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The story is an excerpt that became part of the book Acts of Defiance.

Before Fidel Became a Bad Guy

Gary Beck
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My closest friend Randy and I were recruited by a radical organization at Yale to smuggle guns to a young revolutionary in Cuba, Fidel Castro, in 1958. The plan was to take a sailboat from Miami to Cuba. We hitchhiked from New Haven to Florida and somewhere around Daytona Beach we got separated. By the time I finally got to the Brown Pelican Marina in Miami, it was after midnight. There was no ‘Lolling Lady’ to be found. I double-checked every boat and finally went to the dockmaster’s office and knocked until a light went on. A sleepy, disheveled old cuss wearing an army trench coat over his pajamas opened the door.

“What’s all the ruckus about at this hour?” he asked grumpily.

“Sorry to bother you, but I’m looking for the ‘Lolling Lady.’”

“She sailed three hours ago.”

“Did anyone leave a message for Steve?”

“Not with me.”

I asked in desperation: “Is there anyone else here who might know?”


I had missed the boat. I felt miserable. “Do you know where I can get a room for the night?”


“Thanks for being so helpful,” I said sarcastically. “Next time I’ll send you a book called 30 days to a better vocabulary.”

He sneered. “Next time don’t disturb me late at night. Now get out of here and take your smart ass remarks with you.”

I walked away without the faintest idea where to go. The plan hadn’t considered contingencies or foul-ups. I didn’t know anyone in Miami and there was no headquarters that I could call for instructions. I couldn’t ask the few people that I knew if I could stay with them, without having to account for Randy, who was apparently on his way to Cuba. I couldn’t think of anything better to do, so I decided to take a plane to Cuba and try to meet the boat at the rendezvous. I took a cab to the airport and booked a seat on the next available flight at 11:00 AM. Unlike Randy, who worried about everything, I relaxed without a care in the world. Well, I was concerned about Randy, but I assumed that I would rejoin him in a few hours. I stretched out comfortably in the passenger lounge and dozed until departure.

I boarded the small plane at Miami airport with misgivings that had developed as soon as I saw the old rust bucket Cubana Airlines aircraft. Since it was only ninety miles to Cuba I tried to consoled myself with the feeble hope that nothing much could go wrong on such a short flight. I didn’t feel optimistic. I wondered about what was happening to Randy. When we boarded the plane the interior was as ratty as the exterior, but the stewardesses were snazzy. We shaked, rattled and rolled off the ground and were soon over water. Suddenly the sky got darker and darker. Rain poured down. Thunder and lightning heralded a tropical storm. Everybody was nervous. Then a few people turned green and nausea spread like the plague. Passengers started vomiting, then screaming and praying. The plane bucked up and down like a mad bronco.

The old woman sitting next to me clutched my arm with a death grip, chanting: “Madre de Dios,” over and over. One of the two engines conked out and electrical power failed. It was pitch black in the cabin. Then the plane dropped like an express elevator. People screamed in terror. A moment later the pilot pulled out of the dive and the sky cleared. The stench of puke and terror reminded me that we were still alive, though wretched. The weather finally calmed. Shortly afterwards we landed at the José Martí International Airport to cheers and cries of thanks to god. We disembarked and headed for the terminal. Everyone was convinced that their prayers had been answered.

The army was in charge of the airport. Soldiers in battle fatigues, carrying automatic weapons, were everywhere. They looked neat and clean, a long way from combat. Customs was staffed by army officers. When I reached passport control I was asked to declare my money. I had wisely hidden all but forty dollars. The officer in charge took half and covered it with his pistol. Then he looked me in the eye, stamped my passport and told me to have a pleasant stay. I wisely did not dispute the expropriation of my money.

I took the bus into Havana and was closely scrutinized by my fellow passengers, who commented at length on my gringo clothing. A pleasant, obviously educated older man who had been on the plane courteously offered his assistance. I thanked him and told him I was meeting someone. He introduced himself as Doctor Robles and gave me his card. I told him my name. He invited me to visit him in Havana and I thanked him. As soon as we entered Havana it became clear that this was a city at war. We stopped a number of times at roadblocks. We passed sandbagged machine gun posts, backed up by armored cars. Most of the stores were closed and boarded up. Restaurants and hotels had sandbagged entrances and wire mesh covering the windows. Doctor Robles told me it was to prevent grenades being tossed in by drive-by insurgents. I checked my street map, said good-bye to Doctor Robles, then got off the bus. Advice or jokes from everyone helped speed me on my way.

I walked to the restaurant that had been mentioned as a possible emergency back-up meeting place. It had been recently burned out and was deserted. Another link of the chain was broken. I kept walking, in case the building was under surveillance. I tried to show only normal curiosity about the destruction as I went by. No one seemed interested in me, but I kept going for another two blocks. Then I stopped and considered what to do next. I only had one other piece of information. I knew the name of the landing site was Guanobu Beach, a small resort area just outside Havana. I located it on the map and decided to go there. I walked to what I hoped was the correct bus stop.

When I got on the bus I asked the driver if he went to Guanobu Beach. Everybody laughed because it was almost winter in Havana, 75 degrees, and only crazy gringos went swimming. They all kept happily yelling: “Guanobu Beach!” For a moment it felt like a movie and I wouldn’t have been surprised if they burst into song. I found myself staring at a very pretty girl across the aisle. She boldly stared back, then got up and sat down next to me. Despite knowing only a few words of each other’s language, we exchanged names and indicated that we were attracted to each other. Elena’s boldness was a new experience for me. The bus kept going. We started holding hands, leaning close together. The bus stopped and I noticed that most of the people were getting off. I asked the driver again if he went to Guanobu Beach. His gold teeth flashed and he said: “Sí, sí.”

A minute later the bus stopped and everyone got off except me, Elena and the driver. He turned off all the interior lights. There were no more street lights on the road. We could have been at the end of the world. He raced through the darkness at high speed. Elena and I kissed passionately, as we bounced up and down on the torn seat. Suddenly the bus stopped. The driver urged us to get out. I saw a car parked by the side of the road, with three men standing next to it. They didn’t look friendly. The driver had a rapid conversation, with Elena joining in. The only words I understood were Guanobu Beach and loco gringo. The driver gestured to us to get into the car.

It was pitch dark in the middle of nowhere, in a foreign country. My options were limited. I could run into the unknown countryside, or get into the car and risk whatever the driver had in mind. There didn’t seem to be much of a choice. I followed directions and got into the back seat, between two villainous looking bandidos. They stared stonily ahead. Elena sat between the two men in the front seat. I didn’t even have the pleasure of a few last minutes with her. We rode in silence for what seemed an eternity. I planned my defense, deciding to twist the driver’s neck sharply, run the car off the road, then attack the bigger bandido on my left. I was considering whether Elena was setting me up, or if she was an innocent victim to be protected, when the car stopped.

It was pitch black outside. I tensed to defend myself in the final battle. The driver turned to me, but before I could do anything, his gold teeth flashed and he said: “Guanobu Beach.” The menacing bandidos now looked more like the singing Sombreros. They were cheerfully chanting “Guanobu Beach.” I realized with a sigh of relief that I didn’t have to fight. I got out and stood in the tropical night. Elena had her arm around me. I could hear the ocean nearby. The bandidos piled into their car. I tried to give them some money, but they refused. They drove off at high speed into the darkness, yelling: “Adiós, loco gringo.”

We walked along the clean white beach that glistened in the moonlight. I was looking for the hotel that was the primary contact site. We walked slower and slower, stopping to kiss and press against each other. We finally came to the Hotel El Corona, which was boarded up and deserted. I knocked on the door, then I pounded loudly, but no one answered. We sat down on the beach. The moon gleamed, throwing shimmering ivory light on us. The waves rolled up on shore, splashing foam on our feet. We kissed and caressed and slowly started to undress each other.

A light went on upstairs and we heard someone coming downstairs. We quickly straightened our clothing and stood up. The light flickered as someone clomped down the stairs and opened the door. It was an old man in a bathrobe carrying a kerosene lantern. I told him the password, which was the name of the man who was the contact, Señor Rosado. The old man said he didn’t know him. I had no idea what to do next. He asked if we wanted a room. I couldn’t think of anything else, so I said yes. He said: “Ten pesos.” I countered: “Three pesos.” He said: “Nine.” I offered: “Four.” He said: “No,” slammed the door and went upstairs.

Elena and I laughed at the funny old man. We started kissing and sat down on the porch. We started undressing each other. Before we could take anything off we heard the old man thumping down the stairs, so we buttoned up. The door opened and the old man said: “Eight pesos.” I said: “Five.” Elena and I were enjoying the bargaining, but our host was getting a bit impatient. He lowered his offer to seven pesos. When I said: “Six,” he slammed the door and angrily stomped upstairs again.

We laughed, then started kissing and touching each other again, as we slowly undressed. We were just discovering each other’s bodies, when the old man came clonking down the stairs. We got dressed and stood up. The door opened and the old man, now dressed in pants and a shirt, said with resignation: “Six pesos.” Some contrary devil prompted me to say: “Four pesos.” The old man yelled: “Fuck you, gringo,” and stalked off into the night. We roared with laughter and he turned and gave us the finger.

We waited until we were sure that he wasn’t coming back. Then I suggested to Elena that we go swimming. She didn’t want to go in the water. I gently tugged her to the beach, accompanied by her squeals of protest. We got undressed and hand in hand went to the edge of the water. She said it was: “Muy frío.” I thought it was as warm as an enchanted lagoon. Elena was sleek and slender in the moonlight. The heat of her body was electric. We waded into the water up to our knees, arms around each other, bodies touching, delightfully exploring each other.

Suddenly sirens went off, searchlights blazed and men carrying automatic weapons ran towards us, screaming at the top of their lungs. We froze. They rushed up to us and knocked me down with their rifle butts. Then they shoved us ashore, where jeeps were waiting with machine guns aimed at us. They put us in handcuffs, despite my protests that I was an innocent tourist. They took us to the local jail, where they separated us. One of the soldiers had given Elena his jacket. They gave me a blanket once I was in the cell. I waited for hours, until an officer finally showed up and told me to sign a statement. I asked what it said and he kicked me and ordered me to sign. I stuck to the innocent dumb tourist routine. The officer kicked me again and accused me of being a foreign spy, captured by his heroic men after I landed from a submarine. I began to think I was in deep shit.

I explained that I arrived in Cuba that evening by airplane, I met Elena on the bus and she decided to go swimming with me. We went to the beach and we tried to get a room at the El Corona Hotel, but the manager and I couldn’t agree on a price. The manager left and we decided to go swimming without our clothes. The officer interrupted me and said harshly: “The manager reported seeing a submarine off shore, with people landing from a small boat.” I answered respectfully. “He was angry at us because I wouldn’t pay his asking price for the room.” I added that Elena could prove that we met on the bus. He wasn’t impressed. Then I said that I had a plane ticket from Miami to Havana that would prove that I arrived that night. He sneered and said: “Show me.” He laughed when I explained that my clothes were on the porch of the hotel. I said humbly: “If you just send someone for them we could clear up this situation.”

I sat in the cell in handcuffs, cold and miserable for another hour. Then the officer came in, unlocked the cuffs and said I was free to go. When I asked for my clothes he just shrugged. I asked for Elena and he shrugged and said he released her an hour ago. I went outside, looked around and called her name, but she was gone. I went back into the jail and asked the officer for Elena’s address. He drew his pistol, pointed it at me and told me to get out. I did. I would have to find Elena another way. I hoped that she went back to the hotel for her clothes. Our first date had certainly not been dull.

I managed to find my way to the beach, trudged to the hotel and went up to the porch. I wasn’t the least bit surprised that my clothes and bag were gone. I pounded on the door until the old man came down. I demanded my clothes and bag. He claimed to know “Nada” and tried to close the door. I grabbed him by the shirt and made it clear that I would remove his arm and leg if he didn’t give back my things. He grinned triumphantly at me and said: “Ten pesos,” in a gloating voice. When I agreed and promised to give him the money, he rapidly produced my clothes. This was one more triumph of enterprising capitalism. I asked what happened to the girl and he swore the soldiers took her and her clothes. I didn’t know what else to do. I wasn’t going to spend the night with this old robber, so I decided to go back to Havana. I asked him where the bus stop was and he pointed down the road.

I left the old pirate cackling happily about beating me out of ten pesos and plodded to the bus stop. It was in front of an open cantina. A sign said the first bus was at 6:00 AM Since it was only 5:15, I entered the cantina hoping to relax for a few minutes. It had been a long, demanding night so far. The place was crowded and it fell silent when I walked in. I nodded politely, went to the bar and ordered a “Cerveza, por favor.” No one seemed delighted to see me. The bartender served me in slow motion. I nodded politely to the men nearby and took a sip.

One man kept staring at me from across the room. There was something menacing about him. Every time I glanced around I saw him glaring at me. Tension was rising in me like a flood. I could sense the fight coming. He got up and walked towards me. He was huge. He looked like a not too benevolent black bear with a partial shave. I grasped the neck of my beer bottle and picked the spot where I was going to hit him. He stopped in front of me. I pulled my arm back, but before I could swing he said with a big, friendly grin: “Hi, gringo, how are you doing? I used to drive a cab in the Bronx. What’s happening there these days?” I slowly put the bottle back on the bar. My new friend rambled on about the Grand Concourse, Fordham Road and Yankee Stadium. I was happy to buy him a beer, relieved at not having to fight the shaggy giant. So far, it had been a very peculiar night.

The bus was an hour late, but its sign said Havana. I got on, paid my fare, sat down and we headed towards the city. I hadn’t been able to see much on my ill fated bus ride the night before. Now, in the early morning light, I saw the poor, yet clean white houses, mostly with red tile roofs, that got larger as we came closer to the city. I watched people going about their business. Young and old alike were handsome and confident looking, very different from the Spanish speaking people I was familiar with in New York City. There were no signs that a war was going on until we reached the first checkpoint on the outskirts of the city.

We waited until the vehicles in front of us passed through, then we pulled up for inspection. There were two old U.S. Army tanks, Shermans, on each side of the road. Unimpressive looking troops lounged near sand bagged machine gun posts. A Sergeant got on the bus, looked us over, found nothing suspicious and accepted an envelope from the driver. He got off and motioned to us to drive on. As a soldier lifted the barrier, I saw the Sergeant give the envelope to an officer, who was almost as sloppy looking as his men. If these sorry looking soldiers were the army’s finest, El Presidente would be visiting Switzerland in the near future.

I had no idea where to go or what to do. I got off the bus near the capitol building, which looked like a replica of our capitol building in Washington, DC. I decided to be a tourist and wander around until I found a cheap hotel. I bought some fried pastry strips that the vendor cut off from longer pieces and sprinkled with powdered sugar. They were delicious. I strolled along, taking in the sights, looking at the beautiful girls who stared boldly back at me. One girl pinched my ass as I went by. I was beginning to enjoy Havana.

I turned the corner, heading towards the large park in front of the capitol, when I bumped into Doctor Robles, the man from the plane. He seemed delighted to see me again and asked if he could be of service. I mentioned that I was looking for a cheap hotel. He took me by the arm and led me off. His English was better than my Spanish, but communications were reaching their limits. He asked if I spoke French. With two years of the language in high school behind me, I confidently said: “Oui, monsieur.” Dr. Robles was ecstatic. He stopped, took out a business card and formally presented it to me with a bow. I didn’t remind him that he had given me one just a few hours earlier.

The good doctor brought me to the Hotel Santiago, a big, luxurious looking beige stucco building. Despite its drab exterior it didn’t look cheap enough for my budget. Dr. Robles knew the desk clerk and after a rapid discussion that I couldn’t follow, I was asked to sign the register. I asked how much was the room and the clerk said five pesos. The peso was par to the dollar. Even I could afford that. Dr. Robles invited me to his house for dinner the next night and I accepted gratefully. He said: “Au revoir,” and left. The clerk took me to my room where I got the next shock. He ushered me into a huge three room suite. There was a large terrace that looked out on a park across the street. Another terrace overlooked a tropical garden in the patio, which was bursting with lush red and yellow flowers. The ceilings were twenty feet high, with fans slowly rotating. It was a great setting for a Humphrey Bogart movie. The bathroom was a lot larger than my room at home, with a dressing alcove and a bidet. The Hotel Santiago was definitely going to be comfortable.

I slept the rest of the day. When I woke up I was ravenously hungry. I took a quick shower and shave and went out to eat. I asked the desk clerk to recommend a restaurant and he suggested I eat at the hotel. The dining room was crowded. Most of the tables were taken by army officers, talking rapidly and gesturing to each other. It was difficult to imagine who was out there in the field fighting Fidel. The waiter appeared with a menu. I couldn’t read Spanish, but I recognized juice and fish. The waiter kept asking me something about the juice. I shrugged that I didn’t understand. He came back with a can of apple juice in one hand and an apple in the other, offering a choice. I selected the apple and he nodded approvingly.

I slowly looked around the restaurant and met the glance of an army officer at a table full of officers and girls. He was pointing a very large automatic pistol around the room. When he caught my eye, he smiled, cocked the pistol and aimed at me. As he pulled the trigger, I ducked under the table and froze, waiting for the shot. A roar of laughter went up from his companions. I cautiously lifted my head and the officer waved the pistol at me, shouting cheerfully: “It’s empty, gringo. No bullets. But you hide very good.”

I began to shake with relief. It had happened so quickly that reflexes had taken over and I hit the floor without thinking. The rush of adrenaline was subsiding and I was burning with anger. I thought he was going to shoot me. He was still smiling happily, babbling about the empty pistol and the brave gringo. I wanted to arrange for him to visit his dentist, but it wasn’t practical. There were six or seven officers with sidearms at his table, far too many for me to do anything.

The waiter brought my fresh apple juice. I discovered that my mouth had become completely dry. I ironically lifted my glass in a toast to my latest acquaintance. He yelled: “Salud,” lifted a glass of wine and toasted me. He was short and swarthy, with coarse features and a waxed moustache. His uniform fitted snugly and his Sam Browne belt restrained his stomach. I smiled benevolently at my new tormentor, while thinking about how I could get him alone later. He came to my table and invited me to join them. The waiter arrived with my fish and the officer instructed him to bring it to their table.

They welcomed me with formal introductions to capitanes and tenientes, whose names I promptly forgot, except for my new friend, Capitán Arroyo. I had plans for him. The girls were introduced by their first names. They were all attractive, but the only one that made an impression on me was Rosario. Naturally, she was with Capitán Arroyo. She had long black hair, enormous glittering black eyes, a sensual mouth, a taut, sexy body and a devil may care attitude.

I ate my fish, which was fresh and tasty, while the conversation swirled around me. Capitán Arroyo kept refilling my wine glass. I was very aware of Rosario and I sensed she was aware of me. She got up and left the table, going out to the lobby. I spilled some wine on my hand and signaled my host that I was going to wash. I went out to the lobby and Rosario was at the desk. When she saw me, she handed me a piece of paper and went back into the restaurant. I went to the ‘caballeros.’ The scrawled note had her name and address, with tomorrow’s date and the time, 11:00 PM. Elena was rapidly fading from my memory. I was almost tempted to forget about revenge on Capitán Arroyo, until I walked back into the restaurant and he greeted me by shooting me with his fingers.

We drank and talked for hours. I had no idea what they said to me, or I to them. Later we went to a nearby nightclub and drank and danced until dawn. They escorted me back to my hotel because of the curfew. Even if I could have gotten Capitán Arroyo alone, I was in no condition to do anything about it. We parted on the friendliest of terms.

I slept all day again. I was effortlessly becoming a night owl. That evening I was supposed to have dinner with Doctor Robles. I walked across the city to his house. The streets were filled with lively, handsome looking people. Music was playing everywhere.

Street vendors were peddling lottery tickets, food, drinks, candy, jewelry, women, music, drugs and all kinds of household appliances. My favorite items were from vendors who were selling Fidelista hats, with beards attached. They didn’t seem the least bit concerned about being noticed by the police or the army. The beards were so ridiculous that I thought of buying one for Randy. Then I considered the last few days and concluded that it would be just my luck to buy a Fidel beard and get caught in a police raid. Women flirted with me, whistling or making approving sounds. Another one of them pinched me on the ass. I could get used to the women of Havana. I was having the time of my life. My only concern was Randy and I didn’t know how to find him, so I didn’t worry about it.

Doctor Robles lived in a big house on a hill overlooking the harbor. He introduced me to his family and they warmly welcomed me. Doctor Robles gave me a glass of sherry and asked his daughter, Beatriz, to show me the house. She was a beautiful girl of fifteen or sixteen, self-possessed and sedate. I silently repeated a mantra over and over, “Don’t come on to her.” I don’t know why temptation was always in my path. The house was much larger from the inside, with spacious rooms, large gardens and patios with fountains and terraces. I recognized some of the antique furniture and paintings. One room had paintings by Miró and Picasso and I expressed appreciation of them to Beatriz. She said she didn’t particularly care for them, but Papa did. She was delectable. “Don’t come on to her. Don’t come on to her.”

Doctor Robles was pleased that I liked his paintings. He wouldn’t have been pleased if he knew how much I liked his daughter. He asked me about myself and was very impressed when I told him I was a student at Yale. I said I was a tennis player and he got very excited, jumped up and suggested we play before dinner. Beatriz said that papa and her brother Andrés were avid tennis players and they had a court with night lights. I agreed to play, as long as I could warm up before we started.

I borrowed gear from Andrés and we hit for a while. He was a good club player, nothing more. Doctor Robles joined us and I hit against both of them. They recognized that I was a much better player. Doctor Robles’ play reminded me a bit of Mr. Pierce’s game, solid ground strokes, a lot of chop and spin, clever tactics, but low on power. He telephoned someone and asked him to come play doubles. Our fourth got there in fifteen minutes and it was Capitán Arroyo. Another weird coincidence. He turned out to be a very good club player, but not in my league. I played with Doctor Robles and we won both sets. I won the last point on a hard smash that bounced off Capitán Arroyo. I shot him with my fingers and he got my message. Doctor Robles was ecstatic and plied me with sherry. Dinner was excellent, but it was getting late and Capitán Arroyo’s girlfriend was expecting me. I said goodnight, declined the Capitán’s offer of a ride and agreed to play tennis tomorrow afternoon. It had been a very civilized evening, but now it was time for something different.

Rosario lived in a modern apartment in an expensive new building. As she let me in, I glimpsed tubular steel furniture and awful abstract paintings on the walls. But my attention was on her. She was like a domestic cat turned wild. Without exchanging a word we started making love as soon as she closed the door. We didn’t get past the hallway. We ended up half undressed, sprawled on the floor. She seemed satisfied. I know I was. A little later she led me into the bedroom, where she took out a thick joint, lit up and passed it to me. I took a deep draw. It was dynamite stuff. I stood up like a pole and she sprang on me. We fiercely pounded at each other with urgent lust.

We had just stopped to rest when her doorbell rang. She let out a scream of alarm and signaled me to hide under the bed. I wasn’t about to get trapped there, so I pulled on my clothes and went to the window, hoping to find a fire escape. No such luck. I could hear her explaining something to a familiar voice. I had no other choice, so I decided to brazen it out. I walked into the living room. It was no surprise to see Capitán Arroyo. He was outraged at finding me there and yelled, cursed and threatened. Then he challenged me to a duel. It took me a few minutes to understand what he meant, but it became clear. Was it possible that fantasy número uno might be about to come true? He named a meeting place for the next morning. We agreed that since he was the challenger, I could select the weapons. I picked swords. He bowed frigidly. We left the apartment together. He said: “Adiós, until the morning.”

I phoned Doctor Robles, explained what happened and asked him to be my second. He urged me to apologize. When I refused and asked him again, he agreed and said he would be my second. He arranged to meet me in the morning with a pair of rapiers. I was so excited that I forgot to be afraid. The rest of the night passed like a dream. I practiced sword movements à la Hollywood, then dozed for a while. I left the hotel at 4:30 AM and went to the appointed meeting place, a small park behind a deserted church. Doctor Robles arrived a few minutes later. We waited and waited, but Capitán Arroyo didn’t appear. I was tremendously disappointed that there wouldn’t be a duel and called Arroyo nasty names. Doctor Robles made some telephone calls and came back in a state of alarm. It seemed that Capitán Arroyo had decided not to fight me and instead was arranging to have me arrested.

Doctor Robles said I had to leave the country immediately, or risk arrest and Arroyo’s vengeance once I was in prison. There didn’t seem to be much choice. I had already been a guest at the local jail and I didn’t enjoy the accommodations. With Capitán Arroyo as my host, my next visit might be very unpleasant. I had no idea how to locate Randy, so it was time to leave. Doctor Robles drove me to the hotel where I paid my bill and got my things. Doctor Robles raced to the airport in Grand Prix style and got there in time for me to catch the 9:00 AM flight to Miami. He was an interesting, cultured man, who had given me his hospitality and was ready to second me in a duel. I hadn’t met many men like him. He embraced me warmly, said: “Au revoir,” and walked away. I boarded the plane without looking back. We hadn’t had time to get to know each other and now there wouldn’t be another opportunity.

The few minutes before takeoff felt like hours. I was beginning to understand how foolish I had been for confronting Arroyo. I pictured jeeps crammed with soldiers zipping onto the tarmac, stopping the plane and hauling me off to jail, where I’d be tortured. The engines roared and we rushed down the field and took off with a surge. Nobody waved good-bye. I looked back through the small, scratched window and saw the beautiful, green island grow smaller and smaller. My Cuban adventure was over.

Table of related information
Copyright ©Gary Beck, 2006
By the same author RSS
Date of publicationMay 2007
Collection RSSThe Fictile Word
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