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An Interview With Gino Garcia Part 1

Ding dong. The shrill bell echoed through what seemed to be a cavernous apartment. Ridiculous I know ,considering he lived in a studio. I depressed the egg white button again, and curiously the ringing ceased to follow. “You’re driving me out of my mind with that bro.”, he said, the annoyance in his voice noticeable. Swiftly, the old door swung open, and he stepped out into the light, allowing me to take him in fully. A little below average height, but not perceptibly. Broad shouldered with thick arms that swung out a few inches from his sides like he was carrying invisible luggage, his frame tapering down to a narrow waist. He wore an undercut, long, jet black hair windswept eternally to the right. A fallback from his Navy days perhaps? A few days worth of light stubble peppered his jaw and mouth, lending a casual, not slovenly, effect. Suddenly, a wide smile overtook his features. “So, you’re here for the interview huh? Come in, come in.” A lean arm capped by a cartoonishly small hand wrapped around my shoulders, and he whisked me on inside. This is how I met Gino Garcia.

“Make yourself at home, just mind the clutter.”, he said, heading off to the kitchen to fetch our dinner. The air was heavy with the potent scent of garlic, and I could make out the staccato rhythm of meat sizzling on a skillet. “I hope you don’t mind spaghetti. It was my Mother’s recipe, although mine is a pale shadow of hers.”, he confessed with a regretful tone. I nodded in response and took the time to look around the apartment. Aside from a few hoarded spots it was nowhere near as messy as he made it out to be. Stacks upon stacks of books, seemingly never ending, dominated the floor space. A pullup bar hung from the doorway, securely fastened, coated with well worn tape. A computer occupied a lonely corner, its whirring hard drive indicative of continuous hard work. It must be where he writes. My eye is drawn to a shadowy hallway lined with pictures, and a few are visible. In one, a young man in Dress Blues eyes me sternly and considerately, as if determining the best course of action with which to handle me. To his left a man and woman peer into the camera, infectious smiles dominating their faces. One is a beautiful brunette with short hair cut just past her ears, the other a man of Latin descent, eyes hidden behind aviator sunglasses. He bears a striking resemblance the Wolfman. Young love, eternally captures in golden sand with a Goldie hue. Marvelous. An older man, maybe a Grandfather, grins at me from the third frame. His joy is such that his smile causes his cheeks to turn his eyes to slits. His skin has been browned and bronzed by decades of work in the sun, and in spite of his joviality, you can sense his rugged strength radiating fervently and powerfully behind. I wonder, in a haze of nostalgia, who these people were.

“Lets eat!”, he exclaims boastfully, throwing a plate before me with a crashing flourish. “Be gentle with your critique now, Im no chef, just a guy who’s had to survive for too long.”, he informs me. I gaze down at the food. The noodles are crisped in an unappetizing fashion. Clumps of garlic and cilantro gaze up at me like fuselage from a wrecked ship, set hopelessly adrift in a sea of Ragu level sauce. For all of his talent with the pen, he’s a horrendously inferior cook. He catches my surreptitious appraisal and seems to concur. “Fuck this. Lets go get pizza.”, he says with a smirk. Self-depreciation seems to be one of his favored forms of humor. I want to know why, and so do my readers. “What do you drive?”, I ask. Id figure a man of his means, inherited or otherwise, to have his pick of an assortment of luxurious vehicles, so naturally Im underwhelmed when he shows me his truck. “Ford F-150 buddy, had her for about 2 years now. Generous benefits come to those who practice adroit and astute market scanning.”. I wonder, does he always talk like this? Everything seems rehearsed and practiced. I make a mental note to inquire further at dinner, prepared adroitly and astutely by an adept chef. We climb in, and I roll my window down, hand cranked naturally. As the engine revs to life and we begin our trip down the Strand, a long strip of land connecting Imperial Beach to Coronado, I bask in the rejuvenating salt air.

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