Sunburnt

Greta hits rock bottom and trades in her Chardonnay for coffee. She moves to sunny Bombay Beach, Florida where she gets a new apartment in a quaint cottage, a new job and a new lease on life. She spends time at the beach soaking up the sun and reflecting on her past destructive relationships. She meets a mysterious married man Garth, who she keeps bumping into. Greta dates a local musician Jimmy, but after his untimely suicide she must find the cause of his death. She and her girlfriend Kat put on a concert with the help of magnetic club owner Sly and invite superstar Crash to perform all of Jimmy’s music. Will they discover why Jimmy took his own life?

Sly is a dazzling man, living the high life as owner of one of the towns hottest clubs, Voodoo. He has it all, wine, women, a beach house and a sister who has one of Hollywoods’ hottest cooking shows, Elvira! He cannot find love in his life, until he meets Greta. But is it too late to change his ways?


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10. Sunburnt

Chapter 25

 

"Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans."

— John Lennon

 

The Sunday morning sun was streaming through the mini-blinds. I heard a scratching at  the window, it was  Marions’ cat Blackie, wanting love. I got out of bed and let him in. He meowed loudly at me and walked around the room sniffing, then rolled himself into a little  ball and fell asleep. I’d like to be a cat in my next life, they have it made, I thought to myself.

 

I got busy and made a pot of coffee, some Dunkin Donuts I had bought earlier on in the week. I wasn’t too hungry this morning and I wasn’t hung over either. Thoughts of last night came back to me, about Garth and our talk at the coffee shop. He had been a perfect gentleman, no doubt about it.

 

I sat drinking my coffee and looked around the room. There were still boxes to be unpacked. I opened one of them and pulled out some knick- knacks. There was a faded shoe box underneath and I opened it up. Inside were some old photos of Peter and I. As I rifled through them, memories flooded back from some of our better times. There was a picture of us on my 25th birthday, the night he had surprised me at the marina. His Dad kept a boat there and we used to go out fishing together. He would drink beer after beer and get drunk at the wheel and I would have to steer us in late at night into the harbor. Sometimes we would cruise down to the Keys and he would catch all kinds of fish, snook, redfish and dolphin. We’d fry it up and relax there at his buddies house on the water. Then we’d drink late into the night and argue, then in the morning make up as always.

 

Peter, always trouble with him and his drinking. It was so sad. When he was sober he would be the best guy, so sweet and thoughtful, but the booze would turn him into an irresponsible child. I couldn’t deal with it anymore. My eyes started to water as I looked through all the old pictures of us. It was so sad to think of four years of my life wasted, never to return.

 

I looked through the box at other pictures, some of me as a kid with my parents. I was about ten years old and I am holding my doll. I remember I named her Melanie. I was so goofy, buck teeth and curly hair. So embarassing. My parents are still together, they live in Naples, Florida. I think I’ll go and see them soon. I miss them. Then I really lost it, started crying again. Guess I was getting too sentimental. Peter, my parents, me. What happened to me? I used to be so young and innocent, now I felt hard, the alcohol and men and the fast life. Did the old me still exist? Yes, I felt that little girl in me somewhere, buried deep down, behind a ton of emotions and secrets and disappointments.

 

I took a shower and decided to put on my bikini and head down to the beach. I rode my bike out of the driveway, It was a gorgeous, sunny day so why not? I rode over the bridge at the intra coastal, past the manicured lawns and big houses. The beach lay ahead of me like a fine blanket of fine, gleaming crystal. The water was an aquamarine shade of blue, calm and still.

 

I lay my towel down in the sand and unpacked my bag with my paperback book, cracker and water. I turned over, face down on my stomach to read in peace and turned my cell phone on silent.

 

 

Chapter 26

 

"If you don't know where you're going, any road will take you there."

— George Harrison

 

Daryl “Sly” Wishbone rewound the video to the beginning and tucked it way in a black metal case. Natasha and Brittany, the two blondes he had spent the night with were on their way out of his beachfront abode, after an incredible night of sex, drugs and rock and roll. Sly liked to videotape all his encounters for future reference.

 

He watched the girls leave and the massive gate swung shut behind them. His taste in interior design was simple and summed up in one word. Black. The exterior of the house was black, the floors were black stone, the walls were clad in black paneling and black motorized shades kept the pace dark and cool, like him. He was a Scorpio and Scorpions liked cool, dark places, out of the heat. Besides liking black he also liked music, guns, war and women.

 

Sly padded into the bedroom in his bare feet and bathrobe and plopped down across his massive four poster bed. It had a black satin spread on it and leopard skin pillows. He sat back and pressed the intercom button by the side of his bed.

 

“Marissa, be a doll and bring me up some breakfast. You know what I like.” He purred.

 

Sly flicked on the video and played highlights from last nights romp. Voodoo was doing well. It needed to to generate shitloads of cash turn a profit. He had blown a ton of money on the club, installing state of the art sound and light systems that had cost a fortune. He was running a bit low on cash for next week.

 

Marissa put the tray on his lap. “Thank you doll. Remind me to give you a raise.” Sly began eating ravenously. Sex and drugs always made him hungry. He thought of calling his sister in LA, the barracuda. She was a celebrity chef with her own cooking show, Elvira!She was also an animals activist and would save any dog, cat, squirrel or pig sooner than she would save one dozen homeless nuns.

 

He dreaded calling her for more money. She was one tough act. But lately she was into pills…Pills for her back, pills for her breast, pills for her knee, he could weasel in some cash. He dialed her number. She was weak.

 

“Hello sis.” He said

“Oh, Daryl, what are you doing awake? It’s

only noon. Didn’t think you’d be awake yet from all your consorting.”she crooned sarcastically.

 

She could be so sour, the bitch, he thought.

 

“I was just sitting her thinking of you sweetness.” He said coyly as he flicked through the videotape.

 

“Really? Little ole me? Now, isn’t that sweet….Now what do you want from me Daryl?” her tone was businesslike. The jig was up. She knew. She knew that he would be asking her for more money as he always did.

 

“I need some cash”. Point blank stick it to her. He chewed on a piece of toast.

“How much this time?”
“$100,000.00”

“Too much.”
“Come on, I need the cash.” he pleaded.

“Are you serious?” she breathed in and out, as if she were jogging on the spot.

 

“Serious as sitting on a cactus in the middle of the desert,” he joked.

 

“Alright. You win little brother. I will wire $100,000.00 into your account by tomorrow afternoon.” But this is the last time Daryl. I can’t afford to finance your silly ventures anymore. And call Mother.” She said dryly.

 

“Thanks Sis, I will. ” He replied and hung up the phone. Sly replayed a scene from the videotape in slow motion. Damn!! He was good.

 

Chapter 27

 

"Limitless undying love which shines around me like a million suns it calls me on and on across the universe."

— John Lennon

 

I must have fallen asleep on the beach because when I woke up it was about four in the afternoon. My back was sun burnt as hell. My cell phone was vibrating madly.

 

“Hey Kat.” I said

“Where have you been? I called all afternoon.” She scolded.

“I fell asleep.” It was true. I did, and I was burnt to prove it.

“I called you last night at your apartment but didn’t get an answer.” She scolded further.

“I got home late…. Guess what?” I said

“Don’t keep me in suspense….” She panted

“I had coffee with the man you saw at the restaurant….” I said proudly.

“Coffee? Really?” she sounded disappointed.

“Yes, coffee….His wife was out of town.”

“Would you please give Grand Dad a rest?” she sounded flabbergasted. “Anyway, that is nothing compared to what I’ve got to tell you.”

“What? Spill it.” I asked

“Turns out that Debbie was bragging about how she spent  the last night with Jimmy.”

“Really? No shit?” I said incredulously.

“Yup, she was telling some guy and I overheard the story, he came over, she saw him, they spent the night, he left in the morning then he was dead.”

“Wish we knew the truth.”

“So Daddy Big Bucks was alright then?” she asked

“He’s a gentleman.” I told her

“At his age he has no choice.” She chided.

 

 

Chapter 28

 

"Reality leaves a lot to the imagination."

 John Lennon

 

Garth drove along AIA North up to Palm Beach. It was a leisurely drive and could listen to some classical music as he drove. He found Puccini’s Concerto # 4 much more relaxing than “Guns and Roses.

 

Sol was waiting for him at The Club. The Club was an old school boys club in which becoming a member required decades of involvement and servitude not to mention the right schools, the right bank account, the right wife and the right religion. All of the above fates could shape a role for being considered a member of the club.

 

Sol was part Jewish, on his mothers side, but was allowed into the club due to his enormous bank account. Sol was from South Africa. His parents owned gold mines there. Sol had been to the best schools in London and Boston. He was a cunning and cut throat businessman. Garth would have to put out all his chops to keep up with this guy today.

 

Garth pulled up to The Club and handed his keys to the Valet. He walked into the club and headed towards the Sailfish Room, a discreet bar where good old boys could talk the nasty about money and whose wife was blowing who.

 

Garth was particularily enjoying this deal because of the nature of the beast. The Chateau had been kept under lock and key from Palm beach society for so many decades and now he, Garth, was going to blow it open wide to the public. It was a scintillating thought. Public was not synonymous with Palm Beach. He reveled in it.

 

Sol was seated at a round table, sipping his Scotch. They shook hands.

“Good to see you Sol.” He said

“Wonderful to be here, I can assure you. How is Joanne?” Sol replied.

“Oh wonderful, she’s actually visiting her mother this weekend. “Garth said

“Ah, wonderful, better her than you.” Sol replied

 

They laughed at his joke. It was all too true, thought Garth, “I have the proposal drawn up for you to review.” Garth said.

 

“Fine. I will review it this evening.”he said

 

Garth handed him a thick document bound in aged leather. Sol leaned forward.

 

“Tell me, what is the bottom line?” he said quietly.

“One hundred million. I year.” Garth said

Sol did not flinch.

 

“I like it.”

 Garth did not flinch.

“It will be done sir.”

 

Garth was excited. He calmed down. Don’t let them see you sweat, he thought.

“One year. I will give you my blessings on The Chateau.” Sol said

 

They shook hands. The deal was done. The Chateau would be a hotel, the finest in Palm Beach. It would be the talk of the town. He couldn’t wait to tell Joanne.

 

Chapter 29

 

"Clarity of mind means clarity of passion, too; this is why a great and clear mind loves ardently and sees distinctly what it loves."

 

BY Blaise Pascal

 

 

It was Monday again and I was back at work at the office, answering phone calls and sending faxes. Al was still on vacation, so I had plenty of time to make my personal calls and get my calendar up to date. A plan began to generate in my mind. It was somewhat sketchy. I called Kat.

 

“Hey Kat, it’s me Tanto.”

“Hi girl…” she said

“Yup, another day, another lousy dollar…..I was just thinking about Jimmy.” I said

“Jimmy? What were you thinking?” she asked.

“I know this may sound silly, but I want us to do the CD release party. Like a concert for Jimmy.” I said

“Ok, that’s not so nuts…where at?” she asked

“Well, I was thinking Voodoo.” I said.

“Ok, that’s nuts! Where are you going to get the talent?” she asked.

“I don’t know, I thought maybe we go down there and talk to Sly about it.”

“Uh uh, you go….” she said.

“Me? Why not you and me?”
“You’ve got more appeal on your own, he’ll think you’re digging him.”she said

“Good point…..I’ll call you later alright?”I said

“Good luck.” she said

“Thanks.” I said

“What are friends for?” she said

 

Kat. She was so predictable, a big talker but had no balls. A release party would be great. It would bring together all of us that had known Jimmy and his music. Plus, there was something mystical about Sly. I guess I’ll just have to go there and see.

 

I ate my lunch at my desk, Lean Cuisine Asian, and finished up some paperwork. The phone rang. I answered it. “Lawyers Office”. It was a womans voice on the other end, a high pitched, squeaky voice.

“Hello, may I speak to Al?” she said.

“Who is calling please?” I asked

“Beth. He knows me.”she said impatiently.
“I’m sorry Beth, Al is not here right now…Can I take a message?

“Tell him I need to speak with him, its urgent.”She said

“I will. Can I please have your number?”I asked patiently.

“He has my number.” she said rudely.

Click. She was gone. I wondered who Beth was, this sounded like a personal call. Al was a very quiet man. I hoped he wasn’t in trouble.

 

I finished up my work and locked up the door. The car was hot and the steering wheel burned me. Damn sun!

 

I drove towards town, thinking of Jimmy and his last night alive. If only I had stayed with him he might be alive today. So Debbie had seen him that night. I wondered what happened between them and if any drugs were involved.

 

I arrived at Voodoo. It was pretty deserted. I stuck my head in the door of the office. Sly was on the phone with his back to me. I waited.

 

“Two thousand for you and your band, I’ll feed, ya, fuck ya and give you my venue and you make us a great show. Got a deal? You in bro?”Sly was negotiating.

 

He swung around in his chair and saw me standing there listening to his convo. He held up one finger to his lips.

 

“Good, see you March 15th, alright? 4 sets. 9-1”he sounded final.

 

Sly reverted back to his civil self. “Well, hello sugar…Welcome to my cave.” He said smoothly.

“Thanks. I have a business proposal for you.” I said flatly.

“Shoot, I like it when a babe talks business, gets me going.”

I said quietly. “My good friend Jimmy was a talented guitar player and songwriter. He died a month ago of an overdose and we’d like to have his release party here. It would be awesome.”

 

Sly pondered it for a moment.

 

”Here’s his CD.” I said

 

He played it. Song after incredible, undeniable song.

 

“These tunes are all hits…Its fucking amazing….He was one talented cat!” he gushed. He knew talent when he heard it.

 

“Yes, I know, we all know. We all knew how talented he was. He had his share of problems and got caught up in it, you know.” I said sadly.

 

“I know, “ he shook his head. But he’s gone now and this is all we’ve got left. His music lives on.”

 

Sly stood up. ”You know what I’m gonna do? I’m gonna ask my friend and good buddy Crash if he can play the concert here. It’ll be a sold out smash show and it will showcase all your friends material. Sound good to you businesswoman?” he smiled a gigantic smile.

 

I lit up like Christmas. “Crash? Really?”

 

“Honey, I don’t joke around about this kind of stuff. Deal?”

“Yes! Oh thanks Sly…….” And then I hugged him.

And he hugged me back, a little too tight and then he kissed me, on the lips for a moment.

I felt weak and excited and scared at the same time.

 

“Wow.” He said.

He ran his fingers through my hair. I wasn’t ready for any more fondling so I backed off. He was the first man to kiss me since Peter except for Jimmy.

 

“Well, thank you. I said nervously.

 

“Thank you. Come around anytime Doll. I’m here every day.”

 

I left Voodoo feeling queasy. If he was putting on a  concert for me with Crash headlining, what did he want from me in return?

 

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