Steve didn’t stir. In his alcohol stupor he felt nothing. If she were seeking excitement, she didn’t find it here.

The island beauty crawled out of Steve’s bed and departed through the open window. She would go elsewhere. The waning moon revealed her sole adornment. Her naked body bore the bright red hour glass tattoo of her race.

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