From the picture on this postcard you’d think the setting sun floats atop the Caribbean longer in Cozumel, Mexico than anywhere else. Me and MJ had been in the Mercado looking at traditional Mexican wares—sombreros, serapes, switchblades—when a hunched back senora in a red headwrap trespassed my personal space, crowding me against an adobe wall. She put this postcard in my face. Her fingers were gnarled twigs and she smelled like mud. Her eyes cursed me as she moaned an incantation en Espanol that ended with the words twelve dollars U.S.
“I can’t believe you paid that much for a postcard,” MJ said.
“Worth every peso,” I said. “That lady is an oracle.”
Even in the four days that we’ve been on our honeymoon my Spanish is improving. You have no choice, sometimes you just have to make a decision about what these people are saying. Today has been my best day because I’ve gotten six out of fifteen conversations right, I think. It’s obvious when you make the wrong choice. All conversation stops and the staring is longer than usual. It turns out the bus driver didn’t want me to urinate through the open window. Regrettably, my midstream pinch at the town center strafed an innocent family in a handsome cab.
I’m drinking again. It’s made the trip more fun. How can you be in Mexico on your honeymoon and not have at least a Corona? Or an El Sol or a Pacifico or a Tecate or a Dos Equis lager and amber? It wouldn’t be right. We’ve all seen the commercials, that couple lounging on the beach, sharing a lime. They have these little beer bottles down here, too. I heard another American refer to them as pony bottles which makes sense. A pony is a small horse, but a horse just the same. The pony bottles go quick. You can drink a lot of them and not feel a thing.
My sunburn is violent and bubbling. It’s because of the nap we took in those chairs on the beach the first day. I passed out with my hat over most of my face. The sun raped every other part of my body from the chin down. The reflection off the pile of pony bottles under my chair might’ve made things worse.
MJ is miffed at me. Right now she’s getting a massage from Hector Vasquez. He’s the concierge at our hotel. Also the tennis coach, the scuba instructor, the chef and pilots the para-sailing boat. His English is impeccable. There’s nothing the man can’t do. He free-dove thirty feet to the ocean floor while MJ and I stood on the pier watching through the clear Caribbean water. He looked like a lean brown merman as he glided up and broke the water’s surface, whipped his long hair back, opened his mouth and pulled out my wedding ring.
“I didn’t even know I dropped it,” I said. MJ crossed her arms and walked away. Hector pulled himself onto the pier and handed me the ring.
“Thanks,” I said. “God…you have the longest eyelashes I’ve ever seen.”
A half hour later I tried to apologize to MJ. She was pouting and mad.
“I can’t believe you could be so careless,” she said.
“It’s the diarrhea,” I said. “I’ve lost five pounds since we’ve been here.”
“God, you’re disgusting.”
The travel book says to avoid the water, as well as too many fruits and vegetables. Something about bacteria that we’re not used to in America that will make you sick. One mango couldn’t hurt, right? It tasted like paradise exploded in my mouth. I imagined tiny angels having orgasms on my tongue, ate two more and had a mango salad the next morning for breakfast.
This postcard features The Temple of Kukulkan, the most famous pyramid at the Mayan ruins of Chichen Itza. The tour guide said this temple is in the area of fourteen hundred years old. When our tour went on break, I snuck around the back of the temple to take a leak and busted the tour guide smoking a joint. He passed it to me. I took a big hit and had a monster cough.
Always get the last word.
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“No fucking way these things are fourteen hundred years old,” I said.
“Si, pendejo,” he said. “They are.”
I got super high. As the tour continued, the notion that the Mayans could see us wandering around their once great empire in Velcro fastened Tevas and too tight Bermuda shorts made me laugh. A fat lady asked the tour guide a question. She pronounced Chichen Itza as Chicken-Eatya. Then she dropped her corn-on-a-stick in the red dirt and I lost all control. The tour guide started laughing, too, which made us both start to cry. We sat down on the steps of The Temple of Warriors, gasping for air, holding our sides, composing ourselves and then losing it again whenever anyone asked what was so funny.
The rest of the our group milled around on their own. MJ stood in front of us, her arms crossed.
“I can’t believe you’ve been smoking pot,” she said and walked off. When we stopped laughing he sold me a dime bag.
MJ went straight to the room for a nap. She’d given me the silent treatment the whole way back from the ruins. Hector Vasquez stood at the concierge station in a partially buttoned guayabera, reading an English language text on emergency field surgery.
“Hola, Hector,” I said. “Como estas?”
“Bueno, Señor. E tu?” he said.
“Thank you. Listen, Hector, can you get me a reservation for two at a really nice restaurant tonight? Something romantic.” He smiled at me.
“Si. I will take excellent care of you.”
“God…you’re teeth are snow white.”
Hector got us a table at Playa Azul (Blue Beach), one of the nicest restaurants in Cozumel. A Caribbean breeze circulated through open windows and gave my blisters goose-bumps. MJ looked gorgeous in the white linen dress she bought at the Mercado. When the moonlight hit her dress just right you could see the outline of her legs leading up to her ass. Everyone else could, too, which turned me on.
The maitre d’ led us to a corner spot overlooking the Parasio Reef. A white orchid hung from an urn on our table, the only one in the restaurant and a huge stroke of luck considering this is MJ’s favorite flower. She smelled the orchid and looked at the ocean.
“I can’t believe we’re married,” she said.
“You look edible,” I said.
For dinner I had the grilled swordfish with mango salsa. MJ had crab enchiladas with a verde (green) sauce and we drank two bottles of the 2004 Don Miguel Gascon Malbec.
It’s the most relaxed I’d seen MJ since the day we met at Shady Place Rest and Readjustment Center. As the facility nurse, she did my intake interview, reading questions off a page.
“Any diseases or family history of disease?” she said.
“I’m afflicted by your red hair and the freckles on your shins,” I said. “It runs in my family.”
Thirty days into my court ordered sixty day reeducation we met again for my status interview. She read questions from a different page.
“Have you or anyone else noticed an improvement in your physical well being?” she said.
“Only now that I’m sitting this close to you,” I said. “Can’t you feel this?”
She locked the door to her office and let me kiss her shins and give her an orgasm with my mouth. We’ve been together ever since.
Shady Place discharged me with honors. MJ called me three days later.
“I can’t believe you graduated,” she said. “We have to talk.”
I remember thinking she was going to breakup with me. On the drive to her apartment I came up with two speeches. One that started with, ‘Well, fuck you. I’m better than this anyway,’ and another that started, ‘Please, dear God, don’t break up with me.’ I’d gauge the mood before deciding which to use.
She sat on a green, floral print loveseat when I arrived. She touched the cushion next to her. It smelled like cat piss. I sat down and a broken piece of rattan stabbed me in the calf.
“Well, fuck you. I’m better than this anyway,” I said and grabbed my calf. It was bleeding.
“What?” she said.
“Please, dear God, don’t breakup with me.”
MJ got me a towel for the blood and applied pressure. She told me that she wanted me to marry her, that she needed me to marry her, that I had to marry her, which threw me. Sometimes I wasn’t even sure she liked me.
“Are you pregnant?” I said.
“God, no,” she said. My calf was throbbing. It hurt bad.
“Yeah, okay. Let’s do it. ” I said.
She grabbed the phone and called her mother, told her that I asked her to marry me and that she’d said yes. I went to minor emergency and got a tetanus shot and a butterfly bandage.
After that she stressed about the wedding, the reception, her dress, bride’s maids, invitations, flowers, seating arrangements, deejay’s, first dance song, catering, rings, her mother and everything else. The night I found her crying in the apartment, a swatch of lace in each hand, I suggested that we forget all this trouble and just go to the courthouse to get married. She locked herself in the bathroom.
“I can’t believe you’re trying to ruin the best day of my life,” she said.
When we were done with dinner at Playa Azul we decided to walk down the beach to get back to the hotel. Our feet sank in the soft sand at the water’s edge. As we approached the hotel, MJ was awash in moonlight and I couldn’t take it anymore. I stopped and pulled her to me. Her breasts were in my face. I cupped one with my hand and kissed her crab enchilada scented cleavage. She took a sharp breath because of her hiccups. We tumbled to the water’s edge, me on top of her, and made out. The water lapped at our legs and receded and lapped again like it wanted in on the action.
My hard-on flapped. MJ made snow angels in the sand. I walked my hands up her dress, pushed two sandy fingers inside of her and jabbed her clit with my thumb. Then the ocean thrashed behind us. I craned my neck and used MJ’s breast for support. Hector Vasquez stood ankle deep in water, wearing a Speedo, not four feet away, a scuba mask resting on his forehead. He had a spear-gun in one hand and the fingers of his other hooked through the gills of a young Blue Tip shark. The shark struggled. Hector scratched his chest with the spear-gun.
“Hola, Hector,” I said.
“Buenos Noches, Señor. Señora,” he said. MJ hiccupped.
“You fish at night, Hector?’
“Si. That is when the sharks hunt.”
Back in the room MJ and I had the hottest sex ever. It’s the first time she’d ever had multiple orgasms with me. I had a hard time coming because of all the wine. Whenever that happens I think of the person I hate the most having sex with MJ. Leo fucking Campbell, the fuckhead that always cheated when we raced BMX. It works every time.