Return to Key West: Part Two, R.I.P. Captain Tony

Outside the Green Parrot. In 1992, I think.

I was in a convenience store on Caroline Street, Sunday after the post-race party, a six pack of Fiji water and a laughably overpriced mini-bottle of Aleve in my hands, watching as the proprietor punched out tickets on the lottery machine and talked to the guy in front of me, a fortyish guy in cargo shorts, cap, and boat logo T-shirt.

“How’d it go, last night?” the proprietor asked.

“Bad,” he said. “Bad again. It was hardly worth going out.”

“It’ll turn around,” the proprietor said, with little enthusiasm. “I keep hearing on the news. The economy has already bottomed out.”

“Screw the economy,” the guy in front of me said. His shirt advertised Key West sunset cruises. “We’re all waiting on Cuba. Once Cuba opens up, we’ll all be sitting pretty.”

“Ah, Cuba.” The proprietor handed a couple of tickets to the boat guy. “There’s always Cuba.”
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Sleeping With The Angels

KWG2I don’t think anyone sleeps in the Key West Cemetery anymore. Key West cops are much more like cops anywhere else, now that Duval Street is no longer mostly abandoned storefronts from the Wreckers Museum to the Southernmost Point, and $500K won’t buy you a modest conch house.

But this was 1992 and I was six days into a five-day trip to Key West that was already four days too long and getting longer.

I was sitting at the downstairs bar of the Bull and Whistle, perched on a stool behind a Rolling Rock and three Bayer aspirin set out on a cocktail napkin by the bartender, who kept a jug of them beside the cash register. It was a little before 11am.

I’d just checked out of my hotel, left my bags at the front desk, and handed the rental car key to the guy I’d driven down to Key West with five days before. I told him I’d see him in Miami, walked out into the morning sunshine on Duval Street, and down to the Bull.
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