In one of these photos, Tay, A.J. and Todd stand before The Spirit of Pennekamp. Toddy is first mate! The sunshine on the water is so piercing and pure as to be like mercury, some other elemental substance, like the water, or the air itself. The light its own silvery medium. Very enchanting but—despite vigilance—I am cooked. My shoulders especially, a troubling dark red.
In another photo, my self, Katie and Todd are looking pretty beat up—or just us boys. Katie looks great. We snorkeled all afternoon. (A.J. is behind camera.) Swimming in the morning I was fine—in a bliss. One with the water. In the afternoon—probably from eating Doritos and Nutter Bars—all fatigue. Couldn’t connect with the sea. Couldn’t keep my face in her breasts. The coral waved at me slyly with no hint of invitation or empathy, or commiseration for that matter; it waved goodbye. Befinnéd, I mermanned back to our vessel. The pressure of the snorkel mask worked out a month’s worth of snot. It was neat. All down my throat and neck, like toothpaste foam only on my shoulder. And mucus.
Todd loaned me a pair of purple shorts adorned with menacing skulls. I rolled them up a bit. He had a multitude of swimwear, but I think he picked out the purple to emphasize my homosexuality.
The government protects mangroves.
In another photo stand a cluster of naked mannequins in a shop going out of business in Key West. They remind me of that sinister cluster of humanoid robots in I, Robot and also A.I. There has to be a more pressing example. I found the grouping strangely moving. I had been drinking a Hurricane dispensed from a machine, a sort of image of paradise, rows of iced alcoholic beverages, White Russians, Piña Coladas, Daquiries, space-age, ready, willing.
In another photo poses an iguana. He (she?) lives by the pool. He popped out of some mangroves and sauntered over to the water’s edge, cheerless, plodding. Later the pool filled with an inordinate amount of Europeans—Dutch, French, Spaniards, Germans, and numerous Britons. I didn’t know the Keys were so transnational. A.J. and I have gotten in the habit of cocking our ears at anyone’s conversation, to lay first estimate on a nationality. This all feels amplified because of the Olympics, naturally. We have impromptu fits of swimming, small races, my lats hurt.
This was also in Key West. In a Christian book store? It was subtle but apparent—the proprietors wanted to sell coloring books with scenes from Christ’s life. Much to my delight, eventually this bird pooped in my hand.