Saturday, November 3, 2012

Chapter 5 -- Revenge

Chapter 5
Marguerite spent every afternoon and evening with me at my bar, and was locked to my hip during all my free time.  We wanted the Sunset Splash debut at Mariscoes to be an uproarious success, so Marguerite designed and printed posters, which we plastered all over town; and  invitations, which we handed out to everyone who crossed our path.  I charmed every person that came to the bar, and proffered an invitation; while Marguerite periodically wandered the beach introducing her beautiful self to countless strangers, also proffering invitations.  We both did so with it in mind to find two women willing to participate in their revenge plot, and it was Marguerite who found them.  They were a couple of swimsuit models from California who were doing a shoot on the beach, and whom Marguerite befriended and convinced to play their parts in exchange for free cocktails at my bar.
 It so happened that the show was the same night as Marguerite’s last in Mazatlan—her flight home was the following morning.  And so as we planned the event, it was made bittersweet by their impending goodbye.
The day came, and the air at Mariscoes was fraught with anticipation.  But early on the day promised to be a huge success, when a crowd began forming around the bar shortly after noon.  Marguerite was the first to arrive, and after a pina colada she set the revenge plot in motion.  She went to a motel about a mile down the beach—Hospedaje Agave—and rented a room with a king size bed.  She made sure to get two keys from the desk clerk, explaining that the other was for her husband.  She then went and inspected the room.  She moved a large plastic fern from one corner to another, which gave a better vantage.  She then left the window unlocked, so that she could reach in and gain entrance.  She then locked the door, returned to my bar and started sipping another cocktail. 
The swimsuit models, Mindy and Chloe, arrived perfectly on time at the agreed upon four o’clock.  Marguerite introduced them to me; I greeted them with gratitude and a glass of rum punch.  Marguerite handed them each a hotel room key, and promised to point out Manolo and Juanito when they arrived.
Mariscoes was packed with young people when Sunset Splash began performing as the sun was setting.  Manolo and Juanito arrived shortly thereafter; and Marguerite immediately pointed them out to Mindy and Chloe.  After a brief discussion, Mindy decided to seduce Manolo, while Chloe would handle Juanito.  The girls left Marguerite and casually made their way through the crowd toward their respective prey.  Mindy approached Manolo and told him how incredibly handsome she found him to be while Chloe casually introduced herself to Juanito and asked where she might find someone local who could show her a good time.  Both conversations proceeded so that Manolo and Juanito—neither of whom had ever been very successful with the ladies—were in their greatest glory, and bragging to me every time they ordered a drink.  I smiled at them without while laughing within. 
At length Marguerite casually gave the nod, and Mindy and Chloe advanced the plan into the next phase.  Mindy was dancing with Manolo; she hugged him tight, nibbled his neck and whispered in his ear:  “Why don’t we continue this in my hotel room?”
With unconcealed glee Manolo took her by the hand and out of the dancing crowd.  She slipped the key in his hand and whispered in his ear:  “I’m in room thirty six at the Hospedaje Agave.  Stop and get a bottle of rum, get naked, get under the covers and turn off the lights and wait for me.  I have to go see a friend, to get a surprise for you.”
With a smile high and wide as a mile, he kissed her and hurried off.  At that moment I gave Marguerite the camera bag from behind the bar, we kissed and she hurried off to take her place.  Twenty minutes later, on cue, as Chloe and Juanito sat at the bar, she cupped his thighs with her hands, leaned her face in close, and sultrily said:  “Why don’t we continue this in my hotel room?”
Juanito was instantly aroused, and sat up and eagerly answered:  “Why don’t we?”
She gave him an agonizing tease of a kiss, slipped the key into his hand, and said:  “I’m in room thirty six at Hospedaje Agave.  Grab a bottle of coke and a bag of ice and meet me there.  Take your clothes off, climb under the covers, and wait for me with the lights off.  You’ll be there just a couple minutes ahead of me; I have to stop by a friend’s, to get a surprise for you.  I’ll see you in twenty minutes.”
Juanito exercised all his self control to keep from leaping off his stool.  He took the key and quickly replied that he’d be ready and waiting.”
I had arranged for Felipe to watch the bar for an hour or so, and the moment Juanito was gone, I turned the reins over to the boss and led a crowd of people I’d informed of what they might see if they followed me to the Hospedaje Agave.
Meanwhile, Marguerite had returned to the room and let herself in by reaching the inside knob through the window she’d left open.  She made sure the instamatic camera was ready and hid herself behind the plastic fern.  Manolo arrived first.  He was whistling and singing a Mexican love song.  She watched as he laid the bottle of rum on the table, disrobed entirely, went into the bathroom and quickly freshened himself, then turned off the lights and nestled into the bed.  Minutes later Juanito entered the room, and could not have been more accommodating for the photograph.  He didn’t even turn the lights on, and quietly placed the ice and the coke on the table, undressed and climbed into the bed, at which point his brother said: “Ah, mi amor mas bella.”
Each feeling that the other was a man, both leaped from the bed as if it were on fire.  For a moment they were both standing on the bed before jumping off, at which exact moment Marguerite stepped out and snapped a flash and an instamatic photo.  She then hurried to turn the light on, which was the signal to me and the rest to rush on in.  She kept taking pictures as fast as the camera would allow while the crowd and I poured in the door.  Manolo and Juanito were falling over each other trying to find their clothes.  I burst into belly busting laughter, which infected the gang I’d brought along, and the two utterly humiliated men managed to get back into their clothes and slink out, though Manolo turned back to face me, and angrily exclaimed:  “Hiciste este? Raton! Pendejo!” 
Marguerite was able to retrieve both room keys before the men escaped.  She also managed to get three great pictures of the naked brothers, including the one of the two standing on the bed in the height of their shock—it was a fantastic shot.
“Cuba libres for everyone!” I cried, holding the bottles of rum and coke in the air.  I poured out drinks and led everyone back to Mariscoes. Sunset Splash gave a fabulous performance, and we reveled late into the night (though Manolo and Juanito were nowhere to be seen).  The photos made the rounds repeatedly, and were a boundless source of amusement to all.  When the party finally dissipated, and after Mariscoes had been cleaned up, Marguerite and I returned to the hotel and spent her last night in bliss in the room at the Hospedaje Agave.

Early the next morning I escorted her to where her belongings were being kept, helped her pack, then hired a taxi and took her to the airport.  Our goodbye kiss was wistful in its sweetness; and unbeknownst to me, the last I’d taste of anything sweet in Mazatlan.  From that moment forth everything went bitterly sour. 
I returned to Mariscoes in high spirits.  I knew the Sunset Splash show had been a huge success, and reaped Filipe a handsome profit, and it had already been agreed that they’d play again the following Thursday.  I went to my cabana, where I stashed the three photos of Manolo and Juanito, then changed into swim trunks and bathed myself with a dip in the Pacific.  I then changed into my casual bar attire, and when I arrived at Mariscoes in the early afternoon, in time to start my shift, I expected to encounter an upbeat and elated Filipe.  He was not so.   He was pleased with the previous evening’s receipts, to be sure, but there was something odd in how he spoke to me, a subtle intonation of contempt.  He exerted his authority more excessively than usual, instructing me to take care of a couple minor things behind the bar before disappearing into his office.
Manolo and Juanito were looking out for my arrival, because the moment their father was gone they appeared at the bar.  Neither of their countenances was none too friendly, and Manolo said:  “Verganza es nuestra, cabron.”  (Which in English means: Revenge is ours.)
Juanito repeated his brother’s words, in a harsher tone, and they stopped and stared angrily at me.
I said:  “Amigos, you got me good in tricking me to kiss La Mujer Barbuda, and this brings us even.  It’s the tooth for a tooth the Bible describes.  You got me good, I got you back; now let’s be friends going forward.”
“Queremos los fotos,” Manolo adamantly demanded.
I had planned to be most willing to turn the photos over to them, but there was a nasty tone in his voice that my ego responded to with resistance.  “So much went on last night that I’ll have to see if I can even find them,” I hedged.  “If I do, they’re yours.”
Both stared harshly at me then muttered “Verganza es nuestra,” before going their way.
As the first couple hours of my shift went by, Filipe made the most annoying nuisance of himself.  While he normally left me alone, on this afternoon he decided to come out every ten or fifteen minutes or so and follow me around the bar pointing out insignificant tasks that he wanted me to do.  He was clearly displaying some displeasure with me, and I quickly suspected it had to do with the prank Marguerite and I had pulled on his sons the previous evening. 
While Filipe shadowing me behind the bar was bad enough, it was not the worst of the afternoon.  Just about three o’clock Carlita, the one and only Mujer Barbuda, wandered up to the bar.  I recognized her from a great distance, yet still had not the time to prepare for the shock of seeing her again face to face.  She happened to take up the very stool that my beautiful Marguerite had occupied for most of the past two weeks; and I caught sight of Manolo and Juanito watching from behind palm trees, and strongly suspected that they were behind her sudden appearance at my bar.
“I hear I missed a great party last night,” she said to me in decent English. 
“It was fun,” I curtly replied.  “What can I get you?”
“You’re even cuter than I remember,” she answered, smiling as seductively as she could.
I was unnerved and suddenly nauseous.  “What would you like to drink?” I asked, feigning to be busy.
She ordered a pina colada, and sat there and drank four of them throughout the afternoon, attempting to flirt with me every time I had to go near her.  She was severely cramping my style, and I could not believe the difference a day made: one before I had a gorgeous Venezuelan blonde on my arm, a rocking reggae band playing on the beach, and an outrageously funny prank perfectly in place to be pulled off; while twenty four hours later I had angry employers making me uncomfortable, and an unattractive woman making me squirm with her smile.
I had never been so relieved to have a shift over when I finally finished that one, and I took a couple of beers and went for a long walk on the beach. 
The next day proved to be more of the same: Filipe micromanaged my every step, Manolo and Juanito scowled and muttered at me, and Carlita sat at my bar staring at me.  It didn’t take me long to realize that I had probably ruined my good thing beyond repair, and in the back of my mind I started confronting the possibility that Mazatlan might be done with me and that it might be time for me to think about moving along.
It was the quietest afternoon I had seen at Mariscoes.  La Mujer Barbuda was the only person sitting at the bar for over an hour, and I had to spend some time chatting with her.  Finally a man approached and sat down, and after serving him I struck up a conversation to avoid having to talk to La Mujer Barbuda.   
His name was Raul, and he was a music impresario and band manager.  He had several bands under contract that were performing in the Relampogo Volando show, which was wending its way through Central America, and was making a three day stop in Mexico City the following weekend.  He was on his way there, had stopped in Mazatlan to eat and refuel, and on a whim decided to stay and spend the afternoon on the beach.  I hastened to tell him about the hugely successful Sunset Splash concert I had organized a couple nights before, and immediately finding common ground, we fell into easy conversation.  Everyone around me was scrutinizing my every move, and were determined not to let that conversation go off so easily.  First Manolo walked by giving me the evil eye and threateningly muttering, “Queremos los fotos.  Verganza es nuestra.”  Just a few minutes later Juanito followed behind and interrupted me by doing and saying exactly as his brother.  Noticing me engaged with another customer, La Mujer Barbuda guzzled her drink to create a reason to draw me back to her.  Her face was ever more horrifying, and the fact that I’d kissed it ever more revolting as it was revived in my memory.  I hurriedly replenished her cocktail and gracefully broke away from her attempt at starting a conversation with me.  I had finally resumed talking with Raul for a few minutes when Filipe came behind the bar and straightway to me and said that since it was slow he wanted me to empty, scrub and refill all the salt, pepper and spice shakers.   
In between the interruptions I gathered from Raul that he was leaving later that night, driving southeast toward Mexico City to be with his bands in the Relampogo Volando show; but that he wasn’t going directly there, but had to make a side trip to Guadalajara.  However he invited me to accompany him at least part of the way, and with all the negativity flying at me from every direction, I began to think it might be time to make my escape, and this would be the easiest and quickest way out.
Manolo walked by three more times muttering: “Queremos los fotos.  Verganza es nuestra.”
I finally shouted back that he’d get the ones of he and Juanito when I got the one of me with La Mujer Barbuda.  He swore that it was lost, I called him a liar, and we muttered imprecations at each other.
I turned to Raul and said:  “I’m going to take you up on that offer.”  I proceeded to explain to him everything that had happened to bring me to this point where everyone around me was either angry with or stalking me.  He understood perfectly, and reiterated that I was welcome to accompany him out of town.  “Of course I can only take you part of the way,” he explained.  “The business I have to tend to in Guadalajara I have to do alone.  But I can leave you wherever you like along the road, and you’ll have no trouble getting the rest of the way to Mexico City.”
“I’m traveling light,” I replied.  “Everything I need fits in a camping backpack.”
“There’s plenty of room for whatever you’re carrying,” Raul answered.
“I finish my shift here at five,” I said.  “Let’s say we me at Paco’s Tacos at six.  It’s a kilometer south,” I explained, pointing in the direction.  “I want to stay low key until then and disappear unseen.”  
Raul agreed to that, and stayed right until almost five, when he settled with me and we agreed to meet at Paco’s Tacos in little more than an hour.  I nonchalantly handed my cash drawer over to Filipe, said good night to La Mujer Barbuda, who suggested we get a drink somewhere, and went to my cabana.  I’d had a song in my head all day, so I sat down with the guitar and quickly worked out the cords to Snake Skin.
There I quickly packed my bag, secured the several hundred pesos I had hidden in the sand and the three photos of Manolo and Juanito, and prepared to leave.  I leered discreetly out the front door, and when no one was in sight, quickly slipped behind the hut, through the trees and into the streets of Mazatlan.  I went to the printer where I had made the posters and invitations for the Sunset Splash gig, and using the photos of Manolo and Juanito, quickly cobbled together fliers with captions around the pictures that read:  BROTHERLY LOVE, APPEARING NIGHTLY AT MARISCOES, MANOLO AND JUANITO.  And there they were in all their resplendent naked glory, as fresh as the moment they emerged from their mother’s womb.
I found Raul awaiting me, and with his assistance, we stapled dozens of fliers to poles and trees around Mazatlan on our way out of town.  I tossed the three original photos onto the steps of the police station, then we headed out on the highway south.  

Chapter 1 -- Bootleg
Chapter 2 -- Bootcamp
Chapter 3 -- Sands
Chapter 4 -- Forgiven Not Forgotten
Chapter 5 -- Revenge
Chapter 6 -- The Flying Lightning Shows

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