The World Is For The Smart Ones

People are divided in two types: smart and others.
+++++My parents belonged to the category of others. They worked hard during more than thirty years and finished dismissed with a ridiculous compensation. Now, old and sick, they survived with low pensions that are not enough to buy medicines and keep the house warm. They had been honest, workers and everything else that society expected from them, and see the result: ended in misery. My parents had all the qualities of the world, less one, the most important of all: being smart. They had never been smart because they had never understood the world in which they were living: a jungle where one day they would be devoured.
+++++That’s why I took another way to not end up like them. The way of those who create their own rules and know how to use the opportunities that life offers. And the smart way of earning money and of guaranteeing the future is the drug business. This same society that abandoned my parents says that drugs are illegal while it allows people to kill themselves with tobacco and alcohol. You cannot by drugs, but you can buy a gun. I cannot sell drugs, but they could invade the Iraq.
+++++However, one must be very smart to not end up in jail.


I’ve known Julia since high school and always seemed to me that she would also follow a different way than their parents had planned. But Julia was not smart and never knew how the world works. She therefore chose the way that all women with few brains and big breasts choose when they want to earn money: she became a whore. Not a street whore, of course, but one of those operating in bars and nightclubs or waiting customers to call them. As we knew each other, it was easy to establish a relationship: she needed my pills to forget what she was doing, I needed his body to remind me that I was a man. Drugs for sex. We meet at my house and everything was going well: little talk, lots of action and, in the end, three pills of her choice.
+++++The problem was officer Biggs.
+++++He had been watching me for months, but was never able to catch me in the act. I was smarter than him. But one night, one of my clients set me up: I went to see him at the agreed place and Biggs was there. The black uniform buttons glowed in the light of lamps. On his face was a cynical smile. Suddenly he puts me a handcuff on my wrist. In that moment I was like a fox with his paw trapped. But the hunter did not fire; it was not my skin that he wanted. Instead of taking me to the police station, he stopped the car by the river and showed that he was also smart.
+++++“Listen my scoundrel, I am going to give you a possibility to not go stuck: you convince that whore friend of yours to give me for free and I leave you alone. Otherwise, I arrest you booth. I give to you two days.”
+++++Then, he released me and put me out of the car.
+++++The proposal made sense for any man, but, from the feminine point of view, perhaps it was considered an abuse. However, as Julia was stupid, it would not be difficult to persuade her to accept it. After all, who knows if she would not like to be skinned by Biggs?
+++++The next day I called her and asked her to meet me in a coffee. It was a rainy day and she left home upset. When she arrived, with her trousers and shoes wet, she showed a face darker than a gray cloud. Her blue eyes sparkled. I tried to give her a kiss, but she turned the face and threw the bag into the table. The look the coffee’s owner thrown at us made me think that she might be a Biggs’s relative.
+++++Then, smiling, I began to prepare Julia to accept the proposal.
+++++“We have a problem: yesterday I was caught by the police.”
+++++“We have a problem? And what do I have to do with it?”
+++++“The cop made me an offer…”
+++++“An offer? What offer?”
+++++“It’s a funny thing, you’re going to laugh, but I think there is no alternative …”
+++++“Would you tell me at once why you made me go out on a day like this?”
+++++“Well, it’s like this: he leaves us alone if I convince you to go with him…”
+++++“To go with him?”
+++++“Yes, to go to bed with him…”
+++++“What? Do you think that I am some kind of whore?”
+++++For a few seconds we remain both silent. I scratch my chin and she put her hand in her forehead.
+++++The coffee’s owner was still watching us – she was, at least, a Biggs’ cousin. Finally, Julia straightened her hair and turned out to speak.
+++++“Okay, I know what my profession is, but I do not sell the body anyway. I have my principles. I have my pride. I choose my clients.”
+++++“Of course…”
+++++“So, the answer is no! Get it? No!”
+++++I stayed silent for a bit, drumming my fingers on the table.
+++++“Look, we have to be smart. He has the power to put us in jail, you have the power to prevent him to put us in jail and I have the power to make us three happy. It’s good business for everyone.”
+++++She began to stir in her hair again with the glance lost in the rain.
+++++“So?” – I ask.
+++++“I want the double of the pills.”
+++++“Hey, you are getting to smart.”
+++++“Take it or leave it.”
+++++“All right, the double.”
+++++“And one more thing: tell that perverted cop that there will be no games with handcuffs and batons. Got that?”


My relationship with Julia was never the same after she started to have sex with Biggs. The intimate contact with the police produced a change in her way of seeing the world. She did not become, however, more honest or hardworking. She realized that she could use her body to create her own rules.
+++++One day she called me to mark a meeting at the same coffee. It was raining and I got there all wet. As soon as I opened the door, the coffee’s owner mumbled something – would she be a Biggs’s sister?
+++++Julia was waiting for me smiling, her blue eyes were gentle.
+++++“We have a problem.” – she said.
+++++“A problem? What problem?”
+++++“I made an offer to the cop”
+++++“An offer? What offer?”
+++++“Since I noticed that he had begun to like me, I asked him to protect me.”
+++++“To protect you? From whom?”
+++++“From you, who else would be?”
+++++“Would you explain to me what is happening?”
+++++“It’s a funny thing, you’re going to laugh.”
+++++“Are you going to tell or not?” – I punch the table.
+++++“From now on I will not have sex with you anymore, but you will continue to give me the pills, otherwise Biggs arrests you.”

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João Cerqueira is the author of eight books.
The Tragedy of Fidel Castro won the USA Best Book Awards 2013, the Beverly Hills Book Awards 2014, the Global Ebook Awards 2014, was finalist for the Montaigne Medal 2014 (Eric Offer Awards) and for The Wishing Shelf Independent Book Awards 2014 and was considered by ForewordReviews the third best translation published in 2012 in the United States.
The second coming of Jesus (A segunda vinda de Cristo à Terra) won the silver medal in the 2015 Latino Book Award.
The short story, A house in Europe won the 2015 Speakando European Literary Contest, received the bronze medal in the Ebook Me Up Short Story Competition 2015 and an honorable mention in the Glimmer Train July 2015 Very Short Fiction Award.
His works are published in The Adirondack Review, Ragazine, Berfrois, Cleaver Magazine, Bright Lights Film, Modern Times Magazine, Toad Suck Review, Foliate Oak Literary Magazine, Hypertext Magazine, Danse Macabre, Contemporary Literary Review India, Open Pen Magazine, Queen’s Mob, The Liberator Magazine, Narrator Internatitonal, The Transnational, BoldType Magazine, Saturday Night Reader, All Right Magazine, South Asia Mail.

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