Bombing Part 2 - Trouble in Paradise
Bombing: Skiing fast and recklessly without regard for the safety of others or oneself.
Kristy grabbed a large metal flashlight from her backpack. Although it got her stopped at almost every security queue she went through, she never traveled without it. She slipped her sandals onto her feet and opened the door to her room, nearly colliding with two very drunk teenage girls.
“Hey! What are you doing in our room?” the girl giggled.
“Hey, Girl, that light is really bright,” said the other, more drunk girl.
“What’s going on?” Kristy asked.
“Power’s out,” hiccuped the one girl.
“There’s a revolution,” the other whispered and then belched.
“Okay,” Kristy said shaking her head, “What room number are you looking for?”
“This one!” the first girl insisted.
“What’s your room number?” Kristy asked again.
“This one! 418.”
Kristy shined her flashlight on the door, number 318.
“You’re on the wrong floor.”
The less drunk girl slapped the more drunk girl’s arm.
“See? I told you we didn’t walk up enough stairs.”
“I’m so sorry,” said the girl, “I’m so tired.” She began to cry.
“It’s okay. It’s okay,” the girl petted her friend’s arm. They put their arms around each other.
“I am so tired.”
“I’m scared, too.” Now they were both crying.
“Come on, girls,” Kristy said. “It’s just a blackout. I’ll walk with you to your room.”
“You’re the best,” said the girl.
After depositing the girls at their room, Kristy decided to stick to her plan to get something to eat and drink. Hopefully, the hotel next door had electricity.
Kristy left through the main lobby of her building. Despite her encounter with the two teenagers, Jersey girls on a celebratory Senior Class trip, it was very quiet.
She walked down the driveway bordered by tall arborvitaes, and out onto the road. The moon was but a sliver and she was again thankful for her flashlight.
As Kristy approached the hotel, she was happy to see lights. That there was a casino virtually guaranteed a backup generator was in place. Should the power go out the tourists could remain happily gambling. In fact, the place was packed - full of people squandering their money for amusement. Kristy shook her head. Gambling her hard earned money away as entertainment had never been of interest to her.
She passed through the building to the outside patio of concrete and stone, down a sandy path to the bar at the edge of the beach. Kristy was happy to see that it was not crowded - just a few couples and some locals.
Kristy grabbed a menu and took a seat at the bar. It was a quaint establishment with bamboo accents and thatched palm roof. Its name, “Hideaway,” was displayed behind the bar, the letters carved into driftwood and adorned with tiny white lights. The bartender, a tall, painfully thin man about her own age greeted her.
“Hello, pretty lady. What’s your name?” he asked.
“Kristy,” she answered, “and yours?”
“Chuck - do you have rum punch?”
Chuck put his hand to his chest.
“Do I have rum punch, Kristy?” he laughed. “Not only do I have it, I have the best rum punch on the whole island.”
“It’s true!” called out a couple at the end of the bar.
“Alright, then,” Kristy replied, “Rum punch and a cheeseburger.”
“You got it, pretty Kristy,” Chuck said. He then scribbled on a pad and handed a sheet of it through a small window to his left. Kristy heard the sizzle of a grill and immediately felt her mouth water. She hadn’t eaten since much earlier in the day.
Behind her, a man said, “Burger and a drink, huh? I’m impressed. I pegged you as a vegan health nut.” His accent was American, the drawl Southern. Kristy turned to see a man rise from one of the tables that were set against a long, low wall and looked out over the ocean. His face came into the light. It was the pilot! He walked over to the bar, a scotch in hand, and sat in the seat next to hers. Up close and without his glasses, she realized he did not look like Matt Damon. He was younger and even more handsome.
The man stuck out his hand, “Tom Brand,” he said.
Kristy shook his hand, “Kristy Cole,” she replied. She smiled widely and met his gaze as his dark blue eyes took her in from head to toe.
As they silently assessed one another, Chuck walked up, “Another one, Mon?”
Tom winked, “Keep ’em coming, Chuck.”
“I thought you had to fly back to Florida,” Kristy said. He had made a point at the end of the flight of telling them to enjoy the weather, that he was headed back to cold, grey skies in the States.
“Couldn’t do it,” he replied.
Chuck nodded sypathetically, “The drinking?”
Tom threw his head back and laughed.
“Well, yeah - I couldn’t fly now! But I mean because of the takeover.”
Kristy looked at Chuck, who shrugged, and then back at Tom.
“You haven’t heard what’s happened?” Tom asked them.
“No,” Kristy answered. Chuck shrugged again as he wiped a bowl and placed it under the bar.
“It’s been all over the news,” Tom said. They both looked at him blankly, “Jeez, don’t you guys have phones either?”
Chuck pointed his remote at the small television hanging in the corner of the bar, “No, Mon. I’ve been watching cricket. And I shut my phone off when I work. I been here all day” He switched the channel, landing on a commercial for the International Market.
“I laid on the beach and then went to sleep,” Kristy said. She added, “I can’t get service on my phone and the power is out in my building.”
“You must be staying next door,” Chuck nodded. “They have terrible trouble with the power over there.”
That explained why it was so inexpensive, Kristy thought.
Tom sat back in his chair.
“So neither of you heard that the airport was taken over?”
“No.” Kristy said. She felt the hair on her arms stand up.
“Yep. A group of locals busted in. They threw molotov cocktails, they have guns.” Tom looked at Kristy, “Happened about twenty minutes after we landed. We had to evacuate right quick.”
Kristy sat back on her bar stool, stunned. “Why did they do it?”
Tom shook his head. “Something to do with the election and restructure of the local government.”
“Yeah,” Chuck chimed in. “A lot of people not happy about the guy who won. Same guy who’s been there, but they don’t like him.”
“Why not?” Tom asked Chuck.
“There’s no work. Hotels are still closed from the storm and they aren’t being repaired. Construction has been very slow. People are afraid the company that owns the property is going to leave with the insurance money. It happened on another island.”
“What do you think?” Kristy asked.
“I think the government will do right by us. I think they’ll work it out.”
They were interrupted by a large slap against the bar. A man three seats down stood and stared at them, his fists on the bar. He was short, but muscular and powerful looking. His eyes were bloodshot, dark, and angry.
“They are devils!” the man said through clenched teeth.
“Hey, Mon,” Chuck said amicably, “Sit back down and let me get you another drink.”
The man picked up his glass, raised it high and then smashed it to the ground. Little shards of glass flew all around. Kristy felt something knick her leg, but she didn’t move.
The woman at the end of the bar screamed. Her husband rose slowly from his seat. Tom got up, too, and place himself in front of Kristy. Chuck looked at the men and raised his palms to them. He shook his head slightly and slowly.
“Brother, you are angry,” Chuck walked up to the man. “But this is a peaceful place, a peaceful island.”
“Peace!” the man said, “You serve the devil, too - the government and it’s business partners that line their pockets with our money and keep us down. You make me sick.”
Kristy watched the muscles on Tom’s back flex through his shirt. He clenched and unclenched his hand, ready to spring in to action.
Chuck pursed his lips, “Now you are getting me angry,” he said. He slowly and casually pulled out a bat from under the bar and rested it against his shoulder. Another man emerged from the kitchen, holding a machete. Kristy recognized him as the rum and coconut man from the beach.
“Is there a problem?” he asked.
“No, Terrance. No problem. This dude was just leaving. Right?”
The man studied them warily for a second and slowly backed away from the bar.
“There is a revolution coming, ‘Brothers,’” he sneered, “You want to be on the right side of it.” He turned and ran off toward the beach, disappearing in the darkness.
Chuck let out a snort, “What a fool,” he said, “to think that fighting is the answer.”
Kristy realized she was holding her breath and let it out slowly, her heart hammering in her chest. After not leaving the States for years, it seemed she was now stranded in paradise - or at least, what she had thought was paradise.
THANKS FOR READING! Kirsty’s adventure here will continue for several more chapters!