“What brings you to Rio,” the old bar tender asks. His large yellow floral print shirt untucked reminds me of a simpler time. A time before I knew the ways of the secretive world of spies and killers. A time when I enjoyed sitting in a fake cabana drinking what the bar tenders at the time called their version of a sex on the beach.
But here and now, and in the heat of an empty open air wooden bar on the board walk with just the two of us—I remember only that I was pulled back into this life I tried so hard to forget and leave behind me after so many years of doing what only a special few of us have ever been able to do.
“Carnival,” I tell him with my well practiced smile.
He starts laughing a little bit. “You and me, aren’t we a little old for that kind of party? The girls here will eat you alive, if you’re lucky,” he says putting an umbrella drink on the bar in front of me. “You don’t look like the other tourists.”
He’s right. Looking at the mirror from behind the bar it’s easy to see in my own reflection, the gray hairs, the wrinkles around the eyes, I’m showing every one of my days. I don’t fit in anymore. “Oh yeah?” I ask. “What do I look like then?”
The question makes him stop. He stands back and gives me a quick once over. “Serious,” he says. “Nah, you’re not here for Carnival. Business maybe, but you’re definitely not here for the girls or dancing my friend—no matter what kind of party shirt you’re wearing.”
I decide the truth is the best policy. Besides we’re both too long in the tooth and it’s done me well over the years. “Business,” I tell him. “It’s been a long time since I’ve been back here. Everything looks different, changed.”
“All things change, Amigo, even time. But the more gray men like you and me get, the more it all stays the same. Am I right?”
“That, my friend, is exactly right on the head,” I say saluting him with my drink. Nothing ever really changes, we just get older.
“What kind of business do you have here?” he asks.
“The unfinished kind,” I tell him with the smile. He catches the meaning and raises his eye brows. “I’m waiting on a friend.”
“Ah,” he smiles, “A friend. What’s her name?”
“Anjo da vingança,” I say it cold. Angel of revenge.
He dives for the shotgun he keeps under the bar. He doesn’t get a chance to pull it. The silenced pistol I’m holding jumps in my hand and I hear him hit the ground behind the bar.
One leap and I’m over the top and standing above him. He’s not dead, but I’m not promising he’s going to stay that way. “Where is she?” I ask him putting the tip of my shoe on top of the blood soaking through the side of his shirt.
“Ow. Fuck,” he tries to scream out.
“The angel of revenge, Panimalos, Vingança. You know where’s she hiding. I want it.”
“You’re fucking loco,” he says grabbing hold of my shoe on his side.
“Good, so you remember me,” I say.
“I’ve never seen you, don’t know you, you fucking crazy old punta.”
“I’ve been called a lot of names over the last thirty years … My friends call me Max. People like you tend to call me—“
“Papão?” he interrupts.
“That’s right,” I say grinding my foot in a little harder. “The Boogeyman.”