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The prompt for this week was to write about the cottage, and to take some inspiration from a random song - via this site. I got Margaritaville, by Jimmy buffet. He sings about Margarita's, of course, a tattoo of a Mexican cutie, boiled shrimp, and sad life, where nothing is really his fault. I did about 975 words. 

I'll quote all the lyrics here, as I like them:

Nibblin' on sponge cake, watchin' the sun bake,  all of those tourists covered with oil. Strummin' my six string , on my front porch swing, smell those shrimp they're beginnin' to boil.
Wastin' away again in Margaritaville, searchin' for my long lost shaker of salt. Some people claim that there's a woman to blame, but I know it's nobody's fault.
Don't know the reason, stayed here all season, nothing to show but this brand new tattoo. But it's a real beauty, a Mexican cutie, how it got here I haven't a clue.
Wastin' away again in Margaritaville, searchin' for my lost shaker of salt. Some people claim that there's a woman to blame, now I think hell it could be my fault.
I blew out my flip flop, stepped on a pop top, cut my heel had to cruise on back home. But there's booze in the blender, and soon it will render, that frozen concoction that helps me hang on.
Wastin' away again in Margaritaville, searchin' for my lost shaker of salt. Some people claim that there's a woman to blame, but I know it's my own damn fault. Yes and some people claim that there's a woman to blame, and I know it's my own damn fault.
Jimmy glared at her, his fist raised.
"Stop nagging me. You push me too hard. It’s not my fault I can't get a job, it's all them damn immagrunts."
Jolene stepped back, out of range. She wouldn’t remind him his grandpa had been an ‘immagrunt’. That would just rile him even more.
But nothing was ever his fault.
Star quarterback in high school, he’d headed off to college on a football scholarship, and lost it after a year of partying.
Not his fault, as supposedly his coach didn’t like him.
Back home, she’d married Jimmy in a moment of weakness, and got him a job selling cars at her dad’s dealership.
He was fired after a year, for drinking on the job. And abysmal sales.
Not his fault.
They still had her salary as a legal secretary, so she convinced herself they should start a family.
But they couldn’t. Tests showed she was fine, but after too much years smoking dope he wasn’t.
Not his fault.
He’d started getting rough with her lately too, claiming she wasn’t being supportive enough of him.
Again, not his fault.
He’d come back from his latest fishing trip with the boys surprisingly contrite, though. He gave her his best salesman smile. "Tell you what hun, why don’t we go up to the cottage for a week. You love it there. Be a chance to get away, just the two of us."
She did love the cottage. It was a beautiful secluded place, with a big porch and a sweeping view of the lake down below.
So, here she was, watching Jimmy sit on the porch, scratch his big belly, drink can after can of beer, and strum his guitar – badly.
He belched. "This is the life, isn’t it. I just needed a break, then I’ll go back and straighten out. I’ll see if our old school is willing to try me as coach for the team."
Well, that was a good sign, although she’d heard it before. Maybe there was hope for him yet.
"It’s the least he can do after screwing me over the scholarship."
Or maybe not.
"I’m going to put the shrimp on," she said.
"That’s the good little wifey," he said. He reached out a hand. "Pass me that drink of yours, that Margarita thing. I never had one."
He sipped, then made a face. "Ewwh, you put salt on the rim?"
"Sure," she said. "Kosher salt actually."
"Kosher? Damn woman, what’s wrong with American salt? Make me one too. Actually, just bring the pitcher out. Before you get shrimp juice all over your hands."
She preferred him when drinking beer, at least it took him longer to get abusive. He was soon back to swearing and cursing everyone, everything, including the cottage.
"Damn place is a wreck. Once your dad leaves it to you we’re selling it. I’ll get a nice big boat, really impress the guys."
He lurched over to the stairs, bent over, with one hand on the railing, and pointed down.
"Look at that. One broken step, another one cracked, it’s a hazard."
She was aware of the broken step. She’d been there when Jimmy broke it on his way up from the dock, cutting his foot in the process. He’d promised to fix it, first thing the next day. As be bent over his shirt rode up and his pants hung down, exposing a tattoo on his butt.
A woman’s name, surrounded by flowers.
Not her name.
"Who’s Maria?" she said.
He turned around, all innocence. "What do you mean?"
"Maria," she said. "Tattooed on your ass. Was she the catch of the day on your supposed fishing trip?"
"Oh her," he said. "We changed our mind, went down river for the weekend. Met some ladies, just joked around." He held his hands up. "Nothing happened I swear! This Maria said she’d track me down—what a psycho. Look, the guys got me drunk, the bastards. Jolene honey, it will never happen again, I swear."
Not his fault. And not the first time she’d caught him fooling around, and now seemingly filled with remorse. That would explain his sudden desire to get out of town, too.
Jimmy turned back toward the stairs. "Damn women," he muttered.
That was it. She was leaving the useless bastard. She had some savings so she’d just skip town. She sighed. She really hated to leave this place though, her dad, her town.
She watched Jimmy as he swayed back and forth. Wouldn’t take much, just a little push and he’d be down the 20 or so stairs, head over heels, all the way down to the dock. Probably break his fat neck.
He turned and looked back at her, standing with her hand raised in front.
"Get to those shrimp. I’m going down to pee on the fishes."
He started down, carefully avoiding the broken step. The next one cracked, he lurched, windmilled his arms for a moment, then fell forward. He managed three complete somersaults before he hit the small dock, then continued right on into the water.
It was a drop of two feet from the dock, so he hit with an awesome splash.
She was surprised when he surfaced and weakly waved an arm at her. It must be true what they say about someone falling like a drunk. The bastard had managed to survive the fall.
Too bad he couldn’t swim. At all.
"Jolene! Help me!" He sank below the surface then surfaced, coughing, panic in his voice. "Get your skinny ass down here and pull me out."
She put her drink down and walked to the top of the stairs. Two of them broken now. Who knows how many more were cracked. She’d better be careful and take it slowly.
She smiled as Jimmy went under yet again.
Wasn’t her fault.



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Joyce Juzwik

How eerily similar our stories are. Sort of follow the same path with similar type folks, but each takes a different fork in the road. Jimmy really sounds like a stand-up guy that the world is out to get. Of course, nothing's his fault. Sometimes fate just has it in for you. And poor Jolene? Unfortunately, she was in the same situation. It wasn't her fault she couldn't get down those stairs fast enough. One does need to be cautious when there is risk of personal injury...

This is great! The good news is fate's solution to Jolene's 'problem' will be permanent. Way to go!

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