We headed back to Key West. There was an oily swell over the banks on the way back. What wind there was settled into the stern. Bra's conchs had begun to rot and stank abominably. The punch set badly. Our faces were green. Our lips were cold. Nobody actually threw up, but we were a pallid and silent crew until we reached the lee of the first low patches of mangroves that lay in the approaches of Key West.
During those years Ernest and Pauline bought themselves a lovely high-ceilinged old stucco house near the lighthouse. Life became less free and easy. Ernest was the famous writer now. Literary gaspers entered the scene. But the boys, then known as Gigi and the Mexican Mouse, were cuter than ever. Pauline was a darling. We had fine evenings at the Asturian's, eating baked snapper or french-fried yellowtail and drinking buckets of dark Rioja wine. We all still had a great deal of fun. Nobody escaped unkidded.
Then we came back to Key West one day and found that some damn sculptor had done a bust of Ernest. The plaster cast was in the front hall. It was the kind of sculpture that might have been carved out of soap. I never could take portrait sculpture very seriously. I used to try to ring the bust with my panama hat when I came in the door. One day Ernest caught me at it. With a peevish look he picked my hat off his bust's head and dropped it in a chair. He was sour the rest of the day. Nobody said anything about the bust but after that things were never quite so good.