Five Stars

by Jeff B Willey

Illustration by Jennings Falzon

Stepping off a 1970s discount airliner they take first deep breaths and almost choke. The atmosphere seems equal parts water and air, enveloping them in a rich jungle stank of putrescent vegetation with a tang of shit. No clocks anywhere, time only hinted at. Concrete structures poking out from dense forest, either half built or half collapsed. Openings in concrete instead of windows, faded signs, patches of black rot.

A few people are walking around, short in stature and chocolate-skinned. A backdrop of buzzing static from overheated radios, the occasional hyperkinetic Spanish breaking through. Sleeping dogs. Blaring televisions with puppets in masks. Jungle rules.

A shuttle drops them off at the resort. They check in and after sorting their clothes they walk to the beach. Blinding white sand. A few hippies and rastafarians reclined in the shade. The young daughter of a Mexican aristocrat dives nude into an advancing wave, the husband trying not to stare at her bronzed suppleness.

It’s early afternoon, and this has been planned all year. He had taken his time in selecting the best thong at the boutique. Now he will reveal it on the riviera. Sliding his shorts down pasty legs he is left with only a smirk to compliment his electric blue banana hammock.

His wife is cheerful and obese, of the type who will naturally dominate skinny, weak men. She removes her top to expose distended breasts, and to these they toast.

The wine flows freely, as do cervejas, pina coladas, margaritas, daiquiri fresas. Drinks are included, so why not another. They will sample them all. Sun baking flesh a golden brown.

Buenas tardes playmates internacionales! announces the horny pool attendant. Coochy-coochy in the pool, children made to turn away. Muey caliente. Sun frying flesh an inflamed scarlet red.

On the altars of Yucatan pyramids await grilled chicken hearts. A sacrifice in your honor, adored gringos. Pollo carbona. Sea turtles in the laguna. Turtle soup at the buffet. They eat seconds and then thirds, followed by dessert.

After supper they hit the Discoteca. Under strobing lights the husband does the robot shuffle while the wife sways her arms back and forth in wide circles.

Returning to their room they view the spinning ceiling and warping walls. They take turns vomiting and then lay naked, blistered and sweating. Hours later a maid comes in, also spinning. The husband groans something. She ignores him, continuing to freshen things up around the sprawled bodies.

They awake in brain-throbbing agony. In fear of the sun and nauseated they lay in their room all day. Late in the afternoon they finally feel well enough for a walk on the beach.  In the fast-falling dusk the husband and wife notice an odd configuration of stars blink on in the sky.

It arises over the Caribbean sea, as written in Aztec texts, appearing as an orange globe, something like a figure sitting inside it. The couple stare up, mutter to their own god. It is Itzamna. Itzamna who watches over the Mayan people. The Mayan people, who clean up after hordes of devouring whites who feed like hogs at the snack bar and buffet troughs, who drink like fish all day before passing out in air-conditioned rooms, while the Mayans walk home late at night at the end of their shifts, back to shanties to eat a meal of tortilla and frijoles before falling asleep amongst iguanas, insects, rodents.

This has gone on long enough. The Mayans, who have been watching their calendars closely, know to stay inside on this the day of five stars.

Itzamna emits a fireball of radiative energy, and the couple are cooked to the bone, along with anyone else foolish enough to be lurking out in the open. It is officially blamed on a gas leak. All that remains is a massive crater peopled by charred skeletons, and the Mayans will once again emerge to clean up after their visitors.


JB Willey is a writer living in Ottawa, Ontario. He thinks that every moment in time already exists, believes the metaphysical croissant is edible, and likes to pretend his bicycle is a horse. See more at

A graduate from the MCAST School of Art and Design in Malta, Jennings Falzon is a versatile artist working in various media. Among his credentials is a stint as a concept artist for the Sky One series Sinbad.