It was just after 11:00am and I was surrounded by chickens. Head pounding and unable to focus on the scramble of words on the menu, I compose myself just long enough to ask the blonde waitress for a big greasy cheeseburger. Save me burger, save me. My location, Blue Heaven in Key West. My state of mind, hungover. Badly.
I was on island for the Key West Songwriters Festival. A spontaneous writing trip to catch the Pirate Sessions band and the other great live singer songwriters that would be performing over the course of 4 days. I was sailing solo, having jumped on the Key West Express ferry early that Thursday morning. The boat pulled into port around 11:30 and I was two Bloody Marys in. Ahhhh, Key West.
I had never traveled to Key West by myself before. Yes, I had a couple rum buddies who live on island but I wasn’t scheduled to hang out with them until Saturday. Going solo is a different experience. No one to really talk to and hang out with. It was just me and my camera. I rode my rental bike from place to place, catching four great musicians before sunset. Of course each location, be it a hotel or bar, had it’s own special drink that fit nicely inside the promotional festival cup. Gotta love Key West.
Once the blogger work concluded for the day I was off to find trouble. Trouble started at Captain Tony’s Saloon for a Pirates Punch. Then it was across the street to Amigos for a spicy burrito dinner and a Corona. I then stumble into Irish Kevin’s for a long session of entertainment and libations. JMH (Jared Michael Hopgood) was on stage performing his brand of music and shit talking. I’ve seen his act dozens of times but it never get’s old. Cheers JMH, she f**kin’ wants me too!
Things get a little fuzzy after Irish Keven’s. I believe I trip into the Green Parrot, order one beer and realize it might be time to find my hotel. A hotel I had never stayed at before. Apparently I successfully found my room at the Angelina House off Whitehead St. and Angela St because that’s where the suffering started.
I peel open my crusty eyelids to see the taunting sun climbing skyward in the late morning. I don’t remember eating the handful of dirt or a used gym sock, but that’s what my mouth feels like. Head pounding, body aching, I curse myself, then I curse Key West.
Knowing I had to hit up more bands on this blurry Friday, plus catch Pirate Sessions perform that night on a Fury Catamaran. I needed a help. Help came in the form of massive amounts of water and food, oh beautiful food. I knew exactly where I would find this cure, located just half a block down was heaven…Blue Heaven that is.
Fighting back nausea, I slowly walk into Blue Heaven and find a table in the corner away from everyone. It was just after 11:00 am, between the breakfast and lunch rush. It was just me, a table full of sun burnt tourists and the chickens. Baby chickens were scrambling around my feet while a rooster sat on a tin roof screaming his rooster calls. I’ve never wanted to kill a bird before, but his calls were driving ice-picks into my head.
A burger dripping with grease arrives along with a full pitch of water. I force the sustenance down and slump back in the chair. After another pitcher of water the day’s outlook was suddenly starting to look better. I no longer wanted to fertilize the bushes with my stomach contents. Always a good sign.
The rest of the day progressed and slowly but surely the beating I took the night before started to fade. I even had a couple margaritas aboard the Fury Cat while Pirate Sessions played. I skipped Irish Keven’s afterwords though. Even a pirate needs his rest.
Thank you Blue Heaven. You answered my prayers.