This morning was suppose to be humid and hot, but the cool breeze reminded me of another place and another time.
The room was full of shadows from the setting sun. Shuttered windows wide open catching the last rays of light. The constant breeze blowing sand upon the floor was warm, yet hitting the shadows became refreshing. Ceiling fans continued to mix the air of sunshine, sand, smoke, and an air of an unknown place.
Every round wooden table was filled with separate parties, but a group atmosphere brought them to this place like members of a club. The sounds of muffled conversation and clinking glasses created a soundtrack for this comfortable setting.
In one corner were dark characters sullen and hunched over their drinks looking deeply into one another as if a secret mission was being discussed. Another table was filled with laughter and slapping each other recognizing the jokes. Some figures sat staring into their glasses without a word, while others grew louder as the drinks continued.
A long bamboo bar stretch the length of the room filled with multi-colored bottles and a busy bartender sliding between chrome bar stools filled with patrons oblivious to the rest of the room.
Suddenly the room went silent.
A shapely woman stood in the doorway. The summer breeze blew her flowered wrap around dress showing long legs as she surveyed the room. Shaking her hair to the side she gathered herself and walked up to the bar being followed by all the eyes.
The bartender stopped his previous action and immediately step up asking "What can I do for you lovely lady?"
She stared at him then turned to the room, shutting the stares. Turning back to the white shirted smiling man with a little drool dripping off his lip, she started to talk when....
The bartender was shoved aside by a short man in a flowered shirt and straw hat with a contagious smile. As the bartender cowered off to the corner the young lady was asked, "What can I get you lovely lady?"
She looked at the descending bartender , then turning to this new request answered, " I'll have a Japanese Plum Wine."
The hum of the room began to build again as everyone seated at the bar stared at the lady and then the man in the flowered shirt to see what the response would be.
The man behind the bar tipped his straw hat at the request, turned and reached under a shelf. Out came a golden bottle covered in dust. He blew off the dust, opened the cork and poured the contents into a liquor glass. Sliding a napkin under the sunshine liquid he presented it to the attention of the room.
"I think this may satisfy you." he smiled.
She slowly looked down at the glass then to the man who was still smiling like a cat. She reached the glass with two finger and threw back in a single gulp. There was a audible gasp as she licked her lips.
"That will do. Give me another." she responded slamming the glass back on the bar.
The new bartender took off his straw hat while filling another glass . "And do you have a name pretty lady?"
Her head whipped back to the mirror behind the bar and staring at the drink maker asked, " Why should I tell you?"
Without a blink, he outstretched his arms with a welcoming hug and a broader grin saying, " I'm Rusty and this is my Tiki Bar and Fictioneering Factory."
She sipped the glass, then finished it off, sliding it back to the response asking for another.
"Fictioneering Factory?" she asked looking at the empty glass being refilled quickly.
"I'm also a writer. I observe what goes on in my bar and write fiction about it." Rusty explained with the third glass being emptied.
"You have a nice place here," she said whipping her hair aside to another gasp in the room. She had become the entertainment for the evening.
A group of pirates in the darkened corner began to laugh in a low unknowing manner as if harm was about to be had. Another group back from fishing off the coast talked quietly about mermaids and seahorses. A table full of leather clad men in chaps and eye patches downed their pitcher and wiped their lips.
She turned back for her next glass looking at the proprietor in the eye and said, "Ginger....Ginger Bonneau."
"Pretty name for a pretty lady." Rusty responded with light in his eyes. "Ready for another?" he asked raising the bottle, but a shadow ran across his face. The light left his eyes and he stood a fixed to the doorway as another figure appeared in silence.
A tall man in a white double breasted tuxedo scanned the room then moved toward the bar. Sauntering up next to the damsel, he smile at her, then with a serious almost fearful stare looked at Rusty. "I'll have a black and tan."
Rusty looked shaken as his attempt to make an effort to the woman had been shattered, "Yes..yes sir." he stammered.
"Where have you been?" the man asked the woman as she sipped yet another glass of the golden liquid.
"Ike, you are such a..." she started but was interrupted by Rusty.
"Here you go sir. You folks know each other?" he questioned trying to make small talk and calm his nerves.
The man grabbed his bottle and tapped her almost empty glass with a nod. "Yes, we go way back."
"So where are you headed?" Rusty asked feeling relieved the moment was over.
Ike looked at Ginger and they both grinned. In unison they turned back to Rusty and said, "The Enigma Club."
Again the room was silent as if someone had yelled "Fire" in a movie theater.
Rusty's face went flush as he stammered, "Enig..Enigma Club? No one looks for the Enigma Club. It's just a myth.... a rumor."
Ike and Ginger looked back to one another and smiled.