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.
Luis went down the ladder to the bottom to look around. He was on guard duty, and this was a part of his route, but he had never been in the tunnel before. Only a few people were permitted to go into the tunnel. A few guards, the supervisors, and the people who break down the shipments and pack them for the final shipment. Most of the people working in the tunnel were children. The tunnel was a mix of cinderblock and concrete painted white to reflect any light used, but it was perpetually damp and dark even with the white paint and lights. They worked the children to control the parents. Most of them hadn’t left the tunnel since it was built. In the corner of the loading zone, Luis saw someone he knew. His sister Jessica was sewing a vest closed. The vests were little more than smocks with slots for the drugs, so the mules can put them on underneath their clothing or in some cases wear multiple vests. He saw her, but she didn’t see him. Jessica had lost nearly half her weight and was looking far too old for someone near fifteen.
The tunnel was something out of a science fiction story looking more like a city project than something built for human and drug trafficking. A few of the men that walked the miles of the tunnel said how the construction became more of a facade the further you go into it. They didn’t want to do any more than necessary on the American side so much of the tunnel was just a thin shell of concrete and cinderblock. On the wall near the ladder was a diagram for the tunnel as well as the planned expansions. The other guards talked about how the cartel was selling trips to people with questionable motives. Luis thought they meant terrorists. As he stood there a voice came from behind him, “would you like some water, sir?” It had been more than three years, but he knew his sister’s voice. Luis thought about their plan, and how much work went into it, then he thought about her as well as Jorge’s sister and her children. He didn’t know if he could face her. Part of him knew that if he looked into her eyes, he wouldn’t be able to stop until they were on the other side of the tunnel. Jessica turned away and started to walk back to her sewing table when Luis said, “stop.” She turned around but kept her head down. He walked over to her and put his hands on her shoulders. At first, she tried to shrug them off until she saw the ring their father gave him just before Luis left for the army. Jessica lifted her head and stared at her long-lost brother and asked, “Luis?”
Twenty minutes later Luis found Jorge in one of the many homes turned into bars. Luis said, “I found her.” Jorge started to give him a blank stare until he saw Luis’s face and knew who she was. Jorge asked, “how does she look?” Luis replied, “like someone that needs us more than we need our plan.” Jorge turned to the warehouse where the tunnel was then to his house. He said, “we put a lot of time into our plan including a lot of money.” Luis leaned in and said, “fuck the plan. I don’t care.” Jorge tried to keep his calm, “do you think I didn’t want to take my sister and her child out of that place as soon as I saw her? This is bigger than you or me or even them. This is important for Mexico.” Luis walked away not wanting to look back. He made it to his room in one of the homes near his family’s house. After thinking it over Luis started to pack a bag. He would tell Jorge he was leaving with his sister and if he wanted to come then he would help him get Maria and her child but with him or without he was taking his sister and going to America.
The ground started to shake then a loud thunderous sound came from the warehouse. Luis was on his way back when he saw a large plume of dust force the doors to the warehouse open. Off in the distance, he could see the ground shift. Luis dropped his bags and ran for the tunnel. Inside he found the complex covered in sand and white powder. Knowing what the powder was Luis grabbed a respirator and made his way inside. The power was out, and the tunnel’s opening was clogged with dust. Jorge met up with Luis, and they started to break and drop chemical lights into the hole. Luis grabbed a repelling rope and tossed it over after tying it down. He and Jorge would repel down just in case people were trying to use the ladder. The power came back on, and the fans started to clear the dust sending heroin across the city. The first person they found was the lead foreman. He was shaking while gasping for breath. Jorge went to the tunnel while Luis went to where he found his sister, but she wasn’t there. Down in the tunnel, Jorge found the tunnel’s ceiling had ripped open. About forty feet in the tunnel was closed. Underneath the rubble was a blotch of blood. Jorge started to move the rock yelling, “Luis get in here.” Near the bottom of the pile, they found Jessica and three other girls. The lead foreman was able to speak telling them he sent the girls into the tunnel to get as much of the product as they could. Luis picked up a rock and struck the man across the head then he caved the man’s head in. When he was dead, they carried the body into the tunnel and covered him with the ruins.
A week later and word came down to abandon the tunnel and go back to human deliveries. With that message came the word that Luis and Jorge could go on the next trip as guards. Not for the people but to guard the drugs. The night before they were to leave, Luis and Jorge met in an abandoned house where they made love for the first time in nearly three years. Luis told Jorge that the house they were in was the house where the first boy he fell for lived in. He had loved him from a distance not wanting anyone to know about who he was saving that for his trips across the border. Luis said, “no matter what when we are finished, we are coming back for Maria.” Jorge didn’t say what he was thinking, but he didn’t think they were ever coming back. Jorge said, “we will be in the States by tonight then we stay the day in hiding. Everything is ready, so when we get across, we can start the mission.”