New Pulp Press

"Bullets, Booze and Bastards"

Sample story from Shocking Circumstances: Resurrection (Book 2)

Juarez, Chihuahua
March 1, 2012

CON PERMISO, EL MAESTRO,” Felix said, stepping into the cool office and closing the door behind him. The density of the colder air clashed with the warm rush of outside, a hallow vacuum abruptly cut off as the thick oak door sealed shut. Mesquite particles stirred around the entrance and covered his dark brown hair, which poured sweat, staining his collar. A red grease rag twisted and strained in his hands in front of him. He stuck it in a pocket of his coveralls, kept his head bowed and eyes averted as he waited on his liege to take a break.
El Maestro finished sorting through a dossier on his desk, closed it and looked up. “Hola, Felix. Is there something I can do for you?”
After the long wait Felix needed a moment to reorganize his thoughts before answering. The air conditioner gave such a blissful relief from the hot desert afternoon that he nearly forgot the reason for leaving the mechanic shop to interrupt his boss’ busy schedule. Phones from a desk in the backroom rang, reminding him of his quest. “You asked Erik and me to monitor the accounts and GPS on los gringos’ phones,” he said.
“Yes. And are they active?”
“Yes and no. The gringo’s signal is working properly. La gringa’s phone was on when it was given to her maestro. I follow the-”
Gracias. I followed the signal to the prison, then it disappeared. Something had to have go, uh, gone wrong.”
“Is the gentleman’s account active?”
Si, El Maestro. He uses the iPod and router in the mornings and late at night. But we can’t track the sites he frequents. The cookies never appear in the servers. Should we assign the maids to investigate?” he queried.
El Maestro gave a secret smile. “No, thank you. That would be superfluous.”
“Why do you say that?” Felix said, perplexed. “The maids can hack anything.”
“The gentleman is in a class of his own when it comes to technology. They would be chasing a ghost.”
“So, he is like the chupacabra of the Internet, eh?” he said. They shared a chuckle.
El Maestro pointed a finger at him, a mock scolding. “Don’t joke about la chupacabra, Felix. He’s real,” he said. Felix burst into laughter, but quieted to a smile when his boss waved a hand. “Who gave the phone to the lady’s father?” he said, leaning back in his chair. It creaked. The phones continued to ring.
“Senor Eddy,” he replied, wondering how the man knew the father was the one to smuggle in the cell phone. Fascinating. He said, “I brought the E and E package to Antonio at the gym in the city. He drove to Mississippi to meet Eddy. He say, he said¸ they were old friends from boxing. Antonio also found an officer at the gringo’s prison who does business with La Familia.”
“A Chicano officer?”
“No, senor. A negro lieutenant,” Felix replied, embarrassed, as if it were his fault the Mexican race hadn’t done a better job infiltrating the prison. “We had no one there, other than a few low-level Latin Kings. And they were prisoners.”
El Maestro closed his eyes, shook his head. “Mississippi. Ay, iy, iy,” he muttered. The phones finally stopped, ring tones echoing faintly. He leaned forward, looked into Felix’s eyes. “Find out what happened to the phone we sent the lady. Make sure she gets another one. Use whatever resources you need. And tell Elena to give Antonio the usual bonus.”
Si, El Maestro,” he said, bobbing his head enthusiastically.
El Maestro waved a dismissive hand as he picked up the phone, started dialing. Felix bobbed his head once more, turned around slowly, posturing subordination and respect. Walked to the door.
The scorching sun and dry wind welcomed him back to reality. Disillusioned, the hulking mechanic looked back at the chilled building with yearning and felt like a child about to throw a tantrum after seeing the ice cream wagon gallop away. Laughing at himself, he set out to find Erik so they could devise a plan to get a phone in to the gringa boxer.
How hard could that be?