The Swamp (Part Ten)
In a glass tower in Panama City, Celia Blandon stands before the huge picture window, staring past her balcony and out at the still ocean. She holds a drink in her hand and upon closer inspection it becomes evident that she is trembling, but just slightly. Her eyes are glazed over and her face is hidden in the shadows flickering from the boat lights in the harbor.
"You are very hungry, I imagine." inquires Federico, his eyes never straying from her legs and breasts. "I just hope they don't wait until too late to serve the food. That is one thing I hate about Central American parties, they always serve the food too goddamn late!"
Celia snapped out of her daze and turned to face Blandon. He was not a handsome man. Short, fat and balding, but dressed impeccably. She forced a smile to her lips. It came out looking like a cherry red smear.
"You are unhappy." a statement, tossed at her like a grenade.
She turned again and downed her drink, a double brandy over shaved ice, one of her only vices. "What makes you think that Freddy? Tu sabes que te quiero mucho, mi amor. You know I love you baby."
Federico came up behind her in the dark, shoving her forward slightly so that she was almost pushed up onto the picture window glass. She could feel him hard through the thin silk of her green evening dress. She began to tremble in fear. She had seen him before like this and he was horrible when he was angry.
"Do not get angry Freddy. Let's not ruin the evening please." she pleaded, trying to be forceful but failing miserably.
"No. You;re right, mi amorcito. Of course." he pushed her harder and she was up against the window now. She reeled, dizzy from the great heights.
"No, Freddy, please!" she begged, crying now.
"I know you're thinking of him, right? You think I'm stupid? Is that what you think? Pendeja!" he spat at her, pushing away, leaving her dazed against the wall, sobbing.
"Just remember, bitch, who takes care of you and your fucking kids now. That's right. That hijo de puta left you and your kids high and dry cabrona, don't you fucking forget it." He poured himself a shot of whiskey from a tumbler on the bar.
The penthouse apartment at the Villa Pacifica Towers was designed by one of the leading architects in all of Central America, Paulo Ramiro DeLeon of Panama City who just so happened to be one of Blandon's nephews. Blandon and his partners owned seven different developments in Panama, five of which were in and around Panama City. Of these three were towers in the capital city itself, one of them being the super luxury Villa Pacifica Towers.
The condos at Villa Pacifica Towers had all been sold to rich American and Canadian investors over the course of the last two years since they had first been built and many of these had been sold even before construction during the pre-sales period. For developers it was a boom time. Blandon's family controlled one of the richest banks and it was Blandon's father, the famed patriarch Rigoberto Blandon himself who had raised the capital for all of the developments, more than $50 million altogether.
But while Villa Pacifica Towers had sold out, the other two towers stood almost completely vacant. The economy had crashed around the world in late 2007 and the real estate market plummeted. All the baby boomer investors stopped coming all of a sudden. The screeching brakes of the recession in the states left gigantic skid marks on regional real estate, especially in Costa Rica and neighboring Panama, formerly the two most attractive places for Americans to buy second homes, retirement homes or condos to rent out.
Blandon had run through all of his cash reserves and was now teetering on bankruptcy, and everyone knew it which only made it worse. But the bastard was tough and ornery and no way was he going to give up without a hell of a fight. He kicked back another shot of whiskey then turned to stare at Celia with hatred and disgust.
She was crying, still pressed against the window. One thing he had always been a pushover for was a crying woman. It melted his cold heart all of a sudden, and he went to her, holding her tenderly from behind.
"I am sorry, my love. I don't know what comes over me. It is because I am crazy about you, you must know that." he whispered into her thick black hair.
She forced herself to look up and smile nervously, still sniffling and wiping her eyes. She looked up through a curtain of bangs. "I know Freddy. I know. Let me go to the bathroom for a minute and clean up and then we'll go, okay?" she kissed him quickly and walked unsteadily towards the bathroom.
Federico watched her turn and he pulled a pack of Belairs from his pocket and lighted one with an old style chrome lighter. He was dressed in a black Italian suit, especially made for him by his personal tailor at the men's clothing store in the lobby of the Intercontinental Hotel. Only the best for Federico Blandon, of course.
He drove one of the only Range Rover Sports in Cental America, a brand new white number that turned heads all over the city.
The penthouse condo itself was all glass and chrome and steel. Some of the walls were made of gorgeous rustic grey bricks, cut roughly to contrast with the smooth glass. The design was exquisite, decadent even.
"Fuck," he thought bitterly, "I can't even afford to live in my own fucking home any longer."
His cell phone chirped and he pressed his blue tooth earpiece. "Yes. What is it?" he demanded. He listened, turning away from the bathroom in subterfuge.
"He what? When? Well, you will catch him, no? That should not take long." He listened some more, anger building. "You did what? You fucking imbecil---" he screamed, then stopped and looked at the bathroom, noticing the water sounds had stopped. He paused, listening nervously.
The water turned on again and he turned and spoke in a hoarse whisper now, staring out at the ocean through the crystal clear picture window. "Listen to me, cabron. Get your men, all of them, and get the fuck out there right now and find him. Find him NOW! Entiendes, maricon? Ahora!"
He hung up just as Celia came out of the bathroom. He looked up and smiled at her.
"Is there something wrong Freddy? Who were you talking to?"
"A nadie, mi amor. My, you look so very beautiful tonight. You are stunning!"
Federico placed his arm through hers. "Shall we go now, dear? Damn, I'm hungry," he remarked cheerily, "I sure hope they don't serve the food too late."
to be continued
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