The fat European was cheating. He kept his Mojito on a stack of Euros, the glass sweating the bills in the Cancun sun.
This was his third day there. He sat facing Palencia, the main building Sun Temple. His opponent always faced the ocean. The cards lasted for hours.
‘It’s Goldfinger!’ Juan Cruz thought.
Juan looked up. On an upper terrace, off-limits to guests, he thought he saw something.
The towels high on Juan’s shoulder earned him the honor ‘Tres Leches’, a wildly popular dessert from the kitchens of Sun Temple, though a‘Three Milks’ was the lowest honor at the three-acre Big Lagoon.
His load, damp with pool water, spilled juices and liquor and beer, topped sixty pounds. The towels were the feathers of the headdress of a Mayan warrior. As each was added, his strengths grew.
After his shift, Juan rode his bicycle well beyond the world of the paying guests to the employee dorms. His roommate was away. After a cold shower and a meal of rice and beans, Juan called his mother, then watched American cartoons.
Later he dressed in dark slacks and shirt and headed back to the Resort. Juan sucked a flake of pepper through his teeth: the night would be good. He would be welcome at Palencia, but his movements would be confined to the lobby. Juan used his employee badge to access a short hallway with restrooms used only by employees. A door lock at the end of the hallway yielded easily, and he turned onto a stairway that led to the roof.
Juan disabled the light alongside an upper terrace door, and slipped into the night air.
He checked the time. The face of his thin, fine gold watch, a gift from the Saudi Minister of Export, glowed warmly in the moonlight.
He bent down at the spot where he’d seen something earlier. The finish of the railing was freshly scratched.
Something slapped over his head. By the nap of the terry, a towel from resort’s Vivir Grande. As he stood, a massive weight clamped his shoulders.
Juan’s arms were held across his biceps. He spun, and a sharp point pricked his neck. The heavy embroidery of the ‘VG’ logo had deflected the weapon. Juan Cruz lunged and pitched his foe over the railing.
Juan was impressed that not a sound was uttered during the descent. Still, he couldn’t help himself:
‘Rookie move, amigo’.
The shadowy shape below rustled among the Oleander and Gardenia and finally stood, unsteadily.
A few feet left or right, and stands of Agave would have been his attacker’s resting place.
“Rookie move, Juan.”
Juan’s wound was covered by his shirt buttoned tightly as he made his way through Palencia’s lobby. He studied the faces of all he saw all the way to his bike in the employee lot.
Was this a conclusion Interpol could have anticipated?
It would be important for Juan to appear normal now. He would have no problem with that.
A Best Small Fictions 2015 Winner, Dave Petraglia's work has appeared in Agave, Apeiron Review, Arcadia Magazine, Cactus Heart, Chicago Literati, Crack the Spine, Dark Matter, eFiction India, Far Enough East, Foliate Oak, Gambling the Aisle, Gravel, Jersey Devil Press, Loco, Marathon Literary Review, Mud Season Review, Necessary Fiction, NewPopLit, Olivetree Review, Petrichor Review, Prick of the Spindle, Stoneboat, Storyacious, Thought Catalog, theNewerYork, Utter Magazine, Up the Staircase and Vine Leaves. His blog is at www.davepetraglia.com