I was about to leave the house when my US cellphone rang its now unfamiliar jingle.
Three thoughts: emergency, wrong number, or someone unexpected.
A wrong number was most probable since most people know I’m on assignment and emergencies only normally arise when you haven’t already anticipated them.
So, most probably a wrong number, but out of curiosity I picked up the phone.

I answered in Spanish in order to stump whoever was on the other end and buy myself some time.

The girl on the other end sounded like a fat lesbian.
I’m not even sure I’m allowed to say that or what that even means, but so be it.
She was obviously new. I had done some work for her outfit a couple years back and she was calling about another job.
“God damn it!”, I thought.
She may be new but she should know not to call.
I told her to send the info through the secure link and that I’d get back to her.
Who were these people, anyway? Calling on the fucking weekends now!

That was then, this is now.
I’m sitting in a bookstore around the corner from my apartment.
Inside, the books are stacked floor-to-ceiling on wooden bookshelves making me feel wicked like I’ve gone back in time.
They just don’t make them like this anymore.
Not where I’m from anyway.
But I am not where I’m from right now.
So it all makes sense in the end.

I’m sitting in the courtyard café of this bookstore and I’m sucking on the tip of a chocolate bar before dropping into my hot milk.
Submarino.
That’s what they call it here.
Sounds fancy, I like the name, but in the end it’s just a hot chocolate.
Things usually are just what they are but a veces we glorify the simple things…

You can dress a prositute up in whatever outfit you want, but at the end of the day, she’s still a prostitute.
Let’s not call a dead chiken a cat.

Elaborate.
Ok, I admit it…
I see a prostitute on a regular basis.
I’ve renamed her and I make her dress in preppy clothes.
When she comes to my apartment, she looks like one of the wives I could have married.
She knows the deal.
She usually comes in with a couple of shopping bags to make it look like she’s just come back from running errands.
I’m usually on the couch, reading my book, and I act a little annoyed that my wife just came in. Of course I love her, but everything gets a little boring with time, and I’m totally into the chapter I’m reading right now.
She comes over and kisses me on the lips, sighing, and asks me how my day was.
Sometimes she makes up a husband and wife conversation asking me to pick up the kids after school on Thursday cuz she has an appointment and la di da…and sometimes she just goes straight to opening a bottle of white wine.

Sip sip, go slow cuz it’s hot.
We’re back in the café now, back to the Subamarino.
Back to the future past.

Rather annoying cuz at first it’s really hot and then it seems to go straight to cold. It’s like you just can’t win…

There is a lady sitting a few tables over from me, working on a laptop, smoking cigarettes, and partaking in the caffeinated products that I tend to avoid. She’s not like a grad student in her pajamas desperate to get her thesis done on time, she’s an sophisticated lady. Well dressed, good posture, attractive. I wish I had time to chase this duck duck goose.

I’m yanked back to reality from my day dreams when my man walks in.
He sits down across from me and he’s too fat and uncoordinated for my profesional taste.
How we operate in the same business is beyond me. He’s loud, he’s obvious, he sticks out like a sore thumb.

Thumb in the butt, tickle the balls with the fingers and jerk you off with the other hand.
You still with me?

When he speaks, he has spit lines connecting his lips at the corners of his mouth. He’s not shaven. He’s wearing shorts and his legs have huge bug bites on them. He’s wearing a blue and white shirt with an offensive pattern.
I find him thoroughly unattractive.

Though visually unpleasant, meeting with my man isn’t that bad. The fact that I’m meeting him means that I’ve done my job and I’m about to get paid.
We do the transaction in public places because it’s safer, for both of us, but it’s mostly just playing the game.

For a few moments, I don’t see the envelop and I’m a little worried I’m not getting paid after all. But then he leans back and takes the sweaty envelope from his waist band. Jesus fucking christ, that’s disgusting.
He holds it in his hands under the table for a few minutes as we pretend to have a pretend conversation about the unbearable heat and all that. His next move, which is still required by protocol though I’ve recently submitted a complaint, is to take the fat wad of chewing gum out of his mouth, stick it on the envelop and stick the envelop to the bottom of the table.
I wait, we chat, I take the envelope from under the table, I think about having to wash my hands, and then I leave.

I always leave first.
The guy who gets there first, leaves first-always.
It’s protocol.
It doesn’t have to make sense, it just has to be consistent.
Consistency is good.

On my way down the street I glance back into the bookshop just in time to see my man striking up a conversation with my cafeine lady.
Sonofabitch, and I walk away.

Payment in hand, walking down the glorious avenues, I am reminded that work is good because work means money. I like the feeling of the envelope between my fingers and of course I like being able to support my habits. I’ll go check what the chick sent me tomorrow. The rest of today is mine.

Eating is fun. I like dem big friggin steaks. And that’s what this country is known for, so I’m in the right place. It’s one of those days where I have a little extra pep in my step.