—-What a wonderful life I’ve had! I only wish I’d realized it sooner—-Colette
—Once, a long time ago, I worked for Carnival Cruise Lines.
Believe me when I say, I dealt blackjack like a bitch on fire.
Fast. Hard. Sizzling. Out of control.
The manager, Orlando Pastrana, placed me with the highest rollers because I took their money hastily, thirstily.
Why? I don’t know. I just did.
I remember one of the players exclaiming, “Boy, you are mean.”
I responded, “That’s why they hired me. And please don’t call me a boy.”
By the way, he was playing 7 hands at $10,000 dollars a hand.
Ship life has a culture all it’s own.
A culture of freedom without inhibitions.
A culture of instant gratification & fulfillment.
Living above the Caribbean Sea offers a fantasy life, a life of escapism.
A life of pina coladas & soft sun kissing bare skin.
One can wear a full mask of multi–colored feathers, deep cherry lipstick, a short skirt….and live the untamed life of Nin, Parker, or Colette.
One can be whomever she wants to be.
It’s sweet & addictive ( for awhile)
It’s beautifully pleasurable (for a while)
The Italian officers loved us.
They loved the Casino Girls, the European girls, the American girls.
“Come sei bella. Voglio verderti stasera.”
( how beautiful you are. I want to see you tonight)
What they were really saying was; I want sex with you.
Augustino asked me to view “Terms of Endearment” five times. He also asked every other Casino Girl on the ship.
Augustino was beautiful. He smelled of Coconut & Olive Oil.
He smelled of Italy.
And he didn’t give a damn about Shirley MacLaine or Debra Winger.
He just wanted to get somebody between his satin sheets.
That was a lifetime ago.
An education ago.
And I admit….
Sometimes I want it all back.
Nik, Augustino Fazio, Me.
—Dear, Reader, Is there a time in your life you’d like to revisit, or perhaps, NOT?