“I’d pay a million dollars. Per month.”

The old man just arrived. He gave his black homburg to a hand in white shirt, that was all I have seen from the corner of the table, then sat on the only empty chair.

“A million? I’ll pay five million,” said the youngest among us.

“Don’t make me laugh, how the hell would you pay five million?

“When they’ll be mine the returns will be high enough.”

“Yes, yes but the first five million? How would you get that? Credit?” An empty-eyed, big-nosed man interjected with a half-drunk voice.

“Oh, leave that to me.”

The man next to him whispered something in his ear, probably along the lines of don’t say anything or pick your words more carefully. At least, that is what I imagined he whispered, observing his body language. After this, everyone started arguing about even the tiniest, most insignificant detail, someone slapped the table sometimes, the waiters brought the food and the wine, but my eyes were fixated on the balcony of a house outside. What an interesting balcony, I thought, with unknown themes engraved into its arched stone pillars and the Sun playing with the colours whenever it shined through the clouds.

This long gazing of mine was interrupted by the big-nosed who knocked over the decanter. The white-shirted people immediately ran to our table to clean up the mess and I could not see the window because of them. When they finally removed themselves from my field of view, on that same balcony stood two men. It was hard to tell what they looked like, the Sun hid behind some clouds and they appeared as mysterious figures in the half-light. The one on the left wore a red cap, both of them had sweatpants on and the one on the right, with his arm on the balcony railing, was flicking a cigarette. They seemed like the ones met in dark alleys at night.

The one who was not flicking a cigarette impetuously gesticulated then lightly hit his right pocket a few times. The other one finally flicked his cigarette away, took out a small bundle of money and exchanged it for a bigger piece of crumpled aluminium foil. The guy with the cap now reached into his left pocket, put its contents on a small table and began to work on something.

“I’ll pay ten million dollars per month for the cocaine plantations,” spoke for the first time the man who was sitting right next to me. “Ten million dollars per month and fifty million in advance.”

Nobody could say a bigger number or nobody dared to, but a huge dispute arose.

The Sun came out, I could finally see the balcony properly. On the small table lay a pack of tobacco, a few pieces of paper and the aluminium foil unwrapped. The blunt was already rolled, already lit and the laughter of the guy with the cap was already out of his control. The other one saw the police car, parking in front of the restaurant we were sitting in, and smiled complacently as if he just showed them. What unscrupulous people.

The party slowly went quiet, everyone agreed they cannot keep the pace with someone who offers fifty million dollars in advance. The cocaine plantations were leased and the suitcase appeared on our table with the cash in it. Someone put his hand on my shoulder from behind.

“Shall we leave, sir?” My chauffeur asked.

“Certainly,” I stood up. “Thank you, gentlemen, goodbye.” I said with a smile, took the suitcase filled with the money, left the restaurant and entered the car in utter satisfaction.

My first ever attempt at translating a short story I have written in my mother’s tongue into my father’s tongue.