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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental.

CDMX - 24. CDMX • XXIV

Although he had a digital subscription to the Washington Post, reading the newspaper’s hard copy was a treat. Much more so when he had time to savor each article while drinking coffee. With no toddler waking him up, no office he needed to be at, and nothing to do until lunch, CJ liked the early-morning change of pace.

Before the company he expected arrived, he called Mexico, and talked to Owen and Liebe. Wingnut was so excited to see her on the screen he tried to lick the tablet.

“Bye, Munchkin. Be a good girl and I’ll see you tomorrow.” CJ winked at Liebe. “I’ll bring you a present.”

Owen’s face replaced their daughter’s on the screen. “Please don’t buy her a cheap-ass t-shirt at the airport.”

“Nah… I have a little free time. I’ll find her something cute. You going in to work today?”

Owen telecommuted most of the week but went to the office primarily to strengthen relationships with coworkers. Everything else he could pretty much accomplish over the internet. “Yep. As soon as we hang up, I’m jumping in the shower.”

“Have a good one, Oz. I’ll call you tonight, and I’ll see you tomorrow.”

Sitting in the kitchen while perusing headlines, he glanced at the tablet on the concrete counter when the doorbell rang. Smiling, he tapped the screen to unlock the front door. “I’m in the kitchen, come on back,” he said while pressing the ringer’s speaker button on the device.

“We know Brad’s in class this morning, we wanted to see you, but we don’t have a lot of time. Both of us need to be at practice.” Phil dropped a white paper bag on the counter and hugged CJ. Several inches taller and quite a few pounds heavier, the football player easily lifted the shorter, lighter man off the ground.

CJ was not used to being manhandled. “Put me down, you fucker. Don’t make me hurt you.”

“Not sure how you plan to do that but please don’t. He has a game on Sunday. We both do.” Riley, much more sedate than his boyfriend, settled for bumping fists. “It’s good to see you, CJ. Kinda sucks you and Owen moved away so soon after we met.”

Phil Martinez and Riley Knight were professional football players who owned a house a few blocks away. Drafted by the Baltimore and Washington NFL franchises in 2020, they had shocked the sports world by coming out as a couple immediately after their selection.

The following year, after successful rookie seasons, they had all met during the premiere of A Home for Warriors at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Their incipient relationship with CJ and Owen had been truncated by the move to Mexico.

“We’ll be back one day. In the meantime, you guys should come visit us once the season’s over.” CJ pointed at the bag on the counter. “What’s in there?”

“Breakfast. Sandwiches and muffins from District 13.” Phil had made himself at home, opening the refrigerator, and retrieving a carton of grapefruit juice. “We’re out of orange juice.”

“I wish you’d stop doing that, Phil. No matter how much you like hanging out with Brad and Wingnut, this is not your home.” Riley shrugged. “Sorry, CJ. I keep trying, but I constantly fail. I think Phil wants to make up for the fact Brad goes to all my games but almost none of his. So he makes a pest out of himself hanging out here all the time. Tell Brad I’ll have our assistant replace all the juice cartons this one drinks.”

CJ’s mouth hung open; he was having difficulties processing everything going on around him. He sighed. “Okay, easy one first. Forget about replacing anything. Brad can handle it. Second, thanks for breakfast. What’s district thirteen? Sounds like something out of The Hunger Games.”

“Duh! The best bakery in the hood, bro. It opened around Halloween, and I’m hooked on their rugelach. They’re on thirteenth.”

“Thanks, Phil. I probably could have figured that last detail out on my own.” CJ chuckled when the football player raised a middle finger. “Riley, what do you mean Brad goes to all your games?”

“Just that. I leave tickets for him at will-call, and he usually shows up with one of your buddies.” Riley paused and came close to sounding embarrassed when he spoke again. “I think it’s my way of showing how much I respect him serving and how he’s handled the challenges he’s faced. I’m not sure I could have managed.”

The Georgia man had a good heart. CJ liked him a little bit more whenever they spent time together. “He is kinda special. Thank you both for keeping him company. So, you’ve been hanging with my squad?”

“And your bros’ been hanging with our parents. Whenever our folks come visit, some of your boys meet them and even sit at games with them. Dude, that Harley never shuts up. He’s a fucking trip.” Phil’s knowledge of Everhope was not confined to the refrigerator; he had opened cabinets and drawers, depositing the needed glassware and cutlery on the polished concrete. “Let’s eat. Riley and I gotta hit the road soon.”

CJ reclaimed his stool and watched as Phil turned the bag upside down and dumped its contents out. “How’s the season been, guys? The boo birds still chasing you?”

While the league, the media, and athletes in multiple sports had praised their courage in coming out, the revelation was not as well received everywhere. Excoriated from pulpits by right-wing evangelicals presaging civilization’s demise, Phil and Riley had also been subjected to death threats and frequent booing and trash talking from the stands. Most team front offices instructed security to expel anyone hurling homophobic insults, but it still happened.

“It’s been better.” Riley split a bran muffin in half and slathered it with jam. “The fact we both had good rookie seasons helped quiet a lot of it. Even a couple of the players who weren’t the friendliest at first have come around. We both still get shit when traveling, but that’s improved too.”

“It’s definitely easier than the first season. Of course, the fact Carl Nassib”a defensive end for the Las Vegas Raiders“came out last year and that the hockey kid did too probably helped.” Luke Prokop, a Nashville Predators prospect, announced he was gay right after signing his National Hockey League contract.

“It is getting better. And not only for individuals but for society as a whole.” CJ looked forward to the day when someone mentioning their sexuality would not be front page news.

 

“Mr. Abelló! Such a pleasure to have you back.” The conservatively attired maître d' could not have smiled wider if he tried. “I was surprised and delighted to see your reservation on the book when I came in.”

CJ shook hands with the man. “I was just as surprised when I called it in, Nelson. It was an unexpected quick trip to deal with a couple of matters, but I’m glad I get to enjoy a meal at the Grill.”

CJ had met Nelson Wheatly when his fathers brought him to lunch at Capitol Grill soon after his move to Washington. César later admitted he had bought CJ a membership, trying to ensure his kid had everything he could ever want. Compensation for his inability to be a full-time parent for the first fifteen years of CJ’s life.

“Please give my regards to Mr. Liston. Mr. Sawyer’s already here. He’s at the bar.”

“Tell you what, Nelson. Let’s skip the table. I’ll go find Carson, and we’ll eat over there.”

“You know the way, Mr. Abelló.”

What Wheatly failed to mention was Carson was not alone. An attractive brunette CJ guessed was some five years older than them sat next to him.

Engaged in what appeared to be a serious conversation, Carson’s face brightened the moment he saw CJ approach. “CJ!” Jumping out of his seat, he hugged his fellow Squad member. “Damn, it’s good to see you.”

“Good to see you too, bro. Glad you could make it.” CJ turned his attention to the woman. “Since he’s being rude, I’ll introduce myself. CJ Abelló.”

“Hey! You didn’t even give me a chance.”

Her smile was radiant. “Nice to meet you, CJ. I’m Katie. Katie Mulcahy.” She tipped her head in Carson’s direction. “This one told me he was meeting a classmate in from Mexico. Is that where you’re from?”

CJ moved to take the seat on her other side while chuckling. “Nope. I’m from D.C. Grew up in Georgetown and now own a house in Capitol Hill with my husband.”

Recognition flashed across Katie’s face. “Oh, heck, I know who you are. Carson’s talked about you a lot. You’re the celebrity magnet he went to GU with.”

CJ glared at Carson. “That’s how you describe me? A celebrity magnet? Jerk!”

“Well…” Carson shrugged. “You sort of are, bud. I mean, I’ll be talking about your wedding and the guests for the rest of my life.”

“Forgive him, Katie, I guess Carson doesn’t get out much and is easily impressed.” CJ’s grin was returned by the woman. “How do the two of you know each other?”

“I’m a Hoya too. We met at a local alumni gathering. You might have enjoyed it; it was full of liberals like you.”

“Excuse me? I’m a liberal?” CJ’s smirk made Carson shake his head and Katie grin. “Hasn’t Carson mentioned Lola?”

“Lola? Who’s that?”

Carson took it upon himself to reply. “His handgun. CJ’s a supporter of the Supreme Court’s misinterpretation of the Second Amendment.”

“Really… I figured you’d be another bleeding-heart, liberal Democrat like Carson.” She blew Carson a kiss, showing she did not mind his politics all that much.

“I am. When it comes to social issues. But I’m a believer in capitalism, and as long as the Supreme Court says I can own guns, I will. For the record, I’m registered as a Green Party member. So, who was at this reception?”

Although the question was directed at Katie, It was Carson who spoke first. “You’re a Green? Since when? I thought you were registered without a party affiliation.”

CJ shrugged. “Right before we moved to Mexico. I mean, my husband’s an environmental attorney…” CJ felt that was sufficient reason.

Katie shook her head. “Great, another tree hugger. Anyway, CJ, the reception’s guests of honor were Ron Klain and Tina Flournoy.” Both of them were Georgetown graduates. President Biden had selected Klain as his chief of staff, and Flournoy was named to the same position on Vice-President Harris’ staff. “Jon Ossoff made a surprise appearance.” The Edmund Walsh School of Foreign Service 2009 graduate had been elected as a senator for Georgia in a January 2021 run-off.

“I’m jealous. I don’t get to meet people like that anymore.”

“Says the man who posted a picture on social media with Mexico’s First Lady.”

“Shut up, Carson.”

“There may be hope for you even though you’re a commie.” Katie glanced at her watch and stood. “Sorry, guys, gotta jet. I just stopped in to pick up a pair of sunglasses I left behind when I had lunch with my boss yesterday. CJ, it was a pleasure. Hope I get to see you again.” She shook his hand and handed him a card. He returned the gesture. Leaning into Carson, she kissed his cheek. “Call me, okay?”

Carson looked somewhat shocked by the kiss he was obviously not expecting. “Will do.”

CJ was surprised when he glanced at her card. “Wait! You work for Senator Crappy? That fascist nature-hater? Isn’t it hard to speak Republican?”

“Easy as pie. I’m fluent. That’s an old card, though, I somehow screwed up and don’t have my new ones. But the Senator’s staff will forward messages.” Her smile was radiant when she replied. “Why is it so hard to believe I’m a conservative? Not all Reps are old, white, racist men, or wackos who believe the 2020 election was stolen, you know?”

With a final wave, she turned, and headed for the exit.

Both he and Carson watched the woman as her heels clickety-clacked across the hardwood floor. “Good looking woman, and she sounds smart.” Turning to Carson he slapped his friend on the back. “You dog! How long you been dating her?”

“I’m not dating her. We met back in October, and we’ve gone out to dinner a few times. But it’s not going anywhere.”

“How come?” CJ was always impressed with the women Carson dated; they were usually a mixture of brains and beauty, and Katie fit the bill.

Carson sighed. “She moved back to Idaho right before Christmas. This was a trip to wrap things up at Crapo’s office. She’s running for Congress in the fall.”

“I brought up potato growing in Idaho recently. She’s running for Congress?” CJ was impressed. “I’ll take a guess on the House of Representatives since I think I read her boss’ running for reelection this year. If she wins, you’ll have her back on home court. Does she have a chance?”

“Yeah, good pedigree. Georgetown, Rhodes Scholar, Harvard Law Review editor, and five years as a legislative aide to Mike Crapo. He’s in his seventies, so Katie thinks this will be his last campaign. She wants to run for his office when he steps down.”

“Damn! Being a sexist pig, I’d say her looks will help her get elected, she’s what you straight boys would call fine.” As much as CJ hated to admit it, he was well aware appearances could influence elections. Jack Kennedy had proven it when he defeated Richard Nixon. “I figure she’s like ten years older than us, but I guessed half that at first.” CJ was impressed someone else planned as far ahead as he did. “I can’t believe you’re hanging with a conservative witch.”

“She’s not even close to being as bad as her boss. And she has publicly stated the idiot lost the 2020 election. Considering she’s from Idaho, she’s pretty moderate. But she does give me crap about my boss and how she runs the city. When you walked in, she’d just finished complaining it took us ten years to put a man on the moon but the latest estimates say we won’t get a Metro station in Georgetown for at least twenty-five.”

“Hmmm… I agree with her. Your boss may need a kick in the rear end. Should I send Katie a contribution? How is she on gay rights?”

“Her brother’s gay, and she brags about him constantly. Some sort of scientist. And yes, you should give her money. I already did, and I’ll give again for the general campaign.”

“Of course you did and you will. It’s one way of keeping your dick wet. Send me her correct contact info. But tell her I asked for it first.”

“Duh! That’s a given. If I’ve learned anything over the past couple of years, it’s not to step on toes unless you mean to.” The grin was reciprocated. “Is Ozzie gonna be okay with you giving money to a Republican?”

“He’ll be fine. We’ve been sending Liz Cheney monthly contributions.”

“I’m surprised.”

“You shouldn’t be. Although we despise most of her politics, she had the guts to stand for country over party. And she admitted she was wrong when she opposed same-sex marriage.”

The bartender had stayed away after CJ had rebuffed him on arriving by raising a finger. He now waved for the man to approach. “Sorry about that, chief. I didn’t know the lady and didn’t want to be rude. Unless Carson objects, I think we’ll eat here.”

Carson shrugged. “I’m cool.”

“Perfect. Set us up. Carson, what do you wanna drink? Diet Coke?”

“Yep.”

CJ smiled at the bartender again. “Sorry again for being rude before. I’ll have an iced tea. Membership’s under Abelló. Junior.”

“Damn that sounds weird. I forget you and your dad share a name.”

“One of the reasons I prefer CJ. So, what’s this meeting tonight that keeps you from having dinner with us?”

Carson looked around, apparently trying to ensure no one was paying them attention. He spoke significantly softer. “This isn’t for public consumption yet, okay? You can’t mention it to anyone but Ozzie.”

“Really, Carson? You forgetting I live over 2,000 miles away?” Considering the reason for his trip to Washington, CJ thought he could handle whatever secret his friend threw at him.

“Who cares about distance these days? Anyway, I’m leaving the mayor’s staff.”

“Say, what?” CJ had facilitated Carson’s internship at Mayor Muriel Bowser’s office while in college and encouraged him to accept a full-time position upon graduation. “You found a better gig?”

“Sort of. It’ll be for six months only, but I’ll be joining the mayor’s reelection bid as deputy campaign manager.”

“That’s awesome!” CJ was truly excited about the opportunity. “Dude, what an experience. She’s gonna win again, right?”

“Only if you, Ozzie, Ritch, Cap, and Mr. A send me money. It sucks most of her contributions come from outside the District.”

“Hey! Don’t complain; she’s raising money. And I’m not surprised most of it’s from non-Washingtonians. I mean, she’s the capital’s mayor.”

Carson looked frustrated. “Yeah, but if she nationalizes her fundraising, why isn’t she doing the same thing with her campaign? She could use Washington as an incubator for ideas. It’s a waste of a platform.”

“Give her a break, Carson. It’s not like we have a lot of options for elected office in D.C. We can’t run for a real House seat or the Senate. But I want you to soak it all in, okay? At some point, we’ll need to sit down and compare notes on what it’s like to be in the middle of an election. You’ll go back to the office after?”

Carson seemed to be shrugging a lot. “That’s the plan, but I haven’t committed to anything after November. It’s amazing how many politicos I get to meet in my position and a couple have floated the idea of me joining their staff. I’ll see who’s around after the voting’s done with.”

“Dude, if Katie wins, you could join her staff.” The eyebrow wiggling presaged the zinger. “Y’all could have nooners in the Rayburn Building.”

 

“She’s as perfect as you can get, CJ. Physically and emotionally.” Oscar shook his head and groaned. “You guys are damn lucky. I can’t believe you found a second surrogate so easily.”

“Ozzie and I have definitely been fortunate. Gina was a friend before we asked her.” Gina Nichols, a Georgetown University fellow student from Alaska, had carried Liebe for them.

“And this time friends dropped the perfect candidate on your lap.” Dr. Oscar Facundo had been responsible for Liebe being born and was in the process of navigating through a new attempt at pregnancy with them.

“Did you know Chatri was the first friend I made when I moved to Washington?” A medical student at the time, Dr. Chatri Mookjai was now their physician. His wife, Helen, had befriended Adele at Gymboree and the connection evolved from there.

Oscar’s assistant interrupted their conversation. “Dr. Facundo, Mrs. Whitman is here.”

“Send her in. Don’t say anything stupid, CJ.” The doctor had become a personal friend, and CJ and Owen had even tried to fix him up once they discovered he was gay.

CJ had already stood and turned to face the door; hands behind his back, he showed the doctor his middle fingers. He immediately spread his arms to hug the woman. “Adele! It’s good to finally meet you in person. I’m a hugger.”

The brunette who smiled and walked right into the embrace did not look like a mid-thirties mother of two. She resembled an athlete ten years younger. “CJ, I was so happy when you called. Last time I talked to Owen we planned on meeting on a Saturday later in the month.”

They had planned a weekend trip, since CJ had limited leave available. “Yeah, something came up, and I had to fly in for a couple of days. Ozzie and I decided to get the ball rolling. You have no idea how excited we were when you agreed to be our surrogate.” CJ motioned for the woman to take the other seat across from the doctor.

“I’m one of those weirdos who enjoyed being pregnant. And this will allow me to model some of my line myself.” Adele Whitman was a stay-at-home mother, running a startup company designing and manufacturing athletic, pregnancy clothing.

“We’re glad we can help.” CJ winked at the woman then turned in the doctor’s direction. “When can you perform the procedure?”

“Have you guys signed all the contracts already?” Although coming to an agreement had been amicably accomplished over the phone and through emails, the legal details had to be paid attention to. “I can’t do anything until I have all the releases.”

“I just gave the last of the documents needed to your assistant, Dr. Facundo.” Adele stared at the ground for a moment. “However, I’d like to wait until the end of March to do it.” She precluded the anticipated questions by explaining. “I have a trip scheduled for the beginning of the month, and I’d like to drink when the girls and I hit the beach.”

CJ cracked up. “I love your priorities. Waiting a couple more months would be fine with me. All girls? Where are you going?”

“Yep. Half a dozen friends. We try to travel together every other year or so for a few days away from kids and husbands. It’s Aruba this time around.”

“I was there years ago with my dad. Beautiful place.” Although it was a friendly meeting to discuss a fairly normal procedure, CJ had been nervous. He sank into his seat and sighed. “If my math’s right, we’d be looking at the end of December or the beginning of January, correct?”

Facundo nodded. “If it works the first time, yes. But you know very well there’s never a guarantee.”

“I know, I know. It’s just my leave has to be scheduled far in advance, and I’d like to be here for the birth. Otherwise, it would be only Owen.”

“Wait until we confirm the pregnancy. I’d say you’ll have plenty of time to request your leave.”

“Yeah, right. You don’t know my supervisor.” CJ hoped after the latest confrontation Stephen Northman would stop being such a pain. If he had to get the CIA involved so he could be at the birth of his daughter or son, he’d call in favors right and left.

 

CJ and Owen had ridden the motorcycle stored in Vail a couple of times over Christmas; the first time either had been on two wheels since moving to Mexico. With no snow on the ground, and temperatures not horrendously low, Lightning was take out of mothballs. The electric Harley-Davidson motorcycle CJ had received as a graduation present from his grandfather, along with his other bike, was started and ridden regularly by his fathers or Harley, so it was ready for use.

It felt wonderful to once again brave traffic and ride the congested streets of Washington. Maybe he was a tad more homesick than he realized. After lunch, the doctor’s office, and a stop at the Capital Arena shop to buy Liebe a present, he returned to Everhope and switched vehicles. Brad was riding with him and the Tesla was a better choice.

 

Harley Wilkinson was the first fellow student CJ met on day one at School Without Walls High School. The two had bonded over their common love of motorcycles and had been close to inseparable since. He was waiting for them outside the restaurant. “Bruh! About time you got here. I’m starving, I’ve been waiting for a while, and it’s getting chilly. Hi, Brad. Did you two hear we’re supposed to get snow tomorrow? That means the roads

Harley’s incipient monologue was interrupted when CJ jumped him, wrapped his arms around him, and squeezed with all his strength. “Fuck, but I miss you.”

Brad watched with an amused expression. Everyone in The Squad had a weak spot for Harley and his unabashed enthusiasm and joie de vivre. Very few of his friends had ever seen him do anything but live life to the fullest. “Can we get inside? Harley’s right. It’s getting chilly.”

CJ did not expect to find the restaurant’s executive chef and primary owner at the reception. “Al! Nice surprise to find you in front of the house. You’re usually in back, hiding by the stove.”

“Hey, CJ. Guys…” Alvaro Díaz had opened Abuela’s a few years before, with CJ and his grandfather as minority owners. The restaurant had brought Cuban food and a rum-centric cocktail lounge to Georgetown, in the process becoming a hit with hipsters and politicos. “Tank mentioned you were coming in, so I’ve been waiting for you.”

CJ did not trust the enigmatic smile on his business partner’s face. “You look like you’re up to something. What’s going on?”

“Nothing much.” The man shrugged and dismissively waved a hand. “I do have a little proposal for you and Owen, but we can talk about it later. You guys want a table or are you sitting at the bar with Tank?”

“Bar.” The decision was unanimous.

On a Friday night, the restaurant attracted its share of beltway pretenders, trying to impress members of the opposite sex with how important they were and who they knew; CJ had laughed more than once at their obnoxious preening and boasting. And heaven help a White House or Hill staffer if they showed up. The vulturesas CJ thought of K Street lobbyistscircled, hoping to get noticed. After all, Washington was a city built on who one knew. He was glad it was Tuesday.

“CJ!” Tank stopped wiping the bar, hustled from behind the stone and wood behemoth, and embraced his friend.

“What up, Tank.” CJ kissed his buddy’s cheek. “That’s from Owen. He says his new teammates are okay, but he misses the Scandals.” Tank had been folded into their group of friends after Owen met him while playing for the amateur, gay, rugby team.

“We miss him too.” Tanix Janda hailed from South Louisiana, had been in the Navy, a short-order cook, a licensed massage therapist, a bartender, and a bar managerfirst at Rogo’s until their friend Danno sold it, and subsequently at Abuela’s. “You guys want a drink before you get your table?”

CJ pulled a stool from beneath the bar’s overhang and sat. “No table. We’re eating here so we can hang with you.”

“Yeah!” There was no disguising Tank’s surprise and delight. “That’s awesome! Brad, you having a cocktail tonight?”

“Sure, what the hell. It’s not every day we get to hang out with the American ambassador to Mexico.”

“Asshole…”

After dinner, Harley followed them to Everhope and the three sat around the kitchen talking while sipping hot chocolate. CJ had brought a canister of Cocoa Santé Azteca from Mexico, grainier than what was sold in the United States, it was laced with vanilla, cinnamon, and chipotle peppers.

 

Once Harley left and Brad went to bed, CJ called Mexico.

“Brad’s certain we’ll get an Oscar nomination. He’s all psyched about going to California for the first time and wants to try surfing.” CJ positioned the phone on his lap so he could watch the screen while keeping his hands free.

“That’s something I’d like to watch.”

“You’ll get the chance. Make sure you take video so I can see it.”

“CJ! This thing’s two months away. And you should be able to be there too. You have to talk to Ambassador Cox. She’ll overrule

“No, Oz. Not happening. I don’t want to piss Northman off any more. The man’s competent and gets the job done. Pretty well as a matter of fact, and I am learning from him. So what if he’s an asshole and dislikes me? I’ll live with it. To be honest, I don’t want to embarrass him anymore. I’ll trust karma will get him for me.”

“Fine…” Owen’s face was pure resignation. “You saw the meatheads?”

CJ was glad for the change in topic. Owen was pretty good about knowing when to stop pushing, but CJ suspected the matter would be revisited. “The meatheads? Saw them at breakfast. They stopped by on the way to practice and brought breakfast. Phil also gave me a Baltimore Ravens’ small, foam football for Liebe.”

“She’ll like having something else to throw around.” Owen’s eye roll and CJ’s laughter were separated by a fraction of a second.

“Guess what, I met the woman Carson’s not dating.” CJ using air quotes elicited a second rolling of the eyes.

“She pretty? I don’t think Carson even talks to average-looking women.”

“What do you think? Yeah, very cute. But get this, our liberal Democrat from Delaware’s seeing a Republican from Idaho.”

“What?”

“Yeah, surprised me too. I think you’re gonna hate the fact she works for Mike Crapo.”

“SENATOR CRAP? That’s it. Carson’s off the New Year’s card list.” Senator Crapo was not viewed positively by most environmentalists. “That man just reintroduced that damn bill about states controlling mineral rights on federal lands.”

“Relax, Oz. Not like Katie and Carson are picking china patterns. Anyway, she seemed cool. She’s already left Crapo’s staff. She’s returning home and running for Congress. If Carson hangs with her, she can’t be all bad. I mentioned to him we might throw a few dollars in her campaign’s direction. If she’s somewhat moderate, it could be someone worth getting to know.”

“Fine. I realize it’s politics, but she bloody well better accept climate change’s real.”

CJ knew not to argue when Owen got on his soapbox. Misdirection usually worked. “Hey! As I was paying the bill, Al Diaz gave me some documents for us to review. He wants to open a second location, and he looking for investors.”

“Did he give you projections?”

“I think so. I haven’t opened the envelope.”

“Bring it home. If the numbers make sense, I’m in. But we better be the only ones. I’m willing to put in more money so he doesn’t need to ask others.”

“Duly noted.” The fact Owen had stopped saying it was CJ’s money whenever finances were disclosed had been a huge step for him, and CJ was glad it had finally sunk in it was theirs.

“How are Harley and Tank?”

“The same. Do you realize Harley’s been at Fairfax Harley-Davidson for five years?”

“Really? That long?”

“Yeah… He just got a promotion and he’s headed to Milwaukee next month for even more training. But he’s also considering an offer from a custom shop in Alexandria.”

“Did he mention Kim?”

Kim Hoang had attended Walls with the guys. Two years younger than them, she had dated Harley all through her years at the University of Maryland.

“Yeah. They’re talking about moving in together once she graduates and finds a job.”

“What happens to Tank?”

Harley and Tank had been sharing an apartment for a while.

“We’ll cross that bridge whenever. Oz, I’m tired. I’m going to sleep.”

“Okay. See you tomorrow. I’ll be at the office when you get in, but I’ll be home early. Infanta’s making carnitas.”

“Yumm. Love ya, Oz.”

“Love you more.”

Copyright © 2021 Carlos Hazday; All Rights Reserved.
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Thank you to my support team, you improved the story. Any remaining errors are my responsibility. And thank you to all readers for supporting me. I hope to hear from you.

Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental.

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I miss interacting with readers. And since CDMX won't be published for a while, how about a look at part of chapter one?  
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