Continued From The Previous Episode: Season-1. Episode-2
The plane touched down at the only international airport in Honduras which was in the capital City, and taxied to a halt close to the airport building. The airport wasn’t exactly adequate looking, a faded white building with some missing windows, but I’d seen worse in Africa.
Miss Natasha had hurried off the plane with all the other passengers and I hadn’t bothered her. I took my time before disembarking from the plane in a bid to avoid the crowd that was sure to overwhelm customs or immigration. The airport building was a short distance away and I walked it with leisure. Some places on earth were quite lovely I thought, looking at the lovely green forests beyond the flat green fields, all of it very natural. You could smell the freshness of the place right in your face and it was only late afternoon.
In the crowded hot hall that was the immigrations and customs checkpoint, everyone was talking and no one was listening. There were too many people trying to get themselves and their stuff checked through and most of them didn’t even look like they had been on my plane, which meant there would still be some baggage upload time so I chose to avoid the bustle again. There was a big door marked restaurant and I headed for it.
“Mistah Alan, sah?”
The man moved around to face me.
“Senor Ramírez,” he corrected himself quickly. “Mistah Ramírez, he send me fetch yo. No come himself, caught up in business. Come along to you dinnah time.”
He was a sturdily built man in his thirties dressed in a straw hat, faded kaki shirt and blue jeans rolled up above his chocolate colored calves. His features told of African-Indian decent There was an effort of concertation in his speech, eyes closed slightly like he had memorized all the words he was speaking and afterward, he grinned widely as if in self-congratulation.
It was clear that the man didn’t really understand or speak English. I switched to Spanish.
“Si, Senor,” replied the brown man with a nod then switched to his crazy pidgin English again. “Yessah, ah go lookit, then wait for yo outside by car.”
As he padded off the woman in the coat came in through the door from the customs hall carrying her case and immediately after her came the two black guy from off the plane. Without looking back, she walked quickly across the room to a small table against the wall with only one chair and it was clear she was trying to ignore the men but they persisted, laughing and fooling around then drew up chairs on either side to box her in. They were obviously pressing, trying to hustle her.
Again? I thought in sudden anger. How the hell does she even endure this sort of thing so often? I drained my drink and got to my feet, heading over. Natasha saw me coming over first then the less troublesome of the two bucks, the one who had been sitting in the window seat on the plane. The more troublesome one had his back to me.
“I’ve been looking all over for you, Irene,” I said emphatically. “Come over here will you.”
She looked up expectantly and then started to her feet but the more forceful man whirled around to face me. There was a look of surprise on his face at first, then anger and a resentment that went far beyond what he might have shown another man of his race.
You had to understand one thing about these Lower American’s, like Californians, there were a thousand shades of them, mixed breeds of all kinds, from whites through to blacks, Latinos, and Indians. Racism was a daily issue. In some neighborhoods, the color of your skin mattered a lot, you had to hang out with your own kind or it could get you killed. My being white decent didn’t seem to please this big black guy at all and his lips drew back from his teeth in a snarl as he jumped up to face.
“Shut your face, boy!” I said sharply. “Shut your face and get the hell out of here before I break your bones.”
I kicked his friend’s chair with the side of my foot and the man moved aside quickly.
They were both big men but so was I, and they sure as hell didn’t know what I was capable off else they would walk away fast. The second man, his friend, now on his feet too, didn’t look like he was going to join the fury; he looked a bit scared as he stared at me. I guess my powerful athletic build was a dead giveaway, it often was, particularly when I had on tight fitting T-shirts that showed off my bulging muscles. I was dressed in blue T-shirt, blue jeans and black bikers boots, my black leather jacket over one arm.
Deciding I wasn’t to be messed with, the other man reached out a hand to grab his angry friend by the sleeves of his shirt but got shrugged off. The angry man stared hatefully at me for a moment then reached for something at his waist under his shirt, probably a knife like all dirty street fighters go.
I grinned with new anger.
“If you get it out, I must use it on you,” I said flatly.
He stopped, suddenly looking uncertain, and this time didn’t resist as his friend grabbed him by the arm and pulled him away.
“Come here, Alberto, this isn’t the fish factory,” said his friend urgently in Spanish. “You love trouble but this one looks like too much trouble and the chick is probably his. She doesn’t look cheap.”
“Come on, Irene,” I said holding out my hand. She got up and came around the table to me. I took her case and led her away to another table near the bar. I spoke as we sat down. “They just won’t leave you alone, eh?”
She was tensed up. “I’m really so very sorry,” she said somewhat uneasily.
I waved a hand. “Being naturally beautiful and very attractive is not your fault. Are you waiting for someone to come pick you up?”
She shook her head. “No, I’m just waiting for the bus to town. It will be along soon I hope.”
“Well, no need to worry, then,” I said. “I’ve got a car and driver somewhere. As soon as my stuff is checked I’ll give you a lift.”
“No trouble, a pleasure.” I leaned forward and touched her hand on the table. “Come on, now. Forget about them and relax. Have a drink with me and then we’ll be on the move soon.”
Some of the tension left her expression. “Well can I pay for it then, please?”
“Not at all, perhaps next time we run into each other.”
I ordered the drinks and we drank quietly for a while. I had just finished mine when the mulatto came through the doorway to the customs hall. I signaled him over.
“Got my stuff, homeboy?” I asked.
The Honduran grinned widely and pulled at his hat. “Got the bags yo name on, sah. They ready for customs.”
“Alright, “ I said in English, getting to my feet. “I’ll go get my papers stamped but you stay here with the lady. Once she’s done with her drink, take her out to the car and then come find me.”
The mulatto frown as he tried to figure that one out in English, then he abruptly grinned as he got the bang of it. “Yessah.”
I smiled at Natasha. “I’ll be as quick as I can.”
In the customs hall, there were just three people left to be checked but over at the immigrations section it was clear, I headed over to Immigrations and got the attention of the big boss at once. He was a short fat man as black as coal in a neat brown uniform and he looked like he still couldn’t believe the vast authority invested in his person by the government. He glanced briefly at my papers, stamped them and gave me a friendly smile.
The recommendation was obviously unchallengeable so I thanked him and gathered up my papers then headed over to the customs section to clear my luggage.
The guy kept at it for several minutes, getting nowhere fast and I quickly got fed up. I went over to the baggage and patted the suitcases.