I’m driving in the center of town and slowly coming up on a green light.
Slowly because in the street are a family of tourists. I know they are tourists because they are in bathing gear and display a wobbly disheveled dawdling in the middle of the street. I park behind them. They don’t notice me. I lean out of my window and I say, in my softest voice, ’Excuse me,’ I ask sweetly, smiling, beseechingly. Harmless, right?
Mom and Pop look delighted to have been asked a question, not only happy to be on holiday but somebody needs something. They swell with importance and cast smiles at me. Good people. But this won’t help them.
‘Yes dear?’ They ask. The traffic light is still green but they seem wholly unaware.
‘Are you tourists?’ I ask.
‘Yes, why yes we are tourists’.
And now I have them marinated and relaxed and I say, with a wide grin, ‘Do you have traffic lights where you’re from?’
Their smiles collapse.
‘They work the same here.’ I add, helpfully.
They know right away I’m the bitch in town and they’ve had the bad luck to cross paths with me. They look like they want to run away and I wonder why they don’t get on with it.
Then the barely clad bright-white skinned out-of-towners scatter off in their pod and away from me.
I purred bemused at the now red light.
A little later I parked and I was at once confronted with a couple of young ladies standing on the sidewalk looking anxious.
‘Can I help you with something,’ I offered.
‘Chinese restaurant?’ One said, wide eyed and charmingly gullible.
‘Sure,’ and I gestured.
‘Is it good?’ They asked.
‘It’s exactly the same dog and cat you’ll get at any Chinese restaurant.’
They ogled each other scandalized.
‘Enjoy Key West!’ And I was gone to my next errand, blade wiped clean and sheathed.
I should be compensated by the Florida Tourism Board.