-I am a bit thirsty, do you mind if we make a stop now?
-Treat yourself to the use of your own time. Just remember that you promised me the piece of the year and came back with a girly journal. I´d say your time is far from free, you are deep in debt.
Nim stood up from the yellow sofa she was sinking in. The room was hot and even the walls were sweating. It felt like that summer had already lasted forever; only twenty days of January had gone by and the temperature was still rising in Buenos Aires.
-I am sure I will find something, this is a great story in itself-. She looked at him straight in the eye. Norman swept the sweat from his forehead with the back of his hand and leaned over the table to grab a pen and a little notebook. His head almost resting over his huge belly, he wrote something down; the shaking of his hand made him shake all over, like movement was something stressful for his body.
- I don´t give a rat´s ass ´bout your story. You promised me something else and that´s what I´ll get, or else...
Nim had never been threatened before, the whole situation suddenly felt too grown up, proper mafia to her. She wanted to talk back, but knew Norman was right, she was in real trouble. She hadn´t felt this way since she was a kid, when her life belonged to someone else and everywhere there were rules to be followed. She walked to the little table where the water tank stood as an oasis, filled a plastic glass, drunk all of it and poured again before returning to her seat.
Norman met her eyes, he reached for a cigarrette in the pocket of his shirt and lit it. He had mean thin lips that held the filter as if they were going to behead it. He took a big drag with his eyes closed and then looked for Nim´s eyes again. She was generally intimidated by silence and long stares, so she focused on the carpet, tried to look at every one of its threads, one by one. She begun with the top left corner of the room. One by one. She had successfully avoided being there before, but this time there was no way out.
-I´m sorry, I got a bit carried away. I just need you to write the ground breaking article you promised. I´ve already paid for the trip to Nepal, I´ve been waiting for you, sitting on this same damn chair for four damn months. Is it too much to ask for that you come through? Danm it! All that crap about the ATM machine…-.
He grabbed his head with ten sausage fingers. Nim sat straight, trying to keep her cool. Once again she was in over her head. She didn´t even know what she had wanted to find in Nepal, her brother in the flesh, maybe. Everyone, except for her, acknowledged he was long gone. She chose to ignore the gravity of the whole thing, and somehow almost managed to turn it to her advantage.She had sketched the plan in the waiting room of Bruna Publishers. A friend of her father´s had managed to get her an interview for an assistant position. Nim knew her chances to score the job were slim, she had no organizational skills whatsoever and didn´t even own a pair of high heels. She had to scheme a plan B, there had to be something she could offer. And the idea just sparked when the lady behind the desk called her name; as she shook Norman´s hand for the first time, all the pieces of the story she would tell came together. It quickly became a master plan that took her out of her friend Nur´s couch and onto a plane flying far, far away.