Juanita’s Victories Chapter 7Trott Bailey University
Written By Sher Trott-Bailey
Salvano Martinez was sitting outside on his verandah. The sunset was surrounded by beautiful mauve and blue clouds. His outdoor lights were bright, lighting up the porch and driveway clearly. Salvano was rereading his movie script and was pleased with it so far. He still needed to figure out the ending but he wasn’t about to stress it. Sometimes going with the flow brought fresh ideas and he was sure when they began shooting the movie, even more new ideas would flow.
His friend Marcus was inside busily getting dapper for “the party of the year” as he called it.
“ It was only 7:30pm… still too early to show up at Mario Martinez’s party,” Salvano thought.
Yet Marcus had been fussing over suits and outfits for the past hour.
” I have to make the right impression Salvano especially since your not coming and I will have to be networking all on my own ” Marcus had complained.
Salvano Martinez had received the invite from his half-brother, Mario Martinez, and had promptly passed it on to Marcus. Sometimes Salvano did not know what to make of his brother. They were far apart in age and of course, one was the legitimate son of their father, and Salvano was a product of an affair his father had with a pretty assistant.
“How cliché,” Salvano thought.
They, as brothers, had never been close. They had no reason to be, but this new surge from Mario Martinez to be in contact with Salvano was annoying. Hence the invite was annoying. Salvano thought shrewdly, that he had no plans to be used as a part of Mario Martinez’s political campaigns.
“If he wanted to do business with Salvano then fine, but any type of familial connection or references to their shared father was not welcomed by him.” Salvano thought.
Reaching for a meaty slice of his homemade pizza, a hungry Salvano continued the reading of his script. Niggling thoughts of how he would fund his movie tried disturbing his peace but he quickly brushed them off with the thought that usually, a lack of resources forced creativity. That was exactly what he wanted in order to make this movie stand out and the script come to life.
At the same time, he and Marcus were also planning to shoot a reality series featuring marriage-ready couples in a quest to test and strengthen their relationships by putting them through rigorous scenarios that would require their teamwork. So far, the obstacles were going to be Physical and Mental scenarios to see how the couples would function. Currently, they had cast four couples planning to get married who were interested in being a part of their series. The winning couple would be decided on based on votes from the public and from the performance scores from the series judges. Salvano was planning to gift the winning couple with a cash prize of USD $50,000 and five acres of prime land.
The few ideas Salvano had come up with so far were to put the couple through two weeks of homelessness, a survival test in a lonely location, a makeover along with a month of socializing among the party set, and the couple working together managing a cattle farm.
Just as he was through with his pizza slice and reaching for another, his phone rang. He didn’t recognize the number and was surprised by who it was when he answered.
” Hello” Salvano answered calmly
” Salvano, baby how are you?” His mother Leyla Franco asked.
” Mother, I’m great actually. I haven’t heard from you in two years. What’s the matter? Are you and İsmail over or something?” Salvano asked getting straight to the point.
” No no, nothing like that. İsmail still treats me like a queen.” Leyla Franco replied, lying through her teeth.
The truth was that İsmail hardly came home to their Florida mansion in the past months and always had excuses as to where he had been. Still, Leyla wouldn’t file for divorce yet, she was waiting until her private inspector had enough evidence to get her half of his money out of their six-year marriage.
” So to what do I owe this call from my loving and caring mother?” Salvano questioned.
” Well, I heard that your half-brother is having a great political campaign and also a fabulous party tonight. I just wondered if you were going? You know your father died only a few months ago, maybe Mario wants to connect with you now.” Leyla explained while indulging in a chocolate bar- her first for a whole year.
” So what mother! I am not interested in that family.” Salvano replied.
” I never said you needed to be interested- just be able to use them to your advantage. Haven’t I taught you anything?” Leyla replied feeling frustrated by her son.
“He was always like this.” Leyla thought rolling her eyes.
“ Mhmm like you were using my father and now using İsmail?”
“ Exactly son, I have never hidden that from you. That house and that twenty acres your sitting on came from your father and from having a tenacious mother who wouldn’t let your father’s dragon of a wife intimidate me away.” Leyla said proudly.
” Well thanks, Mom, I’m glad you could use your attributes and my birth to your advantage.” Salvano said sarcastically.
” Oh, whatever Salvano, I never pretended to be an angel,” Leyla replied.
” I’m not going to their party and I don’t want to have any connections with the Martinez’s. I can make it in my own from here on out.” Salvano stated
“ Well I’m sure your father must have left a will and I’m sure he has left you something. Jules was always generous. That could be another reason they want to get in contact with you” Leyla said matter-of-factly.
” Well I haven’t heard anything from any lawyer mother so I don’t think so,” Salvano replied.
” Ugh, it’s been months since Jules died. The will should have been read already. Could it really be Jules left you nothing? Left everything to that dragon bitch Gerta and her son.” Leyla responded angrily.
” I don’t know mom. Is this all you wanted to talk about? Cause I have something to do.” Salvano stated
” Alright son, well you have my new number. Don’t be a stranger now.” Leyla said and hung up.
Salvano thought back to the meeting with his father’s lawyer a few months ago. In fact, Jules Martinez had left him an additional fifty acres of land that was connected to the twenty acres he was on. He had also left him a cheque for USD $300,000.
“It’s a small amount compared to his total fortune but it was the only way Jules could leave you….ahh an illegitimate son, something discreetly without stirring up his wife’s suspicions.” The lawyer had explained.
Salvano planned to use some of the money to fund his movie and his couples series.
He would also start clearing some of the other fifty acres. He had already discovered a lovely lake on his additional land. Currently, he was growing beetroots on the twenty acres and making soaps and powder supplements out of them. He had five contracts with three medium-sized sports nutrition centers, an upscale spa, and a health food store all located in the United States.
Combined he was selling three thousand packets of powdered beets to the five places and making a yearly net profit of around USD$ 230,000. He charged varying wholesales prices ranging from as low as $USD 50 to as high as USD$150. His customers, he knew were able to resell his products for twice as much, even triple his prices. He was very proud of the money the beetroot business was bringing in.
He also sold his health products on his website and was consistently selling between USD $4000-$9000 worth of products monthly. He had found a way to tap into the South Korean and Japanese male market by connecting with them online through gaming sites. There he had made friends with a few jobless Korean and Japanese guys who he employed to sell products in their country. They had used language translation apps and face-to-face video chats to get over their language and cultural barriers.
Salvano had sent the guys their first batch of supplies for free and had told them to keep whatever money they had made from selling and if they were successful and wanted more products then they could come back and buy their next batch. He had tried out this model with seven guys and five had returned.
As a matter of fact, those five guys would be coming for the summer to stay with him and enjoy Belize. He had funded their tickets and he had plenty of room in his house to accommodate them. Salvano had thought to put them in the movie too.
Salvano had been working since he was sixteen. He had been on several overseas work programs as pool services supervisor, working at fast food joints, in construction, and even as a football instructor at a summer camp. This had allowed him to obtain an Employment Identification Number(EIN) in the United States. He has used the EIN to register a sole proprietorship in the state of Florida in America and to open a U.S bank account. This he used to collect his payments from international customers online or via direct bank transfer. At twenty-three years old he felt he was doing pretty well for himself so far.
” Some of the filmings could be done at my home, on this land.” The thought rushed through Salvano’s mind.
” Mhmm let me guess, thinking of ways to make more money?” Marcus said coming out through the wide door onto the large verandah.
“ Something like that,” Salvano replied.
“ I still can’t believe you renovated this place to this level in only two years, practically single-handedly too,“ Marcus said admiringly.
“ Well working all those construction sites really taught me a lot. Plus you know I purposely went around learning as much craftsmanship as I could, but everything having to do with building and design has always come easy to me.” Salvano replied.
” Hey Salvano, can I bring a girl back here? You know if I meet a hot chick and she is down for a night in the sheets?” Marcus asked.
” No, go fuck your random chicks somewhere else,” Salvano replied finishing up his reading script.
“ I tried,” Marcus said shrugging.
“ Don’t get used to living here either, I’m only putting you up until you get a new place,” Salvano warned.
” But you got so much space and we could live out the bachelor’s dream life. Why won’t you just rent me the room?” Marcus asked.
” I don’t want permanent company. Knowing you, you would have regular visitors all in my house. Your friends are not my friends.”
” I’m your only friend,” Marcus said smugly
” You’re like a friend associate Marcus,” Salvano responded
” Ohh so cold. I’m your friend you have no choice.” Marcus said matter of factly.
“ What do you think of this suit?” Marcus asked wearing an olive-colored suit.
“ Wear the light blue suit, “Salvano advised.
” Ah yeah, can I borrow your Chevy Camaro?” Marcus asked.
“ Yeah sure.” Salvano answered distractedly
” Salvano, with your looks and my attitude you know we could really make a killing at this party. We could get some investors for our series.” Marcus tried convincingly to persuade Salvano to attend the party.
” I don’t want any investors in my businesses Marcus, how many times do I have to tell you that? I will fund the movie and series myself and we will get creative wherever we need to,” Salvano stated.
” I’m going to have to get some young actors who are willing to work only for fame and some food,” Marcus said sighing
“ I like the idea of non-actors, just people with spunk and that ‘ it’ factor will do. You know we are trying to go big with this but still be fresh and different.” Salvano replied
” When is all this going to pay off I wonder?” Marcus asked.
” A man with no vision will fail and give up. This is bigger than just a movie and some quick hype. I want to get the translations for our movie and couples series in as many languages as we can, immediately after it airs in Belize.
Also maybe franchise it out in several countries. It’s about using the movie to get our names out there, advertise all of our products, putting our country’s film industry on the radar as a film powerhouse and all the unforeseen benefits that can come from that.” Salvano replied to a nodding Marcus.
“ I’m going to go change, got to look good for the cameras and beautiful girls,” Marcus replied and turned to go back inside.
When Marcus finally drove out of the driveway in Salvano’s Camaro it was about 8:30 pm. It was about a two-hour drive to the Martinez’s Great Estate. Salvano decided to go inside and work out to pass the time. He kept it simple and did push-ups and planks for most of the workout.
When he got tired he took a shower and blasted some music. Feeling inspired he began humming a tune and putting lyrics to the tune. His beautiful voice rang out in his quiet space,
” If you accept a man like me
Maybe my heart, my heart
wouldn’t be so gloomy, I promise
I promise I only come with bright promises
So baby where are you?
To untie this knot in my lonely heart.”
Peel me back
promise you’ll only find sweetness
promise my inside is good
Dig in my dream Queen you’ll find your King.
No false promises my baby
I’m far from a rotten bridge
Take a walk on my path
Promise I won’t make you fall
Hook: My love is like bathing in a waterfall
It lifts you up from a crawl
It breaks through a mountain wall
My love is life.”
The Next morning:
Salvano woke up to see that Marcus wasn’t back yet. Salvano checked his phone, sure enough, he saw a text from him. It said,
“ Met a hot girl. See you tomorrow.”
“No surprise there.” Salvano thought.
Salvano then saw several missed calls from his half-brother Mario Martinez. He decided to ignore them and not call him back. He also saw text messages from Selina Archuleta, a television talk show host who had been hinting for months that she was into him. She had texted him saying she had seen Marcus but not him and that he was missing out on the famous Xena’s performance. Salvano didn’t reply to that either.
It was now 10:45 am according to his phone. Salvano decided to make some beef and potato burritos for breakfast. His half-Mexican heritage which he got from his mother’s side of the family was much appreciated when it came to food. He loved spicy Mexican food especially burritos and green enchiladas.
His mother Leyla had left Mexico and had come to Belize on a whim with one of her friends. Then she had met his father at some fancy hotel and had begun their little “love fest”. Jules Martinez had gotten her a work permit and had given her a job as his secretary/assistant. That was how Salvano had come to be born in Belize and not Mexico.
He had at one point lived in Mexico with his relatives, away from his mother when he was six. He had stayed with his Abuela y tíos y tías ( grandmother, uncles, and aunts) till he was nine before his mother took him back to Belize. Salvano remembered it being one of the most fun times of his life. The family was big and there was always a party to celebrate something. Someone was always having a birthday or anniversary. They had horses that they trained as well to do fancy tricks. His uncle Carlos, also loved making Tequila and had shown him the techniques to do it.
He hadn’t seen his Mexican relatives since he and his mom had visited them when he was fourteen. They had stayed with them for three months. Salvano still called them every now and again. Many of his young cousins had grown up and migrated to America and Canada. His Aunt had told him on their last trip that the reason his mother had sent him to Mexico to live was to hide him away from Jules Martinez’s “crazy wife” but Salvano had done his own research too. Apparently, Jules Martinez had been on a campaign to clean up his image and patch things up with his wife because he was going into politics.
Written By Sher Trott-Bailey Salvano Martinez was sitting outside on his verandah. The sunset was surrounded by beautiful mauve and blue clouds. His outdoor lights were bright, lighting up the porch and driveway clearly. Salvano was rereading his movie script and was pleased with it so far. He still needed to figure out the ending but…Read MoreRead More