Angela of Livingston Guatemala – Part 4
Veronica of New Port is half in and half out of a bathroom window at the Hotel Leddie in Livingston Guatemala. She’s plunged in to solve the problem: all the hotel keys are locked in the bathroom that sits off the central patio.
Where we left off in our story, Angela, hotel slave and Venus of Livingston Guatemala, was stymied as to how to rescue them from their tiled prison and avoid the wrath of hotel owner Leddie. With the aid of a broom handle Veronica is trying to capture the key ring hanging from the inside lock but her reach is out by a five-fist span.
The two onlooking backpackers, Cellini and Vermeer, are appreciating Veronica’s athletic behind, dressed in shorts, and currently displayed to great effect. But at the moment this is the extent of their contribution to solving the problem.
John, Veronica’s boyfriend of six months, arrives at the hotel’s front door, frizzled and sweaty after scaling the town’s formidable hill, a brutal slant up from the dock to the main street. There’s 40-degree heat. Add on an extra 5 degrees pressing down via the lowering storm about to present itself and that’s the formula for many February days in Livingston Guatemala.
He passes by the Hotel Leddie’s uninhabited front desk into the garden patio. “Ronnie?”
Veronica emerges from the small window, hauling in the broom with her, and explains the situation. John, at 6 ft 3, has a boxer’s reach and steady balance. These let him navigate the broom handle, easily getting purchase and securing the keys.
Veronica hugs him briefly. It’s too hot at the moment for extended displays of gratitude. When he hands the keys to Angela, he takes her measure as she thanks him. He can’t decide if her eyes are brown or green. Then the roosters crow — all of the town’s 25 at once — and immediately it starts to bucket down rain. They’re green, he resolves.
Now’s as good a time as any to tell you the secret of the Livingston Guatemala roosters. If you go there, you will find they are plentiful and flood tide verbose, holding forth about 16 hours a day. Many times, hotel guests complain to anyone who will listen as well as Leddie, who doesn’t. Like a recent French guest: “Zee roast-airs are making me to wake at 4 in zeh morning, alors,” wailed Jean-Claude. “And zen all I do is zinking about ziss beautiful girl, Awn-jel-ah. Merde!”
Actually, going to Livingston Guatemala and complaining about the wall-of-noise roosters is like going to a bowling alley and kvetching about the clamor of balls hitting pins. Or like going to Calcutta and complaining the food has curry in it or that it snows in Banff. It’s just there, but unknown is the hidden reason for the unrelenting bantam bugling.
The roosters are in cahoots with the good forces working to get Angela back to a rightful kingdom where her happy ending was on a fast track. Some galactic bureaucratic blunder or Poseidon, bored at finding nothing to watch in a trillion-channel universe, has caused her to wash up on the beach here with only a gauzy recollection of where she belongs.
The roosters know the story and with the full force of their hearts, lungs and beaks try to give her clues to her return path. But her current amnesia has also blocked out her mastery of poultry dialects. And so when she does register their call she sends them good wishes for enjoying a really restorative dust bath or finding choice kernels to share with the hens. Everyday they start over their Einstein brand insanity, vigorously repeating what doesn’t work.
Under the rooster chorus and rain pelting on the laminated roof, Angela shows Veronica and John to the Hotel Leddie’s bridal suite. This is the establishment’s only room with an en suite bathroom. “Praise Gaia and pay her,” cheers Veronica, thanking Angela and closing the door behind her and John.
If Angela could speak English she would have understood the flippant provocation and warned Veronica that trivializing goddesses is not auspicious.
As the door is closing, Cellini jumps in to provide urgent advice. “Dudes, like look out for the Suicide Shower. It’s like really dan … ” Too late. The door shuts. A few minutes later a hand swollen with heat reaches for the shower curtain.