|Publisher:||Baker Publishing Group|
|Product dimensions:||5.40(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.10(d)|
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The sun was cresting the low eastern hills of Nuevo Negaldo as the rusted Buick made its way through the still-sleeping town. A street sweeper turned his head and crossed himself as the car passed. It moved steadily, pushed neither by schedule nor fear of discovery. No one would dare watch it, and no one would dare talk.
Roberto Ibanez had driven this route before, so often that his mind would normally drift to the tune of the narcocorrido playing on the car's radio. But today was different. He was focused. Miguel sat in the passenger seat dozing, his head against the tinted window, his sleep apnea abated only when the car's suspension jolted.
The town gave way to the high desert scrub and emptiness. They drove into the sunrise, the day's story just beginning.
His left hand on the wheel, with the other Roberto rolled a coin through his fingers. The image of Our Lady of Guadalupe on one side, script on the other.
Our Lady of Guadalupe Help All Those Who Invoke Thee in Their Necessities Help Me to Alleviate All the Suffering and Misfortunes in the World
Back and forth the coin rolled, back and forth his thoughts vacillated with the movement. His fate oscillating in his hand. He could not make up his mind.
Miles from Nuevo Negaldo the car stopped, kicking up dust that blew through the sagebrush. The doors opened and Roberto and Miguel got out. They walked around the back of the car and opened the trunk. Miguel stretched his back and yawned.
In the trunk were two men.
Roberto reached in and pulled out the first man. Then the second. Crammed in like sardines, their legs numb and asleep, the victims were unable to support their weight and they crumpled to the ground.
Each hostage had their hands bound behind their back with duct tape, one strip across their mouths, another across their eyes. The first captive was shorter, his Mayan heritage darkening his skin and stunting his height. The other was a gringo.
"Miguel, you take him," Roberto said as he pushed the bound Mexican.
Miguel simply nodded and went to work.
Several yards off the road, Miguel forced the man down to his knees, drew a 9mm from his belt, aimed it at the back of the man's head, and pulled the trigger.
The Mexican fell against the desert floor, his feet spasming against rock as the blood left his body. Miguel fired two more shots into the dying form and then stretched his back again. Violence before breakfast was hard work.
Still standing behind the car, Roberto looked down at the coin in his hand. Our Lady looked up at him from the silver surface. He put the coin in his pocket as he whispered into the gringo's ear.
"Listen. I am going to shoot you. You will not die. It will hurt like hell, but fall forward and don't move. It is the best I can do."
The gringo tipped his blindfolded and gagged head, his breaths becoming more hurried and laborious through his nostrils.
Roberto grabbed the man's shirt above the left shoulder and pulled down, tearing the fabric and exposing the gringo's skin. Reaching into the trunk, he took a half-empty bottle of tequila and doused his victim's back, then took a swig of the remaining drops and threw the empty bottle on the ground.
Miguel returned to the car, tucking the gun into his overexerted waistband.
Roberto looked back with vacant eyes. "My turn."
Miguel got back into the Buick to enjoy the show from the comforts of the air-conditioned interior. Roberto pushed the gringo out to the killing ground. Just past the first victim, he forced the man down to his knees. He drew his pistol, ejected the magazine, removed one of the hollow point bullets, and replaced it with a ball round. He jammed the clip back into the pistol and chambered it.
"Be strong, mi amigo," he whispered.
One shot into the man's back and the gringo fell. Roberto stepped over him, gun pointed down, and fired two quick rounds. He holstered the gun in his belt, then crossed himself. Turning back to the car, Roberto walked to the driver's door, got in, and drove back to Nuevo Negaldo.(Continues…)
Excerpted from "Border Son"
Copyright © 2019 Samuel Parker.
Excerpted by permission of Baker Publishing Group.
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