Friday, 28 August 2009

Tico The Mystic Man

Wild Bill was in Medellin when we arrived, and he told us all about the drugs available; I was surprised there were any left after he visited. Cali dealers must have been ordering their new BMWs within days of his arrival. A Colombian named Tico lived in the Black Sheep, apparently...Bill told me to have a word, and described him. He wasn't hard to spot, wandering round the hostel with guitar or bongos and acting like he owned the place. Fancies himself a rockstar, methinks. Openly rolling a joint as I approached him upstairs, he nodded. Speckled Jim sat a few seats away, and one German girl was enjoying lunch. Seeing the coast was clear, I had a quiet word.

"You're Tico, right?"
"Yeah man" he drawled in a throaty New Yoik accent. Obviously been away a while.
"Bill said you could get me some grass?" I said quietly, leaning forward.
"Oh...maaaaan..." he said, leaning back into his seat. "You just fucked up..."
For the next 30 seconds, what he said wasn't altogether intelligible...he mimed various actions, from a gun to his head, a throat-cutting gesture, tapping his temples, zipping his mouth and wincing. All the while he was muttering in his put-on accent (Garfield heard him on Skype one day, speaking normally). I turned a pulled a "does this mean Yes or No?" look at a bemused Speckled Jim a coupleof times during this charade. When Tico was done, he explained that the hostel-owner´s wife had walked past as I whispered to him (a good 20 feet away, and down a flight of stairs...she wouldn't have heard if I'd shouted the question). Then he told me to meet him in the garden in half an hour.

I waited outside, there being a few other people reading and eating. Tico walked out and asked me how much I wanted. In front of everyone. Then sparked up his joint. Don't tell anyone, eh?

The grass was very good indeed, best we'd smoked in a while. After a night out, we were on the balcony when Tico turned up with Tom. He started strumming the guitar, and I asked him what he could play; he snorted that he didn't play other people's music, and started playing one of his own. "Ahhhh...Mystic Man" nodded Tom sagely, closing his eyes. "Mystic Man" echoed Tico with a faraway look, and began to sing his dreadful ditty. For the next two minutes, myself and the boys exchanged understanding looks. Speckled fought a grin, and I had to bite the inside of my lip before he set me off. I couldn't bring myself to look at Garfield, as a sardonic smirk was already creeping across his face. Speckled broke first, and I started giggling too. Tico played on, unperturbed. I just told him the weed was really good.

Speckled stayed up after myself and Garfield departed...only to come in half an hour later. Apparently the conversation had degenerated into a Bullshit-Off. Tico casually mentioned some band he'd toured with; Tom namedropped people he'd jammed with. Tom mentioned he'd been in the Army; Tico trumped him with a stint in the Marines. Jim disappeared before the words Back In 'Nam were uttered.

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