7th Extract from Psycho Active

Through the first door after I entered Lola’s a young brunette girl, maybe twenty at a push, sat in a booth smoking and taking jackets, giving tokens in exchange. My blazer was half way off before I realised it was still soaked with the faceless man’s blood, “I’m fine actually. Air conditioning gives me a chill.” I said and smiled. She didn’t smile back, just stared and watched after me as I went through the next set of doors and into the main room. As I pushed inside I was smack struck with the overwhelming waft of cigarettes and perfume and pussy. The room, an amphitheatre of dim lit lights and purple velvet, men on barstools and men at black jack tables; semi-clad girls in French black lace attending the tables and blowing kisses, themselves young and blooming lilacs still lost in the intoxicating years of primavera youth. I walked over to the bar and ordered a double bourbon on the rocks. The barmaid served it with a wink and smile. I offered a smile and blew a kiss to her back as she saw to another customer. After she’d dispensed with a loud and drunk American man sat on the stool beside me, I called her over again and asked for Ricky Alverez. She said she didn’t know no Ricky and went back to her bartending. I figured she was lying, but felt no need to protest. There was plenty else for me to do here. I turned my stool and watched a while this strange and wild amphitheatre.
After about fifteen minutes or so of sitting, observing the ceremony of sin that was Lola’s main room, a Hispanic man in a navy pinstripe suit tapped me on the shoulder, “Ricky’s waiting. Upstairs.”
“Ok.” I said, and gave him a nod and got off my stool.
“Fucking cunt.” Shouted the American man. “I been waiting to speak to Ricky for nigh on two hours now, and you take this asshole up only been here two fucking minutes? Not fucking likely, Ramirez.”
“Shut the fuck up, Derek. Ricky will see you when he’s ready.” Said the suited latino man.
The American man stood up.
“Sit, down, Derek.” The latino man put his hand against Derek’s chest and pushed him back on his seat. “And don’t, don’t address me in front of new company. Ever.”
“Fucking unbelievable.”
The suited man grabbed me by the arm. “Let’s go.”
He sat me down on a plastic chair, a chair the same as one I sat on in school detention, outside the closed door of what must’ve been Ricky’s office. A small, engraved gold plaque read Lola. I sat pondering what Ricky might want from me, might offer me, on that grave and lucid night. He was vague and frantic when we’d spoke on the phone earlier that evening: talk of fame and pussy and big money and ‘I like you, gringo. I fucking like you. Come down to my place, man. I got this chick you wanna fuck for sure, man. Yeah come down. Now. Right now man, right now. Right fucking now.’ I questioned why I, a white thirty-something Canadian male from San Antonio would be of any interest to a man like Ricky. It didn’t make any sense, and made complete sense, all at the same time. My two conclusions mutually exclusive yet blood bonded by the complete confusion of it all. My thoughts were abruptly interrupted by the re-emergence of the suited man’s from the door labelled Lola. “Ricky will see you now.” I got up and he patted me down.
I was led into a dark room mottled with antique furniture and the distinct pungence of Arabic oud cologne. Ricky was screaming at an indeterminate figure situated somewhere in the room. I was sat down opposite a large wooden desk, waiting while Risky dispensed aural punishment in a tectonic explosion of expletives. His desk top was a mismatch of unorganised papers, a rolodex brimful with flayed post-it notes, a bonsai tree, a large pile of cocaine, and a gun. Ricky continued with his tirade of furious rage, in one hand a cigarette clinging for dear life under Ricky’s latino gesticulations. In the other a very large and purple dildo. He’d paid me no notice since I arrived.
After he’d finished shouting he sat at the desk and placed the dildo down and did a line of cocaine. “Oooh, rrRoberto, I completely forgot about you, man. You want a drink?” I was already holding a drink. He clicked his fingers, “Ramirez, go get Robert a drink. Whad’you want, Robert?”
“I’ve already got a drink.”
“He’s already got a drink. Ok. Ramirez, don’t get him a drink. Ok. ”
“Robert man! How the fuck are you?” he got up and hugged me around my arms while I sat. He was sweating profusely through his silk patterned shirt.
“I’m good, Ricky, how are you?”
“Fucking incredible, man. Apart from the headache I got from this fucking skank and her purple fucking cock in my desk draw.” I turned to observe a quiet figure in the dark, sat on an vintage leather coach: an aged wart of a woman, curled over and dressed in 1920s attire, smoking a cigarette held in an old fashioned holder. This was Lola.
“Anyway.” He said “Enough of this bullshit. You’ve met Ramirez already.” He pointed to the suited man. “You want a line of coca?” now he pointed to the white pile on his desk “It’s good shit, man.”
“I’m fine with bourbon for now, thanks.”
“Fuck it then. Down to business.” He slammed his fist down. “On the bus you said some shit about going south. Some shit about Guetemala. How you fixed for that? You got a ticket, man?”
“Well no, not yet. I hadn’t really thought about it yet. I’m just at the Holiday Inn for now.”
“You a cryptic motherfucker, Robert. I like that. I like that.” He lit a new cigarette and observed me a while, and frowned, “The fuck happened to your face, man?”
“Your doormen kicked my ass.”
“Ah ha ha, oh yeah, they’ll do that.”
Ramirez said something to Ricky in Spanish.
“Oh but you hit Barry first though right? You crazy fucking gringo. He would’a killed you, man. Barry loves killing white boys.” He snorted a bump of coke off his fist “They found my card in your pocket when they fleeced you. You a lucky fucking gringo, you know that?”
I didn’t answer back.
“How you fixed for cash?” he asked.
“I’m not.”
“Then how the fuck you expect to get to fucking Guatemala with no fucking pesos, gringo?”
“Brazil.”
“Excuse me?”
“I’m heading for Brazil. Through Guatemala.”
“Whatever. Fucking Brazil then. As far as I see it, gringo, you owe me.” He pointed at me stern, with his cigarette between his fingers, “You owe me for my doorman’s fucking dental bill.” He said it with a new severity to his tone. “So!” he slammed his fist again, “You work for a me, I pay you, you fuck some o’my whores. We get rich. OK!” He spat in his hand and offered it to me. I spat in mine and we shook, blood bonded now. He stared steely with his dilated black eyes hard into mine and held my gaze with pious tenacity, “La noche es larga, gringo, y el día está mojado con sangre.”
I nodded.
“Bueno!” he shouted. “Ramirez, get Robert here another fucking drink and some pussy, ok? And find him a new fucking suit too, he looks like shit.” Another bump of coke. “Robert, you stay here tonight. You ride out with me en la mañana. 11am sharp, ok gringo?
“Ok, Ricky.”
“Ok!”
“And what would you have me do, Ricky?” A woman’s voice spoke, old and gravel and full of whiskey. She was Texan, Lola was.
“You, you fucking old whore.” Ricky stood up from his desk grasping in his hand the purple dildo. Ramirez took me by the arm and began to lead me out. “You.” screamed Ricky “can eat this purple fucking cock.” He strode across the room with vexed determination and beat her with that large and purple dildo as a dissatisfied king would a jester.

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