I hunkered down with Enrique, close because the music pounded through us. Bursts of raucous excess sallied about the bar. Every table was littered with the debris of partially full bottles of rum and beer: half eaten pollo frito, chuletas de cerdo, pescado bones and slivers of platano. Carelessly spilled arroz. The crowd was loud and deeply brotherly towards their fellow man. I could only imagine they must all have been winners, but that was impossible.
‘I want to manage him,’ I said to Enrique. ‘I can pay off his immigration debt. It’s only seven hundred dollars. Then he can fight outside the country, earn some real money.’ I uttered this with exuberance. I was drunk, but sincere.
Enrique took a thoughtful sip. ‘You can’t manage him,’ he shouted over the music, ‘you don’t know anything about it.’
The waitress, buxom, bursting, pretty as toffee-coloured carnations, came one last time, placing our drinks on the table. As always, a sweet smile. I casually glanced toward the television screen. The horses, those that you could make out through the dust had crossed the finish line. It was the last race. Enrique threw some tickets down in disgust.
‘Lost.’ he said.
Our nag had come in second. ‘We won that race, would have won a hundred and fifty bucks.’ Enrique was despondent, but it didn’t last.