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THIRTY-ONE
“Ready?” Joe hollered as he entered room 314. “The bus leaves in five minutes; otherwise we’ll have to wait an hour for the next one.”

“Ready,” Beth replied, holding out her hand to Brian. “Come on buckaroo, we gotta make tracks!”

“I no buckaroo,” Brian replied, face pinched.

“He’s right you know?” Joe said. “He would be a caballero. Do you have everything packed?” he said, nodding at the bag Beth held. “Nice jerseys by the way!” he added, noting the white with red and blue Iceland National Team away Football Jerseys.

“Yep. Got everything we need,” she replied, reaching into her tote bag and handing Joe a National Team jersey. “Put that on and then we’ll match,” she directed as she  opened the hotel room door. “We even got Mr. Velveteen, didn’t we, Bry?”

Brian patted the stuffed rabbit’s head, saying, “Mr. Velveteen.”

“Excellent. We’ll try not to get him too scuffed or threadbare,” Joe said with a wink before adding, “I’m not usually one on the matchy-matchy, my sweet, but let’s fly the colors. Go! I’ll lock the door,” he commanded, slipping into his team apparel.

Beth threw the canvas tote over her shoulder as she scooped Brian from the ground, buried her nose in his belly and twitched her head back and forth until he laughed and then headed for the stairs. “Let’s beat Daddy!” she said, opening the fire door.

“Go, Mama!” Brian urged, twisting his neck to watch his father’s approach.

“Easy, love!” Joe remonstrated his wife. “Careful on the stairs; we’ve got time.”

Beth twisted her hand up at the wrist in acknowledgment as she quickly counted stairs. “One, two, three, four, five,” she enumerated until her foot touched the first floor where she declared, “Thirty-five!” and then cheered. “Where are we going?” she asked as Joe held open the door.

“Front door. Under the little overhang,” he answered. Chuckling he added, “You counted to thirty-five.”

“Well, yeah? We usually count. Oh! Ha!” she added, catching his reference to early that morning. “Too funny. Goodness, was that just six hours ago? Feels like six days.”

“We just need to get over our jetlag. There’s the bus,” he added, reaching into his pocket and retrieving the three tickets. “Hey, amigo,” he hollered, “hold the bus!” to which Beth laughed. Joe tilted his head and asked, “What’s funny?”

“‘Hold the bus.’ When I was in junior high I had a bus driver who used to say that a particular way every time one of the kids hollered that. It was from some crazy kids show. I looked the show up on the internet? Some Sid and Marty Krofft thing? The sixties were crazy.”

“Hmm,” Joe replied, eyebrows dancing up then down, “and of course the seventies were so much more reasonable, yah? I think it’s just American television that’s crazy,” he added, gently elbowing his wife.

“Hola!” Beth said to the driver, “¿Qué tal?”

The driver hesitated a moment before answering, “Bien, ¿y tu?” adding, “were you not on the bus this morning?”

“Us?” Beth asked. “Nope. Taxi ride from the airport but no bus.”

“Okay,” the driver replied, extending the oh, “you just look very familiar to me. And the boy,” he added, pointing at Brian as he handed the top part of the tickets back to Joe.

“Huh,” Beth replied with a shrug, “you’re the second person to tell me that since we arrived in Puerto Vallarta. Maybe I look like a local weather forecaster or something?”

“Perhaps,” the driver conceded. “Or a telenovela star,” he said with a big grin. “Come, I will drive you to the beach,” he added sweeping his hand dramatically towards the camioneta.