Audra’s annual two-week vacation, spent this year on a Caribbean cruise for “mature singles,” came to an end in a concrete-floored karaoke tourist bar in Nassau. The smell in the place was a spirit-dampening concoction: a mix of stale spilled beer, AXE Body Spray, and wet feet. She stubbed out her cigarette in an ashtray overflowing with butts and peanut shells with a weighted sigh. Monday morning would bring another 50 weeks of staring at shipping invoices on a computer screen, and listening to her co-worker Sandra’s endless, pointless stories about people Audra did not know nor care about even one tiny bit.

A cruise mate, a red-faced man in droopy dad jeans and a tropical shirt that clung to his gut with sweat, stepped up onto the low stage. He weaved slightly as he held the microphone in one hand and a daiquiri in the other, and nodded towards Audra. “Thizz onez fer Audrey, the priddiest woman onna ship!”

As he crooned Elvis Presley’s “It’s Now Or Never” to her to the general disinterest of the other patrons, she gave him a dull smile, wondering if the restroom window might be just big enough for her to squeeze through.

("It's Now Or Never," Karaoke cover, THE GMBHEART)