Cayo Elina 4
Spending the rest of the night alone on the beach saved Elina from the commotion back in the village. Gus, just hadn’t gone back, he’d gone back and raised the alarm about an unknown zombie running loose on the island. By the time Mary came to relieve Elina the commotion had worked itself into a frenzy.
“Good morning Mary. What’s the news?” Elina asked, knowing that Gus would have raised the alarm, even if he didn’t think it would do any good.
“Elina? You okay? You startled me there, I didn’t think you could see me yet.” Mary’s voice was distant, still muffled by the trees and surf.
“Yeah, I heard something, figured it was you.” Elina said. ‘But I didn’t. I knew it was her. If this is what maxson gives me, I think I like it.” She made a mental note to ask Gus what, exactly were the downsides of the process.
“Well, your Gus, he has everyone worked up.” Mary finally came into direct view. She was carrying a rifle, an old M-16 that had seen better days. The tall middle aged woman was barefoot walking through the sandy soil and her black hair was slowly being bleached almost raven by the constant exposure to the sun.
“Tell me about it. What’d he tell everyone?”
Mary thought about it before replying, “You saw a group come in and almost took them all out, he tried to help, but wasn’t much use, though the two of you did track one of them that got away and finished him. So we got on guy awol on the island. No big deal, Lopez ordered a set of fighters to watch the kids and is out scouring the rest of the island for the guy.”
“I’ll bet he did. They certainly haven’t been by here yet, there must be a few holes in the search party’s net.”
“Oh, I don’t think so. The general plan was to start at the other end and drive the guy towards you. Lopez figured you’d kill him.”
“Gee, I’ll have to thank him for the warning.”
Mary smiled and nodded. “You gonna sit with me a while?”
“Sure, isn’t that the plan? I’m kinda hungry though, so I hope you brought me some breakfast.”
“You know it. The only reason why I wasn’t here earlier was that someone had to feed the kids. You know Lopez, all big plans, no little details.”
Elina nodded, with a frown on her face, “Yeah, I know Lopez.” Lopez was, in Elina’s opinion, a chauvinistic, conservative rat who wouldn’t ever go along with any ideas he hadn’t come up with himself. The key to dealing with his constant political maneuvering was to insinuate that what you suggested was his idea in the first place. Lately, however, this tactic was wearing thin; Elina suspected Lopez was on to her tactics.
Mary handed Elina a bag full of hot food and an old thermos.
“It’s not that all of his ideas are bad, just most of them.” Elina said. It looked like fish and tortillas again. With coffee. Three years and the coffee hadn’t run out yet.
“That’s where we disagree; if I have to have him tell me a woman’s place is in the home one more goddamned time I swear I will knife him in his sleep. He wants to use this whole apocalyptic zombie mess to reset us to more wholesome values. He’s been telling people that is why God punished us with the zombies and that we better start toeing the line or God will punish us too. I’m like, what the fuck? How are we not being punished? The last three years has been gravy or something?”
Elina laughed, “I’m with you.”
“I told him that, you know, at one of his little fireside chats. You know what he said?”
“It can’t be good.” Elina answered, already knowing the answer. There was nothing faster than the speed of the rumor mill on the island.
“That, as a woman, I couldn’t be expected to understand. As a woman! I have an master’s degree in Chemistry! But I can’t understand when someone is trying to disenfranchise me? Bullshit!”
Elina paused before taking a bit of the fish burrito she had put together, “That is a surprise.”
“A surprise? You know him, it’s no surprise what shits out of his mouth!”
Swallowing her quick bite, Elina smiled, “No, a surprise that he’s still breathing. He never says such things around me.”
Mary snorted in derision, “Because he knows you would kill him. This is your place, we’re you’re guests.”
Elina waved her hand at the woman in denial.
“It’s true, and I’ve been meaning to talk to you about that too. Do you think we could banish him? It’s getting bad Elina, he is starting to get converts among the other men and even a couple of the weaker willed women.”
Swallowing her cup of unsweetened, black coffee Elina looked out to sea for a moment, “You know, that’s bad business. There aren’t many of us left. Living, I mean. We start killing ourselves and, well, we’d be no better than the Cubans would we?”
“I’m not talking about killing him, just getting rid of him. Hell, send him to Miami, before he causes a rift that tears us apart. Or find him and his supporters another island of their own.”
“You know, there is nothing I would like more than to get the council to go along with…”
Mary cut her off, “You are the council. I tell you we need to be rid of this guy and fast.”
The two women stared at each other for a moment, then Elina turned back to watch the waves, “Have you ever heard the expression ‘Better the enemy you know’?”
“Bullshit. We’re all on the same side here, just get rid of the snake and it’ll blow over.”
Elina shook her head, “I wish. I think there is something else going on and I think Lopez is a test, to see how he is handled. I want to know who the real power brokers are. If I get rid of his patsy, it will leave them hidden in the dark to continue plotting. I want to get them all.”
“So what are you saying?”
“What am I saying, Mary? What I am saying is, things are going to get worse before they get better.”
“You think it has to be that way?”
“I know it has to be that way. Lopez won’t play his hand until he can take care of ‘the Elina problem’.” Elina said. Mary’s eyes went wide in surprise.
“You know he says that and you let him stay here? I didn’t want to…”
“I keep up with the rumor mill. I know what he is doing, but I also don’t think he is smart enough to come up with any of this on his own. I think the real snake is still in the grass, biding its time.”
“Okay, as long as you have a handle on it. I’ll have you’re back, you know that.”
Both women were silent as Elina finished her breakfast of corn ground tortillas, fish and black coffee. There was more there than Elina could eat, so she packed the remains carefully away. The village had enough food, but none of them wasted it.
“I think, Mary, that you need to be more careful than I do. If Lopez is looking for an example…”
“Me? He’s all talk and no bite. I’ll be covering your ass, not the other way around. Don’t you worry about me.”