"The contact"

(Translation from the Spanish version)

"I met Walter Almeida in the headquarters of the Mineraoira Bettelstein, at a skyscraper near of the Praça da Estação at 6 PM. The idea was having a business dinner to exchange information about our companies and to size up the possibilities of making a partnership agreement. He´s an educated guy, with refined manners that make up for his complete lack of technical expertise. We went round five or six pubs, maybe more, drinking quite a lot, speaking a lot, and eating very little. The most assuaging were some delicious pãos de queijo in a business with minimalist decorations and customers with a cosmopolitan air and neat appearance. There, my host unsuccessfully tried us to get off with two longilineal lasses. At 3.30 AM I mentioned the advisability of retiring, to which my mate answered happily and flatly that we hadn´t had dinner yet. I was afraid we would end up doing it in an insufferable after hours, eating any synthetic rubbish while surrounded by hyper-stimulated night-birds.

The restaurant Walter had chosen was a colonial style house, in a corner of a large square. There was a church at the other side. Well done! My forecast was completely wrong: macaroni. Stunning, this Walter.

When I overdrink, I lose my usual prudence. In that context, after so many drinks and conversation hours; I found Walter Almeida deserved all my confidence. Recklessly and shamelessly, I asked him about the stones trade. He was smartly evasive. «Bettelstein is exclusively in the iron business,» he said. Even so, he told me, with aseptic discretion, about the problems to get into the so monitored legal trade, and about the risks of doing it in the shady and hazardous clandestine trade. Aferwards, he was speaking about football the whole night. In BH there are two big teams: Atlético Mineiro and Cruzeiro. He is cruzeirense.

Once we left the restaurant, he gave me a lift home. And, when saying goodbye, he noted something down on a piece of paper. He gave it bent to me and, with a British actor´s smile, he warned he didn´t know anything about that matter. I put the best face I could to make out I perfectly understood what he was referring to. And I resisted the temptation not to unfold the piece of paper right there to see if I was able to understand anything.

I stood on the pavement, polite, waiting for him to start his car and, when the BMW faded away behind the corner, I unfolded the note. There was, written in a rather affected handwriting, a telephone number and a name: Otacílio".