The Belgian man puffs intensely on a Marlboro cigarette as he shows off his brand new camcorder. He struggles with the clumsy machine and hoists it onto his shoulder, then tells us all to look natural. We immediately stop what we're doing, becoming like images frozen in time.
He grunts and groans, muttering, "How does this damn thing work?!" He waves his hands at us as if directing an orchestra. "Got it! Pretend I'm not here!" Then he walks around the edge of his swimming pool pointing the camcorder at everyone.
He’s the only person we know who has a camcorder, and it’s quite a thrill to be filmed. We smile and wave, whilst others laugh and tell him to get lost or they'll throw him in the pool. His girlfriend, the sexy Brazilian, skips in front of him, teasing him, before diving into the pool.
Not everyone is so content. Lately, Lanny rarely leaves the confines of her back garden in Vilafortuny. She loathes hearing people talk of their parties, or anything to do with their social life.
"You wouldn't like it if you had to listen to so-called friends brag about what they get up to!" Lanny pouts as she sits slumped in a chair. Her white halter top and shorts accentuate her beautiful tanned skin.
She smells of yellow flowers and coconut. She offers me some luscious-looking red cherries. "I never wanted to come to Spain. We're only here because of my husband's job. And I think that that Jane's purple lip liner is absolutely awful!"
Lanny picks through the bowl of cherries perched on her lap. She spits out the seeds into her hand and tosses them. She does this with great finesse, looking every bit the lady with good taste that she is.
"I'm seriously contemplating going back home. My husband is always working. And I don't have any friends here." She bites on another cherry, then, after licking the juice from her lips adds, "At least I have a tan." She stretches out her arms to show how brown they are.
The way folk go on about tans is something that I've never comprehended. I've even met tourists who don't believe that I live here.
"But you don't have a tan! How could you have lived here all this time and not get a tan?"
Their eyes practically pop out of their heads as they stare at me in amazement. I've never had a tan in my life. I go red, then I go redder, then I get a rash, and then I go even redder still. People love to stand close to me, for, even if they have a really pale tan, they still look superb next to my beetroot skin. I could hire myself out as a booster of people's self-confidence.
"At least my tan is real. I'm sure that Jane's tan comes out of a bottle. She's simply too orange." Lanny licks her lips as she scoffs down the remaining luscious - looking red cherries. "My husband has a university degree. I'm almost certain that most of these other husbands don't. Maybe that's why they're always having barbecues together and why they never invite us."
The late afternoon sun spreads it's golden hue over the roof tops, over Lanny's tanned body. Suddenly an idea comes to me. She would make a good model for the Belgian man as he practices using his camcorder. He knows lots of people and would introduce her to his friends and acquaintances.
Lanny slides her large, circular sunglasses up over her forehead and squints her eyes as if she's seeing me for the first time.
“Gosh , you’re all red. I’d hate to look like you.”
Fortunately, I don’t take what Lanny says personally. At least, I don’t think I do.
Lanny places her sunglasses back over her eyes and stretches her legs out in front of her. Her long fingers fumble with the cassette player on the little table next to her. She finds the play button and presses it.
"You're so quiet. Thank God for that! By the way, there's more cherries in the kitchen. Could you get me them? There's a cassette tape on the kitchen table. Could you bring me it as well? I’m exhausted."