a rainy day in Spain

i am sitting in my favorite bar

the fair haired stranger sitting nearby

starts small talk

you know

where are you from?

how did you learn Spanish so well?

he buys a round

he is from Germany

traveling Europe seeing the sights

he takes a small camera from his leather coat

offering proof

what am i doing here in Spain?

been here long?

he drains his glass

another? he asks

no, thanks. i have to get back to work

you must work on those submarines

fascinating, he says

my father was on the U-Boats during the war

must have been tough, i say

yah, he did not return

i excuse myself

he orders another round

in the back i find the muchacho

and speak with him quietly then hand him a hundred peseta note

he quickly disappears

i return to my place at the bar

my new friend talks more about the boats

what is it that i do there?

it must be highly technical and a bit secret, no?

a short man in a hat and raincoat enters the bar

followed by two Guardia Civil

automatic weapons slung over their shoulders

raindrops slide down their funny patent leather hats

no one is smiling

the two Guardia flank the man in the leather coat

the short man in the raincoat speaks softly

and my curious friend gets up

and they all leave

the bartender and i look at each other

he takes the stranger’s untasted bottle

and pours it into a glass then drinks it half down

i finish my glass and shrug into my coat

i step out into the rain

the raincoat man stands across the street

we wait until my taxi comes

raincoat man smiles as we drive away

Copyright Michael Douglas Scott