It was a windy and cloudy morning. All of the sky was painted with gray stretching clouds that seemed to reach the oblivion of the world. A new West-North-West swell was filling in.
Waves were on their way to hit the north and west coast. I could see and smell the saltpeter that poured out of the roaring ocean before I arrived to the San Juan city area. A big isle surrounded by water where the old Spanish castle still stands. I was also in the need of some gas money for sure.
As I was checking on the incoming swell passing along “La Ocho surf spot” in that same north shore town, I got the call.
It was around 8:00am. I was told to go over to the Loiza Station print shop at 5:pm, a shop located five minutes next to the city I was roaming around checking on the waves. Was told to grab a bag full of flyers, and, to quickly deliver them to building “307” in Condado. Wish is a part of the city that is very close to all of the main tourist hotels in this region.
All that I had in my mind was the urge to go home and set up my gear for the two hour drive to Rincón, a surfer’s paradise located at the west coast of the island. A place I only hit maybe twice a year because of the powerful swells needed to rise up the wave that I like.
At 2:30 pm the rumor was that ‘Tres Palmas’ surf spot –my preferred wave there- was on the rise, and from my point of view, as I called the waves that I checked earlier, it was going to be three feet overhead (15feet set waves) by next morning. I tried to forget my wave rider lifestyle for a moment, and as I drove to the print shop I organized my thoughts as if it was an ordinary working day where no overhead waves were building up around me.
By the time I got to the print shop, my phone had rung for about four times. All calls were about the same topic when I checked in the text messages. Big waves coming in… and what about me? What was my plan for the weekend? Most of my friends asked. Ironically, I asked myself every time it rang: what type of board should I take there? Was the trip worth carrying my “gun” surfboard around? Was it getting as big as I like? Was it worth the spending of money on gasoline, food, and maybe some girls beer or café over there?
I stood there just cloud nining, -in ecstasy- when the busy kid in the shop finally arrived at the desk after I gave him my receipt fifteen minutes earlier, and finally handed over the bag with all my flyers.
-Hey, so you’re going to “307” today, Friday …you must be lucky or what?
Of course I responded with an obliging stare at his face, just letting the kid know about basics skills of behaving around a delicate environment like “307”. On the other hand, I did not let my thoughts roam free about what I had heard some others respond to the same question, claiming to predict their own luck about scoring with the girls when they walked in to 307.
That day, I wasn’t even thinking about putting some time into the girl-getting thing. And by the way, I’ve been on a bad streak lately on that topic.
But anyway, my driving got gnarly as I thought about this situation on my way to deliver the gig. My body was mutating to a 15 feet wave rider, my nostrils, lungs and brain frequencies echoed each other with their pre requirements, just as a mountain climber would yell at his partner at the other side of a cliff. I felt like stumping, going forward to attack the impossible. Felt kind of, like kind a gutsy kind of person. I almost got in to a brawl with some urban music listener dude that seemed to dislike my hurry at the stop light. Like many others, I was sure he knew how to fight, then I asked myself “Would my brain an body neglect his offering or would it react as if a twenty foot wave was approaching to be ridden” What energies was I taunting here with? But as I sometimes bail out of swimming to an unhealthy wave situation, I stopped my honking and got back to reality. It was a $50.00 dollar gig, worth a nose ding repair and gassing up the car for the weekend.
I was getting closer to the “307” building with a bag full of flyers. To my surprise, the flyers where about a rich girl that I already knew from some surf slide shows. It was her birthday, she worked up there, and these were her invitations. She was a very calmed and cool girl, worth getting dressed up for real. Man this side of the city is small and full of professional, worth to be your fiancé girls.
Waves are pounding the coast, I want to get my stuff on the car, grab some beers, pop one open and head to Rincón, west coast, to see if I could get there before sun set. Drive all the way over there just to see the pounding waves going up as the sun settles in the horizon. With a cold beer in my hand, and just let my thoughts wonder like the cold wind blows in the wondering swells. Maybe with some luck I could even score some groovy rock jam in front of some shack bar at road 413, or maybe even score some surfer girl to drink some beer there.
Building #307 was constructed by some serious young Puerto Rican architects that loved vintage and art deco stuff. It has five floors with a nice open penthouse full of marble tiles. On its side it has its own French coffee shop and also a U.K. franchise styling salon.
The matter is that, Dalianas advertisement agency "ADS-307" is located on the fifth floor of that building. Most of the time the agency is a place where I used to see people dressed well for the job, as it is mandatory to do so, but not as easy as said than done. Most of the girls wallets smoothly dissolved at the mercy of fashion, spending what could be spend to maintain their looks in front of their clients constantly.
And that was a thing that burned in my simple life style every time I had to deliver to this office on call. It was like pouring a cold bucket of water to my head when I was on the hunt for waves, or about to split to somewhere else. And in my usual surfer lay back, ready right now attitude attire, it felt cold inside that fashion place.
Almost eighty percent of the employed at “307” were girls. When I say girls, I’m talking about big girls who ruled their business around the streets and jumpy girls who could sell their soul to the ice crème man.
Beauty, walking closets, marketing, shopping, brunching around, where to crash for the weekend in the Virgin Islands, and what guy went on a rampage with what girl up on the street, who was hot, who was not. Who is bumping who and why… Plots ended on top of dude visitors like me, on some occasions I felt forced into giving my opinion about their issues.
Because those girls knew I could talk some sense in to them, and for me it wasn’t such a free spirited thing to do. Imagine the muff if I got caught talking with them by some no brained dude adorning himself there to score some night time.
When the elevator opened at the fifth floor my eyes glanced around. In just about a second I recognized again that it was Friday, Puerto Rican Friday, and the girls where not just dressed for it, they were ready for it. I felt like putting the Rincón wave ridding thing to the side… “Would this be the last time to ride those waves this season” I asked myself, I took a deep breath.
I proceeded to the desk where Rita, a curled hair, green eyes and pink soft skin girl shouted the first flirt at me.
–So what’s in the bag …your surf wax? Is it really called Sex Wax…? Maybe that is for your... best surf board isn’t it?
-Wouu…maybe you can go around and tell Daliana that her flyers are here. -I responded with both my hands crossed on top of her desk.
-You can sit right there nice eyes, let me find her…
I stared at my fifteen dollar Casio watch full of scratched paint, filled with surf board wax in every gauge and I crashed on the sofa and just meditated. It felt like I was waiting for some group reunion with some surf school. Wish was another gig I sometimes score in front of La Concha Hotel in Condado.
Anyway, I looked around the exiting art deco room and enjoyed some chilling lounge music and said hello to the girl sitting beside me. That was when something caught my attention. As it usually happens on this floor… Someone was giving some else the Friday bye bye vibe.
A “well dressed” woman walked in front of the desk.
–Ok, so still a whole year and my check is not ready …is it so wonderful to wake up at 4:00am, eat some… whatever you like me to eat for breakfast, and shoot whatever your account has to offer, and today for the tenth time I’m not getting my $3,000.00 dollars? -Rita at the counter started to press buttons on her cell phone, staring at that girl just as if she was like a ghost flying around the room.
And while that happened, the girl sitting on my side told me that Daliana was chasing that girl’s boyfriend’s tail all around the island. She told me that she even showed up at some annual meeting in Fajardo, -five star convention Hotels there- where the girl’s boyfriend had to give a speech about some economic development stuff.
-Showed right there with an obnoxious bad scent of whiskey. -She whispered at me.
Wooouu, by this time I grabbed a catalog and started flipping on pages and just knobbing at anything anyone said about anything. When my eyes came across a red haired girl inside the catalog, I decided to turn it over just to see what it was all about. It said... “Models for hiring 2011. “ADS-307 Agency”. I went back to the red haired girl page, and it was Silvia... a 37 year old beautiful girl from Poland I met on the Island of Oahu Hawaii back in 2004. Boy was I glad to be at the Foodland Starbucks that rainy day.
She had lived in Valencia Spain for ten years already. Her skin was very soft and her body was covered with some nice looking freckles. On top of that, she had deep blue eyes that gave you the chills.
She was a girl that I met on my one and only trip to the Islands of Hawaii. I needed a beer and tequila shot right there, what else could happen today?
But instead, what I got was the girls in front of the counter, going at it, giving themselves the proper signals to go on with the bad words right now dialog.
To make my urge for tequila a real emergency this Friday, the elevator door opened and “Tanca” rolled in the room in the middle of this jam and just stood there, arms crossed. She is an “agro punk” girl that survived the streets all by herself. She owned a Kish attire store, was an actress, poet, helped to build up an organic food and coffee shop with all of the goodies I like, and she was also a very important female of the island’s revolutionary movement. A girl who was equally respected by all of the government agencies and all of that gag.
She was cashing in from her art work since her early teen years and up to these days she was still creating jobs.
I tell you, if you’ve herd talks about the Puerto Rican flag respectfulness shit chat, this girl was the living flag made a verb.
Yes she was from the art scene. Well known on the streets and in the urban surf scene. She was a girl that didn’t really care about missing some bucks if she had to slap someone in their face. She was backed up by God or maybe by the devil himself, you didn’t want to find that one out.
I had seen her cut loose in some night club before. I wondered if she was also missing some art money from her pockets… from a gig here. I also wondered if Daliana -307 owner- had hunted for a punk looking dude to roam the city’s’ rock shows like every one knew she would; but… did she burn one of Tancas boyfriends this time around?
I wanted to bump the fifty dollar gig and shoot out of there, just drive away fast to Rincón far away from this time bomb. But, I had to find out if Silvia was here on the island. So when I measured one thing with the other, I decided to stay inside “307” to find out about my lost Polish girlfriend.
Daliana came up to the counter. She wore a fuchsia colored dress made out of rayon, a thick black leather belt and some fresh looking glossy black high heels.
I had to admit she knew what her looks had to be like in this business. She had the look in here eyes like... she was bound on to something...
On her hands she carried some beige colored folders.
-Ok Rita, who is the delivery boy? -Then I was signaled out.
-Hmm, so who are these two girls?-She asked.
As soon as she started talking the well dressed girl who came in first asking for money… started crying, walked beside Rita’s desk and opened her purse. “Ok, here we go…” I said to my self. I tried to feel cool and calm but next thing I knew I was looking around for a clear way to get my running skills going.
She had a trendy looking bag, full of rind stones, with belts and diamond like ornaments. When her hands came out of the bag I was just hypnotized with intrigue. Those where some big pictures she carried, followed by a big white folder. She walked beside Daliana and rammed them on top of the reception desk.
I scratched my eyes and the girl sitting besides me just took off to the elevator following that well dressed girl who was on the same path. Daliana, relaxed, talked to Rita for a while. Silence was upon the office for some minutes.
At the roaring sound of a car in the street, Daliana took off to her office, but Tanca stood right beside her on her way, giving her a low tone speech. They both argued for a moment.
–You take me right now to the ATM machine ok, that’s all I want. –Tanca entered the elevator and pressed “open door”.
Daliana walked back to the office very pretending to be very defiant, searched for something under the front desk, and then walked to me with an ice cold Medalla -local beer-, went inside the elevator and told me to join the birthday party upstairs. At this time, I guessed those invitations were for the people in the building who did not get theirs on time.
I was feeling sketchy by then, so I thought that some beer and music would help me to fix up the vibes swirling in my head. I sat there thinking… it was already 6:45pm.
-Go on upstairs, here is your money, I feel so sorry about all this mess, things are so unpredictable in this office.
-Thanks, it is ok, give me a worst place and I would still do my every day job -I replied, grabbed my money, gave the girl a Kiss very close to her mouth and went on to the elevator.
When the elevator opened, fresh air poured into my lungs and an “awe” feeling settled inside of me. It was evening by now, so under a very pale blue powdery looking Caribbean sky, I went to the open pent house bar, right away, and stood there just breathing.
Working at the bar was a tall looking dude that also was showcased in some billboards around town. Thanks to God it was this particular one, because he was very cool and always treated every one equally at the venues he worked. I didn’t know his name but let’s get on with the chase.
So I grabbed a Corona and walked all around the party trying to find Silvia the Polish girl, or someone who knew her, somewhere up there with two beers in my hands.
To the side of the bar, a long white leather sofa stretched sideways with a beautiful glass balcony on its back the length of the furniture. A big Chinese jar full of lighted flowers finished the art piece. In front of the bar, there was a big rounded table, full of girls and some guys that had also joined the party. It was Lisa’s birthday. So I scanned the area and since I felt like the party was smooth going, I decided to walk up to Lisa’s table.
Lisa’s arms opened right away, she had a face full of joy.
–! Hey friend! Thanks for being here, but, why aren’t you looking for waves at Rincón?
I gave Lisa a nice Kiss and snaked –bumped elbows- every one of her tied dressed friends, who seemed to be feeling touchy about my black high top Vans skate shoes. I jumped them to shake some other girl’s hands around the table. I couldn’t stop my brain from attacking like that at the situation.
Budha Bars ”The Garden” (Sweet Zen) started playing on the DJs corner. Who seemed to me like a dude who I used to watch ridding big waves around the island.
The well dressed gentleman appreciated my gutsy move and handed me another cold beer. I accepted.
As I enjoyed the music and the smooth talking with some of Lisa’s girl friends, I thought everything was o.k, so far.
I drank my beers and walked back to the elevator thinking about a move that might cost me the end of Lisa’s friendship. I went down to the fifth floor, stripped Silvia’s page out of the catalog and scrammed upstairs again.
The party went along pretty well. There was dancing, some couples kissed, some very happy guys dressed in pink showed up to the birthday and by 3:am all was good.
I called Lisa to the side…
-Lisa, this is something very important to me, this is Silvia, and I don’t know if she is in town or not. Just give her this phone number if you see her around, she is not an easy girl to miss out.
To my surprise, Lisa had scored a nice looking guy who came up to us and gave her a cool kiss, we all laughed at each other and the deal was done.
At 4:am, I had disappeared from the party just like a surfer disappears inside a 6:am barrel, and landed at the “Lush Bar“ just around the next corner of the building. Lush Bar was the kind of place where people looking for some free cigarettes and a mild beer would show up. The place wasn’t the type of “let’s be here for a while”. You could say it was more like a beer drive through, and then you would buy your own ice somewhere else to keep them cold.
I sat there talking to a strange looking, long gray haired and beard man who claimed to be a “retired hat” from New York. To me he looked like a banjo player from some Country music band.
He was wearing some warned out white sneakers, a very old rotten blue jean and a short sleeved brick colored buttoned shirt. I didn’t have a clue about what was his retired social status. I said to him if he had some “Moon shine” he could spare, and he laughed at me and said some strange kind of “Hill Billy phrase” that I don’t recall understanding, but it seemed to be something cool by the look of his smile and red watery eyes. He signaled at me, he smoked some of his cigarette and sipped again from his paper covered bottle.
Just when I was about to call off the exciting night off, at 5:30… my cell phone rang again.
-Hey is it you Emilio? -Someone said at the other end...I just stood there with my mouth shut.
–It’s me; it’s Silvia, from Valencia Spain,
!Vale-tio! -My eyes opened wide…
We talked for a while and for the sake of luck, Silvia was heading for the Caribbean island of Tortola for another independent shooting gig. She was in town that morning.
–So, would you be my beer partner again tonight?
-You can go surfing all day, and then you can meet me and the crew again for dinner, you come stay with us. “Ahy mucho viento en Rincón” –Windy waves at Rincón- !Vale tío ven con nosotros! –Come with us-!Yo te auspicio !-I’ll sponsor you- Show up with your gear, 6:am at gate #8.
I stood there looking at the dude who looked like a banjo player, just shocked, my neck muscles were untangled and relaxing as I took a breather, I felt great, I whispered smoothly and just naturally said to myself !Yeaah!