Kingpin
El Velorio

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El Velorio

Houston, Texas. Dr Nameless -- I've just decided to call him Dr Benben, since he's played by Brian Benben and it's taking forever to find out his real name and also I don't care what his real name actually is, because the word "Benben" is funny -- is at the driving range with a new character, a younger Hispanic man in a velour track suit. "Wow, that's a fluid swing," Dr Benben begins. Lying, by the way, because that swing? Not fluid. People, I know golf: I golfed a 79 on my last vacation. Of course, it was on a 9-hole course, but whatever. And...I've resorted to golf jokes. My grandfather would be proud. "Listen, Romulo?" Dr. Benben adds. "Yeah?" Romulo asks, turning from his tee. "I want out," Dr. Benben announces. Romulo grins and wonders what he means. "The stress. It's too much," Dr Benben tells him haltingly. Romulo furrows his brow and wonders what the hell Dr Benben is talking about. "You store the merca. You sell the merca. You count the money. You spend the money, right?" Romulo asks. Dr. Benben is all, well, yeah, but...and starts yammering something about his divorce proceedings, and his expanding practice and blah blah blah. Romulo is all, so you think we'll just let you go? "Miguel Cadena said I could get out whenever I want," Dr Benben says. Romulo smiles. "But is that what you really want? What happens when you want money again to pay off your debts? I know you, doctor," he says, poking the hapless Dr. Benben cheerfully and going back to his slice. "I just want to lead a normal life," Dr. Benben whines.

Romulo looks at Dr. Benben and then back out at the green. "Okay," he says. "You see that thing out there?" He points to a blue ball-picker-upper thing about a hundred feet away. "If you can hit that from here, I will let you walk away," he says. Dr. Benben sort of looks at him and they both laugh. "How many balls do I get?" Dr. Benben asks. "How many do you want?" Romulo wonders. "How about ten?" Dr. Benben suggests. Romulo laughs that that's way too easy. "Three," he counters. "Okay, seven," Dr. Benben says. Romulo laughs and laughs. And it's not an evil laugh, either. He honestly finds this all very amusing. He's a very cheerful drug dealer. "No, no," he says. " Uno, dos, tres pelititas, doctor. You're a good golfer." "Thank you," Dr Benben says tightly, and then drops his club into the ball trough. "Uh oh," Romulo says. He's really just intensely amused. Dr Benben smiles and picks it all up and lines up his shot. He wipes his brow. He rubs his mouth. He takes a deep breath and swings. And hits the ball-picker-upper with a satisfying twang. Both men crow loudly and burst into laughter. Romulo pats him cheerfully on the back. "Oh, I knew you would do it, Doc!" he yells. "What can I tell you?" Dr. Benben grins. Romulo walks up to the tee and lines up his own shot. "Let's work out the details," he says. "How much to you owe for that last load?" Dr. Benben gives him a cautionary look and yells out a greeting to a passing golfer. "About $250,000," Dr. Benben sputters, quietly, once the other guy has passed. Romulo swings and watches his shot and then tells the good doctor that, when he's paid that up, he's out, free and clear. "Romulo, come on. I just want to walk away clean. Can't you take the coke back?" Dr. Benben asks. "Now, you know it don't work that way, Doc," Romulo chuckles, and asks how much of it he's got left. "Forty-five kilos," Dr. Benben moans. "You can sell that in a couple weeks," Romulo chirps. He's really the most good-humored drug dealer ever. Dr. Benben looks perturbed, but...dude, come on. You're working with a drug cartel. You ought to be happy they haven't taken out both your kneecaps.

Casa de Queso. The first casa de queso. Queso Originale. Miguel is putting Joey to bed. The Adorable Moppet whines that he doesn't want to go to Sinaloa. "Why do I have to go?" he asks. "When somebody dies that we love, we have to pay our respects," Miguel explains, pulling Joey's pajama shirt over the kid's head. "You loved Tio Jorge, right? Besides, the whole family's going to be together. Aunts, Uncle, Cousins." La Familia Count to date: 5. Miguel pulls back Joey's sheets and tucks the kid into bed. "How did Tio Jorge die?" Joey asks. "Tio Chato said he shot himself with a gun." Miguel makes a face. "Smooth, Chato," his Mole mutters. "He told you that?" Miguel asks. Joey bats his lashes. "But mom said he was sick. He was sick in his head," he says. Miguel nods thoughtfully. "Well, both of them are right," he finally says, quietly. "Sometimes people get very sad and the don't see all the beautiful things in life, just the bad things. And sometimes, they kill themselves. I think that's what happened to Tio Jorge. The important thing now is to keep the family together." La Familia count: 6. In a nice touch, Miguel tucks a stuffed tiger next to Joey. He kisses him and goes to turn out the light. "Dad? Is Tio Jorge in heaven?" Joey asks. Miguel turns. "Yes, he is," he says. "He's in heaven, and he's watching over us, all right?" He turns off the light.

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