The drama continues!
Part 1 here!
Timmy continued to play the best friend role, which was actually kind of nice. He seemed genuinely interested in my happiness and comfortability, often performing nice gestures like buying me a drink or offering a piece of his candy bar. Of course I understood this was all part of his plan to eventually get inside my wallet, but that knowledge only made our dynamic more absurdly comical in my eyes.
It soon became apparent that Timmy dabbled in the narcotics biz. Mostly because after asking whether or not I was a cop (is that really a law, where cops have to admit their punitive intentions if queried?), he offered me a giant nug of the green stuff for a “great price”. I declined, and he assured me that if I ever needed weed or anything else, he was the guy.
No big deal, I thought. We’re in Latin America and even back home I have friends who are, shall we say, entrepreneurial.
A couple days go by and nothing out of the ordinary happens. My money and supplies are seemingly in order, and Timmy and I are getting along fine. He had a girl over one of the nights, which put me on the couch for a few hours, but that’s to be expected in a shared-living situation. Then one day, out of nowhere, he pulls me outside for a chat.
“Bro, look… if either of the guys here (they were living in the first room) asks, tell them you’re only paying me $10 a night.”
“Because man, if they know you’re paying $30 a night they’re gonna think you got money, and they’re a little sketchy, you know?”
I had met the other guys. They seemed normal, but who’s to say what evils lurk beneath?
He continued, “Oh and hey, you got $20 I can borrow?”
“I just gave you $90 the other day (for my first three nights), what happened to all of that?”
“Man, those ninety bucks were gone like that. I had to buy food and supplies and pay off a couple utility bills. You know how it is. So yeah if you could give me $20 right now I’d really appreciate that.”
This was an obvious red flag, but seeing as how I’d have to pay him for rent the next day anyway, I conceded. And considering Carnaval had just ended, I talked him down to $20 per night for the remainder of my stay. I didn’t expect to get the money back, but rather wrote it off as a down payment.
Later that day, one of the guys from the first room, let’s call him Luis, pulled me aside and asked how much I’d been paying Timmy. I’m a terrible liar, especially when put on the spot, so decided to tell the truth and see how things played out.
When I told Luis about the $30 rent, a bit of air escaped his mouth as he shook his head.
“Uhhh… is there a problem?”
“Yeah, but not with you,” he responded. “I need to go have a talk with Timmy.”
Five minutes later, Timmy whistles at me from around the corner.
Psssst. “Mike, come here!”
I approach Timmy and shoot him a “what’s up” look.
“Bro what did I tell you? Why you went and told Luis about our deal?”
“I… uhhh… kinda panicked and told the truth.”
“Maaan that’s fucked up Mike. I thought we were friends bro. Why’d you do this to me?”
“I thought you only wanted me to lie for my own protection, so I don’t see the problem.”
“Ok man, here’s the thing. Those guys want a piece of the profit right? But they don’t do shit. I’m the one who found you, right? I’m the one who takes care of you, y’know? So we have to go back and you tell Luis you were confused is all.”
We had a back-and-forth about it but eventually I caved. I returned to Luis and told him I was confused by the language barrier and what I’d meant to say was that I only paid Timmy $10 per night.
This didn’t bode well with Luis, and ultimately led to the dramatic conclusion of this story…