Jacuzzi Time by Matthew Dexter


When Jorge gets home from the hospital, the pelican is floating on the bloody bathwater, sipping bubbles. Jorge fixes the window hole while his wife recovers in the bedroom. He cannot make himself drain the swamp. As the days progress into weeks, the bubbles fade and disappear, and the blood coagulates. Jorge can hear the pelican turn on the jets in the middle of the night. Jorge has been supplying the bird with fresh fish. It is the least he can do. During Martha’s menstruations, Jorge shuts the door and turns on music while she sleeps in order to drown out the pelican knocking itself against the wood to get closer. After a while they decide the bird is family and let it crawl into their waterbed. The pelican maintains the bathtub with the dedication of a professional. Jorge keeps a stock of bubble bath on the ledge of the tub, with the lid open. When the drug war is over, Jorge is going to retire and return to his family’s ranch and raise the pelican in a privileged environment. This of course, depends on the wishes of the great bird, and if it prefers to stay in the bathroom, there is nothing Jorge can do. How can he tell it to leave after it saved his wife? Jorge will have to wait until one of them dies. And whoever is left breathing shall inherit the house.
     
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Like nomadic Pericú natives before him, Matthew Dexter survives on a hunter-gatherer subsistence diet of shrimp tacos, cold beer, and warm sunshine. He lives in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.