Guided Tour

Mary Ellen Lives

Two girls stood at the edge of a mossy cliff above the forth of seven waterfalls in the Grand Etang Reserve. Andru waited behind them, studying their figures. They were good looking: one a petite longhaired brunette, the other a tall sporty girl with short cropped curls. Both had nice butts. Americans. He knew right off from their accents and the way they carried themselves, like they watched a parade, the world marching by for their enjoyment. Brits postured like they were the ones parading. And the French? They seemed to lounge on the air as if it were a banister.

The sound of water was all around. Vegetation, jade green, and dripping wet, exhaled a thick verdant scent. Mona monkeys chattered in the canopy of virgin forest. The athletic girl made pictures with her digital camera. That was the same with all tourists, no matter where they came from.

Andru had been dozing in the cultivated groves of banana and nutmeg trees that skirted the inland mountains when the cab with the girls pulled to a stop.

“What are your names?” Andru asked at the trailhead.

“I’m Allison,” the tall girl said, “she’s Beth.”

“Allison, Beth.” Andru repeated each name to get familiar. You got better tips if you were familiar—a little brother to the men, a flirt with the women. “Beautiful names for beautiful American girls.”

The small girl blushed and stammered a gracious thank you, but the athletic girl’s eyes narrowed. He could see she was a tough one.

“My name is Andru,” he said, “like the Prince of England, but it is spelled different. Grenadian spelling. And we say it the island way with the stress at the end.”

“How much do you charge for a guided tour, Andrew?” the tall girl asked, mispronouncing his name.

“For the Seven Sister’s Trail? Twenty dollars.”

The girls gave each other a wary look.

“That’s Grenada dollars,” Andru added, “not American. Very cheap.” He closed one eye and squinted at the azure sky. “About…seven dollars to you.”

“Could we go alone?” the tall girl asked.

He puckered his full lips. “It’s better with a guide. The path twists. You could get lost.”

The longhaired girl shrugged at her friend. It gave Andru hope. “I can tell you names of plants and animals. I can tell you the stories of the island.”

He tucked his chin and gazed at them through his long lashes. He knew this was an attractive expression. It complemented his large brown eyes and heightened his cheekbones. “The Handsome One,” his mother called him. Though a tease, he knew it to be true. A chance breeze ruffled his unruly hair, blowing strands across his forehead. He had them then. He saw it in their eyes.

“What is this called?” At the periphery of the waterfall, the petite girl stared at a brown animal clinging to a volcanic rock.

“Oh, that?” Andru said, “we call that lee-zard.”

The petite girl studied the animal. The tall girl laughed. “Lizard? Funny, that’s what we call them, too.”

She rolled her eyes at her gullible friend and started walking.

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