RHYMES WITH VENUS

How do you write a story like this? I guess the only way to write it, is as it happened. Any other way would make the bizarre shock of its discovery far less credible.

On a classic Sunday morning, my camera and I went in search of adventure. In the back of my mind, like most jaunts, I knew there would be nothing to shoot. Give me Manhattan. Give me Chicago or Detroit. Give me some grit and texture of an impoverished urban landscape. But what can be found of note, weekend after weekend in paradise?

I had some time to kill and decided to take an exit off a highway, that I would never normally take, because I had no idea where it went. In the back of my mind I was curious about finding a way to this luxury hotel that I passed on the highway a million times. There was no apparent exit to get there, except for on this one day, when I unexpectedly saw the discrete exit and off I went in search of this hotel.

Twirling around an underpass and straight through to a lifted gate surrounded by lush plants, I followed the road. Low posted golden signs directed drivers to valet parking, exotic restaurants and tropical villas with names that were hard to pronounce. The high sun made the impossibly beautiful even more of an unreal post card to view.

I went as far as I could go, parked and then found the trail leading to somewhere and began to walk. Eventually I found the end of the path that lead to a dock with two chairs on it. It was the most beautiful and cleanest little narrow dock with a pair of stained and finished Adirondack Chairs seated at the end of it. This is where two people would sit at the end of the day, at the end of the world and watch the sun set.

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I turned about and walked back. Discouraged and disgusted with the usual gorgeous. Fabulous fireworks of bursting flowers, cobalt blue waters, perfectly manicured little pathways between precisely private cabana entry ways. I heard the crashing pour of a delicate waterfall and followed the radio static sound to its needle shooting cascade.

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This was home to a school of Koi that were more rare and more beautiful than any I had ever seen before. The light made their wet lips shine sharply through the water in some places, and in other places rigid rock was turned soft and wavy like the smoke trail of a snuffed out candle. One could smell the perfume of bloom and sweet coconut carried from someones sunblock rubbed on from far away.

Shadows from swimming fish trailed throughout the pond like chocolate in wet shiny batter.

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Hypnotized by the calm of it all, I sensed another wasted shoot of predictable perfect. I knew I was missing the strange and bizarre but just had to find a way to get a better view of it all. I looked up to the heavens as if what I was looking for down here, would somehow be revealed to me from up there. And that’s where I saw an observation deck at the top of the hidden hotel.

I strolled among the elite presenting the look of belonging, as doormen, bellman and security let me pass because I walked with purpose and ownership. Floating to the top of that world, above all who are above all, I walked out to the farthest corner in sight, in order to look down to where I had been and learn of the unseen paths, that I could not have known existed.

Tunneling through the thick jungle were board walks not apparent from street level. I was confident that this was where I would find my place in time, that most others would miss, because they were not hunting for the odd and impossible.

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Once back down upon the path, I began to look differently at what most others see as being the same. Green trees could be seen as asphalt street texture and shadows  twist into painted racing stripes. The lure of boring beauty was just about to lull me into a relaxing unwind until…

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…I came to a clearing in the path. I first looked up to the sky and saw that I was standing just about where I had looked down at, just moments ago from the top of the hotel.  Then, I turned back out into the marshes that the walkway trail bridged crossed.  It seemed that a creek had just about dried up under the path and millions of little crabs were crawling around something huge and purple.

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In awe and shock I stood there and stared. I looked away and then I turned back again. I watched those little crabs crawl all around it, over it, under it, and this mighty purple form just laid there in the dark murky puddle. I looked up again as I heard strangers coming my way and wondered if they too would find this discovery a bit unusual.

I waited for them to get closer and… “excuse me…” I said to the two women and one man. “Have you ever seen so many crabs crawling around in one place like this before?” I pointed to the crabs. “Those are a lot of crabs” one of the women said standing next to me. The man and the other woman kept walking past and didn’t seem that interested.

“Why do you think so many crabs are in one place?” I innocently asked. She shook her head and said, “I guess that’s what crabs do.” I raised my camera and began shooting at the crabs. “Good thing I have my camera or no one would ever believe what we are looking at.” I said. She too got her phone-camera out and took a few shots. And with that, they continued on down the path while I continued shooting, staring and thinking.

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Why purple I thought? Why not beige or black or clear or pink? And what was it doing there? Was it tossed overboard from some cruise ship out in the gulf and was carried in by the tide, deep inland from all the rains we have been having, only to land at this resort under this bridge? Was it used by some frisky man or woman late one night, in the dark after a party and then in a fit of ecstasy, cast over the side of the rail and unable to be found or regained in the pitch blackness?

What was it doing there?  I stared and wondered how they made that thing. Did they interview models and when they found one, did he have to insert himself in a molding material? Or was it so perfectly straight and rigid that some master carver created the positive of the form in wax or clay and prepared it for mass production.

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And what about it attracted the crabs?  Do they think it’s food? Do they see it as some type of playground monkey bar to giggle and crawl all over?

After a while my eyes started to burn. Not from the pornographic view so much as I hadn’t realized how hot it had become and the sweat on my brow could no longer be held back by my bushy eyebrows and began to drench my eyes with salty sting. Time to go I thought. This was more than enough strange and bizarre for one afternoon… even for me.

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As I left the jungle a beautiful flower caught my eye. I thought it strange that it was almost the exact same color as what had just captured my view just prior.

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