"The Zhuzh Sound" Mr Martínez 8
Still hungry, Martínez signalled to the woman for more coffee and dough rings. She smiled at him,
‘You don’t stay long, hey? You bring trouble, I think.’
He grunted and picked up the cup. The coffee was too hot, but the buñuelos were already growing cold. Martínez applied Fourier’s law to both, tipping the cup at an angle while he immersed the dough in the steaming black liquid. By the time he’d eaten both buñuelos, the coffee was lukewarm. He drained the cup and asked for another. He smeared his fingers on a napkin so unfit for purpose it was like using greaseproof paper.
The oldish Alcatel cell didn’t have much on the home screen. Martínez checked the call log. There was nothing listed apart from the emergency number he’d punched in before leaving Rueda at the top of Sierra Gorda. The presence of the phone in the car didn’t mean the Guardia Civil was dead, but if the bogus Agentes Nacional had got there after the Emergency Vehicles the body count was sure to be much higher than one GC. Caller ID would have shown at the Emergency call-center, that was something. Usually, an ambulance arrived faster than a police vehicle, but if no-one spoke on the line… well, sometimes it was just an ass-cheek call. Rueda’s name and rank would have done enough for despatch to get with the program a little quicker, maybe. It all depended where the fake policemen had boosted the vehicle. The plate hadn’t given any clue, the letters CNP denoting only that the vehicle was Policia Nacional. But it was more likely Marbella than Málaga, where they made do with SEATs. Martínez hunted around for the contacts list. It was empty apart from one un-assigned number. It had an international code. He tapped the screen. Someone picked up on the fourth ring. The voice came out harsh.
‘¿Porque llamaste otra vez? Thair eez no-u messa-jeh.’
The man ended the call with ‘no llama mas, coño’.The zhuzh sound on the double-Ls of llamar gave it away. No wonder the Colombian guy was pissed. It must have been 3 a.m. in Medellín. Martínez wouldn’t call again. He switched the phone off. He’d keep it, for a while. If he didn’t need it in the next twenty-four hours, he wouldn’t need it at all.
‘Abuela, toma ese dinero, por favor.’
He piled a thousand euros from the money taken from the bogus policemen onto the table. There was plenty more in his own recovered stash.
‘Fueron bunuelos muy expensivos, Chico.’
‘Creo que no, Abuela, creo que no.’
And they weren’t expensive, not at all. He asked the woman if there was still a bus to Alora from Carratraca. She shook her head, gave a shrug.
‘One at eight a.m. It gets back about six p.m. Sometimes it doesn’t run, if the driver is sick.’ Martínez nodded and stared at the woman.
‘Yo veo,’ she nodded herself. ‘La furgoneta.’ She dropped an ignition key with a Renault fob onto the table.
‘Leave it in the underground parking at Mercadona, on Calle Albahaca. I need that van, Chico.’
‘I will’ said Martínez as he dropped another five hundred euro notes onto the table.
‘If you get there,’ she said.
The woman led him out of the back door, through the yard and onto the dirt track behind the row-houses. The battered vehicle was as ancient as Rueda’s SEAT had been. It had a couple of dings and some of the rust showed through the paint that had faded to a very light blue.
‘Adios, Abuela.’ He waved out of the driver’s window and pointed the car down the track to the other end of the village, where he headed north on the A-357 , in the opposite direction to Alora.