At the corner of Caroline Street, we toddled right, and ambled down the darkened corridor until we came abreast with the Caroline Street Market. It was still open and we could see a transient in there who was up way past his bedtime. He was holding an iguana under his left arm as one would a loaf of bread and seemingly endeavoring to purchase a 40oz. bottle of Colt .45 with his remaining spare change. He had the change spread out on the counter and the rough-looking grey-haired female employee was flicking the appropriate coins her way building toward the final countdown. Somehow it was an endearing scene, possibly only endearing in this part of the world, a drunken customer being coached and aided by an equally drunk employee, two drunks shooting for the same end result.
Gabrielle and I tarried until the deal was sealed, then the transient unscrewed the top of his Colt and offered the first glug to his co-conspirator.
She smiled and complied.
We walked on past Peacon Lane and there was no other sign of life. It was peaceful and quiet back here and it reminded us of how Key West had been when we first arrived on the island.
We turned left on Margaret Street and only passed one vomit slick, and two transients sleeping rough. The vortex had struck hard and heavy, and the first transient was asleep in the big planter out in front of the Cuban Coffee Queen. We saw a pair of bare legs sticking out of the planter and went to investigate.
"Is he alive?" Gabrielle asked.
I had a closer look. "Oh, that's just Marty. He's down from Pittsburgh. He does some work around the marina when he's sober."
We walked on, and came upon the second transient. He wasn't so much as asleep as passed out. He was lying sprawled in the bushes.
"Is he alive?"
"Not sure," I said. "Look there's an empty bottle of Popov vodka next to him, and by the stench, I would say he's the author of the vomit slick. Guess he couldn't afford the Monkey in Paradise vodka"
"Should we dialů"
"Oh, look, he just moved. Okay, he's good to go."
"He'll be over at the library tomorrow, enjoying some of the bought air," Gabrielle said.