Ciudad Juarez: the undiscovered

“God doesn’t live here any more.”

”No?! Since when? Why?”

”Since we all fucked up.”

”Who is we?”

”All of us, the whole screwed up system, the police, the prosecutor, the judges, but especially those sick gringos. After gang raping those kids, they’d have ritual killing and that’s why we found most of them in desert cut in pieces.”

It was a sweltering hot day in July, perfect for a stroll by the beach with a cold beer in hand and, shit, there I was instead at Department X receiving instruction for my next assignment – to kill a gringo in San Diego, without knowing, or asking, why and what his sins were. My boss corrected me when I said that I thought my job was limited to going after our bad guys here in Mexico. “This is a top priority, I ‘ve got orders from the very top, you know what that means?” I actually didn’t and seeing that I was shaking my head negatively, he elaborated, “that means national security stupid. So don’t waste my time any more and get on with it, the reputation of this whole department is on the line now, so don’t disappoint me.”

As gratifying as it was to hear that they had so much faith in me, I was nonetheless reluctant for some mysterious reason. ”But why me boss, I have a wedding to go to, my niece’s…”


”Well, On Sunday.”

”That’s plenty time.”

”Why don’t you send Rordiguez, or someone else?” I insisted and he tersely laughed and said, “because you’re so cute.” Others in the room burst in a laughter and Hector interjected, “the guy is a pervert. But don’t worry, the bastard likes young girls, for the most part.”

“You’ve got to be joking, right? How do you expect me…”

”I don’t care how you do it and what it takes, just do it even if you have to sell your mother, your niece, if you have to turn yourself into a cheap whore, understand?” The smile had suddenly vanished by a thick air of seriousness.

Exactly four days later, I was in the victim’s bathroom wiping his blood off his fancy Rolex watch that I was determined to present to our groom, assuming that I could find a nice box for it. It was sure to impress his whole clan, but wasn’t it a bit too extravagant? I asked myself as I glared at my face in the mirror, the make-up, wig, and all, and then removed the fake eyelashes that were bothering me, now deciding to keep the rest on until I was safely away no matter how much I hated it. My heart was still beating fast by the commotion of a few minutes ago. “Calm down,” I exhorted myself, took a deep breath and then returned to the bedroom, put on my clothes and sat for a moment on the edge of the blood-filled bed next to the corpse and then carefully removed the dagger stuck in his heart; I wrapped it inside a plastic bag and then called Hector to get ready.

“So how did it go?” He asked the moment I jumped inside the car and we sped toward the border; the darkly sky was beginning to turn milky white at nearly 5 am.

“Fine, nothing to it, easier than I expected.”

”Good job man, congratulations. Boss is going to give you a hefty bonus for this one.”

”Really? How do you know?” I asked and saw that Hector quickly parked off the road.

“Because I’ve got it for you,” He answered with a devilish glare in his eyes beaming at me in the driver’s mirror that instantly alerted me to his ill intention and before he was able to pull his revolver fully out of his side pocket, I reached for my gun and put two in his neck.

“What the hell? Why?” I screamed while dragging his heavy set to a ditch, collected the money from his wallet then and I was back at the wheel when I heard his cell phone ringing, ran to pick it up and heard the boss’s voice, “hey Hector, did you get him?”
”Sorry boss, no he didn’t, your errand boy is dead,” I retorted and then yelled, “what the hell is going on, why did you order him to kill me?” He hung up and after a moment of deep reflection, I threw the cell in disgust and began driving, first toward the border and then a half hour or so later made a U-turn, back toward home, now betting that my boss would hedge all his bets that I would be racing to the US looking for a safe sanctuary, although without completely ruling out a tiny possibility that he would be sending people after me at the wedding, all the more reason to keep the female disguise on. I had promised Hilda, my favorite niece, that I would be there and that was one promise I intended to keep no matter what. A man is worthless without honoring his words.

A couple of hours cleaning the mess in the car and then I stopped by a used car lot at a town off the highway and traded it with a cheap Volkswagen, then I went to a jewelry store and picked up a gold-lined box for the gift, had a bite to eat and then sat behind the wheel driving full speed and made it to the wedding party just in time, actually a couple of hours late and, at first, using my binocular, I first made sure that it was not under surveillance and then changed into my regular outfit and after some hesitation finally made my belated entrance – that upped the jubilations a few notches with practically every one, especially my own folks, so thrilled to see me, except the handsome groom who gave me a rather lukewarm hug after I wrapped the watch around his wrist, letting me know with his meaningless thank you that he didn’t appreciate all the attention I was grabbing away from him.

Tired and exhausted, a couple of hours later, as the raucous dancing, chanting and drinking was winding down, I stepped out for a smoke with the groom’s middle age uncle and we paced the alley for a few minutes chit chatting nonsense and then I excused myself, refusing another sip at his bottle of Russian vodka and, a few steps away near the entrance door I suddenly felt a hand tapping me on the shoulder and had only half turned around when I fell on the ground unconscious by a powerful jab that hit me on the ear.

Regaining consciousness slowly, I instantly surmised that we were in a fast moving car on a bumpy road, surrounded by two big guys in the back seat and, raising my head, saw the uncle behind the wheel talking in his cell phone. “Don’t worry, I‘ll get it out of him in no time.” Spontaneously I put up a struggle to get out and I was brutally subdued, fell unconscious again by the barrage of powerful fists landing on me from both sides.

A cold splash of water returned me to alertness and the pain of cuffs tightly ringed around my wrists assured me this was no hallucination. They were all silent. I closed my eyes and fell unconscious again and when I came back to myself I realized that I had been dragged out to a huge tree with the car’s lights beaming at us some twenty to thirty feet away, with the uncle calmly going through my cell and the other guys waiting by the car.

”How are you feeling brother,” he sounded.

”I am not your brother.”

”But hell, we’re family now, no?” He smiled and after a quick pause got closer to me and almost whispered, “I ‘ve never killed a family before and don’t plan to start now, so don’t worry. Just tell me where the money is?”

”Money? What money?”

“The money you took from that gringo. Boss says a half million. Don’t you dare lie to me. I saw the watch. Where did you get the money to buy such an expensive watch, h? So be a good boy and just tell me where it is and I let you go, honest.”

”You’re taking me for a fool, right?” I asked him and then pointed at the two men watching us from the distance like vultures. “Right. You let me go because they will do your dirty job.”

”Who, them?” the uncle said and, shaking his head negatively, put his hand on his gun stuck on the back of his trousers and whispered, “nonsense, just watch” and then began approaching the car and, laughing, told the men, “amigos, my cousin thinks you are going to kill him but I promised him you are not.”

”We are not?! Who says?” one of them sounded and before he was finished with his sentence the uncle had pulled his gun and shot both of them dead, “scumbags because I said so.” To make sure, he put two more bullets in them and then, with a meaningful smile etched on his mustached lips, he walked back toward me and said, “you see you have nothing to worry.”

“Okay, I believe you now” I said and for a fleeting moment gave him a false bodily assurance that made him tuck his gun inside his trousers as he stepped closer toward me, fully unprepared for my sudden burst of energy and swinging wild punches at him. We struggled violently until finally I was able to choke him to death with my cuffs.

Pained by the multiple bruises I had sustained, for a few minutes I simply sat on a small rock regaining my depleted energy, wondering what to do next when I heard a cell phone, the uncle’s, and picking it up I was profoundly rattled by the groom’s voice, “this is Ramon, did you find that bastard?” That killed me and I hung up without answering, so overwhelmed by the deep grief — over the fact that my niece had married an enemy committed to killing me — that I broke into a hysteric cry, the first ever in my entire adult life. Then I dialed the boss’s number and again he hung up as soon as he heard my voice demanding an explanation. “Shit, what am I to do now?” I began cursing my luck, kicking the dirt. The red glare of a half moon in the distant sky distracted me and I mistook it for the sun for a split second, my head in dizzying pain and my heart bursting out of my chest in oppressive anxiety. I then tried to put two by two together and focused on the question of who was the guy I had just relieved him of his miserable life across the border? If the guy was so important why didn’t he have any body guards and lived a modest life style? I searched the three men’s pockets inside out and couldn’t find the cuff’s keys and, feeling extremely thirsty, sat behind the wheel and began driving half consciously in the middle of desert.

After what seemed an eternity, I finally hit a sand dune and had to abandon the car, taking a piece of the mirror with me for sending signals, rested a few times and then kept walking in the oppressive heat in the endless desert until my legs finally caved in and I collapsed, gasping for air. “Forgive me god for all my sins,” I murmured under my lips, letting the dormant catholic take over in what seemed my last moments on earth, tasting the salty dirt pressing against my face and yet having enough left in me to imagine – that I was still at the wedding party surrounded by my folks, dancing in a circle and hugging my niece and wishing her an eternal happy life. Then I passed out.

We can feel pain therefore we are!

I was not dead yet and, half opening my right eye, I could see that it was night time now and I had been discovered by a bunch of disfigured lepers removing me to their colony and slaving me in their “farm” all day and using and abusing me at night and then, when I became afflicted as well and my skin began its rapid disfiguration, my owners entertained themselves by throwing me into a duel with another slave, a younger totally harmless guy, and I cut him with my large knife in no time, too quick a kill that angered the small crowd, who nonetheless elevated my status to ‘one of them’ after a second duel that was a bit tougher and I sustained a side wound and then, as my physical condition deteriorated and I realized that my days are quickly numbered, I contracted a couple of guys who occasionally brought new souls to us — to fetch me Ramon, giving them a few gold coins I had found in the uncle’s car. They returned a week or so later with the bounty in chain and Ramon at first didn’t even recognize me and then he cried hysterically asking for mercy and pity on my niece, claming that she was now pregnant, insisting that he knew nothing about anything and had simply telephoned the uncle thinking that he had been looking for me after he had been told that I had gone out missing and totally drunk. A small part of me wanted to, secretly wished, that I could trust and believe him, but I couldn’t and, after slaving him as harshly as possible on the farm a couple of days, I threw a lavish farewell party for myself featuring a sword fight between him and the strongest guy in our bondage, the loco, who took special pleasure at beheading him. Returning to my cave fully drunk, for several minutes now I have been jotting down my will using the ink from his fresh skull now adorning my wooden table, for the first time believing his version of facts, prompting me a minute ago to go through his stuff and, sure enough, I just found an old police ID – from Ciudad Juarez.

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