The 1940’s is known as Mexico’s Golden Age, but it wasn’t a decade of good times and prosperity shared equally by all Mexicans, as one young and ambitious newcomer to the capital city so brutally found out.
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Mexico City the Golden Years
Mexico City, in 1940 is at the threshold of an extravagant decade of music and passion, dance and romance. It is also a time of chaotic growth and Arturo Fuentes, is a young and ambitious newcomer, poised to thrive in the boom times. By the spring of 1943, his glass factory is profitable and he has a girlfriend who is ravishing. Problem is, in this city, success draws scrutiny by the powerful elite and those best connected get away with murder. So when his girlfriend attracts the interest of a pack of corrupt politicos, she's left dead, and Arturo is spared because he shrewdly controls rare resources they require. Enticed by Senator Carlos Serrano to collude in their corrupt ways, Arturo prospers, he finds strength in the love of a popular entertainer, and his social rank rises. But, Arturo's soul is at risk and there isn't a safe escape from the Senator's grasp, until the U.S. Ambassador implants the notion of a covert solution.
This is a work of fiction. All of the characters, organizations, locations and events portrayed in this novel are either products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously.
Copyright 2012 by Dennis Fitter
All rights reserved
No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means including storage or electronic information retrieval systems without permission in writing by the author. The only exception is by a reviewer, who may quote short excerpts in a review.
It was the second quincena in May of 1943.
There was no indication of what, but something had happened to disturb Silvia and here I was late. She was not her normal self. I don’t like the word perplexed; it is used too often for trivial things, but that is what she was when I answered her call in the convenience of my pension’s public telephone cabinet. We would meet tonight, nine o'clock at Bar Caribe. Why not our usual spot? There, we could dance, enjoy the music and if we wanted, mix with other people who cared to know nothing more than that we were just another happy couple. Everything always went well there and besides, I liked our favored booth where we could sit almost unseen, side-by-side, and just talk and tease, entice and embrace for hours. It was there Silvia pretended the brushing of her hand along my thigh was accidental, but I knew it wasn’t. I heard the rush of her breath drawn in, between clenched teeth, as she shuddered ever so slightly.
Why the Caribe? Wasn’t it one of those new spots quickly gaining popularity? For sure with all the restaurants, galleries and bars, it was too busy along that stretch of Balderas Street. Too much chance to be seen together by the wrong people. Could it be Silvia had grown tired of keeping our affair in hiding? The sooner that fat cat politician found out he is nothing more than a nuisance, the better.
Wherever she wanted to go, we would enjoy the quincena together. Good things always happened on that evening and late on into the night. Well, the entire weekend for that matter. Mexico City was ready, waiting anxiously to shop, to celebrate, hell, to live a little or live-it-up. This Friday was the first night in the two weeks since the last pay packets were distributed and most everyone in the city went about with more cash in their pockets than they would until struggling through the next fifteen days. Who cared! This weekend was uplifting, a relief, even if the celebration was short-lived and most of the money gone.
“Do you ever go for a weekend out Mr. Presidential Special Investigator? You probably prefer to spend your time here in this interrogation room, snooping around, finding someone else to question to no end just because Mr. President has some personal interest in knowing every perverted detail of someone’s private life. OK. Sorry. I know. This is not an interrogation and I am not being forced to tell you anything, much less go into great depth about things that happened five years ago. It must be one of those things presidents need to know and definitely, I am here at the official residence to cooperate.”
What could possibly be wrong? Silvia’s veracruzana beauty got her everything she ever wanted since coming to the capital. Sure, there were a few complications for us, but that would straighten out as soon we could figure the best way to shake that damned, pompous politico who seemed to think it was he and not she who sealed the deal for a cameo in the latest Jorge Contreras film. I knew her. She would tell me about it the second she was ready. Probably after sipping a cuba or two, whispered in my ear on the dance floor.
The taxi ride downtown took longer than it would any other night. Here it was, the end of May, and as if taking a cue from the National Railroad, the first rains of the season arrived late. The worst of many flooded streets were now deep flowing rivers, the best and most busily travelled, a slick, oily glare of reflected light through which my chauffeur picked his way without the help of working wiper blades.
The rain was letting up when my taxi rolled up to the curb. There was not really a need for the doorman’s umbrella as I ducked in under the canopy. It would get lively around here as soon as the rain stopped.
The room was larger than expected but the entrance did not give the impression of anything special, at least nothing that would give reason to agree with what I had heard about the increasing popularity. The ceiling pressed down too low and not until descending the three steps of the foyer-width stairway beyond reception, and before the table captain’s pulpit, did it open up to a less restrictive feel. Inside, were lots of tables, many already occupied with couples only, and there was a thoughtful amount of space between small table groupings for slow dancing without having to weave your way up to a dance floor. Not a single large group of friends out on the town. That was good. Nothing wild and upbeat. That would probably come later as the night got older and the patrons happied-up on rum. For now, just a very good sounding trio giving their own softened version of popular tropical rhythms appropriate for romantic conversation.
There she was. The stiffly straight, impeccably groomed table captain was right. The men who gravitate to those positions, no, more like professions really, all have the same air about them, reveling in their authority of command over what? Their troops of table waiters? The power of classifying clients on a whim, deciding who gets to sit at the best spots? Good. Silvia had found a table on the fringe and to the back. Even in the drenching humidity of this rainy night, she looked as ever, perfect. How do the few real women do it? Everything about them so right?
I had sat alone in the darkened cine taking in the reactions to Silvia’s one short movie scene. Long, dark, glistening hair tumbling over bare shoulders and ample cleavage exposed by the swooping line of a ropa tipica blouse of cotton fabric so thin it barely hid the outline of her breasts Only I had actually felt the luxury of being draped in that sensuous body in the way I knew every man in the cine was imagining himself. The slaps of jealous girlfriends and innocence-protesting boyfriends stole from the camera’s next take; zoomed-in fixation on plump, wetted lips then pull-back shot as they parted with a smile, her smile, that could only be totally complete with the unspoken words of Silvia’s deep dark eyes.
I had been moderately upset some production issues at my business kept me too late for a cut and mustache trim to be properly prepared for this evening out. With our toasted coffee, coastal Veracruz skin and taller than average height, we did form a striking couple. And I made my own fair share of a contribution when shiny dark hair was expertly slicked straight back and narrow mustache well defined. My most commanding feature of sometimes hazel, sometimes hazel-green, but usually green eyes set in the purest of deep white had always been my distinguishing pride.
Bending forward for nothing more than the properly formal kiss to cheek greeting, Silvia only looked perfect. Not everything was perfectly right. She was anxious about my delayed arrival, visibly upset about something else.
Unable to hide my impatience to know, I ordered our cubas with double shots of rum to hurry the process. Her week had been even more frantic than the previous. Silvia’s agent and Clasa Film Studios kept her busy with little promo appearances that inflated larger than expected at each location once word got out Silvia Beltran would be there. Everything was moving so fast and yes, “El Politico” had left Mexico City Thursday morning according to schedule, with the obliged accompaniment of his wonderfully loving wife at some official functions up north in Monterrey, but no, it would be impossible to take a room together in the city. Not even way out in some obscure posada in Texcoco.
Sitting across from one another with our arms outstretched on the table so I could hold Silvi’s hands in mine, I attempted settling her with the slight touch