20 - Mucho gusto, Señor Gutiérrez

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The Narrator

While Diego was taken to a cell, Alfredo and Valiente were sitting across the table, which was in the interrogation room, facing Felipe.

Felipe was pressed for time. He had to find Scapoli Gutiérrez. The Comandante General extended the date of his transfer by three days, on his request. Felipe believed that if he found Scapoli Gutiérrez, he could find the answers for Basilio Armada's death and Scapoli's father Guerrero Juancho Gutiérrez's disappearance.

"Can you boys help me find, this Jorge you know?" asked Felipe.

The boys first looked at each other, waiting for the other to speak first.

Felipe waited patiently for their response.

"Do you know where this Jorge stays?" Felipe then asked.

"Yes sir, we know where Jorge stays," said Valiente.

"Look, Valiente and Alfredo, beyond this point in the investigation, if you lie to protect someone, you are only wasting your time. You saw how Diego called you liars and blamed you for his crime. So, I want you to be truthful when you help us. I assure you that if you help us, we'll give you better food and better treatment in the jail," said Felipe.

Valiente and Alfredo looked at each other. Alfredo then spoke, "In Calle Carlos Winner, next to Hospital San Gabriel, there's a white building operating as a salon. Truth is sir, it is not a salon. If you pull the tall mirror out of its frame, you will find a stairway that will lead you underground to this den of drug dealers. That's where Jorge told us he was staying, and that's where we met him."

"Hmmm," said Felipe.

Alejandro who was with Felipe said, " I think we should go in plainclothes."

"Why?" asked Felipe.

"Because I think that such a den cannot be operating without the salon owner's knowledge. He must know that it is under his building. If we go in uniform the salon owner might tip the criminals and they might escape," answered Alejandro.

"We need you, two boys, to do something for us. But if you try to escape when you're doing it for us, you will face serious trouble," said Felipe, as he looked at the two boys.

*****

"I love Beauty and the Beast, Shifaly but I don't want your life to be a real-life version of the story," began Avanthi, who was not happy at something, at breakfast.

It had stopped raining in their region. The sun had appeared, and it was shining brightly. The students were glad to behold the sight of the sun and almost clear skies.

"What do you mean?" asked Shifaly as she put two Salteñas and some mashed potato on her plate.

"I don't mind you being the beauty of any beast, Shifaly, any beast. But not Trashbag Samarasinghe," said Avanthi.

"What?" asked a puzzled Shifaly.

"Don't pretend like you don't know what I'm talking about!" snapped Avanthi.

"I seriously don't know what you're ranting on about," Shifaly said.

"Oh yeah? Don't tell me that you didn't cozy up to Basura and play the piano with him!" said Avanthi.

"Cozy up? Avanthi I just sat with him. I just played piano with him. As friends," said Shifaly.

"As friends? Look I wouldn't have cared if you sat with anyone, even that creepy-stalker Theshana: whose phone is filled with pictures of you that he screenshotted from Instagram! But not Trashbag Samarasinghe," said Avanthi, "One doesn't simply get fed dog poo and then starts liking the person who fed them dog poo.

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