To remind the city of the arrival of an aggressive summer, the cicadas buzz in a rising crescendo. Regardless that the closest example of nature is the trees that line the highway, it proves near impossible to escape the white noise of insects mating. But all he can hear is the pretty purr of the Ferrari 458 engine at the mercy of his fingertips. The beige Italian leather interior is not unlike his sun kissed complexion – dubbing the red painted beauty a perfect companion here in good old Florida, Miami.
Three and a half weeks ago, 4.03pm
Roman’s wayward adventure begun home in the Heartland of Australia, wrangling with a Crocodile in the murky river swamps smack bam in the middle of winter. Not a real crocodile – but he fancied to nickname the man after the animal because of the crocodile skin vest he wore. He smuggled anything he could get his grubby hands on out in the Pacific. Some time ago he had been Roman’s P.E teacher. He always suspected the man wasn’t qualified for the job since he believed his employment contract entitled him to knock the fuck out of kids with a dodgeball. During Roman’s senior years, the teacher was fired after he allegedly told a girl on the soccer team say hello to his little friend.
After his days as a teacher crashed and burn, the man went for a drastic career change. With new laws coming into place, the black market for endangered animals, weapons, and drugs grew. His business started small and by the time Roman had returned to Australia, his former P.E teacher was living large. He bought enough shares to live comfortably off interest rates alone.
Roman’s plan was simple. Competitors offered big money to have the man pushed off his throne, and Roman was short on money without his filthy rich boyfriend to rely on. He was going to kill him and cash in on the profits. Hey, nobody said his morals were balanced. But Crocodile offered the cambion more in exchange for his life. It did take a bit of convincing – one swamp, two hungry crocodiles, some meat, and rope to be exact. But the five million dollars he cashed into his bank made it worth it.
Wanting a change of pace, Roman packed his belongings into a suitcase and located the nearest pub. It was late in the afternoon. The hour only brought in the lost or severely drunkenly impaired, which happened to be a large population of Australians. Even in winter, the crowded pub was stinking hot. Roman’s sweat was less of a nuisance and more of a Godsend that cooled him just enough to keep him from passing out. He wondered why he ever missed the heat as he took a free seat. A girl with water that dripped from the ends of her hair smiled at him as he manoeuvred his suitcase next to his chair, “Bloody bugga’ ‘o a day to be carrying that suitcase ‘round,” she said, “ar’ you going somewh’are?”
“I think so.” He answered.
“Think is a funny way to put it.”
“I don’t know where I want to go, any suggestions?” He then looked at her closely, really taking her in. She smelled of summer rain and a mix of booze and sweat. Sun kissed skin almost golden under the afternoon rays of light. Her blonde hair had been combed by the heat in the air, knotting it into loose waves. The water in her hair had drenched the top half of her tank top and ran her mascara down her cheeks like she mourned the loss of a summer lover.
“Portugal?” She suggested with a high-pitched tone as she pointed her elbow at a tourism advertisement on the bar’s wall. Roman had never been before, and not for any reason he could think of. At least a summer in Portugal would be cooler than a winter in Australia, “Cheers.” He had said before he vanished right before her eyes.
Aviators had cast the world into a golden hue, and from behind the fluffy white clouds, a promiscuous sun emerged. Tourists rejoiced at the return of the warmth and shed light jackets to allow the piercing sun to penetrate flesh. Those less pleased with the sunshine fled to the safety beneath trees. Roman chose to bask in the sun’s light much like the summer-blooded tourists. He sat perched on the castle staircase wall and watched the city of Lisbon below.
An earphone pushed deep into his left ear whispered fluent Portuguese.
O tempo em Lisboa amanhã será ensolarado com nuvens periódicas, sentadas a 17 graus.
He repeated the voice.
The thing is, when he came here he never knew what to expect. Roman’s easy-going nature got him out of trouble in most cases, and he learned quickly that his naïve foreigner ways were deemed charming by some. The older generation cared not for the ignorant young man who didn’t know a lick of Portuguese, but the younger generation had been more than kind to him. One man going by the name of Chico had taken a liking to Roman when he hitched a ride off him all the way to Lisbon.
If Roman knew Chico also had an affiliation for cannibalism he wouldn’t have spent two weeks with him. Discovering a refrigerator full of preserved human remains after enjoying a home cooked meal of meaty broth was a little awkward, to say the least. Oddly enough, he was torn between throwing up and asking for a copy of his recipe.
Lisbon was a beautiful city, especially when viewed from Sao Jorge Castle. Roman winced hard and tore his eyes off the scenery. A pinch clutched his chest like a vice, relentless in the pursuit to pop his heart. The pain would subside, that he knew. Yet, as time went on the periods of pain relief would shorten. He missed him so much. Roman slipped a hand under his shirt and touched the large mark on his side tenderly and reminded himself of what he left behind. Who he left behind.
Summer hasn’t been the same without him.
“Fuck off you shit-eating bitch.”
“Suck my dick you raging muff licking slut.”
The girls howl at one another, reminding Roman of a pair of rainbow-butt baboons baring fangs. He’s too drunk to understand what started the fight in the first place, but he decides fast that he won’t stick around to find out. Stumbling out of the club red-faced and ready to puke, Roman bids his farewells to the security outside with a dazzling smile. Miami’s heat had not been kind to his thick hair and had pulled it down to clump around his sweaty forehead. He can barely peel his eyes open and his vision is blurry. Even in his state he religiously insists he’s fine to drive.
She sits patiently for Roman in the barren parking lot, wheels stretching over two parking spaces like a real Miami local. Her windscreen is covered by parking tickets, tucked behind her gorgeous lashes and blinding her vision. Roman angrily yanks them off her face then proceeds to sprawl on the bonnet of the Ferrari.
“Baby.” He croons, nuzzling his hot cheek to her warm surfaces, “Oh, baby.”
He doesn’t wake until the following morning when a concerned policeman nudges him with his baton. A loud startling snore wakes him from his sleep, then he rolls off the hood of the Ferrari and falls on the concrete. All he can think of is a pounding headache and how much he wants to shower. Not a single word the cop says registers to Roman. Sitting up slowly, the cambion tries to soothe some of the pain in his head. Suddenly, stomach acid and a concoction of alcohol resurfaces to his mouth and explodes onto the sidewalk in an epic display.
“I want to go home..” He complains, choking on a chunk in his throat that suspiciously tastes a lot like Chico’s dinner from a week ago.