Gorilla has the most interesting face of anyone I have known. There is something profoundly primitive about him. He doesn’t talk much and wears a blank expression until the chance to beat someone presents itself. A glint appears in his shifty eyes, he becomes a ball of repressed anger, and everyone who knows better, splits. His real name is Martin, but I’m not supposed to know that. Gorilla is Azul’s brother.
“Babes, do you like surprises?” I had asked Azul last night.
“No, I don’t” she responded, “surprises always seem to go wrong.”
“Well, I love surprises,” I said with confidence – she’d like what I like, like most girls do, I figured. But she didn’t change her tune, though I still didn’t believe her. What girl doesn’t like surprises?
We’ve been dating for three months, you see, but we live in different towns. It’s just as well, because she says her friends can’t imagine what she sees in me. She’s pretty smart and works at a taco stand. Me? I dropped out of middle school, but I suppose I must be wise or something. She always tells me I am ‘streetwise’, whatever that means.
My surprise for Azul is to show up on her birthday. Of course she’ll be taking me out for a burger... she always seems to have money!
I called her in the morning to set things up. “So Babes, it’s your birthday, huh?” Calling her Babes sounds very macho, eh?
“Yes it is, coming over?”
“No” I lied, “I’m broke. Probably gonna stay home and watch TV. What about you?”
“I’m not sure yet” She said sounding OK with it.
“You’ll be home all day?” she asked.
“Yup, can’t go nowhere.”
“I might drop by later. You’ll be there?” She said.
“Sure.” I smiled. She bought it. I guess that’s my “street-wisdom”. She’ll never expect me.
Later that day I took the bus to her apartment with my last two bucks. I knocked but no one answered, which seemed strange. It had started to rain now, but I went to her window and looked in. It was dark, but it looked like she was doing her nails by the bed. I rapped on the window but she didn’t move. I flipped my phone open and called her. But damn! I was getting wet.
“Where are you?” she said as my phone credit ran out. She’d call back - she always did. I peered in again wondering why she didn’t move. Then I thought how she sounded strange, strained. A little worried now, my mind putting the scene together, I ran to the front door and tried to open it.
“What are you doing?” I heard Gorillas big voice ask behind me.
I turned around to see him staring blankly.
“Azul’s in trouble,” I blurted and resumed ramming my shoulder into the door.
“Are you sure?” the unfazed Gorilla asked.
“She’s slumped over by the bed and not moving! I think someone tied her up!” I screamed.
By now, there was small crowd gathering, and with a single massive kick Gorilla brought the door down and we quickly found the figure slumped by the bed. It was her back-pack.
Gorilla coolly flipped open his phone, dialed and put it on speaker while handing it to me.
“Gorilla?” she said
“It’s me Babes, where are you?” I asked, a little mad and confused now.
“I’m on your front step in the rain, you idiot. Where are you?” she responded hotly. I only heard Gorilla shift and grow, but I didn’t see a thing.
(Thank You Andrea, for rearranging it).