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11/12

Posted by Miss Shadows , in A Personal Project for Now... 17 November 2012 · 445 views

I continued to toy with a lime wedge even as an enormous figure strode towards my corner booth and slid in across the table from me. He gave me a warm, familiar smile, and yet his cool demeanor, height and build all served to emanate from him a foreboding uneasiness that’d have me shifting in my seat for minutes to come. Even the waiter who swung by to take our drinks looked dubious. Beside my friend, Kal, I must’ve looked like a field mouse; tonight I had on boots and jeans, and an old Egyptian air force jacket that seemed to swallow me alive. I could see the flex of muscle in his arm as Kal ran a hand through recently cut hair and gave a tired groan. It was the very first thing either of us said when he declared almost seemingly to himself “There’s very few people I’d be here for right now you know.”

“You do look exhausted. Cousins?” I ventured.

A nod, also tired, and he paged clumsily through a menu until our waiter dropped off our beverages and scribbled our orders before disappearing again. Despite the lack of real greeting some instinct told me to broach why I’d called him out here now, rather than wait for him to start wondering or for our food to get here and steal any focus. For the moment his eyes rested with a sort of gentle hardness on me, unwavering and silent, and further provoking my tempted tongue until I finally said something.

“My sister’s ex-husband is real trouble.” Something lit in him, I could see it, like a spark and a fuse; I hoped he’d be a little intuitive on the matter and sure enough when he spoke my uncertainty was answered.

“The cartel runner?”

“Mhm. Tossed an explosive right on their front doorstep a few weeks ago.”

Kal swore breathily.

“No one was hurt, and it was more likely some of his drug buddies than him in person.”

“That’s some serious ****.”

“Cops haven’t done a thing. And that bomb wasn’t even close to the first incident.”

A disgusted shake of his head and in his eyes now was some deep, ugly despair.

“They never do, I’ll tell you that much.” There was a long, reflective silence for both sides of the table, then Kal looked at me once more, concern laced in his expression as he fumbled painfully with the delicates.

“Do you think they want…er, your sister, uh…”

“Well if they were actively on her I think she’d already be out, but that’s why I wanted to see you.”

More quiet pondering and I fought to keep my anxieties out of sight as Kal stirred some ice in his cup for what felt like hours, but something told me that the gears in his head were turning now.

“I could do some looking around, but I do small time stuff and it’s mostly close to the border. If there’s something I can’t promise you I’ll find it.”

“If I can trust you Kal, that’s all I’m asking. Do you have eyes and ears in Ensenada?”

“I do.” I cast a furtive glance around the restaurant.

“That would be a good shot, and I could jot down a specific cartel or two.”

“Well like I said I’m no Escobar, but I’ll do everything I can for you.”

“Thank you Kal, this means a lot.” From the way his face softened I think he could tell I really meant that. I felt his stare on me in the dim lounge as I scribbled out some names on a napkin and slid it into his hand.

“I’ll pay you,” I added quickly, “250 now and 250 after, and if something does turn up I’ll give you an extra 100 for everything you find, I don’t care how much.”

“Don’t be ridiculous, you’re a sister to me for God’s sake Yona.” Once again concern crossed his face but he wiped it off with another smile and a firm squeeze on my shoulder, and as I opened my mouth to protest our food arrived.

“Let’s not let this go to waste” he insisted, and forked a bite of enchilada into his mouth. I feigned disgust with his haphazard table manners and nibbled at my taco whilst he began to tell me some wild story about the last time he and his cousins had gathered for Christmas. The rest of the meal was spent discussing mostly the lighter shades of family and future plans, our respective partners and much more the like. Before I knew it it was getting late and we’d probably overstayed our welcome in the cantina, so he walked me to my motorcycle where we bid goodbye for now and as I drove off I watched him in my rear view mirror disappear into the Arizona night.




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