You can read the following and get the gist, an idea or the truth?
It’s a nightmare come true; thrown into the back of a police car and dumped in this cell.
“OK Gringo, entonces dices que eres inocente” (“OK Gringo! So you say you’re innocent”) the policeman sneers as he thrusts some paper towards me.Sweat drips down my back and the stubby pencil I’ve been given slips in my fingers. The word ‘anxious’ wouldn’t cut it; ‘shit scared’ would be better. So they want a statement; OK ….. now:
My name is Dean Jones. I’m 43, English and a writer. I came out to Cuba to make some progress on a crime novel I’m writing. You can check when I arrived, last week actually, and I booked a little cottage on the outskirts of Matanzas; I plan to stay for a month. I was getting stuck on a particular chapter and needed both some inspiration and a drink, so I walked into town and sat at an outside table in the Casa Blanca – you know where that is because that’s where you arrested me! The place was full of locals, chatting, eating, drinking or just staring into space, their thoughts a million miles away. You know your country has an international reputation for beautiful women, right? Well, that night the clientele included one or two very exotic ones; just couldn’t keep my eyes off! Anyway, I’m half scribbling my story and half glancing around, and suddenly a rather tubby, grubby man’s coming across to my table. He’s extremely agitated and he screams at me:
“Has estado mirando a mi mujer.” (You’ve been looking at my woman)
He reaches across and grabs me by my shirt, lifting me onto my feet. He’s clearly had a few drinks and although I try to apologise, he’s not hearing anything. I sense I’m in for a beating, but I am a Black Belt in Judo and automatically switch into self-defence mode. His smelly breath, a mixture of garlic and alcohol, wafts over me; disgusting! I decide to jab him in the throat, a generally incapacitating move, but just as I am bringing back my arm to gain some momentum, this chap’s eyes go funny, he clutches his chest, crumples forward, hits the table and slides down to the dirty floor. I never made contact; I never touched him. I am no way responsible for his death.
Two hours later I’m released, with a caution to be more sensitive to the local cultures. The poor chap had had a heart attack and I am in the clear. I make my way back to my cottage intent on reworking my novel’s Chapter 4 but, before I can get started, there’s a knock on the door. I open it gingerly, not expecting anyone. It’s the beautiful woman from the Casa Blanca: “I come in, pleeeze?”
Or you can read the same events from a different perspective!!
Saturday’s are always the same. Pedro sleeps late on his rest day, scratches his raggedy backside a lot and heads to the Casa Branco as soon as he is sober enough to walk. His habits are disgusting. He spits, chews tobacco and wears the vilest T shirt – one he bought on holiday in Venezuela ten years ago – ironically stating the owner is ‘Number One!’ I try to wrest it off him to wash it but he resists.This evening he stands at the bar with his mates, hardly paying me any attention, quietly getting sozzled. Why do I stay I ask myself. I look around the packed place. The normal crowd is in and then, out on the terrace, I see a blonde- headed guy sitting by himself, alternating between drinking and tapping away at his laptop. Every now and again he looks around as if searching for the right phrase or maybe simply inspiration. Both must be in short supply. He catches my eye and dangerous though it might be, I give an imperceptible nod of my head as he’s quite cute, then look away. I don’t think I am the only one he’s fantasizing about.
Just before midnight Pedro suddenly understands that I might have an admirer; being a jealous type I know he won’t stand for it. Right enough, he gets off his stool and lurches over to the guy, who must be foreigner, a tourist maybe. I hope Pedro is not going to make a fool of himself, as he’s completely pissed and unsteady on his feet. He reaches across the table and grabs the guy by his shirt collar and lifts him towards him.
“Has estado mirando a mi mujer.” (You’ve been looking at my woman).”
The other man looks startled and surprised but then gathers his thoughts and I can tell he’s going to do something; the way his body moves, he is getting ready to hit Pedro. But I sense before he makes any contact, my crazy Pedro freezes, clutches his chest, shouts in agony, and crumples to the floor. I rush across to cradle my man, at the same time yelling to the barman to call an ambulance. Pedro is barely conscious, his breathing labored; somehow he manages to look rather serene …… and that’s a first! The police and medics arrive at about the same time. The former take the foreigner away and I jump into the ambulance with Pedro.
That dreadful DOA (Dead on Arrival) is pronounced …. I learn that the police have been informed that Pedro died of a heart attack ……. and I find out where the man is staying. An hour or so later I knock on his cottage door. “I come in pleeeze?” I ask, smiling.
I ditch the pidgin English: “Another dead Russian double agent – with his own nerve agent! Ha! High five!!”
Richard 5th May 2018