IT JUST SO happens that I run into Guillermo and his friends at the market. I have just finished buying a jar of of pickle at the Southern market.
They wave on seeing me and I wave back.
"Buenos tardes!' Guillermo shouts from the distance.
"Buenos tardes!" I pay the kind half-Chinese half-Mayan grandmother for the jar and head towards them. I was going to get black beans towards that side, anyways.
"Mr Greenwood," Guillermo says on me reaching them. "Nice afternoon, is not?"
"Nice afternoon," I agree, wondering where this small talk is going. We are just in front of a grocery stall.
"I hear the wife has travel?"
I remember Nikita telling Guillermo's Haitian wife yesterday evening about traveling.
"Yeah, business." I wave over the young attendant who has pink earpieces stuck in his ear. The guy comes over, still nodding his head to whatever music he was listening to.
"You must be, er, lonely, is not?" one of the other guys ask.
I looked towards him. He is as tall as a tree as he is stout with long, shaggy hair and indigo and green tattoos scrawled all over every visible place on his body. I can't really remember his name, Arturo, I think.
I point to the baskets of black beans and ask the attendant, "How much is a cup?"
"Cup?" he says, plucking out the pink cords and staring at me. "380. Cup es 380, ahuevos."
"Chucho!" one of Guillermo's gang shouts. "¡Chupala!" He slams a large palm on the counter. "A cup es 170, ahuevos."
"Cerote," Guillermo says lazily to the boy. He looks amused at the situation. "This chapín, he's trying to rob you," he explains when he sees me staring in confusion.
The guy slams his palm on the counter again and the baskets displaying fruits and vegetables leap up in the air, some spilling a little of their contents.
"Dionisio, calma," Guillermo calls to his angry friend.
Dionisio doesn't answer at first, he continues to glare at the intimidated boy for a long time but eventually backs down.
"Shame on you, trying to exploit foreigner." Guillermo stares at the boy under leaded eyes. "Now you will sell one cup 140 to him."
The frightened boy nods like a mute and immediately starts to measure the black beans with trembling hands.
"Grácias," I say.
"De nada." He rubs at his beard, staring at me as if he is thinking of something. "Come to club with us at night?"
"You said what?"
"The night club, since you're only one in the house."
"No, I'd rather stay at home. I—"
"Come on," Jeremías chirps in, " night club calidá. Night club es cool."
"No, thanks. I'm not a fan of night clubs. Don't worry, our guest house got a bar, if I need a drink I can get there."
"Come on," Guillermo says in that lazy manner of his. "Night club really calidá, really cool. Don't be a spoilsport, Mr Greenwood."
I start to shake my head. "It's Gamaliel. And, I don't think I can come, I'm making big dinner tonight." I gesture to my shopping basket.
They all stare at me without saying anything for a moment.
"Tomorrow then," Chub says, breaking the silence.
"Yes, tomorrow cabal," another adds.
I sigh, starting to feel like a bastard. They are so intent on convincing me to come and I am so intent on not going. Maybe I should check the night club out tomorrow then.
I've not been around much, me and Nikita just spent the whole week going to visit monuments and tourist attractions. Who knows, maybe the night club would be a hell lot different from those of Nashville.
"Come on," Guillermo says again. "Be a lamb, Gamaliel."
I lift my eyebrow at that. Be a lamb? I have no idea what that means, but I start to nod yes. "Alright, alright. Tomorrow then."
The men cheer at this. And before I know it I start to get pumps on my back from them.
"You're a lamb," Guillermo says.
"But, if I don't like it, I'm coming back home," I say, so as not to seem controlled.
"You will like it, trust me, ahuevos." Arturo laughs.
"I have to go now," I say. "I still have a few things to shop for before before I drive back home.
"You bring car?" a terribly thin guy says. He looks amused at this and rubs at his thin goatee, as though to keep from laughing.
I remember him from the previous week, he was the one that played this strange musical instrument at downtown.
"Why bring car? Market no take car. No space," says the one called Reyes.
"It's just packed outside of the market." I am now uncomfortable at their many questions.
"Leave him the fuck alone," Guillermo says to his friends. "¡Come mierda!"
"It's okay," I say. "But I have to go now, the day is running out." I place the plastic bag of beans on top of the other goods in my basket.
"Till tomorrow,' Guillermo says. "We will come for you."
"Okay, gracias. Till tomorrow." I go past them, ignoring the calls of various sellers trying to attract me to their wares.
Once I'm way out of their sight I sigh and shrug. "Fuck it. What's a lamb, anyways?"