A truck slowly backs up to the back of a warehouse. The doors open, and four men start to unload some small boxes from the back. The men load the boxes into specially built crates with hooks built into the sides and wheels on the bottom. Two more men push the wheeled boxes to the hole where they are hooked into an overhead crane which picks up the box and puts it over a large hole. The box slowly goes down the hole passing by a ladder and manual elevator. Forty feet down the box came to rest on the ground. Four men unhook the box and push it to a table where they opened it and unloaded the boxes. Inside some of the boxes were vacuum-sealed bricks of white powder and the other boxes had the small automatic Mac-10s. The guns were inspected, and the bags were packed into specialty made vests and small duffle bags. Both were then loaded onto a wheeled cart and pushed to the mouth of a tunnel.
Cathy walked into the dark common room with the only light coming from the television which was shining a dim light onto someone on the couch. Jill looked over while trying to stay low on the couch and covered with a blanket. The back of the couch faces out, and Jill was turned around facing Cathy and the kitchen. Trying not to raise her shoulders above the back of the couch she asked, “wow that was a short night. I thought the four of you were going to be out for a while?” Cathy cocked her head at Jill. She said, “Ruth doesn’t drink much, and Alice is still breastfeeding so going out all night doesn’t seem like a good idea.” Cathy took a step closer as Jill ducked down a little. Cathy asked, “are you wearing a shirt?...... are you naked?” Cathy’s eyes went a little wide and asked, “Jeff?” A hand came up from the other side of the couch underneath Jill. Cathy put her hands up and said, “Jill what the fuck?” Jill started to get up stopping and going back down. She said, “it just happened. He was teaching me how to sign, and I was teaching him.” Cathy put up her hand interrupting her saying, “yeah I can see that you're teaching him.” Jill started bouncing up and down as Jeff laughed. As she bounced, she started to laugh. Cathy looked to the door then back to the couch and said, “alright, I guess I don’t have any place to judge but unless you want Ruth to kick your ass you two should take this into your room.” Jill got up off the couch holding their clothing in front of her. She turned to Jeff and said, “come in me if you want to live.”
One month ago,
Luis striped and cleaned an AK47 at a table in what was the local police station. As he worked, he inspected the parts making sure it would work when needed. When he was finished, he moved on to the next one. As he worked on the guns, Jorge taught basic stratagem to the men assigned to guard duty. Both Luis and Jorge join the cartel using their experience with the military and as private security to gain access. Their final payment would be an entrance into America guarding a shipment using their training to cross the desert. A large man with tattoos running up his arms and a thirteen tattooed on his face walked into the room. Tony always looked like he was about to either kill or fall asleep. In most cases, he never had to say a word his presence intimidated people into doing what he wanted. Unlike the others, Tony was neither Mexican or a part of the cartel. He was born in Spain and moved to America where he joined a gang at the age of fourteen. He was there to buy guns and drugs.
The Adobe Motel and Spa was a two-story U-shaped motel built around a courtyard and a place for a pool that was never added. The Motel was built just after NAFTA was signed into law with the idea that a motel would service the trucking community going back and forth between the US and Mexico. When the main route never materialized the motel was rebuilt into what was going to be a spa in the desert. A price friendly option for people that wanted to get away from it all, but the new owner never finished the renovation, and the motel was eventually left abandoned and sold along with a gas station and warehouse complex. Wendy didn’t even know she owned the Motel until she was asked if she would ever reopen it. The motel was a physical landmark as well as a reminder of a policy most people would have liked to forget. The Motel had thirty single rooms and ten staterooms with more than one bedroom. The remodel was to add a spa complex with a restaurant and rooms for saunas and massage treatments, but only the shell was ever finished on the spa with most of the work left to rot. The fire destroyed most of the center of the U taking with it most of the value in the motel.
Three years ago,
Samuel Fernandez sat at his kitchen table staring at an egg white omelet with gluten-free toast wondering if it was worth eating. The cancer was spreading from his lungs, and the doctors wanted him to go north to see a specialist, but Sami made it clear he would never go into that country. He told his son Jorge that the American’s war on drugs was fought to let the white men kill the brown men and keep them in their place. He was proud when his son Jorge joined the army to defend the country from the outsiders even if it meant having to work with the Americans. But right there and then he had this egg-white glob staring at him and an appetite that didn’t want anything to do with it. He could feel the angry and sad stare of his wife Maria as she cooked for their fifteen-year-old daughter Maria and their nine-year-old son Titus. Samuel thought about his children and started to eat wanting to be there for them. He even thought about going to America and seeing those doctors.
Luis parked the truck behind the building so it wouldn’t draw any unwanted attention. The old motel was long abandoned and just far enough away from the road to give them some privacy so they can plan and work. Most of all the old Adobe Motel and Spa offered them a place to sleep. Jorge wanted to knock a wall down in the back so they could pull the truck inside away from view. Luis could see running a place like this back home then he remembered their home was gone and everyone that mattered was dead. They planned on staying in this place for as long as they could or until they were finished. Jorge had two MRE meals ready to eat opened and ready to eat. The American combat rations were made to eat without any kind of cooking source with special packs that heat when water is added. They took as much of this food as they could so they could stay in the field without any unnecessary human contact. Luis pulled Jorge’s head back and kissed him while he slipped the pizza MRE away from Jorge leaving him the chicken and rice. Jorge said, “ass hole.”
Cathy walked over to Wendy and sat beside her on the couch as the cable news cacophony blared on over the explosion. She put her arm around Wendy and said, “I can tell what you are thinking, and I have just one answer.” Wendy looked over at her with a, “OK and that answer is” gesture. Cathy smiled and said, “this is bigger than you and me. What we are doing is for all of us and those we help. I think we spend too much time killing and not enough time helping but even with all the death we do good.” Wendy turned to the others as they sat and talked. She said, “yes, I think we should do more to help. I think about all those that died…... All the people I killed, and I can’t help but think how many of them could have been innocent or deserved a second chance like the one I had.” Cathy leaned over and said, “babe I hate to say this, but you had more than one second chance. I think I lost count on your second chances and none of that matters. What matters is who are you are right now and what you are doing right now.” Wendy leaned over and kissed Cathy.
Sally loaded her car with supplies including the portable ultrasound while Jill and Gina packed for what could be a stay. Sally was once a trauma certified nurse in an emergency room, and the city of Dent was asking for any kind of medical assistance. With Jill and Gina in tow, she would drive over and help as much as she could while trying to find out who did this act of terror. Scott and Darrel were staying behind to work on a new van and Wendy, and Cathy would stay and watch Gina’s children. Gina had left taking her children with her only to come back the night before the truck stop bombing asking if they could move back. Gary and Zoey were in Flagstaff, Arizona seeing his family. Sally found a place to park her car after dropping Jill and Gina off with the Red Cross where they were put to work right away. It was hard not to notice all the guys staring at her car. She got out, grabbed her bags and made her way into what looked like a war zone. Seven hours later, the scene was finished, and anyone that could be helped was helped. Sally found Jill and Gina sitting on the ground back to back. They both saw her then the blood on her shirt. The three walked back to her car to find it surrounded by firefighters and the police. They past them and got in. Starting the car the radio came on, and in some sort of irony the song Mustang Sally started. Jill leaned over and asked, “you planned that didn’t you?”
Alicia awoke to find herself stripped down to her bra and panties and duct taped to a chair. She was in a dark room with one bare lightbulb overhead nearly blinding her. A dark form came into her view with something in its hands. It was a plastic bottle with a wand sprayer. The form sprayed her down with what seemed like saline. The salt water hit her eyes and into her mouth. She started to panic asking, “what’s going on? Who are you? Why are you doing this? Who the fuck are you?” Luis said, “so many questions. You ask and demand as if you were in a place to demand anything.” Jorge replied, “we have a few questions, and I think we are in that right place for a few answers.” Alicia tried to shift in the seat but with her forearms fully taped down all she could do is wiggle. Luis came into the light. She could see it was the man from the alley and a sort of relief came over her as she thought this was just some sort of twisted roll play. She said, “no, I normally don’t do this bondage thing but as long as you pay.” Luis slapped her across the face hard enough to draw blood. The saline went into the open wound in her mouth, and the pain doubled. Then there was an underlining feeling like there was something else in the water. A drug of some kind. Luis grabbed her by her face just below her chin and said, “no, this isn’t about sex or even about you. We want answers, and we will do whatever we need to do to get them.” A metallic taste filled her mouth as she spat out a glob of blood. Alicia asked, “I’ll tell you whatever as long as you let me go.” She hesitated then asked, “what do you want to know?”
This is what I have so far. I’m publishing it to keep the story going even though I didn’t reach the number (word count) I wanted.
Darrel pulled out into the yard in the 1969 Mustang Fastback Boss 429 in metallic copper with black metallic flake rally stripes. The flake shined in the sun. Wendy walked over to the car and leaned in asking, “and you think this is subtle?” Darrel ran his hand over the wood steering wheel and said, “subtle is overrated. Painting this car in anything else would have made it stand out even more like a hot pink Ferrari or a neon green Jaguar.” Darrel got out of the car and held the door open for Wendy. When she was behind the wheel, he said, “we have many cars for the job. A car like this is something you enjoy. Something more than just a car.” Wendy ran her hand along the steering wheel and down to the clutch. She said, “you do know that the next car is going to be hot pink or neon green.” Darrel smiled and said, “yeah I kind of regret saying those colors.” Sally was standing in the doorway. Darrel looked over at her then he asked, “does she know?” Wendy smiled saying, “not yet but I think it’s time.”