The Life of a Gangster
- Genre: Thriller
- Status: Ongoing
- Language: English
- Author: Samir
It was a rainy day. One of those days when nobody wanted to leave their house. The only reason to do so was out of obligation: to go to work or, if they didn’t have one, the need to go out and get the precious dollar.
I waited at home for my transportation to go to work. I ran a small bar in Medellín, one of the biggest and noisiest cities in Colombia. It was located in the slums, but it was a job, and I had to make a living.
My partner, Thomas, arrived. He was a tall, tattooed, and not very good-looking man. Thomas was in charge of the liquor and d***s on the premises. We were on our way, and Thomas started to tell me that Chema had been killed. Chema was a life companion, more than an old friend, who was always with us. I hadn’t heard from him in a long time.
I was saddened and hurt by the news; he was a great friend, but he had been into a bad life since we were young: d***s, alcohol, g**s, and too many other things.
I had to go visit his mother tomorrow to give her condolences and check on her son, as she had a little boy. Now it was my turn to be there for him. I would help him and, above all, try to avoid making the same mistake as his father.
We had already arrived at the place. As soon as you entered, you could feel and almost taste the strong smell of liquor and tobacco. This was my day-to-day life, the same routine over and over again: work, when I left the bar, I had to pick up my daughter at the babysitter, and then go home. It was my routine, my world, but I didn’t expect anything more from my life.
Many times, I thought it might be better to join a band, take a chance, get a few dollars, leave here, go to another country, take my daughter, and live my life. Then I thought about it more coldly and figured it wouldn’t be possible. I couldn’t risk it. I had too much to lose. Sofia was all I had, the most important thing in my life.
Early the next morning, my alarm clock rang. I quickly turned it off, and the first thing I saw was Sofia sleeping next to me. I got up to make her breakfast and get her things ready for school. It seemed like another normal day in our lives.
Suddenly, I heard the murmurings of people in the street. I was still tidying up to leave the house, but I was curious about the murmuring outside, so I leaned out the window. Shit. It was about a rather elderly lady. She was being assaulted by a man who wanted to steal her belongings. I didn’t think much of it. I rushed out to the street to help her, and I realized that she was the mother of Chema, my late friend.
Suddenly, arriving at her side, I felt a strange coldness in my abdomen. I heard Mrs. Tania, Chema’s mother, scream and look at me with a frightened face. We both looked at each other in surprise, and when I looked down at my shirt, I saw that, little by little, a red stain began to appear on it. I realized at that moment that she was not screaming because she was being assaulted but because that cold, the one she had just felt, had been a bullet that had hit my body.
It was not until I was fully aware of this that my body simply could not stand. I fell to the ground more from the shock of the situation. I heard less and less the screams of the people around me; it was like a sound that was becoming deafening, becoming distant. But, before that, I had heard perfectly well what some people around me were saying: “They killed Oscar. They killed Oscar.”
It was November 20th. A date I will never forget.
Days later, I woke up in the hospital. I didn’t know how many days I had been there. I didn’t even remember how I got there. I was wrapped in a myriad of wires connected to machines and a needle in my arm. Furthermore, I didn’t know what happened or when, but I couldn’t stop thinking about where my daughter was.
“What am I doing here? What happened?” I was getting overwhelmed, and with one swipe and without the slightest care, I removed the oxygen mask and the pulse oximeter from my index finger. I just remembered it was morning, and I was making breakfast for my daughter, and now I woke up here in what looked like a hospital or a clinic.
“Doctor, the patient just woke up,” I heard a nurse call a doctor.
But someone came in quickly and without waiting for permission. It was Thomas, my friend from work. He hugged me too tightly, hurting me, but not noticing my wince. He told me what happened.
“First of all, tell me where my daughter is.” I didn’t care what happened. But the pain became indescribable when he gave me the bad news. Since I had no family, they took my daughter to an orphanage. Thomas angrily told me the latest developments.
What could I do now? He also told me that they discovered that since we lived in the poorest part of the neighborhood, I could not guarantee enough security to allow my daughter to stay with me. I didn’t think much of it and quickly tore off the leads, wires, and electrodes to which I was attached and tried to leave the room, but my legs didn’t respond, and I fell face-first to the floor. Thomas carefully lifted me and quickly called my doctor and a nurse. I didn’t hear anything. I was blinded by anger and worry, but I knew what was going on around me.
I talked to my doctors about my need, the delicacy of my condition, to see if I could stay in the hospital for a few more days until I was well enough to fend for myself. I knew they were right, but all I could think about was getting the whole matter of my daughter sorted out, getting her home, and being with her again.
A week later, I left the hospital. It had been a constant nightmare, thinking about how Sofia would be, if she would be well, if she was being treated properly, if she ate, if she was taken care of...
I looked up when I reached the hospital door and realized that, in front of me, there was Mrs. Tania, with Thomas, waiting to take me home. The police, or whoever came in looking for anything, left the house in ruins. I dragged my feet to what looked like the remains of my couch, at least it had been at some point in the past, sat down, and hid my face in my hands. I was destroyed. Furthermore, I had nothing.
I lifted my face and stared into the void for long minutes. I had no idea what the hell I was going to do now. If I wanted my health to improve, I had to follow the doctors’ guidelines. I couldn’t get Sofia back if I wasn’t in full health. I had to do something, and I had to do it now.
While I was in bed or on the couch, watching Madam Tania clean up the mess in my apartment or bringing me food, life went on, and, like it or not, there were people worse off than me.
Life in “Villa Hermosa” had never been easy, but it could become more difficult. It could be life or death, as it had been for that guy, José. He had chosen the worst moment of his life to take out another loan. His tenth. And he had asked for it from none other than Braulio, owner of the “Diamond Casino,” the biggest and most famous in the whole neighborhood.
There he was, in one of the rooms, when Braulio approached him and said nothing. That man never showed the slightest expression on his face, and, with a simple gesture of his hand, two of his thugs, dressed entirely in black, approached José.
“Jose.” I learned his name later and from rumors from around the area that he had already borrowed too many loans from the casino. Only this time, it was time to pay. It was his fault. There was no other responsible beyond his vice. His addictions were what led him to his initial problem. Braulio and his people had nothing to do with it; however, he had become a stone in Braulio’s shoe, and the boss was already looking forward to getting rid of him.
The time had come. The poor man began to beg for his life as the two gorillas drew their guns. He knelt in front of Braulio, with his hands clasped over his dog, begging for mercy, but to Braulio, it meant nothing. It brought him nothing. It was just a problem to solve. He turned and left the room in silence. He had barely taken a couple of steps out of the place when the sound of two gunshots rang out behind him. The man didn’t even flinch at what he knew had just happened, but the only thing he knew, the only thing he was sure of, was that he didn’t intend to soil his new suit with that vermin.
And I, meanwhile, was planning how to get Sofia back.