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Cayo Elina 21

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“Gentlemen.” Gus said, wondering how Ramon would play this.

Ramon remained quiet and another man spoke with heavily accented English.

“We have liberated your cantina.”

“What? No. We are okay, this is just another normal night.” Gus said.

“We have rescued your cantina.” The Cuban said, struggling as if trying to find the correct words.

From across the room Max called out, “We had it under control. No necesitamos su ayuda.”

“Le salvó y yo reclamo este establecimiento por la homelande.” The Officer said.

“No, esta es Florida. Ir Cubanos casa.

“You Spanish is shit.”

“Su English es una mierda.”

The officer gestured towards Ramon, who stepped up, eyeing all three of the men in front of him. “This place is coming under Cuban control now.”

“It’s not Cuban yet. I don’t even think the Cubans can hold off the zombies.”

“You’d do better for yourself to recognize our authority earlier than later.” Ramon said.

Gus remained silent during the exchange, casting sidelong glances at Hector to judge his reaction.

“We respect the rightful civilian authority, whomever that may be.”

Ramon snorted and spoke in rapid fire Spanish to his commanding officer. The officer responded back and Ramon said, “We need to search your rooms. We are looking for two criminals who eluded capture several days ago and have reason to believe they are here.”

Max shook his head, “Why would I help you?”

The officer gestured at the soldiers he had brought with him.

Shrugging Max said, “What do they look like?”

“A man, a woman. The man is close to your man’s height, perhaps a little shorter.” Ramon said, pointing at Gus. “The woman is tall, Hispanic with black hair.”

“Do you have a photograph or a better description? I could tell you if they are here.”

Ramon shrugged, “I have seen them, I will recognize them if you let me examine your guests.”

“Do I have a choice?”

Shaking his head, Ramon said, “Our men will drink here while they wait.” He pointed at Gus, “You, what is your name?”

“Thomas.” Gus said, saying the first name that came into his head.

“Thomas is your assistant, correct?” Ramon asked Max.

“My bouncer, yes.”

“He will show me around to all the rooms until I am satisfied that the ones we seek are not here.”

“You okay with that, Tom?” Max asked Gus.

Gus shrugged, “Sure. You and Hector can hold down the fort with a squad of Cubans in here to keep the peace.”

Max waved them off, throwing Gus a ring of keys. “Color coded by floor. Blue handles first, Red second, Green Third and Yellow if he needs to see the attic.”

“Yessir.” Gus said, marching Ramon towards the ground level rooms.

“And if you see Ann Marie, send her up here, Hector sucks as a waiter.”

Gus and Ramon quickly made their way to the first floor rooms, which were down a long corridor passed several conference rooms, the outdoor section of the bar and around a corner. As soon as they turned the corner Gus drove his shoulder into Ramon’s stomach and pinned him to one of the walls.

“What are you playing at, Ramon?”

The dark haired man gasped and frantically tried to push Gus away from him. “Nothing…I…I need to talk to you and Elina.”

“What did you tell them?”

“You’re names, who you were.”

“Why didn’t you turn me in when you saw me?”

“Well, ‘Thomas’, I guess I might have had a change of heart after spending two days with my Cuban friends.”

Gus eased back out of Ramon’s stomach, the other man sighed in relief, “Did you?”

“Did I, what?”

“Have a change of heart about the Cubans, you were all set to join them and make the Cay part of their country.”

“A man gets tired of fish and coconuts, Gus.”

Gus squared off to Ramon, “No. I want an answer and answer I can use, you know how. Did you throw in with the Cubans or are you still with us?”

Ramon looked Gus in the eye, “Finally, you are acting like a man, instead of a docile woman. I am not with you and Elina, I will never agree with everything you want to do, but I will not betray the island and our village or help the Cubans take it.”

“What if that’s the only way?”

“I’ll be dead first. I’ve seen how they run things on the ship.”

“How’s the food?”

Ramon laughed, a low chuckle that ended quickly, “I think I prefer fish and coconuts. They have food, but not nearly enough. The island is starving, even if they grab the entire peninsula, they won’t be able to feed all their people in six months.”

Gus stepped away from Ramon, then took a quick peek into the future, following the paths the man could travel down, based on the decisions he would make. He came too with Ramon shaking him violently, “Puta! Wake up! Wake up! You can’t have one of your spells now! Just when I was thinking I could respect you, you show me weakness.”

“I was checking up on you.”

“Well?”

“You’re right, you’ll die before you help the Cubans take the island. Was I out long?”

Gus was leaning up against the hallway wall, Ramon had one arm around his shoulders, holding him up.

“No, three, four minutes. What else did you see?”

Ramon was never one for believing anything Gus said when he came back from the future. ‘Why the sudden interest?’ Gus hadn’t seen anything good for the man.

“Death all around you. You need to be careful my friend. Very careful with your new friends.”

Ramon shrugged, “Pah! Old wives speak of the future better than you! Of course I have to be careful! Give me some advice that isn’t obvious, ‘Thomas’.”

“I can’t go over every decision and how you should make it, there are too many. I saw you on a ship, standing guard and trying to get away. My advice is; Don’t. They catch you; nail you to the side of the ship as a warning to other deserters and you spend a long time dying.”

“So when do I get away?”

‘His plan is to run from them, that much I saw.’“Wait, everything seems to be coming to a head in a week, maybe ten days.”

“I get away then?”

“I only spotted a future for you away from the Cubans after that window, yes.” ‘And you were killed in most of those attempts too.’ Gus kept the last part to himself.

“I can wait that long, sawdust tortillas and fish for another week! I’ll fade away on the rations they feed their crew.”

“Not even salsa?”

“Not even coconut.” Ramon added woefully.

“Alright let’s search these rooms.”

“Why bother, bring me to Elina.”

“You aren’t too good at this, are you, Ramon? If we don’t have some of the guests complaining about the heavy-handedness of us searching their private quarters then the Cubans might not hear about it.”

“So?”

“So, if no one complains, then they might start thinking we didn’t actually search the place. This might make your new friends ask you some questions you won’t want to answer.”

Ramon shook his head slowly, “Your mind is twisted, up in that head of yours.”

“We’re not playing a game here.”

“I disagree, we are, the best game of all, with the ultimate stake; our lives.”

Gus shook his head this time, “I’d prefer to play chess instead.”

“Pah!”

The two started searching the rooms of the first floor after that, not stopping again until they reached Elina’s room.

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