Pinetree International Exports is closer towards the Vegas/New York City portion of Madripoor than the “lowlands” but still in what I am calling the border zone. This is the part of the city that seems almost familiar to me, if there weren’t so many people on bikes zipping around, it wouldn’t be out of place back in the CS. It was the same kind of little office-prison you’d expect some guy with a comb-over to be selling insurance out of in Tallahassee or Gary.
Alcazar, the owner, chief operator, and proprietor of Pinetree International Exports is from the Caribbean states of the US I think. He has a long beard, not like a hippy beard but more akin to what you’d see in an old photo of a soldier from the First American Revolution. It doesn’t suit him well at all. His teeth are a mess as well, it looks like someone hit him in the mouth with a hammer at some point. If he shaved his beard and kept his mouth shut he would be a handsome man. After Elvis introduced us, I looked around at his cluttered and shabby office.
“So what is this operation? An Air America type thing?”
He laughed loudly, putting his mouthful of crooked teeth on display, jerking his thumb at Elvis “This guy been telling stories about the CIA again? Would I be in a place like this if I was with the CIA?”
“Spies are supposed to be inconspicuous so yeah, this seems about right.”
He looked like he had never considered that before “That’s a good point actually. But the fact remains that I am merely a humble importer/exporter.”
I picked up a card off his desk and examined it “What does that mean? I know it literally means that you buy stuff somewhere else and bring it here and vice versa, but that doesn’t sound like a full time gig to me. How much time does it take to buy something and then have it shipped somewhere else? What do you do all day?”
He picked up a wad of papers and shook them at me like a wagging finger of disapproval “Trust me sweetheart, I got plenty to do. So why did my good friend Elvis drag you into my office?”
“I’m in need of exporting.”
I gestured like a showroom model “You’re looking at it tiger.”
After I explained my situation, Alcazar was nice enough to let me stay with him for a couple days while he did some research. I definitely don’t think he’s in the CIA anymore. I think even a CIA agent working undercover would have more than a single room above a dance studio with a mattress on the floor. Clearly the import/export business isn’t going so great.
I think he likes having me around just to he has someone to speak Spanish with. I asked him how the Tropics are doing but he said that he doesn’t follow sports back home. I asked him how he ended up in Madripoor and he said (I’m paraphrasing here)
“Madripoor is the only free place left in the world, as free as it gets these days anyway. If you want to make some money and you don’t mind getting down and dirty, Madripoor is the place to be. Madripoor doesn’t dance to the tune of politics or corporate interests.”
He went on to say that Madripoor was “a modern day Port Royale”. It was enough of a non-answer that despite this crappy apartment, it made me think a little that maybe he is CIA again. On the other hand, being into lawless pseudo-anarchy doesn’t seem like what a CIA man would be into. Or maybe it does?
Alcazar and Elvis both suggested that I stay put since the Shadow Lords might be looking for me, but I got bored so I went to work with Alcazar a couple days. Being his secretary was slightly less boring than sitting in his crummy apartment staring at the walls. Against their advice I got myself a gig at a local joint. I did The Witch Queen of New Orleans, Never Been to Spain, and Day Dreaming to scattered polite applause. Don’t these people know I had a top 40 hit in ’70? Where’s the respect?