In the meantime Erik was getting more and more depressed. I often watched him at the end of the day dancing with the invisible ghost of Isabelle when he brought her to her lover Lorenzo's grave and later, after sunset, when he danced her back to La Casa Embrujada.
Strolling down the street one day I met Moshe Cohen, the monk.
“Look how beautiful it all has become,” he said pointing at the restored houses, the modern streetlights, the gardens. “And we are attracting visitors who come to feast their eyes on the miracle we have accomplished here.”
“Well, it is only half the village. The rest is still in shambles.”
“I know, but people are coming back! We seem to have restored their faith in this old village.”
He was correct. At first we were surprised to see some of the owners come back to their tumbled down houses, but then we realized they were coming back to a place that had all the infrastructure repaired: electricity was working properly again, the water supply was reinstated, we had new roads and even a brand new roundabout.
“Look, they are taking down the fences,” Moshe Cohen said, pointing at the workers who were removing the fence that was erected around the roundabout. Now we saw that it was covered by a huge, gray tarpaulin. Under it I recognized the shape of statues, but statues of what, male or female, I couldn't be sure.
“All is ready for the grand opening,” I said.
“Yes, but first we must move Lorenzo's grave. Let's talk to Erik.”
We crossed the street and saw Erik sitting at his desk near the window, hands in his hair, glasses at the tip of his nose, pouring over long lists of numbers on a sheet of paper.
“It's not going to work!” he cried out as we walked into the room. “Look at the figures!”
“Easy now, it's not all that bad,” Moshe Cohen said as he sat down next to him and put an arm around his shoulder.
“We have only four properties to rent out, because of the twelve that you bought, we took eight for ourselves. You and the professor took four houses – four! - and made them into one, Marcello, Yosht and I took one each and then one property was turned into a reception area with offices. That's all very nice, but how are four lousy properties going to pay for all this?”
“Don't you break your pretty little head over the financial details, darling. Money is not the issue here.”
“I do nót have a pretty little head and I am nót your darling. It's my job to worry about finances. I am the CFO, for chrissake!” Erik was annoyed.
“And you are doing a wonderful job, Erik. The professor is very pleased with you and trusts you completely. Now, tell me, where are we with the invitations to the archbishop and the chief rabbi? We want them to be present at the grand opening, but only after they have presided over the reburial of Lorenzo.”
“Oso-Pardo has talked to both of them and they will come. I will send an official invitation as soon as I know the exact date and time.”
The mobile phone on his desk lit up indicating a message had arrived. Erik read the message.
“Holy Jesus! What are you people up to? Are you insane?”
“What? What happened? Let me read,” I said and took his phone.
' Erik, please order a bill board to be placed at the entrance of the village.
On it I want a copy of Rafael's naughty angels and below that the name
of our resort: The Polla Dura Resort. And below that it should read:
nudists welcome. Let Yohst make a design, he is good at that. Talk to
you later. Thanks, Hubnoth.'
I put the phone down and looked at Moshe Cohen the monk. “Really?”, I asked. “Polla Dura? You know what that means, don't you?”
“Yes, Hard Cock. I think it's funny.” The monk smiled. “It's quite innocent, really. In Spanish it could mean something like a tough chicken or, alternatively, that's true, a big dick. And before you ask, the nudists are only welcome in our private quarters and a membership will be required. So no sweat, no worries.”