Things like topless sunbathing are heavily frowned upon when you venture west. Miami Beach is a destination for well-heeled world travelers who are looking for a party atmosphere, and because other countries permit bare breasts ocean side, the practice is generally ignored. Not so if you choose to sample the greater Clearwater-St. Petersburg region.
Cocaine traffickers who frequent Miami Beach might assume that the atmosphere they are accustomed to is the norm throughout the state, but Jose Caballero discovered that the Tampa Bay area is quite close-minded when it comes to things like having sex in the middle of a crowd of beach-goers.
The area in Florida near Tampa is teeming with retirees from Massachusetts. You're likely to rub against Irish Catholics and descendants of Irish immigrants who made good and saved enough money to enjoy the warmth of Florida in their old age. They don't like the Miami area because it's too crowded, too congested, too noisy and too full of Cubans. They flock to their own territory, and preserve the Catholic ethos among the natives who tend to be staunch members of the Bible Belt club.
|Did you bring a towel? I thought you brought a towel.|
So when Mr. Caballero was struck by a powerful wave of testosterone, he turned to his girlfriend for relief. He was aroused by the salt air, perhaps, and could not wait to get back to a hotel room. "Elissa, mi amor, let's do it here," he might have whispered in her ear, and in front of a three-year-old child and said child's granny, along with many, many other witnesses, the couple had sex. Twice. Without any cover-up to at least try to hide what they were doing.
We live in a world of video cameras in every phone and wouldn't you know it but someone filmed the second escapade. The video became evidence in court, and the grandmother testified against the loving couple. She had to explain what those two people were doing to the three-year-old, you see, and if there's one thing a grandmother doesn't want to explain to her granddaughter, it's sex.
Because Mr. Caballero was recently released from prison after serving time, he stands to face a much harsher sentence. Recidivism will do that to a man. He might be saying good-bye to Elissa for fifteen years, although with time off for good behavior, they could be fondling one another in seven to eight years.
He could have avoided the harsher sentence by accepting a guilty plea and a plea bargain, but in his brilliance he thought his lawyer had the best defense. The video, and the witnesses, didn't see any actual penetration, so maybe he was just going through the motions. Like a lap dance, but in a prone position?
The jury was made up of local people with a different sense of morality than that one might encounter in Miami Beach. They came, they saw, and they returned a conviction in as much time as it took to fill out the jury forms and walk back into the courtroom.
Now Jose and Elissa are on the sex offenders register, which means they must check in with local authorities wherever they go. Their names will be featured in an online database so their neighbors can be informed of the presence of perverts. If Elissa had any desire to enter a profession where she deals with children, she'll be hard-pressed to get beyond that sex offender label, but there's money to be made tending bar and the tips are good so all is not lost.
And no one cares if their cocaine supplier is a sex pervert, either, so Mr. Caballero can find employment once he gets out of jail.