Seven (or so) Sins on the Isle of Spice: My new story in Islands


This month’s issue of Islands Magazine features my latest travel tale, “Seven (or so) Sins on the Isle of Spice.” Set in Grenada, it recounts how my entire experience on the small Caribbean island was charmingly altered by the fact that the airplane lost my luggage, leaving me without flip-flops:

Half a dozen failed footwear queries [in St. George’s] led me down a small side-street into what appeared to by my last remaining hope — a dimly-lit storefront staffed by a pious Grenadian grandmother who kept her gray hair up, nun-like, in a blue scarf.

When I asked about flip-flops, Blue Nun nodded and took me to a dusty shelf that displayed hand towels, coffee mugs, toothpaste, toy racecars, sewing supplies, and one enormous pair of plastic-mesh shoes. Swathed in the green-yellow-red colors of Grenada’s national flag, the shoes vaguely resembled “jellies,” the mass-produced plastic footwear that went through a brief phase of popularity among 14 year-old girls in 1983.

“I don’t think these would look too good on me,” I said. “Don’t you have something else?”

The old woman lifted an eyebrow. “Those shoes will keep your feet comfortable,” she says. “What more do you need? Anything more is pride, and pride is a sin. Just try them on.”

I took off my leather shoes and buckled the oversized jellies onto my feet. They made my feet look like a pair of Rastafarian water skis.

“Don’t you think they’re kind of ugly?” I offered.

“The only thing ugly in this world is sin,” she said. “Everything else is beautiful.”

Inspired by this enounter — and having conquered pride by wearing the oversized Rastafarian jellies to Grand Anse beach — I elected to explore the island of Grenada by seeking out the remaining deadly sins — wrath, lust, gluttony, envy, greed, and sloth.

The full story is not available online, but Islands can be found in most American bookstands or libraries.

Posted by | Comments Off on Seven (or so) Sins on the Isle of Spice: My new story in Islands  | June 9, 2006
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