There are some new faces in NARCO NOIR. Meet Francisco Donoso Garay, aka Don Cisco:
Francisco Donoso Garay studied a notebook spread open on the plywood podium. He was a thickset man in his early 40’s with close cropped hair and a pencil moustache. His white shirt was crisply starched and offset by a tie embroidered with the sitio logo, marking him as the man in charge.
To underscore his authority, the operating license for the sitio was wrapped in plastic and taped to the Plexiglas surround at eye level.
“Good morning, señor,” Emilia said. “I’m your new driver.”
The dispatcher’s glance raked her up and down. “Let me see your license and permit.”
Emilia placed her brand new documents in their shiny plastic sleeves on the top of the podium. In the process, she got a peek at Donoso Garay’s notebook. Rows of figures marched across a grid of thin blue lines like a star student’s geometry homework.
“Ester Cruz Garcia.” Donoso Garay pronounced the name as if he was a mourner at a funeral. “We’ve never had a woman driver before.”
Emilia didn’t reply but aimed for a sympathetic expression.
Donoso Garay copied information from her documents onto a clean page of the notebook, carefully assigning each letter and number to its own tiny square of the graph paper. “It is very costly to buy a permit,” he said. “This is why only men can afford them.”
“My husband is dead,” Emilia said, bolstering the lie with a sad shrug. Either the cover story would fly or it wouldn’t. “He left me some money. I could either open a restaurant or buy a taxi permit.”
Her reward was a stern look. “Women don’t belong in a taxi except to go to the beauty shop,” Donoso Garay said.
Emilia shook her head. “I can’t cook, sen͂or. Or fix hair.”
Sternness turned to an outright glare but the expression didn’t suit him. Emilia guessed he was fairly good natured, even if his views about women were lightyears out of date.
“Ordinarily, I would not have allowed you to buy the permit. But no one else would buy a dead man’s taxi, God rest his soul.” Donoso Garay shook his head at the tragedy. “I had to take your offer. Business is business. May the Virgin protect us.”