by Kevin Myrick
Of all the things Shelly hated about her job, the music was the worst. Space Island resort had a resident Jimmy Buffett cover artist on the island who played acoustic guitar and was always half-drunk on Corona by the time he made it to Margaritaville, so he slurred the chorus horribly. Shelly just wanted the summer season to be over with already so she could get back to school and not have to hear the steel drums dinging out the rhythm. Honestly, she wished she could put ear plugs in during the afternoon.
But there was always someone looking for another drink, a fresh towel or to ask a friendly question. "Miss, can I get another one of the fabulous daiquiris?" was a common question. Shelly felt like if she were smart, she'd have been drinking during her shift like Steve. He played for tips and did well. She worked her ass off and got hardly anything back for it at the end of the day. Shelly decided long ago that simply put seasonal work sucked.
She came back carrying a rum-filled strawberry pink frozen concoction for the little old lady. "Thank you dear," she said with a fake smile. "I wonder, what kind of bird is that flying overhead? Some sort of falcon?"
"It's an osprey ma'am," Shelly said.
Steve played on through the afternoon and took requests for the last 30 minutes of her shift that ended at dusk. A drunk businessman from the other side of the cabana bar yelled out "Freebird!" and so Steve began playing his island music version he called "Seagull." Steve simply had no shame in playing such drivel, Shelly thought to herself.
Heading out to her car, Steve came up from behind and asked her if she wanted a drink.
"I'm 18, its not legal," she said. Shelly was that kind of girl. "But thank you."
On her way home, Margaritaville came on the rock station. "I'm tired of this island music!" she said and slammed her finger on the button to turn off the radio. Tears began streaming down her eyes and she sobbed as she repeated to herself "only a few more weeks of this."