Angelón, with some tough guys and much more in debt than his friend: such was the state of both when they got together to live in the same house. Angelón’s optimism did not faint: he threw himself continuously and with boldness in pursuit of the peseta. Failures did not bring him down. On the second day of being together they did not have a penny.
They ate in well-known cafes and restaurants, leaving the expense on credit. The waiters served them reluctantly and with lewd gestures. They went from cafes to taverns. Alberto was in constant nervous agitation. One morning he woke up with a strong fever. He was unable to leave the house and took advantage of the seclusion to write articles. In the afternoon Ríos arrived, spreading joy all over his face; He brought several packages containing bread, eggs, meat, milk, and wine. He also manifested five duros in silver; he rang them and rang and gave several shoes in the air:
“The losing streak is over at last.” He made the gesture with his left hand to ward off the curse, and added in a mysterious way: “These five dollars are not five, but one hundred.”
Alberto understood that Ríos was planning to play the hard five. Angelón himself cooked dinner and, when he finished eating, he went out into the street. Alberto resumed his work. I wanted to do at least twop. 92articles. He was shivering and nothing but absurdities and nonsense occurred to him. I was pacing the room from end to end; From time to time he would sit down to write a line or two, and so the hours passed. Around midnight, he put aside the articles and began to write to Fina, his girlfriend. From fever the imagination took exalted forms and made Alberto believe that he had never loved so much as that night, nor had he ever aspired to the home and to his wife’s lap with such intense and aching tenderness as in those moments. As Alberto was about to finish the letter, late in the night, Angelón appeared, accompanied by Verónica.
Verónica was a girl of about twenty-three years old, somewhat bony, her face almond, slightly olive skin, eyes and hair extremely black.
Very tempted to laugh, she would laugh out loud at any saying, as if it were a grace. Her lips, of extraordinary elasticity, were gracefully distended, revealing fresh white teeth, large rather than small. His joy was kind and contagious. Veronica got so flat in affection that after a few minutes of talking to her it seemed that she had been known and esteemed her whole life. Alberto exchanged a few words with Verónica that night and he already considered her as an old friendship.
Before retiring to their respective rooms, Angelón and Alberto spoke for a moment alone:
“What, the five duros multiplied?”
“Pss … They didn’t go over fifty.”
“Enough is.” Tomorrow they will be lost. Where have you fished this poor girl?
“At the Artistic Lyceum.” Not bad Lyceum … It’s a disguised, badly disguised gimmick, and then women … uh, like that. ”She clustered her fingers. You have to go one night.
Verónica continued to come to Angelón’s house at night, and sometimes she stayed all day accompanying Alberto. A week had passed since meeting Ríos at the Liceo and she had not yet dared to ask for money, despite the fact that her mother was impatient and prodded her relentlessly. Verónica lived with her family: father, mother, an older sister, ill and almost wasted, another younger, barely pubescent, who was waiting for the opportunity to hire herself in a cinema or variety theater and to deliver the maiden at a good price, and a brother that he was always lost in capeas and temptations, indoctrinating himself in the first rudiments of bullfighting art. The whole family lived at the expense of Veronica’s prostitution.
Alberto and Verónica had sympathized from the point where they had first seen each other. Both the girl and Ríos, although each for different reasons, seemed to have proposed that Alberto undermine the virginity of Pilarcita, the younger sister.
—Boy, let’s be two to win it at home, now it’s all over me, and as if it’s not today, it’ll be tomorrow and it seems that he likes you, don’t be silly. Let it be at once, because the truth is, for me it is a lot. I am staying in the bones. If you had known me not more than six months ago, so round …; I am not a shadow of what I was. Then, to top it all, my mother says that if it’s because I’m vicious and stupid …
Alberto, two afternoons when he was feeling better, had gone to Verónica’s house: a poor home, whose physiognomy was more of the middle class than the artisan.
The mother, of haunted, acecinada, aguip. 94Wood, toothless and with long nails, was repulsive. Due to his greed and ignorance, he adored Don Ángel in a fetishistic way. He knew that his daughter’s friend had been a deputy several times, he figured he would be again, and he took it for granted that the representatives in the Cortes received archiepiscopal salaries and were linked to the reigning dynasty by ties of consanguinity. Not only the old woman, the rest of the family also had hope hanging from the lips of Don Ángel, who, not sparing in his promise, had promised the father the goal of a ministry; to the son, make him a banderillero of the famous bullfighter Toñito; Pilarcita, a fat hire at the Royal Kursaal; to the sick sister, the free assistance of a medical celebrity, and to a shameless chullo, lover of the latter, a job in a banking house. And so, even when they had nothing to eat, none of them dared to translate into words what was digging into their head: “For now, I loosened up a few pelas at Veronica.”