Getting thrown in the slammer. Booked on lewd behavior. I can’t believe it happened to me.

I’m under constant risk of being gypped, seduced and physically assaulted. It’s rough. Enough to make my balls sweat. That’s why every third day or so I need a little R‘n’R. On this hard luck day the chiringuitos in Barceloneta were calling me. More specifically, a frosty jug of sangría.

Enjoying my first few drops, soaking in my first rays of Mediterranean sunshine I noticed him. This tourist who didn’t look quite right. Like Bill Gates in a Cash Converters, he didn’t belong.

It’s on account of this turncoat guiri that I’m in bad with the bulls. In the squirrel cage with gypmeisters and punks of the common variety.

I sported my casual threads. A flower print shirt I got on shore leave in Manila. That was many years and pounds ago. So it stretches a bit around the love handles. Don’t matter. It’s classy.

I was lounging in one of those aluminum things that passes for a seat. In a chiringuito. Despite my girth, the narrow and uncomfortable dingus, I was enjoying the early summer drone. The chicas on the boardwalk, in the sand. That poppy music they listen to. Invigorating. Youthful. I pulled on my Ducado, ordered my third pitcher of sangría. The smoke was green. The chicas were topless. The virulent underbelly of crime in a haze of spiked vino tinto.

I spotted a guiri about 30 feet in front of me. I mean, he was obvious. Red baseball cap looking like he bought it ten minutes earlier. Pilot’s shades. Sport jacket over white T. Lime-green shorts over spindly varicose legs. Of course, requisite camera. Some kind of tourist, I thought. Sheesh. I felt the urge to warn him about the dangerous criminal activity. The oblivious fool.

So I was thinking this tenderfoot might as well be wearing a sign that says TOURIST, MUCHO DINERO when I saw it. He was real nervous. Kept looking around. Like a little bird. A bird on acid more like.


Read the rest of this story in Larry Kovaks’ book, City of Crime, available now in print or in e-book format. You can also preview the book here.

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