Ramón held his glass aloft. “A toast,” he shouted over the din of the crowd. “To San Sebastián!”
“And his perforated testicles!’ roared Philippe. They clicked glasses and drained the fiery rum in one swallow.
“Another!” Ramón yelled to the barman. All around them the crowd surged shoulder to shoulder, filling the bar and spilling out into the street. Music throbbed through the loudspeakers, the song lost in cacophony. “Who are all these fuckers?” he shouted into Philippe’s ear.
“Revelers!” yelled Philippe. “It’s a fiesta!”
“I think they’re Mexican narcotrafficantes” Ramón shouted. “Look how they’re dressed!” He gestured to the man behind Philippe, a hulking figure in a loud yellow shirt. Philippe turned, catching his glass on the man’s sleeve, drenching him with the dark rum. The man whirled around, face twisted with rage.
“You stupid ass!” he screamed in a Mexican accent, the knife already in his hand.
The neighborhood of La Perla in Old San Juan has only recently begun to from a wave of violence. In 2011, the tiny island’s record 1,136 killings put it on par with civil war zones such as the Congo and Sudan in terms of murders per capita.