I’ll bet you’ve been wringing your hands for days wondering what happened to our storm-tossed flight.
Oh, I see—you’ve been kind of busy and haven’t given it much thought.
Okay, fine (though frankly it wouldn’t kill you to pretend).
In any case—and obviously no thanks to your kind wishes, I might add—we didn’t perish in an unseemly fireball on the Island Grande Airport runway.
In fact, we landed smoothly and were herded back into the airport, which looked depressingly familiar, probably because we had spent the previous five hours languishing in its narrow confines.
The tiny bar was still open, and that’s where we headed, despite that fact that we were 99 percent sure we’d drunk the place as dry as the Kalahari on our previous visit.
The proprietor, not exactly a paragon of hospitality under the most ideal of circumstances, barely glanced up from his newspaper when we stumbled back in, damp and disgruntled.
I fished yet another twenty out of my pocket and eased it across the counter. “Anything left to drink?”
He kept reading.
“Por favor,” I persisted. “Gin tonic?”
“All gone,” he mumbled.
He lowered his paper marginally and scowled. “Lo siento.”
At least we were speaking the same language.
I took out another twenty.
Michael looked marginally alarmed but held his tongue—he knew better than to get between me and a bottle of Tanqueray.
Flutterings of interest registered on the proprietor’s face.
“Quizà…” he muttered vaguely, putting aside his paper and drifting toward the back room.
Five minutes later he remerged with a dusty bottle of rum and a box of surprisingly plump mangoes.
“Daiquiri?” he teased.
“Hmm…” I stalled, pressing down on the twenties. “Got a blender?”
“Si,” he replied, almost (but not quite) cracking a smile.
We were in business.
Five minutes later the three of us were slurping down the most delicious daiquiris ever.
At some point—I’m a little hazy on the particulars after approximately the third sip—our erstwhile flight mates (the chatty lady and her sullen offspring) rattled the locked door, trying to get in.
“Cerrado!” our barkeep called out merrily.
“Closed!” I translated helpfully.
Through the door’s small, smudged window the woman caught my eye and shot me a distinctly unfriendly look.
And when we were finally airborne and winging our way toward Vieques an hour later, she maintained a decidedly frosty demeanor.
I felt bad.
Actually, to be honest, I was far too happy to care.