"So there we are at El Fogón," the BigGuy said expansively, spreading his arms as if to envelop the small crowd gathered around him. The crowd moved closer and the BigGuy took a moment to survey the surroundings. He sat at a Friday night gathering of Peace Corps trainees, who were holding a party in the small town where they received their preservice language and cultural training.
Surrounded by mountains and the lush green vegetation of the rainy season, it was an idyllic setting for learning Spanish. "The owner, a Fatneck, comes out and Nuco says to him, 'We hear you're buying dollars'. The owner nods and leads us to his office in the back of the restaurant.
"Now we've done some research on the market value of the Lempira," the BigGuy continued, "and sure enough the Fatneck who owns the restaurant is willing to give us a three to one exchange for our dollars." The BigGuy paused dramatically, then added, "except to our amigo bueno, Medio. For some reason, he didn't trust Medio."
Medio shrugged his shoulders and lifted his arms, "Can't figure out why," he said. "You were the one wearing the campesino hat."
"Why do I tell you this?" the BigGuy continued, as the trainees gathered closer around him. "As we're about to enter the restaurant office, the Fatneck turns and looks at Medio as if he was a...a...a..." The BigGuy stopped, unable to come up with the right word.
"A Lomotil thief," Nuco said, bringing the schoolyard issue out in the open.
"A Lomotil thief," the BigGuy echoed weakly, as if he'd just been nabbed by his grade school's Padre Grande. Just as quickly, however, he resumed the story. "Anyway, Nuco tells his fellow Fatneck, 'He's with us', and we enter the office to make the exchange."
Medio looked at Nuco, whose ears were burning as hotly as his asshole. "He's quick, ain't he?"
"Now here's the good part," the BigGuy continued, seeing that he was losing his audience. "The Fatneck counts our money, counts out the corresponding number of Lempiras, and hands them to Nuco. Nuco points to Medio, who's carrying the group kitty and again the Fatneck hesitates. In his mind he's saying no way am I giving all this money to that guy. He doesn't actually say that, but you can see it in his eyes. And again Nuco has to say, 'It's okay, he's with us'."
"I think it's the way Medio dresses," Capn said. "The guy had every right in the world to be suspicious."
"Thrift Store clothes or not, the Fatneck did not want to hand Medio the money," the BigGuy said. "I think he's just not white enough."
The crowd began to lose interest in the drift of the conversation, and the BigGuy looked around him again. "So how much Lomotil do we have left?" he asked.
"None," Medio replied.
"You guys used it all," Nuco accused.
"Oh, you can buy Lomotil at a local farmacia," one of the trainees said.
"Over the counter?" the BigGuy asked.
"Sure," the trainee replied. "I have some. Do you need it?"
"Hmm...no thanks, not right away. Well, Señores, we have a 2 AM bus to catch if we plan to make it to Nicaragua tomorrow," the BigGuy said, standing up. "Para mi, yo estoy sueño."
"I think it's time for another cerveza," Nuco said.
"Of course," the BigGuy replied. "Otra cerveza, por favor!"
Next issue, black marketeering, border stooges, and a change of beers.