Angela of Livingston Guatemala Hotels – Part 5
The Suicide Shower is not unique to the Hotel Leddie in Livingston Guatemala.
The Lorenzetti model, ubiquitous in modest accommodations throughout this part of the world, heats the water on the spot, well, sort of. Thus, eliminating the need for a tank. Almost all of them look and function like they were put together by a committee of chimps high on Scrubbing Bubbles cleanser.
Most first-timers have to be at the point where the need for a shower trumps a sense of simple self-preservation. This is Veronica’s state of mind as she reaches for the faucet. A definitive charge runs from her finger tips up the length of her arm. She steps out of the stall. John has passed out on the bed, emitting gentle puffs of sawed air.
Re-entering the patio, wrapped in a short blue cotton robe, she finds Angela sweeping the very same sand granules she dispatched in Zen-like meditation earlier that morning. She knows each of their names. Veronica, not fluent in Spanish, manages to convey that “la ducha es con zap zap.” “?Que hago?”
Angela leaves her sweeping and leads Veronica back to the room and past the slumbering John. He starts to dream of angels rolling white snow cigars on their thighs. Later, he’ll credit the heat and his recent passion for playing Carmen loudly and extravagantly once his sloop hits the open water. He’ll reason that this habit and the intense temperature caused a cooler and more exalted, but nevertheless sexy, version to infiltrate his sleep. Of this he will say nothing to Veronica. He suspects she dislikes opera.
Angela shows Veronica how to stand outside the shower and use a dry towel to turn the taps. Angela pantomimes taking the shower, finishing, stepping out and only then taking the dry towel to turn off the tap. “Gracias,” says a grateful Veronica, feeling even more grimy now that she’s in closer proximity to such a pure presence. As Angela leaves, they give each other girl waves in good-bye. These are characterized by a slight lateral waving of the right hand, accompanied by a small smile, a sign of bonding overture. Of this she will say nothing to John. She suspects he dislikes discussions about symbolic interactionism.
Leaving the bridal suite, Angela turns and smacks right into Leddie. Leddie’s short Pomodoro tomato frame and substantial cushioning cause Angela to bounce back as if she’s had a dramatic encounter with a vertical trampoline.
Leddie likes to dress in bold florals draped with garlands of plastic and glass beads. There’s always a pendulous pair of earrings swinging from her tiny ears. On a bad day she looks like an animated Faberge Egg. Today is a Grade-A bad day. She’s a jittery worrier given to lengthy considerations about the cost of electricity and Angela’s inability to tame the sand always present in the hotel. Her imperious gaze settles on the pyramids of it at Angela’s feet.
Angela resumes sweeping and Leddie heads for the hotel front desk where her arcane accounting system will tell her that Vermeer’s bill is due to be paid today. That’s the same Vermeer who owes a month’s lodgings and who this morning warped his bank card trying to help Angela unlock the bathroom door, the other side of which held all the hotel’s keys.
He’s currently taking shelter from the rain under a palm tree and considering two possibilities: sleeping on the beach among the sand fleas while he waits for his ATM card to reach him via courier, which should take about three to six weeks if he’s lucky; or going to throw himself on the mercy of Leddie and offering to assist the overworked and enchanting Angela in exchange for a deferral of payment on room and board. He knows Leddie will negotiate for added interest. So long sand fleas, he decides and heads back.
He reaches the hotel’s front door just as John steps into the shower. “Yee-ow! What the fu…!!??”
Maybe I can fix that, muses Alex Vermeer. Nah. Why spoil a perfectly good rite of initiation? Welcome to the Hotel Leddie, whoever you are.