It was the early 80’s, a time of gas crisis, civil unrest, and the throbbing beat of disco rumbling through the dark city streets. These were menacing times. One man thrived in these tumultuous circumstances, that man was Freddy Fedora.
In life everyone is trying to define their favorite flavors. Some people like Freddy prefer a life that is bittersweet.
The Cuban missile crisis had left an even deeper distance between the island of Cuba and the USA than 90 miles of ocean. Castro’s revolution polarized people, but there was something that could bridge the gap. That thing was music, specifically the music Feddy was playing.
He is a man with vision, you see?
It was sweet, sultry, and easy to dance to. The intoxicating mix of the Puerto Rican island flavor and the hippest beats of Jamaica, it was something unlike the world had known before. Thats right, Freddy Fedora created Reggaeton.
How you say?
It was one of those hot island nights where the muggy heat was all consuming but the soft island breeze was enough to keep you moving. The dim light of the vessel mirrored a full moon above. It was quiet. Too quiet. Something was wrong.
“People aren’t dancing Freddy!” yelled Goucho, the band’s trombonist, “Its too hot, and no one wants to move. People are saying they don’t like the set we are playing, they are saying its too old fashioned.”
Freddy eyed him with a calm sense of resolve.
“Yeah Freddy, I heard the captain say that if we don’t pick it up, we are gonna lose our job as the band for the ship…” Mumbled Lucho, “What are we gonna do?”
Freddy’s eyes stayed fixed, lifting only a solitary eyebrow.
“You like Espanol music?” Said Freddy.
The band shook its head.
“You like Reggae music?” Freddy added.
The band shook its head.
“I’ll be right back.”
With that Freddy vanished. No one knew where he went, or why, but all they know is that when he came back, he came back with a sheet of music so powerful it transformed all of music as we know it. Freddy stood upon the conductor’s podium and grabbed the baton.
“Listen to the beat and mind the changes…and ah…Uno, Dos, Tres….”
Instantly Freddy’s magic music pulsated about the open cabin of the Island cruise ship. Like a lightening strike, it was so fast, and so unavoidable. People rose up from out of the chairs and from their cabins, hypnotized, spell bound. It was impossible not to move with Freddy and his band were whipping out a hot number so intense it was melting the souls of peoples shoes and the ice from their hearts.
But someone else noticed too. Someone not so far away. There was a Communist spy on the ship. Of course they because upon hearing the music, he knew this man, Freddy Fedora, may be so powerful he could single handedly win the cold war.
The spy knew what he had to do. He snuck off in one of the lifeboats and escaped to Cuba, only a few miles away, to tell Castro what he had heard.
The inaugural Reggaeton jam session went on for 22 1/2 hours without stop. Te music was the only sustenance the people needed. But out of the horizon a darkness rose. The low hum of propeller blades was getting louder. Black spots turned to black dots. By the time people woke from the song’s spell, it was too late. It was Castro’s Revolutionary Guard. Helicopters and boats began to land the ship. Droves of soldiers poured onto the vessel forcing everyone to stay perfectly still.
A single gunshot.
Everyone stood motionless as the doors to the large helicopter opened up, and Castro came forth.
The ship’s captain ran up to meet him.
“Usted Castro, its ah…an honor, what can I do to help you, please I…”
Castro produced his side arm and shot the captain down where he stood. He wasn’t here for the ship, he was here for Freddy.
“Freddy, it’s Castro!!!” Goucho whispered, “He just killed the captain…what are we gonna do?!?”
The crowd was seconds from panic. Freddy knew what he had to do.
Freddy stood up and raised his hand. The crowd hushed. He went to go meet the merciless giant.
“Freddy, I’ve come a long way for you.” Said Castro smoothly.
“I know.” Said Freddy nonchalantly, “But why?”
“You see,” Castro turned, ” One of my men, heard your music, and thinks it has…great importance. It could be the solution that we have been looking for.”
Freddy eyed him coldly,”You don’t understand, Castro, this music isn’t for you, its for the world.”
Freddy’s gaze intensified.
“Well then, how about this, if you comply, then this boat full of people gets to keep their lives.”
“And if I don’t?”
Castro again pulled out his sidearm and shot directly into the crowd, felling an old man where he stood. The crowd screamed in hysteria as the man fell dead into Freddy’s open arms. Freddy closed the dead man’s eyes and laid him on the deck. He immediately turned to the widow and gave her his wallet, and shed a single tear.
Freddy turned upon the monster with stoic resolve, his fist clenched in defiance.
“No more Castro,” Freddy said behind clenched teeth, “What do you want.”
Castro smiled a crooked half smile and lit a large cigar and puffed upon it till the cherry glowed like the fiery pits of his eyes.
“I need you to perform….”Castro exhaled the smoke into Freddy’s face,”For my grand daughter’s quince años.”
“And if I do it, no one else is hurt?” Freddy asked.
Castro nodded slowly.
“If it is for their lives…I will do it.”
The crowd gasped.
“Take them.” Shouted Castro.
The Revolutionary Guard surrounded Freddy and the band with such quickness it was like a deadly tempest of spinning wrath. The band and equipment were taken immediately upon the boats. Freddy, on the other hand, was escorted upon Castro’s private helicopter.
His fate was uncertain, all he knew, for the fate of the cruise ship and himself, this had to be the best performance of his life.
…To be continued…