If I were a…….

If I were a…….

BEEP! BEEP! BEEP! WHACK.

Damn it. Not again. Not another alarm clock. I slowly open my eyes, knowing…… yep – smashed to pieces. Guess I’ll be heading to the local market after work. I pick up the mangled wires and buttons and toss it into the trash can atop the other three I’ve destroyed this week.

I make a cup of coffee, careful not to squeeze the mug too tight and step onto the balcony. Closing my eyes, the sun kisses my skin – it’s already hanging high in the sky. The air is warm but not muggy and the surf mixed with the low hum of tourists enjoying the beach provides a glorious moment of serenity. To the south, I can see Skull Island, and it too seems calm. Maybe today will be……. normal. Well, relatively normal.

———————-

“You’re late.”

“Dock it from the paycheck you SHOULD be paying me!”

Don just smiles and goes back to priming the till for tonight. I’ve worked at Don’s Beach Shack since I moved to the island. The work isn’t glamourous, but I can keep a low profile and there is direct view of Skull Island from the beachfront. I start loading the front coolers with beer from the back freezer. I usually try not to carry all the cases at once, but I’m in a hurry and Don’s not looking. Besides, I’m pretty sure Don’s noticed before. But’s that another reason I like Don- he’s a mind your own business kind of guy.

——————–

The nice weather has Don’s Shack packed; and the full moon has most everyone acting like fools. Midway through fixing another round of “woo woos” for the third bachelorette party of overzealous sorority sisters this evening, I hear a commotion over by the pool tables. Rolling my eyes, I hop over the bar, walk over, and pull the cowboy hat wearing stranger away from Nohea sending him hurling toward the wall. A bit stunned, he recovers. Keeping his distance, he yells in Nohea’s direction, “Oh, so you need your GIRLFRIEND to fight for you. Not man enough on your own. Shit, IT’s probably not even a woman under those shorts…” Nohea starts to move towards him; I place my hand on Nohea’s broad chest stopping him, but making sure to be gentle enough he knows it’s a request not an order. He’s more than a foot taller than me and twice as wide. He backs down; but I know from the look in his eye, it’s out of respect for me, not fear. The cowboy is still ranting behind me as I turn to face him. “Man, ya’ll ain’t worth my time!” He picks up his hat and leaves.

———————

“LAST CALL!” Don announces. I breathe a sigh of relief – I made it through a normal day. I survey the damage around the bar as I prepare to clean up. A few zombie-like drunks moving towards the beach side exit, a kissing couple at the far side of the side oblivious to the time as they negotiate the rest of their evening. Nohea is brooding in the corner. I hate the word “brooding” but there is really no other way to describe Nohea. He catches my stare and I quickly scan the beachfront.

Smoke.

Smoke at Skull Island.

I tell Don I have a quick emergency, “Lady stuff,” I say. Don never questions lady stuff. I take off my apron and sprint to the dock. I start untying the boat when I hear the engine kick on. I don’t have to look up, I know it’s Nohea.

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