"The Ocarina Playing Snatches" Martinez Seven
An hour-and-a-half later, the fingerpost pointing the way to Carratraca said it was 2km to the pueblo. Martínez had avoided the main road, taking one of the un-numbered roads through the hills. The Policia Nacional BMW was not ideal for the often un-surfaced track that served to link the short stretches of pot-holed black-top skirting rich Malagueños’ country retreats. Just 2 k left to Carratraca and the first hundred yards of that was blocked by a couple of hundred sheep. Martínez pulled over onto the less compacted dirt by the side of the road. It was time to dump the car. He checked the trunk. There was a rucksack, not police issue, unless they had sponsors insisting on a white check mark on the flap. There were two billfolds with DNEs, civilian ID cards for foreigners in Spain, inside. Nothing else. The two men in the BMW had been Colombian and definitely not policemen. He wondered briefly what had happened to the real Agentes Nacional. He took the rucksack, put his cashbox in it and then the cell-phone, still in the clear-plastic evidence bag. He slammed the trunk lid, slung the rucksack over one shoulder and began skirting the flock, heading towards the village. The pastor slurred a ‘mwem hnia’ in the cateto dialect of the countryside, where even if they had teeth, they pronounced every consonant as though they hadn’t. Martínez didn’t reply.The shepherd shrugged and took something from his pocket . No matter how fast he walked, Martínez was sure he could hear the ocarina playing snatches of popular songs all the way to Carratraca.
Carratraca’s power lines drooped alongside the main approach, not even the birds would chance perching on them. A buzzard was soaring high overhead and the sky was as blue as an aciano in bloom. The road became the high street. None of the white pueblos looked so pristine close up, unless it was election year, when the incumbunt Alcalde would try to hang on to his job by having municipal buildings repainted and the potholes repaired outside loyal voters’ houses.
Martinez was heading for a tourist-magnet. Hard to believe there was such a thing in a town which didn’t really run to having one horse. Abuela’s Cocina was just off the main street in a town house. The sign on the main street pointed down a Callejon, in a bigger town it would be somewhere you wouldn’t follow a streetwalker, just in case. Up here in the hills it was safe enough. Around mid-day at this time of year there would be a queue lining up half-way along the main street. It was only eight. Besides, they’d let him in. It was important and even if he stayed for desayuno, he’d be gone before the lunchtime rush.
A middle-aged woman leaned out of an upstairs window. ‘Eres tu coño? Porfa, no golpea mas en la puerta, la gente quiere dormir.’ Which told Martínez that he’d been recognised. In any case the part about people being asleep wasn’t true. The whole family got up before dawn to prepare the dish of the day. Different every day at least for a week. Inside the house two ground floor rooms were crammed with mismatched tables and chairs. Every inch of the walls were covered in photographs of the rich and infamous. A who’s who from the 1950’s to date. Even Franco, alongside the original Abuela who must have been the current one’s great-grandmother. Martínez had first come to Abuela’s Kitchen just before his first delivery job for The Company. Delivery from evil. Sometimes it was hard to tell whether it was ‘from’ or ‘of’, or even both. Thirty years ago. He’d followed the evil out of Abuela’s into the dusk and killed him. Just like they’d told him to. The body was probably still at the bottom of the well on the land where a fire had burned down the olive trees very shortly after. Not arson, of course. No-one had since applied to change the land-usage status, so it couldn’t have been. Martínez had had his Zippo a long time.
The staircase was at the back of the house, behind the kitchen and the counter at the back of the second of the two dining rooms. Abuela tripped down the stairs like the young woman she had been the first time Martínez had come to Abuela’s Cocina. ‘¡Ay Cabron! You want food? It’s churros and coffee, this time of day.’
She had never called him Martínez, preferring to use her rich and profane vocabulary of insults to address him instead. It was a safe place. Had been for thirty years, some of which had been spent in Colombia and Guatemala, true, but he could always come back to Granny’s Kitchen. A few minutes later the fried dough and coffee were steaming in front of him. He was sitting in his usual place under the picture of his favourite Bond, the Scotchman, who was shaking hands with the current Abuela’s mother, whilst smiling through gritted teeth at the camera. Famous people didn’t come now so much. The last English politician was the grinning one. The Company hadn’t liked him so much, they never could understand why the ex-director’s son at the White House did.
Martínez had always spent his down time in Spain. No deliveries in Spain: after that first one it was practically in the contract. He finished the greasy food, took a sip of coffee, signalled to Abuela for another. The rucksack wasn’t particularly heavy. He took out the DNEs belonging to the bogus Agentes Nacional, rubbed his finger across them. The lamination was new and smooth. He hadn’t seen them before. The names were most likely aliases anyway.
There was nothing written on the evidence bag with the cell inside. It was an Alcatel, it looked like the one Rueda had had with him. He tried switching it on through the polythene. He let out a sigh and removed the plastic bag. Tried again. It booted up, then went to a log-in screen. Rueda hadn’t been careful, not with him, and not with the Colombian fake-policemen. Maybe he hadn’t with the phone. It unlocked on entering four zeros.