latino_menace: (19 - B&W)
[personal profile] latino_menace



Maria

It has been a day like most others, so far. Ramon had been woken by the telephone ringing at around 1pm and been told by his uncle that he needed to go talk to one of the slumlords about a small gang from a rival cartel who have been hiding out in Ciudad Bolivar, trying to distribute amongst some of the more desperate people that live there. He hears the instructions and nods dumbly, trying to clear the fog of hangover that he hasn't managed to sleep off.

'Si. Can you send me over five guys? It should be enough.'

He hits the shower and kicks out last night's whore, paying her only half of what she'd wanted because he decided her skills weren't up to scratch. She's still hurling insults at him through the front door when his crew arrive - they stop pretty soon after that and he steps over the unconscious body as he leaves his house, puling a comb through his slicked back hair.

'If she's still there when we get back, you can have her,' he tells the men as he climbs into the back of the old Jeep they're driving. 'Lets go.'

Bogotá is huge and it takes a while to get there; Ramon lives in the more affluent north of the city, far away from the slums at the south. The job doesn't take long - this particular man has dealt with him before and still wears the scars on his cheek for not taking a teenager seriously. He sends out a runner or two while Ramon and his men lounge around his office, drinking tequila and laughing about women. An hour later, the information is gained - three families are being forced to provide shelter to six men from the outlying country. They check their weapons and move out; two hours later five of the six are dead and one is sent back to his boss, minus an eye, to tell him what happened and warn him off.

Ramon heads back to the office while his men exact their punishment on the women who had let the interlopers share their shacks. His head still hurts from last night and peasants only interest him when he's in the mood. Tonight he wants something a bit more classy.

He accepts a payment from the slumlord, a gift for ridding them of the scourge of outsiders and he only had to hit the man twice to get it. That taken care of, it's time to play.

There's dinner and drinks and then more drinks, a few lines of coke, more drinks and then a nightclub. And that's when he sees her, one in a group of girls obviously out for some fun. It's safe enough here for them to be out, they're back in the wealthy part of the city. He eyes her for a moment, then heads over, ignoring the call of his friends at their table, already surrounded by women.

'Hola, guapa.'

She smiles politely, obviously used to this sort of greeting. She is a beauty, and young too, all slender limbs and long black hair, looking at him from big brown eyes.

He wants.

'You look like you need a drink.'

'No, thank you. I have one.'

'What's your name?'

'Maria.'

'Why don't you come join me at my table?'

She looks over to where he gestures and he doesn't miss the flash of disdain that shows on her face before rearranging it into a more polite expression. He and his friends aren't dressed up, mostly they're still in jeans and dirty shirts and normally wouldn't be allowed into a place like this. But then, he isn't a normal kid.

'No, thank you.'

One of the women is sent over by his wingman, Rico, to fetch him back. She coos at him, runs her hands over his shoulders and tries to take his hand. He's still watching Maria, annoyed by her aloofness but attracted by her beauty.

'How old are you?'

'Sixteen.' A pause. 'You really shouldn't ask a girl that.'

'Fuck you,' he returns, casually, and turns away. More fun to be had elsewhere obviously and he's not in the mood to try and seduce her. There are far easier women around.

Three hours later, the party continues. He's drunk now, properly drunk, and it's exaberated by about two grams of cocaine that he's taken in the last hour. When a hand taps his shoulder, it takes a moment to register and when it does, he's not sure he's seeing what he thinks he's seeing.

'I was rude. Before. I apologise.'

He blinks a bit. 'Yeah, you were.' He'd forgotten but now he comes to think of it, she was a bitch. 'Want a drink?'

Fuck it. He's high and happy and some woman already serviced him in the men's room. He feels he can afford to be magnanimous, even when she hesitates before sitting.

'You're Ramon Salazar, aren't you?'

'That's me.' He pours her a straight tequila. She's far too sober for her own good.

'I didn't realise.'

He shrugs and pours another drink down his throat, then turns sideways on the padded bench seat so that he's looking directly at her. 'Heard of me, then.'

She has great tits.

'Yes.' Another pause. 'My father is a lawyer.'

'Oh. I'm sorry to hear that. So many kids don't have good role models to look up to, you must have had a very hard life.' He doesn't get why she needs to tell him about it but whatever. He also doesn't understand why she keeps looking at him then away, as if shy. Maybe she is. She's too young to have much self confidence.

'He provides a comfortable existence. His job is a thankless one.'

Ramon rolls his eyes. Booooring. 'So what?'

'So...' More hesitation, then suddenly she's looking him in the eye. '...so maybe you'd like to buy me a proper drink? I don't like tequila.'

He's surprised and it makes him laugh, this sudden gathering of her nerve. She seems to have an agenda of some sort but he knows he's too smart to let it concern him. She'll be good for some fun and that's all he's interested in. That's all he's ever interested in. He sends Rico for some wine, offers her some coke even though he knows she'll say no.

'How are you going to make up for being rude to me?' It's funny really, watching her try to appear worldly and urbane.

'I might let you walk me home later.'

He snorts and tells himself that there's no way in hell he's going to walk this bitch home, even if he's able to stand by then. He has better things to do and another club to go to and she's not that pretty and...

...an hour later, he's virtually unconscious in the back of a Cadillac and she's sitting beside him, getting disapproving glances in the rearview mirror from the guy he ordered to drive her home.

When he wakes up, fully dressed, on top of his bed the next morning, he finds her number written on the top of his packet of cigarettes. Smart girl. He smiles and writes it down on real paper, then dismisses her from his mind as he gets up to shower and nurse his hangover properly.

It had started as a day like any other but it ended with meeting Maria, the girl who changed everything.
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Ramon Salazar

September 2010

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