Parrot Man

Parrot Man

It was our first morning on the beach. Perfect sun, scant clouds on the low horizon, my tummy full of fresh mango, papaya and pineapple. We’d arrived at our resort late last night after an entire day of travel, mainly preparations: dropped Duke at the boarding kennel, asked local police to keep watch on our house, called my sister to say “hasta luego.”

And now, the beach. Aaahhh. I applied SPF, and watched Benny as he arranged his towel, and got out his latest Sidney Sheldon novel. Nearing 50, he looked great in his new checked blue suit, the board style that I preferred. Up to him, he’d wear one of those heinous ass- crack sliver of material things. As we all know, those who ought not to wear them always do, just like the skimpiest of bikinis. Chalk it up one to hot weather, yet the bennies of vacation outweigh the inconveniences.

“I wonder if our beach server will be the same this year?” Benny asked.

“You mean Serapio?” I chuckled.  “Don’t go too far in the ocean, it’s dangerous,” I imitated him. Except he’d say, “Down yer ass,” instead of dangerous.

“That guy was a perv,” Benny said.

We laughed.

“You’d better put on some SPF, it’s going to be a scorcher.” I handed him the bottle. Lay back against my towel, stretched out, all the way to my toes. “What a gorgeous day.” Average home temperature: 25. Here? 78.

Slowly, in twos and fours, people selected beach lounges near us.

“Look at the size of that iguana!” Benny said. “He’s climbing those massive rocks.” There was a breaker wall, twenty yards behind us, beyond that green grass, hotel rooms and restaurants.

“Guests probably feed them.” I gazed over, already fuzzy. It required me to sit up and I suddenly felt drugged, like the effort was way beyond my capability. “I don’t see it. ” I was glad, iguanas freak me out. They look prehistoric, like miniature dragons. Benny always re-assures me “they won’t hurt you” but we’re in their environment. And nature is unpredictable.

“Uh oh, I do see someone else,” I said, nodding down the beach.

“Oh, Christ, he’s up early.”

“Gotta sell to the fresh batch who arrive on Sunday mornings.”

How did we know? We were suckers our first trip here. It was our honeymoon, so we were wide-eyed, eager. And yes, a little green, naïve. The Parrot Man photos were the least of our negligent expenditures. Pricey at 15.00 a pop, our favorite photo still sits on our antique hutch.

“Just pretend you’re asleep,” I suggested to Benny, fishing my iPod from my backpack.

“Hell, no,” Benny said. “These four are gonna get screwed! I want to listen,” he nodded toward the young couple and parents.  “They’re the ones who shared our transport from Cancun, remember? From New Jersey, getting married here this weekend.”

I nodded, watching the Parrot Man weave closer, trudging down the beach, a scarlet Macaw on his right shoulder, a blue gold Macaw on his left. Sure enough, he slowed by the new beach guests, the wedding couple ripe for picking.

“Hello, my name is Enrique, without the Iglesias.” They all laughed.

“Here we go,” my husband smiled, setting his novel down. “This is going to be good!”

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About Robert Vaughan

Originally from NY, writer, editor, and workshop leader, his poems and fiction are widely published in print and online magazines, such as Necessary Fiction, BlazeVOX, Connotation Press, Metazen, Thrice, Literary Orphans and Housefire. He is Senior Flash editor at JMWW and Lost in Thought magazines and leads round- tables for Redoak Writing. He is a six times Pushcart Prize Nominee and his fiction and poetry have won awards, including a Micro-Fiction runner-up (2012) and twice a finalist in the Gertrude Stein Fiction Award (2013-14). His collections are: Microtones (Cervena Barva Press); Diptychs + Triptychs + Lipsticks + Dipshits (Deadly Chaps): Addicts & Basements (Civil Coping Mechanisms) and RIFT, co-authored with Kathy Fish (Unknown Press).
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12 Responses to Parrot Man

  1. Ian says:

    Does he bust out “Cheeseburger in Paradise?”

  2. Beverly says:

    I think I know this parrot man, or perhaps every resort just has its own version! Here comes the American! LETS GET HER!

  3. Andrea says:

    LOL! I know that guy…Key West no? Great story.

  4. rontuaru says:

    OK, as someone who was absolutely tormented by a talking, squawking parrot for 22 years, this brings up some vivid imagery.

    That nightmare aside … waaaaa! I wanna go some place sunny, warm and sandy! Even if I have to look at fat men in butt-floss bikinis! Well .. maybe not quite that much …

    Dangerous/down yer ass. Very funny!

    Nice!

  5. Don says:

    Has all the great elements for a nice short story set-up. I like the setting details, relatable characters. and it made me crave a beach setting and margarita. I wonder what the overall conflict is- usually your pieces have more depth or conflict unless this is the set-up to get us there. Either way, I’m hooked.

  6. Suzi says:

    Been there. Done that. Except my parrot man was in Times Square and he had a snake which I paid $10 for my daughter to pose with. Makes me wish I had an elephant – I could retire!

  7. david says:

    Gee whiz Andrea I hate key west… anyway.. yeah.. he’s in Mexico, Belize, Costa Rica, and every Island.. but thanks GOD not in Europe and Greece, Turkey.. etc.. I think I would beg to see him in New Zealand.. but they are way too lazy to have any such industry… and of course… no-one there.

    Loved the story… very tropical… I can smell the tanning butter… thanks!

  8. Dez says:

    I agree with the others, you do a great job capturing the details of the tropical setting. And the parrot man seems to be ubiquitous at every resort in Mexico, for certain. I think some of them in Playa Del Carmen even share the same dude. And most first- timers get taken, for sure. Oh well, that’s paradise for you!

  9. Angela says:

    “Chalk it up one to hot weather.” This line seemed awkward to me… and there was never a two. Other than that, my darling Robhair…it is fun and intriguingly silly! Mostly, it just made me miss home. Meh.

  10. Shari says:

    Love this and adore your writing Robert. Every day you make an impact on my life and I so appreciate you!

  11. G says:

    i”ll take that beach, but not the parrot man

  12. Tom Froehlich says:

    LOL. The swim suit thing is so true!

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