"You Can See The Quiff" Mr Martinez Fourteen
The neonazi returned from outside, cell phone banished back to the pocket behind his stained apron. He took up his position behind the bar. The owner stepped back to give him room, but made no move toward the kitchen. He fished a toothpick from a pocket and cleaned something quite imaginary from between his teeth. He inspected the still- pristine palillo and threw it across the bar-counter to the floor.
‘You want some food, Señor? La casa te invita.’
Martínez thought about declining. For as long as it took the bartender to clear his throat.
‘That’ll be great. Whatever there is,’ he said, because in the field you ate when you could and slept when you could. Besides, he figured on making the neonazi feel uncomfortable for a while. The owner/cook went back to the kitchen.
‘Well?’ Martínez downed his coñac. The barman looked ceiling-ward and let out a breath that rattled his lips, like an exasperated horse.
‘It’ll be here in ten minutes. It’s no Ducati.’
‘Doesn’t have to be.’
‘Who are you?’ He produced a cloth and began wiping the circle-stained wood of the counter top.
‘You should know better.’ They were so dumb, these guys. They believed that working in cells and need-to-know was all the protection they needed from discovery. Maybe it helped a little, but it made fooling them so easy. The food arrived before the bike. Tortilla de patatas, a small brown dish of chorizo in red wine and plenty of bread for the juices. Martínez signalled for a large beer and told him hold the coñac.
He was just testing the absorbent properties of the cheap paper napkins when the door opened and a leather-clad figure came in. The full-face helmet was removed before they reached the bar, but Martínez was not surprised at the shampoo-advertisement hair toss when it came off, as no biker-guy’s body would have made the leathers go in and out where the newcomer’s did. He almost laughed.
She looked Martínez up and down,
‘Who were you expecting? James Bond?’
‘I was expecting shorter hair…’ she gave a smirk. ‘And tattoos.’ She glanced at the neo who had moved to the other end of the bar to do something that was suddenly important. ‘Like him.’
The man behind the bar had a couple of fairly innocuous images on his forearms. But no swastikas or death’s heads visible.
‘His hair’s grown some, maybe it’s covered now.’
Martínez looked over at the man. His hair curled over the back of a collar that would have been no cleaner than his apron front.
‘He has Herr Hitler on his back and neck, if his hair’s short you can see the quiff.’
It took him a second or two to realise she was joking.
‘Let’s take it outside,’ she said. Martínez followed, trying not to look at the way she moved, but failing.
Outside, he held his hand out for the keys. The bike wasn’t so bad. 600 cc engine. A battered-looking Yamaha model from the late 90s. It might even have been street legal. The woman looked at his outstretched hand.
‘You can call me Margarita’ she said, as she took his hand for a shake. The keys were still in the bike.
‘It’s me and the bike, Señor. Think of me as your chauffeuse.’ She threw a long leg over the bike.
‘Come on, Dulce, get on board.’