The van ride to the hotel was an interesting one. Nightfall had just settled in over Aruba and I couldn’t help but think about Natalie Holloway, the girl who disappeared. On the radio, Backseat Judy by Mad Lew plays.
“There’s your baby’s daddy.” Lucky shouts behind us, startling me and Whitney.
My ear was ringing. “Everybody on the island heard you.” I said.
“Driver, turn it up.” Lucky starts popping his fingers and rocking in his seat, “Where are the clubs around here, I'm feeling like Ginger Rogers tonight.”
“We have Carlos and Charlie’s.”
“I’ve heard of that place.” Vincent says, “I believe that’s where Natalie Holloway was seen last wasn’t it?”
“That place is wild.” The First-Officer adds.
Lucky stops dancing and leans forward. “As in how wild?”
The Driver coasts to a stop, “They have wet t-shirt contests, beer drinking contests, tequila drinking contests.”
“I don’t wanna see no chee-chees.” Lucky sits back in his seat. Roxy is next to him, too preoccupied with her cell phone to be bothered with us.
“We’re game for drinks.” Vincent says to the First-Officer and the rest of us. “Roxy are you coming?” He asks.
“I’m meeting someone.”
“Who do you know in Aruba?” Eddie asks, speaking for the rest of us.
“Why is it your concern?” Her around-the-way-Bronx attitude is in full effect.
Eddie not one to bite his tongue, “I’m not, you can trust me on that.”
Whitney glances over her shoulder. “You have a myspace date?” She askes.
I hear Roxy sigh and suck her teeth, “Again, I’m telling you what I told your boy.” She closes her cell phone.
Whitney hunches me, “She met somebody online.”
“Whitney you know what you can do and driver will you TURN THAT DAMN RADIO OFF!”
“Hey, watch your mouth.” Eddie says.
“Roxy, was that necessary?” Vincent adds.
Lucky forever the peacemaker, gives her hug and a squeeze.
“That’s all she needs. Shame on you, you and you.” He points to me, Eddie and Whitney. I look back and notice her scowling at him and him looking back at her and trying his best to not laugh.
The bartender at the hotel says $12.50 for a margarita. We say no thank you and walk outside across the street, past the casino and follow the sound of the live salsa band. I figure where there is salsa playing there are reasonably priced drinks. The First-Officer and myself, along with Whitney and Victor find a table for four. They order beers you only find in Aruba. Whitney and I like our fruity drinks so we order margaritas.
On a 25 inch-television screen above the bar the Dallas Mavericks are playing the Phoenix Suns. Victor and the First-Officer talk basketball and airplanes. Whitney and I nurse our drinks and comment on why the bird handlers across the walk from the restaurant have colorful parrots, and toucan chained to the perch.
“Isn’t that animal cruelty?” I feel a sudden sadness. Those birds are too beautiful to be chained.
“Reminds me of life before I got married.” Whitney says with her eyes still glued on the birds. Her expression turns somber.
“Honey, what’s the matter?” I admire how Victor is in tune with her. She points to the birds.
“I don’t like how they have those birds chained. I want to tell them about it.” Victor gently taps her hand. “Sweetpea, there’s no PETA in Aruba, leave them alone.”
“I feel the same way when I see those horses in New York City with all that stuff weighing them down and they have those blinders.” She mimes as she speaks, “Up near their eyes with that sack trailing behind.”
“The sack is a good thing, the streets would be in a lot worst shape than they are now.”
I add my two cents. “I don’t like when people abuse dogs.” My mother has two small dogs that she treats so much like children she even allows them to sleep with her.
“Maybe I should join PETA.” Whitney says half jokingly, “My girlfriend Nikki has a couple of furs that I want to take out and burn.”
Victor takes her margarita glass to examine it. “They put a lot of alcohol in this?”
“I don’t have a buzz, yet.” She says, “When I do, you’ll know.”