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by Christopher Ray

Rodolfo acts cool, posing in shades by his shoddy remnant of a red Lada as if it were a stretch limo. “Where you wanna go? I know everywhere.”

An odour of the previous night still clings to him; stale beer, smoke and perfume. I guess he knows how to party, even midweek. He knows how to sleep too, crashing out across the front seats at every opportunity. We have no mercy, hammering on the dented roof of his cannibalized tin can. There is no holding his head, rubbing his eyes or recriminations. He flicks straight back into attitude. “Hey, chica, look see, you want my T-shirt?” He extends the front out tight to display the familiar iconic portrait. “You like this? I know the guy.”

“What, Che?” she laughs.

“Yes, of course Che,” he grins. “No, that guy over there.” He waves to a bearded guy at a roadside stall. “My friend. He makes like this. Hey, it’s way too hot. You wanna cool down?”

He reads our minds. With a casual swagger, he lopes around to his door. We step out at a hotel with both a stunning valley view and refreshing blue pool. This time there is no crashing out. Instead, he accompanies us to the poolside as part of his service and is now, lolling under a striped sunshade, watching my wife undress. He lowers his shades to appreciate her strolling in her black bikini to the edge of the pool and tilts his gaze further to observe her sensuous slide into its invigorating depths. The condensation on his beer bottle is seeping between his slippery fingers as her head emerges and she spins her neck, flying hair releasing an excess of rainbow-flecked droplets.

Next day we meet up again. His roving eye soon finds its target. She stands by the roadside, one hip higher than the other, in a bright yellow strappy top and thigh-length spandex shorts molded to her like sky-blue skin. It’s evident modesty is not a feature of her wardrobe.

“This Jacinta,” is his introduction. He purses his lips, but stops short of a whistle. His eyes squint along her contours as she shimmers in like a blaze of sunlight over water. She turns in her seat with a nonchalant wave, then, as we drive on, she lifts her shades over glossy jet hair and takes out a hand mirror. I can only admire the practiced exhibition as she anticipates, and pauses between, the suspension-less jolts over and around potholes whilst painting her eyes and lips.

Perfected, her body performs to the pulsing rhythm. Rodolfo pumps up the music, eyeing her gyrating in her seat in preference to watching the road, while his driver-mirror crucifix dances in hippy spasms on the end of its chain. It doesn’t take a wild guess as to where our fare will later be spent.

Based in the south of England, Christopher Ray is an author of short stories, flash fiction and poetry. His work appears in a variety of publications, including Spelk Fiction and 101 Words. He is co-editor of Platform For Prose (www.platformforprose.com, Twitter @platform4prose).