Ray walked out of the bank infuriated. He joined the special committee at work for 12 long months in the promise of a $5000 dollar bonus. It wasn't his fault that the company had experienced losses due to Covid.
"Dam it!' Ray swore aloud on the Citi National bank steps. Several passers by moved to the other side of the steps to avoid what looked like a very enraged customer.
Ray looked at the bank slip of $1,200. He crumpled the paper, shoved it in his pocket and walked home.
At home Ray starred at the computer screen for hours before clicking the mouse. He deleted the image of the Bahamas Island and hung his head in his hands.
It was the dream vacation he held out for. He sucked up to Spanner for 12 weeks to get this bonus. Not to mention the grueling meetings and all that stupid paper work. His fingers were tired of cutting and pasting from works online. Oh and the sleepiness nights of trying to polish up all those files to make them look like his handiwork.
Ray sighed. Just then a notification popped up on his screen.
Bahamas Deals. Apply now. Limited time offer. Dont miss out. Buy Now!!
Ray's heart leaped.
He clicked on the offer before it disappeared...or he woke up.
Airfare, 4 days and 3 nights, economy rooms, 2 meals included, beach resort.
Ray blinked hard several times.
Sure it wasn't the 5 star balcony overlooking paradise island and the Atlantic ocean with oyster breakfast, shrimp lunch and lobster cocktails 24/7 but this...this was the answer to his prayers.
Ray clicked through, gave his card details and chuckled as the receipt of confirmation came up.
Ray held his backpack and carry on case, one in either hand as he climbed aboard the tiny Bahamasair plane. He was still grinning from ear to ear with his dollar store dark shades sitting cool on the bridge of his nose.
'Tiny airplane, big adventure here I come.' He smiled to himself.
He squeezed through the slim isle of the 18 seater plane and finally found his seat.
3A, a window seat. Yup things were getting good.
He had just put his bags in the overhead and buckled in when he heard a commotion coming from the front of the plane. He couldn't quite make out who or what it was. but all the passengers on the plane could hear the conversation.
"Madam, we do not allow animals in the main cabin. We have to put him under plane belly."
" For your information, it is a she. And under the plane belly means the Airport floor. Are you mad? No I can't be separated from Boobles."
"But Madam we cannot fly with..."
" Are you sure she will be comfortable? She only flies first class. This is really insulting."
" We take best care madam."
Ray couldn't see the pair conversing but he was sure it was pilot and some unruly passenger.
He settled down and placed his headphones over his ears and closed his eyes.
He was just about to doze off when he was jostled awake by something. He opened his eyes to a huge butt. She filled the isle keeping anyone else from passing as she pushed and shoved and pushed a bag into the overhead across the isle from where Ray sat.
She was literally shaking the small plane as she did so.
Ray sat up with concern.
'It might be too big."
The butt swung around and now a big patchy red glaring face was looking at him.
' Don't know if it's any of your business but it will fit." With that she swung around again and made one last shove.
Ray was faced with butt again.
Ray took a deep breathe and prepared to go back to nap.
He was jostled again.
Big butt was now taking her seat...beside him.
"Where are the belts? Don't tell me they forgot to include the seat belts for this seat." She rocked back and forth in the seat looking for the belts and shaking everything including Ray as she did.
Ray sat up.
His shades slid off his face.
,"What's the matter now?"
"Oh you are a nosy man indeed. I am looking for the belt. I think they forgot the belt for this seat."
Ray looked at her as though she had lost her mind.
He reached down the almost non existent space between them and pulled up one side of the seat buckle. The woman shrieked as his hand brushed her thigh.
"Here is one. I think you can find the other on the other side if you just reach under a bit. Now if you don't mind. I am going back to napping."
"Well I never!"
"Ma'am am please dont make me respond to that." Ray said with eyes closed and shades resting on his nose bridge.
If he had opened his eyes he would have seen the degree of red that her face went to.
Ray opened his eyes for a moment trying to remember where he was.
'Ah yes, on my way to tropical paradise. To breathe and live like a king. Lobster here I come, beach wait for me.' He chuckled aloud. Then he stopped. There was a large body beside him and it was closing in.
"What are you doing?"
"The view is just amazing. Oh I need a snap shot. It's so beautiful."
She fumbled through her purse for her camera.
Ray looked out the window and forgot everything. The turquoise green waters were calm clear and incredibly inviting. He could almost feel their warmth pulling him in.
Ray was just getting lost in his tropical fantasy when a light flashed him from the side. Then another flash and another and suddenly she was leaning in.
"could you lean back a bit. I just want to.." she kept clicking.
Ray instinctively leaned back. It was all he could do to keep from being swallowed up.
Finally Ray was on the bus. Customs and airport clearance was a breeze.
'I like the tourist angle's'
Ray smiled to himself...
For a minute
" madam he cannot ride in the bus. We must put him in the top compartment."
" I will have you know that Boobles is a she."
" my Boobles always travels first class...will you handle her with care?"
" we promise, we promise"
Ray ducked down in his seat and fixed his shades tight on.
The ride was a short one. The island had little traffic. The air was warm and smelt of the beach. Ray breathed it in deep.
Ray stepped off the old island bus and pulled his single case travel bag behind him. His back pack was on his back and he was whistling. There was no rush. Oh no, this was what the vacation was all about.
He waltzed up to the reception desk and gave a smile to the clerk who smiled back twice as eager.
" Welcome to BahaResort. My name is Anton. Let me check you in sir"
"Much appreciated. " Ray smiled.
" And Sir, your room mate should be arriving anytime now also"
Ray's smile dropped.
"Excuse me? My roo...my what?"
Before he could get a response.
Another visitor approached the desk. She had a small cage in hand with an oversized furry creature in it. It was hard to decipher what it was exactly.
"Welcome to the BahaResort. My name is Anton. Let me check you in." Anton smiled at the lady.
There was no need to check who the guest was beside him. Ray knew this lady all too well now.
'Just my luck that she's checked in here.'
"...and good news Ms. Beatrice. Ya roommate is here already."
Ray heard that, and a sinking feeling started to surge in the pit of his belly.
" Mista Ray, please meet Ms. Beatrice."
The blood drained from Ray's face as he turned slowly to face Beatrice aka Ms. Butts.
" oh you again. Were you...were you following me all this time?"
Beatrice placed both hands on her hips as she gave Ray a hard stare. There was an odd look on her face. It was amusement.
" Following you? Me...I....wait, what do you mean room mate. I booked a single ticket?"
" Sir, you must have missed the fine print. The special deal is based on double occupancy. Of you did not tick da box, it means you wish us to assign a room mate for you. Yes Ms. Bearrice is your roommate."
Ray felt his jaw dropping. He really didn't know what to say. No words seemed adequate...at all.
" Oh I get it. You dont have to act shy now do you." Beatrice winked in the direction of Ray.
He wasn't positive but he was sure that she was blushing.
The room was perfect, Ray thought to himself apart from the Butt Beast that was in the opposite bed room. He stared at the door of his room as though he expected her to come rushing in any moment with that sick look of amusement on her face.
Ray shook his head trying to null the image.
The room was standard. Half a fridge, microwave, two separate bedrooms- thank God- and a small living room in between. There was a glass sliding door overlooking the pool- which was 100 meters away. The beach itself was as Ray recalled Anton quoting..
" a short walk of 1/2 miles away".
Ray smiled to himself. 1/2 a mile was doable. He picked up his beach bag and slung it over his back. It was about lunch time. Perfect for hitting up his first free meal.
"Here I come lobster monster, yum yum!'
Ray turned the knob of his door, stepped into the living room space and froze. Ms.Buttickus...or rather Beatrice was standing in the living room. Was she waiting for him?
Buttickis...Beatrice smiled and tilted her face at an angle. It was creepy Ray thought. Reminded him of someone posing for an Instagram shot but this was not the kind of person who should.
Ray shook his head and tried to move on.
"Hey roomy. Where you headed?"
Ray froze, then figured what the hell.
"Am heading for some lobster, if you must know."
" Oh darn, you clicked on the coupon offers too? I was...."
"What are you talking about? Coupons? Am sure the buffet here is enought to..."
Buttickus...Beatrice roared with laughter. Buffet..buffet? You got the vacation cheap package to spend $79.99 at the buffet?"
"What are you talking about? The deal comes with 2 free meals."
Buttickus- Beatrice laughed again and pointed to something onto of the microwave. It was a tray with 2 Bahasoft soda drinks, 2 Bahamango chips and 2 large yellow bananas.
"what's that?" Ray asked
"That's a free BahResort meal."
Ray looked from the tray to Butttickus-Beatrice, then back to the tray.
His face was about to fall but he couldn't let it.
12 months of cut and past, fake smiles that had etched lines in his jaw, 2 hour meetings every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.
Ray could feel himself caving in. It was wrong. It was all so wrong.
Then he heard Buttickus- Beatrice .
"...but I managed to get double coupons for just about every day. This ones king crab at the Island Crab House, famous for best crab dishes in town. And oh yeah...its an all you can eat with..."
Ray's head came up fast, like he just remembered something.
"And you know I thought it was a crying shame. Just a crying dam shame. I mean how could they right?"
Buttickus- Beatrice looked a little bewildered.
She looked questioningly at Ray.
"Ms. Boobles of course. How could they think that she should ride under the belly of the plane. I mean everyone knows that's the airport floor. And what was with that bus driver? It's clear she only travels first class right?"
Buttickus-Beatrice bewilderment turned to sheer delight. She smiled.
"You know, I think I will join you Ms. Butti
....I mean Ms. Beatrice"
Ray moved to open the door for her.
"You see what I have to go through don't you? I mean we have never experienced anything like this before. I swear someone should teach these guys the art of..."
Ray nodded and smiled. He could feel the etching of the jaw lines but that didn't matter. Tonight King Crab, tomorrow...