TRUTH FLICKERED BETWEEN BLACK AND WHITE LIKE A STROBE
MAKING IT HARD TO DISCERN THE DEAD FROM THE LIVING
It was a small, unpainted cinder block shack with a screwed up ’72 Cutlass parked a few feet away. On the stoop, a rusted red barbecue grill—charcoal, not propane—along with scraps of greasy foil, empty beer cans, and cigarette butts in and around a plastic bucket once containing drywall mud. What stood out—a crusher for aluminum cans mounted on the wall above the bucket. Pull the lever, crush the can, those hombres were into recycling.
Andy didn’t knock, just kicked the door open, a move he made look normal.
We followed him in—three ducks carrying bags, men on a mission, ZZ Top taking the stage as the fans went wild. That’s how it felt in those first exciting moments of my young and impressionable life. My mind-blowing threshold to the Money Trail.
One minute, you’re on a stolen boat peeling back a layer of messed up fiberglass, a first hard look at seriously bad luck. The next, you’re rocking bags of bullshit worth their weight in gold, king surfer dudes with raw attitude greater than any wave in the known history of Tamarindo.
The door flew open blasting the room with light—revealing five guys slouched over a small black shipping trunk—then closed so quickly I recall the moment as a flashing strobe. Blinding brightness. Blinding darkness.
Black plastic covered the windows, blocking out the intense sun. I was totally sightless in those first few seconds. Finally, I could see: five guys staring back, saying nothing, stacks of money on the small black trunk. Some loose bills, others counted and banded. A dirty Styro plate crusted with food stains and cigarette butts. Bottles of beer in various stages of stale. An olive green Uzi.
One of the guys leaned forward, took a pack of cigarettes off the trunk, tapped the pack against the top of his other hand, removed a smoke, and then lit it up.
“You’re late,” he said.
A few beats passed. Seemed like Andy should say something, do something. But he didn’t.
At this point I noticed the others were dead.
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— Tim Bryant
Author of Blue Rubber Pool
Surf Director at Pineapple Hill