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.
Wendy walked around with a fire inspector as he talked about the fire and the damage. He gave her a card for a structural engineer, but he added, “I can tell you that he or any competent engineer will say that this place is a loss and should come down.” He added, “the wife and I stayed here once, and the place was nice. Not great but nice.” All Wendy could do was think about how much this place would cost to take down and where would she get the money. Cathy took the card and called for an appointment. The man on the other side of the phone said he could be around in a week. Darrel and Scott pulled into the parking lot with a truck loaded with plywood and chain-link fencing. Wendy asked, “so where’s the van?” Darrel smiled and replied, “it's coming just give him some time.” The rest of the day the four of them boarded up the motel then wrapped fencing around the whole building hoping to keep people out. That night the police showed up and put crime scene tape across every opening and put a halt to any work.
The next day a black Range Rover with a heavy tint to the windows pulled into the gas station. A young woman wearing darkly tinted glasses, khaki shorts, a man’s button-down blue shirt over a gray tank top stepped out of the driver’s side and into the station. Another older woman with short hair in a pair of jeans and a white blouse got out and went to the pump. In the back was a teenage boy who could be mistaken as the doppelganger for a young Brad Pitt with a stern look on his face. The younger woman walked over to the counter. At first, she seemed like any other to come and go on the road. She seemed like nothing that special to Gina. She was pretty but pretty forgettable. That was unless you looked into her eyes. Alice always had those killer’s eyes that could turn a brave man yellow. Alice asked, “could you call Wendy I need to speak to her.” Gina put her left hand on the panic button and her right over the place in the counter where her 32-automatic was hidden. Gina asked, “may I help you?” Alice leaned in and said, “you can call Wendy or push that button, but if you go for the gun, I’ll have to make you eat it.” Gina looked into Alice’s eyes and realized she wasn’t someone you mess with.
Darrel looked out of the shop door and saw the woman at the pump. He walked out and over to her saying, “hot dam Ruth you don’t look much like that school teacher I knew.” Ruth turned around with a smile and said, “and yet you still look the same.” The two came together and embraced. Ruth said, “I heard about George, but I couldn’t get away from school.” Darrel replied, “its good to see you but what brings you out to the middle of nowhere?” Ruth nodded to the station and said, “Cathy called and said what’s going on. We came to offer some help.” Darrel looked at the door to the station then he said, “its always good to see you but I wish you would have called to say she was coming.” Ruth’s smile faded a little. She said, “Alice isn’t the same girl. I think having children changed her.” Darrel walked into the station and saw Alice with her back to the door staring at Gina who had a look of fear in her eyes. Darrel said, “Gina call Wendy and tell her Ruth and Alice are here with Jeff.” Gina mouthed the name Alice as she picked up the landline and dialed. Alice turned around and did something that shocked Darrel. She smiled.
A few hours later Cathy, Ruth, Alice, and Darrel were sitting around a table talking about old times as Gina listened in from the front. Spread across the table were pictures of a man with curly black hair, a diner, and three young children. Jeff sat in the living room watching television as Jill sat near him staring. Cathy pointed at the slack-jawed Jill and said, “I see Jeff still has that effect.” Ruth shook her head saying, “everywhere we go he somehow attracts every pretty girl. The other day I caught him in bed with a freshman as in a college freshman.” Cathy asked, “how’s Ying?” Alice smiled as she replied, “she’s attending Berkley after being granted early entrance.” Alice showed her a picture of a smiling young Chinese girl with her arms wrapped around another girl in what looked like some sort of parade with a rainbow flag in the distance. Wendy walked in first seeing Jeff on the couch with Jill slowly moving closer. Then she saw the people around the table. She smiled when she saw Ruth then she lost the smile seeing Alice. Both Ruth and Alice got up and went over to Wendy. To her surprise, Alice was smiling and embraced her saying, “its good to see you again.” Wendy didn’t know what to say. Ruth said, “we don’t have long so let’s get down to business. Cathy told us about your plans for your motel and how you need a little capital.”
Wendy, Ruth, and Alice left to see what was left of the hotel. Ruth said to Jeff, “oh no there is no way you are staying here.” Jeff signed, “come on.” Ruth signed back, “get the fuck in the car.” Jeff smiled at Jill turning his handsome, stern look into something like a movie star smile. When they were gone, Jill asked, “he doesn’t say much does he?” Cathy lost her smile. She looked at the door then a picture on the wall. She pulled the picture off the wall and handed it to Jill. She said, “this is Jeff and his sister Susan back on the ranch. When Ruth and her team found him and his sister they were living with their grandparents in their meth lab.” The girl was smiling, but it was clear there was something wrong with Jeff’s face. His jaw didn’t seem right. Cathy said, “Susan was nearly blind from exposure to chemicals and the cook, but Jeff was.” Cathy stopped talking. After she took in a long breath trying to fight the urge to cry. She said, “you need certain chemicals to cook meth. Their grandparents found a pharmacist that would sell it to them for a price. He repeatedly raped Jeff for years. They kept him locked in the basement. When he talked back, they broke his jaw to cut his tongue out. Jeff can’t talk.”
Jill wiped back her tears. Cathy smiled and said, “when I need to find strength I think about Jeff. Here was someone who could have let despair own him but somehow, he is the most hopeful person I know. He taught himself how to read in a dark hell hole. He fiercely protected his sister, and when she died, he didn’t let that take him down. He had so many operations to rebuild what was done to him, but here he is on the other side.” Jill asked, “what’s with Alice and Wendy?” Cathy said, “Wendy blamed Alice for David escaping then when he came back Alice didn’t let us know he was in Mexico. Instead, Ruth went down and killed him, but I think most of all she was mad about Ying.” Jill asked, “what kind of name is Ying?” Cathy sat down next to Jill and said, “on a raid of a drug house they found a young Chinese girl being used as a sex worker. Her owner named her Ying and dressed her in a red kimono. A few years after the ranch both Ying and Alice went back to killing dealers and those people that abused Ying.” Jill asked, “so they did what we’re doing. I don’t see why Wendy would be upset?” Cathy said, “Ying was still very young, and as Wendy saw it, Alice was just too reckless with Ying’s life. All that ended with Alice getting pregnant and Ying getting shot.” Cathy got up and said, “don’t ask Wendy about any of this. Too much of this story is tied to David.”