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Voyages of los Testigos - Part 8, Page 2

Lifeboats & Lomotil

"He went with the lifeboat," the BigGuy said, setting down his fork and looking up from his plate of chop suey.

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"What's that?" Medio asked.

"Capn. He doesn't want to get too far away from Nuco, his lifeboat."

Medio shook his head. "Can't figure that out. I mean here's a guy who almost loses his life on the Florita thanks to his lifeboat, yet he sticks with him. I'd find a new lifeboat."

"Myself, I thought it was time to get away from the Nuco regime," the BigGuy said. "Had to get out and practice the Español." He picked up his fork again, then, as if in afterthought, grew expansive. "You know, we're doing all right. We made it from Puerto Cortes to Tegucigalpa, then from the bus station to the hotel. We got the rooms and located the meeting place."

"All under the guidance of your Español," Medio added.

"I have to work on my tenses a little," the BigGuy conceded, "but I got us where we needed to go. By the way, how's the supply of Lomotil?"

Medio took the packet out. "Still have six left. You need one?"

"No, just the thought of it being there is enough."

"That was quite a move you pulled, Señor," Medio said.

"What's that?"

"Escaping with the Lomotil supply. I can see Nuco right now, his bowels bursting, cursing you for leading the breakout."

"Maybe we should try to get some more," the BigGuy suggested.

"You think you can handle that?"

"Sure. Just walk into the farmacia and say, 'Yo necesita Lomotil.'"

"And if they don't understand?"

"I'll just point to my ass and say diarrhea," the BigGuy replied. "Lomotil, diarrhea, those are the key words."

"I'll bet you didn't learn that from those Berlitz tapes," Medio said.

"Either way, we're still within the safety zone," the BigGuy replied, returning his attention to the meal in front of him.

"How's the chop suey?" Medio asked, pointing to the medley of noodles and vegetables that lay under the poised fork of his compañero.

"Muy bueno," the BigGuy said. "You know, we've been here almost a week and it's taken me until today to figure out that there's more to eat in this country than rice and beans. Like this Chinese food."

"Rice and beans is the only food available under the Nuco regime," Medio said, putting down his fork to reach for the cold bottle of Imperial in front of him. "And beer."

"How is the beer?" the BigGuy asked.

"Okay." Medio said, looking at the label. "A little rough around the edges, like this voyage."

"The Fatneck says it replaces Salva Vida in the southern half of the country. And that it's stronger." "Fatneck" was the name the travelers had given to people of Germanic descent, a term the BigGuy had heard a Dutchman use while complaining about Germans on a train to Amsterdam. Since Nuco was of Germanic ancestry, the travelers referred to him as the Fatneck, or Nuco Gordo.

"How we doing on money?" the BigGuy asked.

"Getting low," Medio replied.

"The Fatneck said he knew a place where we could get a better exchange rate for dollars," the BigGuy said.

"Where's that?

"Some guy who owns a restaurant in town."

"Do they serve rice and beans?"

"I'm sure they do or how would he know about it?" the BigGuy replied. "It's owned by another Fatneck."

"Those Fatnecks stick together, don't they," Medio observed.

"He says we can get three to one on the dollar, instead of the official two to one rate," the BigGuy replied, and dug into his plate of Chop Suey with gusto.

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