Costa Rica

At the bar watching a tubing wave spit a surfer out into the white heat haze of the Costa Rican sun.
“Hey son, can you get me one of them slouch hats? Was damn good to have you Aussies with us.”
A handshake of bone -crushing strength.
No-nonsense military style spectacles frame ice-blue eyes set in a deeply lined cliff of a face. A whiter than white smile flashes wide. A tight black tank top. Muscular tattooed arms. A woman-serpent, an anchor, a dragon, a Los Angeles Police Department emblem. Latent violence ripples under tanned skin. Hanging between pectorals, a gold cross and a canine tooth in an ornate silver setting. Cheap aftershave blends with low tide seaweed.
“Man you gotta go to San Isidro. I’m tellin’ ya, you gotta go. The girls are somethin’ else.’”
Slugs of beer punctuate a rapid volley of words coming from deep within his barrel chest filtered through a gravelly smoker’s throat.
“I could be a real bad boy here man… a real fuckin’ bad boy. Yes sir, serious fun to be had here. I’m bein’ good now though. Given the girl back home two weeks to make up her mind. She’s a beauty. How old do you think I am?”
Shooting low. “Late forties?”
“Fifty-five…got thirty years on her. If she don’t take me on I’ll be back here quick as anything, you bet I will. Sell up the house, the humvee.”
“You gotta go to San Isidro. One minute you’re waiting for a haircut, the next a foxy tica is feelin’ you up.”
Thick fingers with chunky gold rings run through silver-yellow hair dirty-slick with pomade.
“You’re a millionaire here. Don’t tell ‘em any different. They’re lucky to make a dollar a day. I’m makin’ forty an hour sittin’ here on my ass. Got a pension see.” Pointing to his LAPD tattoo. “Got shot up that many times. Domestics man. I’ve seen some shit. Not like Nam…but…”
As Bud falls silent the bar fills with sounds of surf and jungle hillsides vibrating with animal life.
Bud’s face is a dam wall threatening to break and release waves of rage.
“I feel guilty y’know…cause I survived.”
We sit in silence for a while watching the beautiful girl behind the bar pick her teeth with long lime-lacquered nails.
There’s the Buds: old men looking for a home in young flesh. The Californian girls: looking for romance and emerging mid-morning from beach bungalows with pillow-tousled sweat-matted hair after a night with a muscular tico. And the surfers: searching for other-world utopias of perfect waves.
Chatting to a rock star in the surf. “It’s like Hawaii in the 1950s. Soon you won’t be able to buy land so cheap …no way.”
All searching. All taking. Any giving is conditional. They change the places they search. And more will come regardless. Looking for a picture perfect moment reflected in another’s exotic eyes.

Costa Rica

Thomas Williams

Joined January 2008

  • Artist

Artist's Description

Truth is often harsher and indeed stranger then fiction. I often pull the punches in my writing while attempting to get across the sense of place. I would be interested to know if people would like the full story behind these short pieces.

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