Key West author Reef Perkins shares more of his hilarious book,
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Blu, Fakyah and the Ferd made it to Key West where they happily pissed Blu’s four-hundred dollar winnings away. Blu tried to call his Uncle Bagwidth several times, but all he got was a message saying “It’s a good day to die, don’t bother leaving a message.”
Blu and Fakyah holed up in the El Rauncho Motel for three nights. On day four, Blu was getting desperate for more cash. His thoughts turned to Bingo, but there were no games for “big players” like him, so he asked around about how to make a lot of money, quick. He met an indigent squatting near the algae-filled motel pool. The scruffy looking fellow was trying to catch tadpoles with a condom. “Lots of protein,” the squatter said, popping one (tadpole) in his mouth. Blu squatted next to him, “Hey man, like how do you make some big money around here?”
“Bubba, like all I know is, that, like, there is some peoples an’ like, they, like, ah, making the Meth and they making plenty big monies.”
“Meth, huh?” Blu gave the guy two bucks and the guy gave Blu a condom filled with squiggling tads. Blu stretched the condom, tied a knot and twisted it to look like a wiener dog then let it snap back. He nodded at Captain Tadpole and took the stunned polliwogs back for Fakyah.
Fakyah was still asleep. Blu pushed her tongue in, put the tads in a glass by the bed, saved the condom and left instructions for her.
He got directions to the library from an old woman out walking her turtle. At the library he looked up meth in a 1942 edition of Webster’s dictionary. Down the M page he found methane. “Dang, that’s what they must use to make meth out of,” Blu thought. “OK, so now alls I gotta do is find me some methane, refine it and Wala! Meth.” Blu liked the way the word meth slid off his tongue with a lisp. Am I gay? He wondered briefly and headed back to El Rauncho.
Blu stopped to steal a newspaper and talk to a city employee who was digging an inflatable love doll out of a storm drain on Truman Avenue near the Nasty Thang bookstore. “Hey, scuse’ me bubba ahh… you know where there’s any methane to be had?” Blu asked furtively.
“Conjo! Cuzzie there’s a shit load of it out to Mount Trashmore,” the worker replied. Blu had heard about Mount Trashmore while in Miami. It was the landmark city dump, located on Stark Island, not far from where Blu now stood. Influential locals hoped Donald Trump would buy the dump someday. It was also the location to which the Ohio turkey buzzards flocked every year, for a family reunion.
The city worker tugged again and the partially inflated doll popped out with a sucking sound. The sudden freedom activated the doll’s “sexy female” voice feature. Laid out near the curb, the doll deflated slowly and croaked her last, and maybe first, static filled love words. “Give… It… to… Me… you… bi…” The battery died, so did the doll. The price sticker was still on it! Man, that’s sad, Blu thought and watched her soul ascend with a hiss.
Back at the El Rauncho, Blu finished rolling a spliff with the front page of the “Mullet Wrapper,” as the local newspaper was known. He made his hand into a fist, stuck the bone between two fingers, lit it and took a toke. A vanishing picture of someone named Farto smoldered near the smoking tip. “Focus, Blu!” he commanded himself and worked a well-worn flip-flop string between his aquiline toes.
He got up and unwound a coat hanger, to make it longer, then poked Fakyah with it. Fakyah, he knew, could be touchy after a nap. Blu poked her butt and whispered, “Fakyah, baby, we’re out of money, so we’re out of here. Let’s go find us a place to live.”
“Live?” Fakyah awoke instantly and delivered a perfectly executed Chia ri jab toward Blu’s throat. She stopped short, paused and stretched. It made Blu dizzy. The stretch threw him off his game more than the punch would have. Blu embraced his weakness.
“Live and procreate …?” Fakyah bleated and kept stretching her long spine. It crackled like Rice Krispies. She was long and knew it. While Fakyah cracked and packed, Blu cranked up the Furlane and drove to Stark Island where, with a silent prayer, he put a rock on the gas pedal, stepped back and plowed the Ferd deep into the mangroves across the street from the Key West Golf Course, near Hole #16. No one would find it there.
Blu walked back to the El Rauncho, gathered up Fakyah, grabbed some items from the room and together they took the bus to Stark Island. The outbound bus sign read- SOON- in faded orange letters. The driver looked puzzled when Blu strapped a king size mattress, a toilet seat and two lounge chairs onto the bike rack.
The couple de-bussed at the Cow Key Bridge, near the understated entrance to Key West. They followed beer cans and condoms to an encampment under the span and set up with all the stuff they borrowed from El Rauncho.
The first thing Blu did was grab a water-logged Gumbo Limbo branch from the shore line and insanely beat the shit out of a dead mullet floating nearby. He leaped in the air and screamed words he’d learned in Sunday school, Blu wanted to let the other shruburbian’s to understand he was not one to be messed with.
After he established his turf, Blu offered to show the un-housed pilgrims his third nut as a sign of peace. There were no takers.
Blu fired off a roach and tried to figure out how to make meth. He had his own ideas.
The next day, Blu refocused and headed toward Mount Trashmore. Fakyah stayed under the bridge and convinced a soil satchel to fan her with a palm frond while she ate the last of the sunbaked, free range, polliwogs with ketchup.
Mount Trashmore was composed of layers of dirt and garbage and had served as the city dump and incinerating facility for many years. It was also used by the Sheriff’s department as a drop off point for confiscated marijuana bales. Most of the illegal herb was burned in the large, gas fired, incinerator. Tons of confiscated reefer arrived and clouds of white, pungent smoke could often be seen wafting from the incinerators’ chimney during the burns. During the wafting, the prevailing winds blew cloud after cloud of pot smoke across the mangroves and into the county jail. It took months before Sherriff, who resided in an air conditioned office, noticed that many of the inmates were spending more time than usual in the exercise yard and the guards generally seemed happier. It took several more months before he figured out why so many prisoners failed their drug test, even when they had no drugs.
Blu approached the base of the fertile mound. He stared at the sun then, with steely determination, began his ascent of the North Face of Mount Trashmore. Driving pitons made of Heineken bottles into the stinky mound, he reached the summit in less than twenty-minutes. He discovered a tattered Cinzano umbrella on the way up and planted it on the summit.
It was getting late and he was on the shadowy north face. Blu stood tall and claimed the territory for his own dang self. “The air just smells different up here,” he said softly and inhaled the historic fumes. After a few moments of reflection, Blu began to build his meth lab by driving a scavenged pipe into the fertile soil. The sharp impact echoed across the dump. Blu vigorously smacked the pipe with an old bowling ball, driving the steel tube deep into the reeking mound. He hoped to extract the methane which he would somehow (he hadn’t figured that part out yet and had to go back to the library) convert into Meth.
“Man, it’ gonna be great to be rich, rich as a bitch…” Blu thought and flicked his Bic to see better under the umbrella. Kaboom!
Immediately and involuntarily airborne, Blu’s trajectory took him half way up to the buzzard’s flight path and for a moment, a Golden Moment, Blu was free. “I’m Fr…” It was all he had time to say before gravity had its way and he returned to earth. He augured, face first, into the marl road near the base of the dump and wondered why anyone would do a drug like this. Beside him were two almost- dead buzzards also augured, beak first, into the crushed coral surface. Their scraggly talons weakly clawed the dirt behind, as if trying to signal someone. The clawing Hinckley’s didn’t look too good; apparently they lost their thermals and became unable to stay aloft.
But, because the road was sloped like a ski run, the landing had been “Rough, but do-able,” Blu later told Fakyah.
Blu was slightly injured upon impact and remained flat and motionless. He stared down his nose like a hypnotized chicken at the dirt in front of him He was confused and remembered drinking too much, a few nights before, at the Spooner Wharf Bar. The Spooner Wharf was an establishment where everyone shared a chair, a saloon where one customer sat down on the other. A place where frisky young people turned bar stools upside down and made a table for four. The last little bit of old Key West.
Blu knew he was drunk when everything began to make sense and the story Captain Buzz told the crowd of land-locked boozers that night made sense, even without drinking. Buzz told the tale of the Hinckley buzzards, a story about how he’d almost been killed by the stinky carrion birds. Blu remembered the smarmy crowd, all gathered up, asshole to elbow on the rickety Spooner dock. It was late and some of the older boozers started to tip over but, most were fat enough to float so Buzz ignored them. Buzz stood in front of the gathered thongs and explained how the buzzards flew in from Hinckley, Ohio. How they winged a thousand miles south to poop on us, the taxpaying locals, at will. “They almost fuckin kilt me!” Captain Buzz was incensed by the memory, “Them fucking birds sometimes lose their thermals and crash. There is no excuse for that. They could kill someone.” Buzz took a swig and continued, “I was on my sailboat up north of Key Tax Haven, it was real hot weather an’ I seen buzzards flyin’ overhead and offshore and like …dang it Buzz! Wait a second, buzzards don’t fly where they can’t eat … it was that quick in my mind, an’ …then …fifteen of them fuckers dropped out of the sky and plowed into my boat. I got a picture! I was the only thing they could hope to land on. They tried. It didn’t work. Talk about fast food, fuck, I had to go below to keep from getting speared by a freaking bird! … None of em’ made it… Sumbitches stink and don’t have no respect for private property.” Blu did not know what a thermal was at the time, but now, as he clawed his way upright, he was curious.
He recovered slowly, looked up from his landing zone and tried to taxi off the tarmac when he saw a pair of legs coming at him from the top of the dump. Behind the legs a metal contraption dragged through the fetid earth. Nice furrow for beans, Blu caught himself thinking.
“Howdy, young fella,” the older man said.
“ Harumph, gag, hack.” Blu spit out a mouthful of pea rock.
“I heard a ‘splosion and come a running…looks like you took a bad lick, son.”
“Yup.” Blu checked his components.
“Maybe you need some help… you know anybody in this town?”
“Nope, not really, only my old, fucked-up Uncle, Ferling Bagwidth.”
“Bagwidth, eh? Dang it son…why…wait a minute, I be darned, that’s me! I’m Ferling Bagwidth!”
Bagwidth got excited and hit the ground with the Looner-Too. It ignited for the final time and shot skyward impaling a low flying Hinckley. The stricken bird plummeted to earth nearby.
“Dang Uncle, your message said not to leave a message so I dint.” Blu offered.
“Just as well son, I hit a rough patch for a few years. That is until just a few minutes ago when I pre-fected that goddamn stick and now I’ll be rich, big time rich! You brought me luck, son!”
“Wow,” Blu said, “I could use some of that kind of luck.”
“Hey, why don’t you come back to my shop and we’ll catch up on old times.”
“Ah, OK, ah…where’s your teeth, Uncle?’
“Left em’ in the planter.”
“Where’s your ear, young fella?”
“I lost it in an apple bobbing contest at 4H.”
Bagwidth pulled the Looner-Too out of the buzzard, the worn rubber tip made a sucking sound. The new-found relatives ambulated down the marl road and caught the bus heading back to town. Blu stopped the bus to pick up Fakyah under the Key Cow Bridge. Blu yelled over the rail, “Fakyah, get your ass up here!”
Bagwidth stood in front of the bus waving a bloody pogo stick to prevent the driver from pulling away. Like a scene from an old Tarzan movie, Fakyah appeared from underneath the bridge. An urban native trailed behind and carried her gear on his head. Other shruburbians waved goodbye to their queen. Fakyah was something else.
The trio boarded the bus and soon disembarked near Bagwidth’s house on Dung Beetle Lane.
Fakyah’s skin had a greenish tint. “Them tadpoles tasted funny,” she burped. She pushed the front door open, scooped a pile of “How to cure toe nail fungus…” articles off the couch, curled up, did something that sounded like a frog croak and was asleep on the mildewed fabric within seconds. The tip of her pink tongue lolled between her lips. She cradled her sling backs to her chest.
“That’s some woman, Blu.”
“She needs rest,” Blu said and pushed her tongue in.
Bagwidth and Blu walked down to the Full Moon Saloon to reminisce. Ol’ Leather Lips Langley, a local favorite, strangled the microphone with historic intent and belted out a forgotten country tune by Pine Top Perkins….to be continued
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About the Author
Captain Mark T. “Reef” Perkins is a marine surveyor with a colorful past. From commanding a 150-foot 300 DWT US Army diving ship off Vietnam to smuggling in the Caribbean, Reef Perkins has become a living legend. A graduate of both the US Army Engineer Officer Candidate School and the US Navy Salvage Officers School, he’s a man comfortable in or out of the water. Raised in rural Michigan, Reef now lives in Key West where he can get his feet wet. He is the author of the bestselling memoir, Sex, Salvage & Secrets.
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Screwed, Blu’d and Tattooed copyright © 2013 by Reef Perkins. Electronic compilation/ print edition copyright © 2013 by Whiz Bang LLC.
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