Shelter(ed) Day 3- Back to Havana
Chapter 3- The Tesla Fuse
Jorge- Illustrated by Ermitis Blanco. Havana.
Jorge jumped into a cab outside the Nacionale with the mobsters in bumbling pursuit.
“Where to Amigo?”
“Make a right on 23rd, up La Rampa to Havana Libre, now cut down [street] to the end of the park and hang a left. Yeah, there. It’s one way!
Yeah I know just do it. I’ll make it worth your while! Now into that little garage on the corner, by the Marti statue. Ok, pull to the back and I’ll close the door. Wait here while I get dressed. Grab yourself a cerveza from the fridge. My dad loves to drink them when he tinkers on his babies.”
Jorge hustled upstairs, while the driver looked around. He’d never seen such a collection in one garage: a racing Ferrari, a [55 Corvette], two Chevy Bel Aires, an Impala, and a Cherry Red Buick. If he could drive just one of these cars, he could charge twice the fares that he did now. And he could drive it for years, even leave it to his sons when they came of age.
If they kept it in good repair, they might provide his grandsons a means to make extra cash, well into the 21st century.
He drifted off, content with his generational Cuba taxi-driver fantasies, and a cold cerveza.
Meanwhile upstairs, Jorge showered. A small stream of blood trickled out of his navel mixed with the soap and water, making a pink swirl down the drain. He noted it, but moved on, applying a small bandage before putting on his creme white dinner jacket. He tied his bow tie just as his father had taught him (eyes closed) then slipped into slacks and tuxedo slippers. Black hair slicked back, pinky ring in place, he looked the part of a high-roller, albeit a very young one.
Next, he went to the humidor that his grandfather had given him and picked a few choice [Churchill Cohibas] for his breast pocket. He slipped them beneath his pocket square- another accessory without which, as his grandfather had said, a gentleman is not considered fully dressed. Next, he reached into the pouch where he kept the fuses and removed one, taking careful inventory of what remained.
Since his grandfather had passed, he had used precious few. Only Jorge, his grandfather and Nicola knew that the one invention he’d kept entirely secret through his years of financial struggle in New York could have been sold for a fortune- but it was just too scary to consider as viable. On his
deathbed, Nicola had gifted the secret (and a few dozen of the fuses, to Michaela) as thanks for paying years of overdue hotel bills. And Michaela had passed all but one of them on to Jorge, the secret intact.
Jorge double-checked the timer on the humidor, inserted his 950 sterling silver links into his French cuffs- the good luck stamp of “ROX” facing in, glanced at the mirror, and headed downstairs.
“Let’s take the Caddy, friend. Leave your car here — you can pick it up later.”
Dime que otra vez señor.
The taxi driver was still half dreaming about the classic cars, and didn’t fully awaken until Jorge was next to him, grabbing the keys from the rack and tossing them in the front seat before jumping in the back. If he was going to be a high roller, he wasn’t riding shotgun.
“To the Club Tropicana in Marianao. What’s your name, by the way?”
“Pepe!,” the driver shouted, as he gunned the Cadillac [make, year] and the doors opened enough to clear the car roof. Halfway down the block, he almost hit the two pedestrians. In the rearview, he saw they were the meathead Americans he’s seen coming out of the Nacionale.
“What the f*ck…Cubanos drivers- almost killed you, Vin!”, screamed Meathead Number Two.
Slouched out of view in the back, Jorge wished Pepe would have taken care of them, then and there. But the escape was clean, and the mafiosos had no idea who had nearly run them down.
Prefer the whole Book One? Here is the Table of Contents, with links.