A Day in Paradise (Part one)

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Jimmy Sullivan walked off the plane into the 90-degree heat of Cartagena. He and his best friends had ten days to spend in a country they had only seen on late night Netflix binges of Narcos, and the movie Blow with Johnny Depp. Jimmy was dressed in shorts, a t-shirt and running shoes, happy that he had left behind Boston’s stone cold winter.

“You should have changed in the bathroom at the airport. Jimmy said to Steve Gilmore  who was dressed in chinos, dress shoes, a dress shirt, and for some odd reason a sports jacket which matched particularly well all together.

“Yeah you’re right. I guess I was just trying to get laid,” Steve said.

“Get laid? You mean like on the airplane?” Jimmy was shocked yet not surprised.

“ It’s kind of always been a dream of mine. You know, to join the mile high club. Plus I figured my chances would go up at the Fort Lauderdale stop with all the state school sorority sluts that are heading to, or back from Daytona. Damn we shoulda just went there!”

“I guess that makes….sense,” Jimmy replied, knowing it did not make sense. He ran the chances and probability of this particular event through his head. The chance of even getting placed next to an attractive female, plus having enough time to establish a mutual connection, then maneuvering a way to have sex in a bathroom that barely fit one person. Plus factor in flight attendants sitting by the bathroom that could interrupt the plan at anytime. The whole idea would have been damn near impossible to pull off.

 

“Customs are up here,” said Vin, who was fluent in Spanish.

It was quite the culture shock for Jimmy at first. He had never been out of the country, especially not a Spanish speaking country. As he looked at the signs and directions all written in a foreign language, he made a promise to himself to never go anywhere without Vin, or Mike, who also spoke very good Spanish.

 

Taxis lined up outside the airport. Colombian men looked at the newly arrived gringos with a particular smile, not genuine in the slightest bit, yet flattering. Five Colombian cab drivers  all dressed in oversized polos of red, yellow, and green approached the crew of young men.

“Will you take us to the BE Lounge hostel for twenty mill pesos?” Steve asked the cab driver with the red polo.

“Yes, get in,” the cab driver replied back.

The sights from the cab window were incredible. Coconut trees lined both sides of the streets. Sun rays reflected off the golden sand as waves crashed into a jetty. Thin stray dogs lay on the sidewalks.

“Those dogs look savage! We should bring one into our hostel tonight!” Steve said.

“My doctor told me not to touch them. They all could have diseases,” Jimmy said.

“Well, I got my shots so if a dog wants to get pet, I’m gonna pet him,” Steve said

“Yea I kind of agree with Steve. They’re just dogs Jimmy, you don’t have to be such a boner about everything,” Vin chimed in.

“Suit yourself,” said Jimmy.

“What the hell’s taking so long?” Steve asked. “Hey, cab driver, think you could go a little faster?”

“Faster? Ok,” the cab driver said.

The driver then shifted forward in his seat, grabbing the steering wheel with full strength and leaning his head forward. The cab gradually increased in speed. Right lane, left lane, right lane, left lane, right lane. The driver took incoming traffic head on in a real life game of chicken. Homeless men on the streets with cleaning gear jumped out the way for their lives. Car horns honked as middle fingers flew out of driver side windows.

Jimmy’s paranoia increased as a song ran into his head.

Not a speck of light is showing
So the danger must be growing
Are the fires of Hell a-glowing
Is the grisly reaper mowing
Yes, the danger must be growing
For the rowers keep on rowing
And they’re certainly not showing
Any signs that they are slowing

“This is some real life GTA shit!” Steve yelled.

“This guy’s gonna kill us! Tell him to stop!” Jimmy said.

“Come on Jim. It’s all part of the Colombian experience. Just soak it all in.” Said Steve

“Yeah, just soak it in,” said Mike.

 

The cab driver finally pulled up outside of the BE Lounge. The young men all grabbed their backpacks and stepped into their new home. The room consisted of 6 bunk beds with dressers underneath each bed. The balcony overlooked a street filled with restaurants, bars, and clothing shops. People from all over the world walked in and out, some speaking Spanish, some English, and some both.

They went into the center of town. Young Colombian girls wore long dresses that were yellow red and green with their hair tied up by a yellow bandanna, with jewels around the edges. An attractive young boy and girl would come out as a pair as they performed a local dance. Older men played the drums and sang as the boy and girl danced together.

“ It’s a dance of seduction.” A women said to the group of boys.

“ See the way she drags the boys hat at her feet. He has to fight for it. He has to fight for her love through the beauty of the dance.”

“ This shits weird. The kid’s dancing like an idiot.” Said Steve.

“ Its actually pretty cool to watch if you ask me.” Said Jimmy.

“ Look at them Jimmy. They’re not even wearing shoes. They’re freaking savages out here.” Said Steve.

The people were so friendly. Every time Vin asked where something was to one of the locals, they would give very specific directions, going out of their way to help out, something the boys were not used to.

 

“What should we do now?” Jimmy asked the group.

“I say we get some food,” Mike replied.

“I don’t care about food. I’m trying to get me some of that Colombian cocaine!” Steve said.

“You’re really going to do drugs in a foreign country?” Jimmy asked.

“Why do you think we came here? Pablo Escobar. Cocaine. Ring any bells?” Steve said.

“I say we get food together, then whatever everyone else wants to do after they can do, But if we’re going to be drinking tonight it’s best to have something in our stomachs.” Vin said

“Vin’s right, let’s get some food.” Jimmy said.

They started to walk the streets. Large dark skinned men walked up to them with various items. Some were selling hats, watches, art, jewelry; pretty much anything that could be sold was being sold. There were posters of Pablo Escobar everywhere.

“Where can I get some coca cola around here?” Steve asked a man selling fedoras. Then gave him a quick, but blatant wink.”

“How much do you need?” said the fedora salesman.

Steve then pulled out five one hundred dollar bills from his pocket. The man’s eyes lit up like a light bulb. He then reached into his bag and pulled out the most cocaine any of the young men had ever seen and put it into the fedora.

“Steve, what the fuck, man? Why’d you buy so much?” Jimmy asked.

“ It’s all part of the Colombian experience. You’ll be thanking me later.” Steve said back as he handed over the money and took his new fedora.

“ Gracias, mi amigo.”

 

“ Let’s hit this alley real quick,” Steve suggested.

They all walked down this alley that was cut off from the rest of civilization. Steve then pulled out a credit card, then scooped out the cocaine and did a bump.

“Anyone else want any?” Steve asked.

“Fuck it,” Mike said and took a bump himself.

Then Vin took a bump, and Jimmy didn’t want to be the odd man out. He felt the social pressure from the group. He saw the smiles and substance induced confidence in each of his friends in front of him. His left hand grabbed Steve’s credit card and he scooped into the fedora and installed this white powder into his brain. It slid up his nostrils into his throat, numbing his tongue, throat, and thoughts. His posture became straighter. He pulled out his phone and looked into the front camera. His blue eyes looked like ice water and his blonde hair was like golden jewelry as he said under his breath. I’m the most beautiful man in the world.

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