His father’s car is a 1970 Ford Mustang. At six-thirty, they get into the car and head out of the city. The city is Mexico City, and the year in which B and his father leave Mexico City for a short vacation is 1975.
Time for dinner, B’s father says. B and the ex-diver follow him back to the Mustang. They eat an assortment of shellfish in a place that’s long and narrow, like a coffin.
Then, before he knows what is going on, B is back in the car with his father and the ex-diver, who talk about boxing all the way to a place on the outskirts of Acapulco.
It’s a brick-and-wood building with no windows, and inside there’s a jukebox with songs by Lucha Villa and Lola Beltrán. Suddenly, B feels nauseous.
Inside, his father is sitting at a table with the ex-diver and two other guys. B comes up behind him and whispers in his ear: Let’s go. His father is playing cards. I’m winning, he says, I can’t leave now. They’re going to steal all our money, B thinks.
A tequila, B says. A woman hands him a half-full glass. Don’t get drunk again, kid, she says. No, I’m all right now, B says, feeling perfectly lucid.
Then two other women approach him. What would you like to drink? B asks. Your father’s really nice, says the younger one, who has long black hair.
You were kind of jumpy before, one of the whores says. You want some? Some what? B says. He is shaking and his skin is cold as ice.
Some weed, says the woman, who is about thirty years old and has long hair like the other one, but dyed blond.
Acapulco Gold? B asks, taking a gulp of tequila, while the two women come a little closer and start stroking his back and his legs.
Yup, calms you down, the blonde says. B nods, and the next thing he knows there is a cloud of smoke between him and his father.
You really love your dad, don’t you? one of the women says. Well, I wouldn’t go that far, B says. What do you mean? the dark woman says. The woman serving at the bar laughs.
Through the smoke, B sees his father turn his head and look at him for a moment. A deadly serious look, he thinks.
Do you like Acapulco? the blonde asks. Only at this point does he realize that the bar is almost empty. At one table there are two men drinking in silence; at another, his father, the ex-diver, and the two strangers playing cards. All the other tables are empty.
The best thing for you to do would be to get your father out of this place, one of the women whispers in his ear. B orders another tequila. I can’t, he says.
B’s father finishes counting his money and looks at the three men standing in front of him and at the woman in white. Well, gentlemen, he says, we’re leaving.
Come over here, son. B pours what is left of his beer onto the floor and grips the bottle by the neck. What are you doing, son? B’s father says. B can hear the tone of reproach in his voice.
We’re going to leave calmly, B’s father says, then he turns around and asks the women how much they owe. The woman at the bar looks at a piece of paper and reads out a sizable sum.
The blond woman, who is standing halfway between the table and the bar, says another figure. B’s father adds them up, takes out the money and hands it to the blonde: What we owe you and the drinks.
Then he gives her a couple more bills: the tip. Now we’re going to leave, B thinks. The two strangers block their exit. B doesn’t want to look at her, but he does: the woman in white has sat down in one of the vacant chairs and is examining the cards scattered on the table, touching them with her fingertips.
Don’t get in my way, his father whispers, and it takes a while for B to realize that he is speaking to him. The ex-diver puts his hands in his pockets. The one who was shouting before starts insulting B’s father again, telling him to come back to the table and keep playing.
The game’s over, B’s father says. For a moment, looking at the woman in white (who strikes him now, for the first time, as very beautiful), B thinks of Gui Rosey, who disappeared off the face of the earth, quiet as a lamb, without a trace,
while Nazi hymns rose into a blood-red sky, and he sees himself buried in some vacant lot in Acapulco, vanished forever, but then he hears his father, who is accusing the ex-diver of something, and he realizes that unlike Gui Rosey he is not alone.
Then his father walks toward the door stooping slightly and B stands aside to give him room to move. Tomorrow we’ll leave, tomorrow we’ll go back to Mexico City, B thinks joyfully. And then the fight begins.