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?”
The overhead light went out sending Alicia back into darkness. She started to scream catching herself turning it into a silent plea. A bank of fluorescent lights came on revealing the room. It was windowless with the scent of decay like an abandoned building. Jorge stuck a probe to Alicia’s upper chest then another a little lower. A monitor started to beep as it showed her heart levels going past a safe amount. The tears in her eyes from the hit across her face made it difficult to see what was happening. Luis prepared a needle with what would be some of the stolen heroin they used as cover to gain access to the country. The amount was more than enough to kill her. He showed her the needle and said, “tell us where we can find your dealer, or you go flying.” The monitor sounded an alarm. Luis turned the sound down. Over the next twenty minutes, Alicia cried, spat blood and told the two men everything she knew about the drugs going in and out of the truck stop. The more she spoke, the lighter she felt. Whatever they had laced the saline with was starting to take her pain away. Luis turned to Jorge and nodded. Jorge said, “you were a good little doggie, and now it’s time for your reward.” It would be a few days before Alicia’s body would be found in an alley. In her quick autopsy, the coroner noted the small caliber wound to her forehead as he thought about the strange smile on her face. The coroner was busy that night after the events at the truck stop.
Finding what they needed was easy on a road laden with trucks going back and forth from the US and Mexico. Diesel, an ammonia-based fertilizer and other supplies turning the hijacked truck into a weapon. The truck belonged to a company in Dallas driven by Grant Hester a part-time trucker and part-time dealer. He was Alicia’s dealer as well as a dealer to many other women along his route. He would be blamed for what happened. A disgruntled overworked driver turned suicide bomber. His death would force his suppliers to find another driver slowing down their operations. Jorge followed in a van they stole from a house near the highway while Luis drove the truck into the truck stop and up to a pump near the middle of the complex. The Middle of Nowhere Truck Stop was in the middle of nowhere along a busy highway going to and from Mexico. A place for cheap diesel and rest for the long-haul truckers. It also served as a place for cheap sex and drugs. Luis got out and ran Hester’s fleet card for the fuel. Next to him was a truck with hazardous waste signs and next to that was a truck showing possible radiological warnings. In the back of his mind, he saw this place being closed off for many years with contamination spreading across the desert.
Wendy got out of bed and did her usual five am yoga stretches as the coffee brewed. She loved these early mornings where she could have a few minutes to herself to do nothing but meditate on the past while preparing for the future. She slipped on a long jersey over her sports bra and yoga pants and went into the common room to watch the news. A fire truck raced by the compound than another along with several police cars and what looked like national guard vehicles. She turned on the news to see a smoking crater that once was one of the largest fuel stations in the state. The small town of Dent, New Mexico was calling out for help from every city nearby for what had to be the worst disaster in the history of the region. By eight the news was calling it a terrorist attack with footage of the truck exploding taking the station with the blast. The news then talked about possible radiation until a spokesperson for the National Transportation Agency dispelled the rumor saying how there was a truck in the stop but it as empty with little chance of contamination. By Noon the news had Hester’s name and tied it to the truck at the center of the explosion. By twelve-thirty they were harassing his wife and children about his motivations for his terrorism. None of them knew the truth.
Luis and Jorge drove for about an hour before they found a motel room. They had paid for a room near the truck stop only to find the explosion shattered all the windows in the building forcing the place to close. In their room, Luis turned on Fox News, and the two made love as they listened to the pundit nearly break down over a terrorist attack on American soil. When they were finished, they channel surfed between CNN, MSNBC and Fox News as the networks fought to be the first to come to the wrong conclusions. The motel filled with cars and people trying to get rooms. Luis watched as people argued over parking spots. They had ditched the van in an alley and parked their truck in a nearby lot. Their guns were in a storage locker away from the truck just in case they were stopped. Luis found a man who could supply them with papers that would make them appear legal including real New Mexico driver’s licenses from a well-paid state employee. They would hide out and wait for the documents, and now they would have to wait among the people searching for answers.