Acapulco. It’s Miller and Hermione and a younger couple, the Abelmans. The trip’s been planned for months. Resort fees paid. Hermione’s broken leg and hard plaster cast is accommodated. Meaning, she’s left out of snorkeling and bar hopping in town. Instead, she sweats over Miller’s poetry, which she’s been tasked to edit. Miller keeps saying he’ll look into a wheelchair rental.

“Twilight Time” emits from tree-mounted loudspeakers. Iguanas bask. “So, he pops it, misses the gin glass on her head. Old Bill got off with a two-year suspended sentence,” Miller’s saying. Hitches his trunks, tongues a pineapple slice.

“Aar-tists,” drawls Daphne Abelman, on her back in a webbed chaise, arms hanging down.

“Who’s William S. Bulow?” asks Buzz Alderman. So fresh-faced. A line of fine hairs runs from below his navel to the lip of his trunks. Hula girls.

“Hoho! Burroughs! Only the greatest living poet,” returns Miller, mussing Buzz’s hair. Disappearing the too-white, too-straight part. “Offed his wife and got off clean; isn’t that right, Hermione? Look out, Daphne! Hoho!”

“Much better known as a prose writer,” Hermione returns. His glee is no shock. Whatever next? Tangier and hallucinogens? They weren’t from social register families. Hermione supports them with her work as a bookkeeper.

Hermione’s been brought a plate of skewered shrimp and, oddly, a bowl of fruit. She strips the skewer with her naked mouth. The courteous pool man brings another round of mescal drinks. Hermione slugs hers. Lifts her glass to signal for another. Daphne’s fully collapsed while Daphne watches Miller and Buzz sway to Little Anthony and the Imperials.

The wet heat. Silhouettes of iguanas. The sshh of palm fronds. When Hermione opens her eyes, the two men are chest to chest near the edge of the pool. The hula girls still-but-barely visible.

“Señor Miller! Time for our William Tell act?” Hermione winds up, lets fly. Her third pitch connects. An apple, appropriately. It connects with Miller’s jaw. He goes down hard.

The pool man appears, removes every dirty plate and glass. The pool lights turn off then on then off then on. The way theatre lights blink before the final act starts.

Pin It on Pinterest