Eduardo 'Lobo' Norori checked his watch. All his men were in position. The target was on his way. The plan was complicated, but one that Eduardo and his gang had done a thousand times before, and to great lucrative success. Today, on the docket was the kidnapping of the son of a richer than rich executive from Queretaro. 'Another day, another dollar,' thought Eduardo. He sighed, trying to find comfort in the banality of an activity that he had done countless times over the last twenty years, and had honed to a science. 'Another day, another cash cow to be coerced into donating her milk.'
But the truth was, it was not a day like any other, much as he tried to convince himself otherwise. He felt hemmed in, pressed down and claustrophobic. He cracked his knuckles to try to calm his frayed nerves. More than anything, he was annoyed by the ventless undercurrent of rage he could feel seething up and down his spine.
Eduardo popped open a bottle of Tylenol and gulped it down with some Alka-Seltzer. If he could just this job done, he would feel better. He was sure of it.
His radio crackled, signalling that his target's motorcade had been spotted and was on it's way to the ambush site. Eduardo gave the signal to commence the attack. He had twelve men involved in the ambush, along with three vehicles.
Mr. Pepe Alberto Amores sat in the backseat of his reinforced car as it drove along between two security vehicles. As they proceeded through an intersection, a big truck came sailing though at top speed, ramming the rear vehicle and ploughing it off the road. Before the occupants of the executive's car had the opportunity to realize what was happening, another truck slammed into the security car ahead of him, bringing it to a dead stop. The driver of Mr. Amores' car swerved around the collision to avoid an accident, only to slam on the brakes as a third truck was blocking the way. The driver looked to the rear to see if he could reverse out of the kill zone, but men leaped out of the truck armed with assault rifles and peppered the car with bullets, taking out the tires, the engine, and shooting the driver. Amores' body guard and another hired security agent jumped out of their vehicles in an attempt to offer some resistance, but were quickly cut down by superior firepower.
The kidnappers pulled the terrified Mr. Amores out of his vehicle, tied him up and threw a bag over his head as they drove him to a safe house.
Once they arrived, they duct taped the poor Pepe Alberto Amores to a metal chair after stripping him of most of his clothes. He sat like that for hours, as Eduardo made his demands to the family and negotiated his terms.
Finally, the bag was pulled off his head, and Amores could make out few details of a dimly lit and squalid room. He knew there was one man behind him, and Eduardo briskly entered, giving Amores a dispassionate look. "It is time for your therapy," he said pragmatically. He flaunted a pair of scissors, sending shockwaves of horror pulsing through Amores' body. "It is nothing personal, señor, nor is it to make you suffer. It is purely to put pressure on your family. It is simply business. And you understand business, don't you Pepito," he said, as he wielded the scissors toward his head.
Rooster was busy in a conference room at the local Federal Police HQ, coordinating the various teams assigned to hit all of Eduardo's safe houses at the same time. "Alright, we have seven targets, and seven different tactical teams; one for each safe house. ¡Vámonos!"
All the different police officers and agents rushed to their assigned squads. One of the policía Judicial del Estado de México stopped Tom to ask him if he was on loan from the FBI.
Tom told him that it was definitely something like that, but the details were so classified that even he didn't know all the particulars. But as a measure of good faith between agencies, he said he was working with the policía Judicial Federal. The agent seemed highly pleased by this exchange, and rushed off to his assignment. Elias looked at Tom with a wearied expression, as they too went to find their places with Rooster's men. Elias went to the gun locker and was arming himself when a suspicious officer of the national security agency CISEN asked what on earth an American was doing mixed up in this operation.
"It's a long story," said Elias, "but I'm on a special cross task force interinstitucional assignment, working with the Judicial del Estado de México." The officer stared at him for an uncomfortably long time, but then suddenly slapped him on the back and laughed. "Better you than me, amigo! Ha!"
Elias grinned back, as they all rushed to their units and prepared to converge on Eduardo's last remaining strongholds.
Eduardo stood in front of Pepe Alberto Amores and methodically cleaned off his scissors, as he gave orders to one of his henchmen. "I am going to go," he said, "Give me fifteen minutes to leave, and then shoot this pig."
The younger gangster nodded in understanding.
Amores was shaken out of his skin. "But you've already demanded fifteen million dollars from my family. You don't have to kill me. They're going to pay!"
"Yes. I know," Eduardo said calmly. "But I'm going to explain something to you." He stopped what he was doing and looked Mr. Amores straight in the face. "They'll pay me either way, so it doesn't matter to me if you live or not. And right now it seems to me that it is better that you die. Again, It's nothing personal. ¡Adios, chancho!"
Eduardo walked out of the safe house and stepped into his Volkswagen. He had not yet started the engine and was in the midst of lighting a cigar, when he was surrounded by armed federal agents and vehicles, all directing heavy weapons at him. He surrendered without a fight.
The police and federal agents were able to enter the safe house and release Mr. Pepe Alberto Amores, before the kill order could be carried out.
As the agents regrouped at the end of the day, they were starting to undertake their mountain of paperwork that was required to register all the evidence they had gathered from the raid, and process all the arrests, when the Judicial agent ran into the CISEN agent. "How is it going, working with the Americans?" asked the CISEN agent.
"I'm not working with the Americans. He told me that he was helping the federales," explained the other.
"But he told me that he was working with you."
"That is weird."
"Yes. It is very strange."
The one agent shrugged. "Well, that's fine. Leaves more credit to us."
"Claro. Eso si," the other agreed.
Tom and Elias and their little band of cohorts were safely in the back of a pickup truck with Rooster, well on their way to the town of Altar. Tom looked around at his companions. Elias was fast asleep, and looked very peaceful. Claudeth and Maira had been through many stressful situations but even they seemed like they were permitting themselves time to catch up on some repose.
They had gained two new friends from the 'Lobos' brothers' cabin.
Daniel was a sixteen-year-old boy from the Mexican west coast town of Nayarit, and was hoping to find a job in construction in the U.S, if he ever made it there.
Siomara was a young woman from Guatemala who had been making the perilous journey through Mexico for weeks now, and had seen more than her fair share of traffickers, smugglers, kidnappers and abusers.
She was trying to escape her own family and a life of indignity, and had been on her own since she was fourteen years old.
'We're so close now, I hope we can make it,' thought Tom. 'Ojalá.'