A Portrait of the Operative as a True Friend

Cigars had burned low, and we were beginning to sample the disillusionment that usually afflicts old school friends who meet again his men and find themselves with less in common than they used to think. They had breakfast in the mercado, at a stall with a concrete counter worn as smooth as polished marble. The girl whom he was bent on seeing at this hour on Christmas Eve, a twenty-four-year-old primary school teacher, was one of those clients he had started to gather around him in the days when he was a collector of bad debts for a furrier. If Mrs. Havelock had been alive she would’ve been getting ready to say “Judy, I’m always telling you not to do that on the corner, as it scatters gravel all over the lawn and you know how it ruins Joshua’s lawnmower.” He pivoted slowly on his heel and crashed headlong to the wine-red floor.