As we got our cigars going, I spoke again.
“Ramirez sounds like the impulsive type.”
Vickers blow smoke into the air. “Yeah, well, that’s how he is. Still, there’s no doubt that he gets the right results. In fact, as a matter of interest, why did you pick on Tigris
, anyway, aren’t they the nastiest of all the big cats?”
I smiled at him. “Well, I suppose the short and silly answer is that’s exactly why I chose them. They may not be the super heavyweights of the big cats but they certainly are the nastiest, as you put it, and I have a theory about it. I believe it’s because they have no opposition down here on this continent except man. They get their own way all the time.”
“And this is what interest’s you?” Vickers had an incredulous look.
“Well, it’s one thing,” I said. “I’ve seen a Tom Leopard take on a lion over a kill and come out the winner, particularly when his girlfriend is around. I’ve seen a task force of daddy baboons dissuade a Leopard off one of the troops that was supposed to dinner. I’ve seen a lot of things in my time but nothing of the Tigris
and they got it made here. “ I grinned. “Besides, I get paid for it.”
“That’s reason so far,” said Vickers the unbelieving expression gone. “But I can’t see how it pays enough. Aren’t you supposed to be a multi-millionaire or something?”
I lifted an eyebrow. “You’ve been doing some checking on me, huh?
Vickers smiled. “I hear things. You like fishing.?”
“Well, tell Jean about it, man. The rivers here are crawling with different kinds of fish” Vickers waved a hand at the window. “Merlin, barracuda, shark, they are all out there and more.”
“Yeah, I know,” I said. “I intend to get down to it in time. What else can you tell me about this guy Jean Ramirez?”
Vickers was silent a moment then he blew smoke into the air. “Jean is the best hunter in this damn country, no one better, but you need to watch him closely, mind you. I don’t mean he’s not one hundred percent trustworthy. What I mean is, he’s a man that always goes for results and one way or the other, he always gets it. What I’m trying to say is that he often takes chances outside the basics.”
“Well, if he’s not getting the kind of results he wants, whether it is exotic birds or whatever, he’s not that much concerned about going into other people’s territories to hunt. Deep into it.”
“Very risky,” Vickers said. “Sometimes they shoot first.”
I frowned. “Isn’t that rather drastic …. just for a bit of poaching?”
“You don’t know them, especially the politicos
,” said Vickers. “They’ve been trying to take over this country for a hundred year.”
“It’s a wonder they don’t get away with it considering the living standards I’m seeing around here,” I said. “There are too many bums and no goods sitting around, run down structures all over the place and no jobs, yet much worthless spending. Where do they get the money for it?”
Vickers shrugged. “I have no idea. One of life’s mysteries I guess but I do know where Jean gets his. All over the place ….. a man of many parts is Jean Ramirez and he doesn’t like our communist neighbors over the northern borders one bit.”
“A rugged industrialist?”
Vickers grinned. “You can put it that way. He’s into everything from gun running to orchids and exotic birds shipping. He stirs clear of the real criminal stuff, though. Things are different here.”
I digested this new information. From what I gathered so far, this Jean Ramirez was both a first class hunter and a risk taker. Good, I thought. This trip will definitely be something to remember for years. I put out my cigar and got to my feet.
“Well, I’ll be out of your hair now. Thanks again for all the help….”
As I left Vickers’ office, I didn’t take a taxi. I recognized the neighborhood well and knew the hotel wasn’t too far away so I walked.
The bridge across the river was just about half a mile away and just before I reached it, I passed a market where animals were being sold for food. Some were butchered right there while others were sold whole. Fishermen from the rivers brought in the fishes while trucks brought in the other animals, fowls, goats and huge lizards. The animals were all being bought by women of different sizes and races. Once paid for, the women stuffed the animals into their straw baskets, for an extra dime, some had them slaughtered and cleaned on the spot. I wondered about the lizards a bit. This was the first I had seen lizards being treated as food and considering the size of them it wasn’t surprising.
The jobless bums were everywhere, in all shades and colors, Latino, blacks, Indians and every shade and breed in-between. They crowded up the drinking and fun spots mostly, street corners too.
The women of mixed races were particularly amazing.in the way, their physical features were mixed up. At the bridge, I passed a very attractive looking lady that made me think of Irene from the plane. Like Irene, the lady was of mixed blood …. big in stature, dark Latino looks, long straight black hair but a very well-endowed curvy body that told of some African blood.
I got back to the hotel around two that afternoon, all sweaty and hot from the sun. I had a nice meal of chicken in the breezy hotel restaurant and then headed upstairs to get some rest.
I would meet Ramirez tonight.
*Adventures of a tough American millionaire going hunting in the dangerous Amazon jungles*
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