“I know there’s a cover up to engineer, Juan, that’s why I called.”
“I don’t think I’m getting dinero I should, for work I do.”
“You tell people what to do and sign a few letters.”
“If I was in your position, jefe, I wouldn’t… minimize jobs those you count on.”
“I can easily find someone else. Or, get rid of you completely.”
“You couldn’t. I run police.”
“The police are nada. I have more hombres in the burros.”
“You have gringos!”
Mr. Tanner heard Juan spitting on the other end.
“Have you seen Gonzalez, lately?”
“Nada, why, what you do with him?”
“Check the pier near West Salvador, ese.”
“If you touched one hair, you regret it!”
“I think I touched several hairs by the sound of it.”
Juan slammed the phone on the receiver. He still hasn’t managed to get himself a cell, thought Mr. Tanner. There wasn’t time to think that over, though. Two associates had been lost in the span of an hour.
The phone rang again.
“Hola, it Juan. I just call to tell you that I uh… satisfied with our proposal.”
“Gracias. I’ll let my people know we worked it out.”
He caved, thought, Mr. Tanner. He knew he would. Juan didn’t have the strength to stand against him. Neither had Gonzalez.
Juan would help in the cover up, even if it was his own man. He just didn’t know it yet.
It was nearly Ten O’clock. The girl should be finished by now, thought Mr. Tanner. He needed dirt on the customs officials and she would give it to him. An official’s daughter was too great a cover.
“Amador,” said Mr. Tanner, dialing his driver. “I need a ride to the embassy.”
“Am on my way,” he replied still tiredly.
Mr. Tanner got in and they took off. It was back to see the girl again. She was told to meet him a couple blocks away and would remember the detail if her life and family meant the slightest to her.
“What have you learned?”
“The customs man said…” she was searching for the right English.
“Through what agency?”
“A… T… F,” she spoke out slowly.
“That bodes very ill. How am I supposed to run guns with the ATF up my ass? They can’t know I ever talked with you.”
Mr. Tanner pointed the gun at her temple once more. She quivered. He heard her urinating inside her pants. It was sickening and awful. But he had to squeeze the trigger. Mr. Tanner tensed his index finger. A loud blast rang through the streets.
“I’m sorry,” he said.