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Julius Seizure

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Join date : 2010-11-06
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PostSubject: Leaving Madrid   Sun Jan 30, 2011 2:34 pm

=========================


April time in Madrid was fairly hot, as tends to be in Spain. Being English, this was naturally the first thing Joxide noted as he entered the country. The heat hadn't cooled at all in the 3 days he'd been there. It didn't worry him too much, as it wasn't insanely hot quite yet. His first day in Madrid after leaving England had been relatively uneventful. He had left the airport and checked into the Ritz Madrid, which, luckily for him, took his credit card. He didn't even check the price per night. If he didn't have enough to cover the cost he had a place to stay anyway. The second day he'd managed to establish contact with an old friend he'd met years before in Rotterdam.

The Ritz in Madrid is a five minute walk to Parque del Retiro - Madrid's answer to New York's Central Park, and right next door to the world famous Prado museum not that our hero would be spending much time there, and is a 15 minute walk from the Plaza Mayor, Madrid's most expensive square to dine and shop, which is where Joxide spent the afternoon shopping for light, airy and expensive clothes. After spending a few hours finding a shop that sold good quality Hawaiian shirts, he'd returned to the air conditioned room in the hotel for a quick 'siesta'. That evening he'd spent with his Colombian friend Jorge, one of millions of Latin American immigrants to travel to Spain in the last 20 years seeking a better life. By god he'd found it tonight! After finishing work, Jorge had met up with Joxide on Plaza Mayor and they'd spent hours dining on what Joxide considered to be the superior national food of Europe, second only to Italy. However this wasn't Italy and Joxide was quite happy for Spanish food to be his favourite right about now. After a huge dinner of garlic soup, churizo, tortilla de espana, tapas and fried calamari, washed down with beer, they awoke at dead-on 2 in the morning on the grass in Retiro Park surrounded by empty beer cans as the sprinklers whirred into action to water the thirsty lawns. Despite their emerging hangovers and drenched clothes they laughed as they ran, jumped and rolled across the soaking lawn trying to dodge the sprinklers while simultaneously push each other into them.

As they reached the main path leading away from the gargantuan city's quiet green park, they caught their breath and sparked up cigarettes. Joxide rubbed his head with his eyes closed as he stood still for the first time since waking up. Local beer didn't have a reputation as being the finest quality, but Joxide didn't mind at the time, he was dining the Spanish way. The dirty beer had given him a headache. Joxide could feel the hot Spanish weather drying his clothes out already.

"Tengo trabajo mañana también" mumbled Jorge in Spanish.
("I have to work tomorrow as well…")

Joxide deciphered the phrase quickly, he was remembering the Spanish he'd learnt overseas and Jorge was a good teacher. He spoke to him in English for general conversation, throwing in words and phrases every now and again in Spanish to encourage Joxide's memory and cognitive abilities.

Joxide laughed between breaths.

"Sick day, man" he chuckled.

"No sick day for me." Jorge replied in English.

They smoked their cigarettes and both caught taxis home on Joxide's insistence. He had told Jorge he was in town for a few days as he'd had a win at a casino and was blowing some cash on a good time.

After arriving back at the Ritz, Joxide had another course of tortilla with fried calamari and gazpacho sent up to his room. Not because he was overly hungry, but because he could fit in. In his drunken stupor he tipped the room service guy €50, which, after thinking about it, he didn't really care.

=========================


It was now Friday afternoon. Joxide was slouched on a chair in Barajas airport. He dared not close his eyes, or the airport would spin around him. He dared not smoke, as it might cause a bodily rejection and he might be seeing last night's feast come up. So, as tends to happen only after a night of drinking, Joxide sat quietly, holding his head with his eyes closed, shielding them from the intense glare of the overhead lights, and sighing occasionally. He burped and, tasting last night's churizo and calamari, was disgusted to find he was hungry for some more calamari. A large high-pitched intercom buzz emitted over the PA system speakers causing Joxide to groan and block his ears.

In a situation like this, it would be normal to be very nervous. The future of his entire life hung on this flight. Joxide didn't really feel nervous as much as he did feel ill. He had butterflies in his stomach, but more because he wanted to pick up his guest and get going. It's kind of odd, he thought, to be so sure that his friend would come through for him. To have such blind faith in another human to simply max out a four grand credit card in a foreign country with no job or money in the bank. Four grand didn't seem like much compared to what he used to earn back in the Business but now it made him feel like a mafia don. Many would probably say otherwise but Joxide was no fool. The trust he had in this man was well placed.

"Now arriving is the Continental Airlines flight 3189 from Panama City."

Joxide sat upright. He caught it the second time they announced it in English. He stood up and stretched. He straightened his posture and rubbed his eyes and grabbed the cup of lukewarm coffee he'd forgotten about and necked it, then stuffed a few chewing gums in his mouth. As he walked towards the arrivals gate he caught a glimpse of himself in the reflection of the steel desk, and instinctively brushed the hair out of his face.

As he arrived at the gate he saw his man.

For a guy who'd just got off an 11 hour plus flight, he walked with a spring in his step and a grin on his face. He looked to be in his late twenties. Just by looking at him it was possible to tell this man probably had some affiliation with Joxide at some time or another. He was wearing loose fitting jean cut-off shorts and a yellow and blue Hawaiian print T shirt, with a pair of Rayban mirrored aviators perched on his face. He certainly picked up fashion tips off of him anyway.

Joxide pushed his way through the crowd, and upon meeting this man they hugged.

"Eddie, how have you been, chap?" Joxide asked enthusiastically as they released.

"Hahaha, I'm all good mate. Fucking good!"

Joxide ushered him away towards the exit of the airport.

"Wait, you forgot your bags?"

"Na, I didn't bring any."

Joxide nodded and they headed out of Barajas together and into a taxi to take them back to the Ritz.

=========================


The taxi ride had just been pleasantries. Eddie and Joxide discussed old TXA times with good natured nostalgia until they got back to the hotel. Eddie had checked into the Royal Suite at an eye-watering €3800 a night. Joxide had moved his belongings up to the second bedroom of the suite and smoked one of the complimentary cigars while he studied the room. He approached the coffee table and rapped it with his knuckles. Solid mahogany. Good choice. He'd never seen a fruit bowl as big as the one on the table. He examined a ripe banana and the pineapple in the middle. It looked real to him. He always wondered why they bothered putting the pineapple there as there wasn't a knife in sight to cut the thing with. And it's not like someone would just decide to slice up a pineapple and eat it, is it? Joxide looked over at the sofa. It looked comfortable, that's for sure. But as he knew, just because a sofa looks like a great sitting experience doesn't mean it will be one. In his years of relaxing on expensive sofas he'd developed a little test to see if the sofa lived up to the hype.

Carefully balancing his cigar on the ashtray, which looked like silver by the way, he took a running jump and landed outstretched on the sofa. Just the right amount of bounce, and he was comfortable as he landed. Perfect!

'Ahhh, luxury!' thought Joxide. Matt and Adam's place didn't really cut it at all now he'd spent 5 minutes in the suite occupied by only the filthy rich.

He placed a call downstairs to reception, in a semi-irate tone in English, telling them that he and Mr. James in the Royal Suite would be attending the restaurant in 15 minutes, so get. Funny, he thought. As soon as I start living the high life I turn into a cunt again. He let that thought sink in, then discarded it from his mind. His friend Eddie stepped from his room, freshly showered and they headed down to the restaurant to discuss business.

25 minutes later they arrived in the Goya house-restaurant and were seated at an immaculately prepared table complete with silver cutlery, crystal wine glasses and all the other pointless extravagance that filthy wealth comes with. Joxide had apparently forgotten about last night's blowout and was back on it, ordering specialist Belgian lager which he drank from the wine glass. His friend Eddie had opted for red wine. In front of them were huge plates of Spanish food. Joxide had given Eddie a run down of the night before, but his friend was little surprised to see Joxide seemingly inhaling the fried calamari. At the rate he was eating it it didn't even look like it was touching the sides of his mouth. "Don't waste time chewing" Eddie recalled Joxide say once while at a company meal one Christmas, which was, incidentally, at a Spanish restaurant.

"It's difficult to get a good red wine in Panama." said Eddie, trying to stimulate a bit of conversation.

"Yeah I'd imagine so." said Joxide in between mouthfuls of his favoured deep-fried squid.

Eddie James used to work at TXA. He wasn't a wrestler though, or an announcer, he wasn't even a cameraman. Eddie's job was money. He was the chief of finance in TXA and was in control of all the money. Joxide had personally interviewed him for the post along with some other members of the board. The others, unconvinced at first, had been persuaded by Joxide to give Eddie James a chance.

Eddie was a graduate of Oxford university, although didn't fit the stereotype. He was a party-boy, despite being a bit of a geek too. He worked hard, but he played too. He was open in his interview about not being interested in wrestling. The reason the board hadn't wanted to give him the post despite his good credentials was his criminal record. Eddie had got into a bar fight with a local while staying with a friend in Cheltenham. Unfortunately for him, the guy had pressed charges on the advice of an ambulance-chasing solicitor firm and poor Eddie ended up with a £800 bill and a gigantic smear on his otherwise clean record. Luckily for him, Joxide saw potential, and took him on despite this.

Funny, he thought, as he watched his old friend chow his way through meticulously prepared food as if it was a pisshead munching his way through a doner kebab. Appearances can be deceiving. Eddie was right in thinking this. The reason Joxide had him employed was fairly simple: the man was good with numbers, he had good people skills, and apart from the criminal record he had no reason not to get the job, but Joxide sensed something more. He could see the deviousness and untapped craftiness in this young man's eyes. Sat before him was a man like himself: ready to put the work in and have fun, but devious and ready to take risks for untold personal gain. Joxide liked that in a person.

TXA had employed Mr. James for 14 months before Joxide randomly showed up at his office one day. After the initial meeting and interview, Joxide didn't really have much to do with Eddie James, work-wise, so it caught him by surprise when Joxide, the boss, entered his office one day. He didn't stop for much, only to congratulate him on his contribution to the company over the last month, which had seen his work-stack raise a lot. Eddie thought it was strange that he'd get a personal thanks from the boss, but he responded graciously.

A week later Joxide came to see him again to ask his advice on a financial matter. Eddie was getting a bit suspicious now, as Joxide could easily have found this information elsewhere. He'd seen Joxide tearing into employees for no real reason and it bothered him that this guy was going out of his way to be nice to him. He was starting to think Joxide fancied him, but tried to put the thought out of his head.

One day Eddie had checked his email, and to his surprise, had received one direct from Joxide. Not even from his secretary, from the man himself.

"Please see me in my office"

Eddie's stomach had gone over. Wondering what he'd done, he took the lift to the top of the office complex and rapped on Joxide's door, which was always closed and seldom answered. It swung open and Joxide stood at the door. He beckoned Eddie to come forward and he stepped inside the plush office.

It was probably five times as big as Eddie's downstairs. Joxide had thick, soft carpet, a long comfortable looking sofa along one of the walls and framed photos of himself wrestling. He even had a genuine gold belt on a stand. At the back of the room was Joxide's big oak desk. The reclining chair behind it looked expensive. The one facing the boss's desk looked impressive and expensive too, but not so much as Joxide's, obviously.

"Take a seat, Eddie." Joxide motioned towards the seat and sat down his chair at desk. "I have something I need to discuss with you. And don't look so serious."

Eddie sat down in the chair.

"Do you have much experience in the wrestling business, Ed?"

"None sir. I just do the numbers."

"Right, I see. Okay, well. In a company such as ours, the long term vitality is always somewhat uncertain. "

Eddie blinked. "Are you telling me we're closing?"

Joxide sighed. "No, Ed. Well, not yet anyway."

"Should the company ever come into any… financial danger or hardship, a company needs to look after it's employees. Men like myself, and men like you. I've got high hopes for this company, and I don't expect for the day to come that we'll ever be out of a job. However, in this day and age you can never be too certain of anything."

Eddie nodded in agreement.

"So I feel it is my duty as a major-stockholder in the business to capitalise on our company's current affluence and instate a kind-of, exclusive insurance policy."

Eddie looked blank.

"Very exclusive in fact. For 2 people. I also feel that this should be a matter for an overseas bank to deal with. Do you understand what I'm saying, Mr. James?"

Eddie nodded, his expression giving nothing away.

"I've had a look over your work. I don't pretend to know the specifics, but I know you're a clever man. I know you can make money disappear," he snapped his fingers, "just like that." Joxide leaned over the table, closer to Eddie. "You have the know-how and I have the authority to sign any expenses form, small, or exceptionally large. Mr. James, I'm offering you the opportunity to have financial security for life, this is a task I cannot accomplish alone. This is a dual effort. I provide the subject matter, and you handle it."

Eddie understood exactly what was going on. He looked into Joxide's eyes. He saw shades of himself there; devious intelligence. Using his brain to get ahead. Not out of malice, but to have an easy life. "This insurance policy," Eddie began slowly, "would probably be best handled by a bank in Panama…"

Joxide grinned widely.

"Capital suggestion, Ed. Panama banks."

Joxide opened a drawer, pulled out a brand spanking new laptop and placed it on the desk in front of Eddie.

"Any work you do relating to this private matter, do on this laptop. Don't connect it to our wireless network. There's one in the Starbucks on next street over. Any time you need to access the internet to send data, use Starbucks. I've purchased an internet usage card for you to use there in a fake name."

Eddie nodded.

"If you need anything else, let me know."

"Okay. I'll speak to some guys I know about Panama later. This may require some company trips."

"We own a company jet which you can use. Let me know beforehand so I can think of something to write in the logbook."

"Got it."

Joxide stood up slowly, prompting Eddie to do the same. He extended his arm, and Eddie shook it.

"And Eddie..."

"Yes sir?"

"Never, ever speak of this conversation to another living soul."

Eddie blinked. "What conversation?" he asked, sounding convincingly confused.

Joxide grinned as he opened the door for Eddie on the way out.

That was four and a half years ago. In the two years he'd worked there, Eddie James and Joxide had managed to "isolate and transport", as Eddie called it, £152million from the company through various tactics and schemes and somehow clean it and keep it safe in accounts dotted around Panama, the Bahamas, Switzerland and in shares of various global organisations. £76,000,000 apiece. Ed James became Joxide's golden boy overnight and could do no wrong. Eddie was a smart guy, he never did anything to arouse suspicion anyway. Joxide knew he'd made the right choice.

When TXA closed the first time, Joxide had personally sacked a lot of staff, Eddie James included. Eddie had feigned shock and anger, as not to arouse suspicion. On the advice of Eddie, Joxide had employed a finance contractor called Bardens that had a reputation in the financial world of being the worst possible contractors to hire. It hadn't taken a lot to convince the board of directors as Bardens offered the cheapest rate for the job. As predicted, the finances of the company remained a shambles, and as predicted by Eddie, the lazy contractors completely missed all the defrauding that Eddie had done his best to cover up. About a month after, Joxide had sent him an email saying he'd moved back to his native Wells and was staying with some friends. Eddie had borrowed £700 from his cash strapped brother on his credit card with the promise of returning the money a month later with four zeros on the end and flew out to Panama City.


"So, what are your plans?" Joxide asked.

"I've rented a flat in Panama City. In the rich-man district of course. I'm planning to buy a new ID and go back to England."

Joxide scoffed and slurped his mildly garlic gazpacho. He held the bowl up, catching the waiter's eye while pointing to it and wagging his eyebrows. The waiter seemed to understand and disappeared to to the kitchen to get more.

"Why the fuck are you going back there?" Joxide exclaimed loudly. Several guests, a few English-looking snobs and some educated Germans, looked around in distaste. But Joxide, in his own words, didn't give a flying fuck.

"Well, I've got no reason to leave. I'll get my new identity sorted, buy a nice house somewhere, keep all this money in loads of places so no one catches on. I don't even mind having a third of it taken in tax. It's not like we're going to run out of money is it?"

"Na, guess not. You not hungry?"

Eddie hadn't really done a whole lot of eating, he noticed. He'd kept mainly to the wine and pecked at the food around him. "I ate on the plane."

Joxide reached out and jabbed the calamari on Eddie's plate and pushed it all into his mouth. After almost choking and coughing loudly, he said "Try the gazpacho."

Eddie laughed and took a mouthful of wine.

Joxide ordered another bottle of "vino tinto" and "cerveza cara"; red wine and expensive beer.

"Where are you going?" Eddie asked.

"I haven't decided yet. Across the Atlantic, that's for sure."

"Ah, the States! Good choice!"

"The States? Are you having a laugh? You know how I feel about Americans!"

Eddie grinned. "The same way you feel about every other living organism on this planet: you hate them."

Joxide, slightly drunk, raised his wine glass into the air, laughing and spilling beer all over the floor. "Hear, hear!" he shouted, belly laughing like a drunk. Eddie, feeling the wine, raised his as well. A waiter soon came over and in hushed tones began politely telling them to shut up in unrefined English. Joxide took a €500 note from his pocket and put it in the waiter's hand while 'shh'-ing him, then waved him off. The waiter did so, careful not to meet the eye of any of the disrupted guests as he walked back to the kitchen.

"I'm going to Santa Cruz, Bolivia." Joxide told Eddie, back on topic.

"What's over there?"

"A friend of mine. Affluent, like me. We'll travel the continent. I don't know where I'm going to settle though. I'll probably buy a place in Madrid as my European base. I got family here."

"I see."

"Wanna join me?"

"Actually, I'm going to get my affairs in order back home first. Then I'll take my family on a nice big holiday. might go backpacking around Australia or something."

Joxide refilled his wine glass from a bottle of Belgian 'Delirium Tremens' pale ale. He liked the logo, it had a pink elephant on the bottle. He sunk it in one, hardly savouring the flavour, and filled up another glass.

"I doubt I'll be in England anytime soon. I'm going to settle down somewhere. I don't know where yet. But there's a lot of places I need to travel. I might even just travel till I get too old for it. Who knows."

"The world is our oyster." said Eddie.

"Who the fuck came up with that, anyway? What a stupid saying."

"Agreed." Eddie cleared his throat. "We need to go to Panama. I've booked us two first class tickets with Continental for Monday. The bank manager at Caja de Ahorros would like to meet you to arrange distribution of your funds. Make the honeypot more accessible."

"Capital suggestion. What's the food like over in Panama? And the beer?"

Eddie laughed. In his tenure at TXA, every time Eddie had to fly somewhere, Joxide always asked the same thing: what's the food like? Sometimes he thought it was the deciding factor in Joxide's decisions of where he went. With that thought in mind it was no surprise Joxide wanted to get away from England.

"If you like this kind of stuff you'll like Panama. The beer isn't so good."

Joxide shrugged.

"We'll stay at the hotel I stayed at while I was there. They have a small complex of restaurants and bars on the bottom two floors. You could get anything you wanted there."

Re-assured, Joxide held his glass high and proposed a toast.

"To new beginnings!"

They toasted and sunk back their respective poisons.

They spent the weekend doing their own thing. Eddie James came from a cultured family and was brought up by his parents to admire the artists and sculpters whose work resides in the Prado. Joxide preferred something a little more English: getting drunk and buying expensive clothes.

On Monday, they left Barajas airport for Panama.
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Faulerro

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PostSubject: Re: Leaving Madrid   Mon Jan 31, 2011 5:50 am

OOC: That was a really entertaining read. It all feels so genuine.
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Julius Seizure

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PostSubject: Re: Leaving Madrid   Mon Jan 31, 2011 6:58 am

OOC: Cheers again mate. I tried to make it as real-sounding as possible. The Spanish food is all genuine. Barajas airport, Retiro Park, Plaza Mayor etc. are all real places in Madrid, even the sprinklers, although they come on at midnight, which is a bit early to be passing out in a public park so adjustments had to be made for creative purposes. can't have Joxide looking like a lightweight!

Also real is Delirium Tremens ale. It doesn't taste that great but it is strong Very Happy
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Drogoth

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PostSubject: Re: Leaving Madrid   Mon Jan 31, 2011 10:38 am

ooc: Excellent stuff Smile
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