"Lies Always Come Back" [Mister Martínez Part Twenty Nine]
The cabin had 2 sets of 2-bunk beds. Four could have used it, if they waited in line outside whilst the passenger in front got ready to hit the sack. There was a bathroom where you could shower, brush your teeth and take a dump all at the same time. ‘Rita was carrying a small rucksack she’d taken out of the panniers after paying off the teenage scammer, right before “JuanPa” had loaded the ‘bike on board the ferry. She threw it down on a the lower bunk to her right. Martínez threw his on the bunk to his left.
‘It’s just us, Martínez.’
‘Okay, but no funny business. I hardly know you.’
‘Yeah, well, you can step outside whilst I get out of these leathers. Then I’m going to have a shower.’
‘Good luck with that. I’ll see you in the bar.’
A half-hour later, the “Hedy Lamarr” was underway and Martínez had finally found something purporting to be a bar. There wasn’t much to eat outside of airline-style food that was stacked on cold shelving, rather than in a trolley. He bought four bottles of Estrella, sat down at a formica-topped table and stared out of the window at the blue,blue sea. What was the flower called? ‘Nomeolvides’. How could he forget that? Condensation pooled at the bottom of the bottles and little rivulets ran to port and starboard, depending on the roll of the ship, never quite reaching the edge of the formica.
The bar itself was almost deserted apart from two people behind the counter and someone pushing a broom around the deck to very little purpose, since you couldn’t smoke on board nowadays. Unless you went out on deck to where the crew snatched their tobacco fix, usually near some part of the ship far too oily for comfort.
He took a long draught out of the bottle. More condensation splashed on the table top. He drew a capital P and E with it before sweeping the liquid off the table on to the deck. It missed ‘Rita’s spike-heeled shoes by not very much at all. Her legs were bare above the red shoes. Red must have been her favourite colour because the wrap-around dress was too. She couldn’t have had much else in the rucksack apart from a toothbrush. ‘You must be a natural sailor, if you can stay upright in those,’ Martínez said.
‘Once you learn to walk in these, it doesn’t matter if the earth moves from time to time.’
‘Don’t you mean the sea?’
He offered her two of the beers. She took just one and drank half the bottle down, before wiping her lips with the back of her hand. She stifled a belch,
‘Good choice, I’d have hit you if you’d bought me a gaseoso.’
She smoothed her dress down and took a seat. Martínez thought she didn’t look the soda-pop kind,
‘Did you choose your outfit based on the name of the boat?’
‘Yeah, why not, hey?’
‘I’m glad we’re not on the Abel Matutes.’
Martínez finished his first beer and started on the second. ‘Rita took sips of her first and drummed her french-polished nails on the table top.
‘If you need to smoke, we’ll have to go on deck.’
‘Let’s go, then. And you can give me the story. The truth will travel over the horizon and never be heard again.’
‘So would a lie.’
‘Ah, no, Martínez, lies always come back.’