I reached a full sprint in my business suit and running shoes, imagining a crankshaft, subordinate to the pistons and cylinders, spinning the flywheel. I kept my strides high and long, coasting over the incessant parade of cobblestones that undoubtedly ruined the escape of many of my pursuants’ previous victims. The three were fast, not used to losing the chase--though I doubt they were used to a chase at all. Most the other businessmen of Puerto Madero would have handed their wallet over within ten seconds. I bet a few had run, and the trio had quickly pinned their victim down and used their knives to remind him not to run next time. They’d give him a kick, too. They’d see some blood before taking his iPhone and every last moneda.

This time I kept all my blood circulating inside me, the red and purple flooding in and out of my wrists, my temples, my lungs, supplying and depleting my components. My tie flapping behind my shoulders as I roared past the heladería, the fruit stand, and the cartoneros pushing their rusted-wheeled carts and clinking glass bottles. Their eyes lifted from the trash bins and followed me for the twentieth time, wide and dark and confused ever still.

The steel cranes and glass skyscrapers were the backdrop to the freeway below my feet. Across the water the towers rose row after row, their infinite repetition interrupted only by the bridge’s fierce white point that emerged from the boulevard’s trees. I took a sharp right, my torque converter spinning. My muggers whipped around the corner, and I increased my lead from four to five meters. I lengthened my stride, let my heels hit the ground for the first time in a minute. I thought in rhythms governed by my exhales. The transmission churned phrases that kept me focused, kept the fear out.

If I could just make it to la Puenta de la Mujer,

they’d stop chasing.

It’s too exposed;

they’d never follow.

They’d think I’d yell, and the police

on the other end

would turn the table.

They’d radio the police

on the other side,

ambush them,

turn the predator to prey.

But I’d never yell; that’d ruin the fun.

A stitch clutched deep in my torso while sweat flowed from my hair, a sign for my radiator to kick in. I kept my arms pumping, reminding myself of the alternative evening: a lonely, spartan apartment, a bottle of fernet, five empanadas. I remember those nights in my first month, taking a break from Youtubes on how cars work to look out on the city from my apartment window. The city lights were miniature stars, each with its own gravitational pull, sucking people and cars and monedas toward it, day after day, night after night.

Ten more strides, and I was on the bridge. I felt myself downshift, coast my way to park. My throat expanded with each breath; my spark plug diaphragm exploded my exhales into the muggy night and charged me across the bridge until I spun around to see the hunters fade into the black to prepare for another hungry night. This was what victory felt like.

I checked my watch. They had chased after me for a full two minutes before giving up. Most in their line of work hadn’t bothered after thirty seconds. This was my longest chase since the first time I donned tennis shoes and stepped out into moonlight with five monedas, keys, and a determination to end the toxic boredom that collected in my apartment like exhaust in a closed garage.

I bent over the  railing, panting, gazing at the skyscrapers and stars echoing in the rippled mirror below. Sweat fell from my brow and splattered like oil stains between my feet. From my jacket pocket, I removed my weights, two Quilmes bottles. I set one on the ground and cracked open the other. I held my beer up with my sweaty and scarred right hand to toast this great Janus of a city, with its wealth and poverty, its monuments and ruins, its storms and fair winds, its victims and endless blocks of thieves.