Florida Gold

She wiggled her toes and pushed the white sand with her heels, then stretched her tan legs in front of her. He sat with his knees apart, his elbows propped on the aluminum arms of the beach chair. They both gazed to their left; burning, deep orange and streaks of grenadine marked the ocean horizon where the setting sun had just slipped out of sight.

Emily Myrick adjusted her sunglasses and murmured, “I guess it’s about dinner time.”

Tom Myrick sighed and straightened a bit. “Yeah, I guess so. We’d better go get cleaned up.” He rose against the weight of his inertia, keeping his balance by extending his hands. “Wow,” he said, rubbing his lower back, “how long have we been sitting here?”

Emily also came to her feet, weaving a little, tugging at the scanty Brazilian-cut bottom of her Agua Bendita bikini. “Glad I let you win the fight about the sunblock,” she said, inspecting her arms.

“You don’t need the fancy expensive crap. Just a drug-store brand SPF 30 or higher.”

“Yeah, whatever,” she answered. She slipped on her sandals, gathered her towel and beach bag.

They trudged towards the Key Colony Beach Hotel. Neither said a word.

Once inside their room again, Tom turned to lock the door while Emily flipped on the overhead light. “Well….” he said. He sighed.

“Yeah, well, hey … we did it, we got married. Maybe we shouldn’t have, but here we are on our honeymoon. I’m going to take a shower.”

Tom furrowed his brows and tilted his head slightly. “I was only going to suggest a restaurant….”

She slammed the door to the bathroom.

He sighed deeply, once again. He wondered how they’d managed to live together for three years as affectionate friends, playful lovers.  Her spontaneity and his cautiousness had been dove and tail. “But as soon as the wedding’s over, we irritate the hell out of one another, can’t think of anything to say, and sex is a chore,” he muttered.

“EEEWWWWW,” partly a moan, partly a scream, came from the bathroom.

“Emily, Ems, are you okay?” he rushed to the door and knocked on it.

“EEEWWW, yuck,” she shouted. She flung the door open. “The toilet. It’s totally disgusting. All I did was pee and when I flushed it … go look. It’s disgusting. All this crud started coming back up. Did you poop this morning?”

“No,” he said over his shoulder as he leaned into the green-and-black tiled room with the white pedestal sink. He stepped inside, and around a corner, and immediately recoiled. “Oh fuck, that’s disgusting,” he said.

“Let’s call the front desk.”

“No wait,…” he said, getting on his knees in front of the porcelain bowl.

She followed, standing over him, her hands on her hips. Her shapely body was covered by a short muumuu. “What in the hell are you doing?” she asked, her face scrunching up.

Bare handed, he plucked at something that floated in the brownish fetid mess. The toilet made a gurgling sound. Tom leaned back abruptly as more debris swirled into view in the murky water. “Gezus fuck,” he said, wincing at the smell. “What the hell?” He extended his fingers again.

Emily peeked over his shoulder. “Ewww, gross! What are you doing?”

He gingerly raised what appeared to be a stuffed condom hanging, dripping from his thumb and forefinger. He stared. “Oh my god, Ems, whoever was in this room before us, flushed something quick. It could be drugs.”

“Call the manager,” she said, but didn’t sound very convincing. “What’s inside it?” she asked after a pause.

Tom carefully pulled off the rubber, and they both gasped at once. “Holy fucking crap, it’s money.” He turned it over and inspected the very tightly wound roll. He slowly unpeeled the outermost bill and held it up for them both to see. “It’s Ben Franklin. If these are all hundreds….”

They both looked into the toilet at once. There appeared to be several more condom-wrapped bundles — maybe as many as ten. The husband and wife whispered rapidly as they did the math. Ten-thousand dollars in each … ten bundles … one hundred thousand dollars….

Emily’s face brightened, a flush spread across her cheeks. Her crotch throbbed. “Hurry,” she said. “I’ll draw the curtains and block the door. You get those loose. We’ll wash them off in the bathtub.”

“But … what if whoever put the money there, comes back to look for it,” Tom asked as he peeled off yet another hundred-dollar-bill. “The Florida Keys are kind of notorious for trafficking, maybe there’s some kind of drug deal going down?” He stared at his wife; she hadn’t looked this happy in years.

“Then we’ll have to hurry,” she said, her voice husky. “We’ll have to make sure we’re driving back to Ohio by tonight!”

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Rivka Jacobs

Rivka Jacobs

Rivka Jacobs

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