Kamila’s latest Designer bag acquisition had made her trip that morning and spill the coffee on her report.
Tiffany’s had only hired her because the Shorthand skills made her shine amongst all the other glamour-seekers, and they had even sponsored an accent softening course- just to add another humiliating milestone onto her CV.
To mingle with the team, online shopping with seven credit cards, along with photoshopped fake holiday snaps and jewellery bought off special bonus vouchers, all kept the adrenaline pumping and the debt collectors “bomb-mail”- as she liked to call it- coming in.
A week before one hot debt collector, Mark Stronner- she later found out this wasn’t his real name- had given in to all of her whining, crying, and quoting her dead grandmother just to carry out his plan.
Now he was hot. He told her he put his job at risk just to not spring clean her cosy bungalow. Always on time, answering whattsapps and popping by the dry cleaners’ to collect her non-matching suits, her grandmother would have been proud of her.
And he didn’t want to get intimate yet, because he “respected her so much”. The stupid strawberry blonde.
He was giving her gold-value information to dodge the bailiffs and to make her hair thicker with Organix shampoo, and crushing ice on it before using the blow-dryer. He loved this crushing ice bit on her mid-length hair, and she felt like a real cave-woman while he smashed it. That’s all the bodily interaction they got- so far.
A blonde with a dream, and a lazy bum with an even bigger dream. It added up to an unbalanced deal. But who was going to win?
One night Kamila’s grandmother appeared in her dreams again. She was whipping Mark with a rod like in the old days, with all her might- and Mark was giggling “don’t tickle me, stop tickling me nan!”. A Whattsapp from him woke her up- he wanted to meet by the river, at a particular place where there’s was lots of controversial graffiti. It was a CCTV dead corner.
So she called in the call centre for her first sickie. Now. Yes. She was excited. He was there talking to a hoodie who didn’t even bother to scan her and left on his bike as soon as Mark made some sort of gang-like sign.
Mark was serious. He looked like he was resisting to kiss her. They sat on the steps after he checked no one was coming by. He didn’t ask her how she was- yet even noticed the new Coach bag she got. Nor a neon blue new streak on her forehead that cost her seventy quid.
Straight to the point. The destination was Colombia. They were going to go on a guaqueros journey, i.e digging graves for a treasure. He didn’t ask for her approval. It came across to her as a honeymoon gift from him. He marked the date and both their initials on a wall. Wow. The fool. The strawberry fool.
* * *
The journey to Cali felt as quick as a flash as he had packed little more than her blow-dryer and a desert kit. As they got to the Airport, a ridiculous hat he forced her to buy and wear was enough for her to say “for my Grandmother’s breathe!” out loud and make him laugh in a way he hadn’t before.
As they finally found their contact in the suburbs of Juanchito, Kamila and Mark stroke a connection while she took pictures of him smoking nervously and not being able to decide weather to eat gum, smoke or bite his nails. The contact called her “Mami” and Mark knew this business was going to go well.
But as Mark met him again for dinner- this time without Kamila, who wanted to defrizz her hair from the plane- Mark was tempted by the sexiest, most charming and eloquent devil-who-would-deliver.
They were going to become Drugs Mules.
“What about the grave-digging? No time for that. Next time. Not good time of the year.”
“But that’s not what Rhonnie said?”
“You shut up you’re in my territory- if you don’t want me to get your girl pregnant with el Chupacabras.”
When he got back to the Hotel, with no cigarettes left, he found Kamila checking through his passport.
“Where’s the cigarettes?”
“Whose cigarettes? Mark Stronner’s or Adam Moland’s?”
“Don’t try to be clever because I’ve grown fond of you now. Where’s my cigarettes?”
” Mark, I just want you to tell me it’s not something nasty you’ve done before changing your name”
“We’ll have time for that. Hey! Your hair looks great. Here they are, the cigarettes. Lets go get some pics done. It’s like a boxer’s sauna in here.” He kissed her on the forehead for the first time and took that ridiculous hat off her head.
“I’m gonna teach ya how to set boundaries, Mami. You’re grandmother aint here to watch over you anymore.”
* * *
As she tied her hair in a messy, prove-the-point bun and showed a feather-lighe interest towards his life story, Adam- not Mark- made a full confession, which was nothing to be seen on crime watch. Just a kiddo wanting to be Pablo Escobar in Hackney then finding his own was to pay the bills.
He stopped and bought her an indigenous necklace.
“You look great to me like this. Post it in Instagram, see how many likes you get. You don’t need that Tiffany mechanic gear no more. Here, dare to ditch that gold in the sewer.”
She pretended she did but with a trick her grandmother taught her she sneaked the gold inside her shoe.
As they got to the Hotel, and the likes on Instagram were popping, they found the door open and a stuffed Chupacabras toy.
“Don’t ask questions, we’re catching to first plane to London tomorrow.”He said.
“How about the grave-digging?”
“You wouldn’t like someone digging into your nan’s grave in three hundred years’ time, would you?”
They went to sleep again with no body contact. Only in the morning, she found him with his arms curled around her when the smartphone melody started off.
* * *
The events at the airport were like falling off a rollercoaster and getting caught at the last minute by a drone. At customs, a massively wide female security officer asked whose the Chupacabras was. A new alter ego emerged from the glamour-ridden girl
“It’s my grandmother’s, Mami”.
The big woman asked whose the jewels were. She said
“It’s the Chupacabras”.
“Aqui Ustedes se separan” Meaning in Spanish they would be split there.
A Shar-Pei puppy sniffing Kamila’s terror in the cell became extremely friendly with her. All charges dropped. The security officer had asked the girl if she could have the teardrop opal earrings for her granddaughter.
She also said Mark had gone into a fit while begging the officers to let “his girl free” and that the officers made a jolly good thirty minutes’s fun while torturing his mind.
As they ran along the gates with the officers not to miss the plane, Mark (or Adam) couldn’t stop sobbing as Kamila was dragging him “Come on, you can run!”
It was the last minute and as a fact of destiny the star-pei puppy sneaked onto the plane. Nobody had noticed under all that confusion.
It was only when the plane was high up in the sky away from the sight of all the chupacabras that the puppy jumped onto the lucky couple’s lap and licked Mark’s tears off.
“It’s going to be a long journey, Mark.”
“Yes, and as soon as we get to London I wanna get rid of that chupacabras toy.”
“And I want to get of the blow-dryer”
“But not the puppy!” They both cried.
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