Mr. Tanner shot at the ground. The girl wasted no time in running away once more.
Why had he done it? He had already ended one life that night with a simple phone call. Now, with the pistol in his own hands he froze. He was a hypocrite. How could he command respect when he had none for himself?
Maybe there’s a way to remedy this, he thought. Holstering his gun Mr. Tanner called Amador. He arrived with the usual punctuality.
“I need a ride to the warehouse,” he said. “And spare the sigh this time.”
Amador drove off, silent through his voice and body language. If there was anger inside, it was impossible to tell.
Yellow lines blended together as Mr. Tanner closed his eyes. The rest was wonderful. He felt like he could dream. But nothing came; just blank, emptiness, as much as he craved the escape of an esoteric adventure.
He awoke a few minutes or an hour later. Amador hung up his cell phone suspiciously fast. But Mr. Tanner did not fret.
“Who were you talking to just now?” He asked casually.
“I was just calling ahead.”
“Oh, ok. That is probably for the best. A surprise might keep them on their toes and be good from a management standpoint. But the men are hardened criminals trained to fire on suspicious figures. I think you made a good move.”
“Thank you, sir.”
They took a couple more rights, a left and what could have either one. The rain had lifted and the moon was out, Mr. Tanner noticed through the window. It was good weather for a walk.
“Why don’t I walk the rest of the way? You can go catch some sleep.”
Somehow, Mr. Tanner felt a drastic change in his disposition. Seeing the girl live, the moonlight, a look of relief on his driver’s face all clashed to make the night…redeemable. He was indeed still a hypocrite, but a happy one.
He knocked on the door to the warehouse after walking a few hundred more feet. It opened to reveal several guards with AK-47s. They balked at the large smile across their boss’s face. It seemed he had begun to lose it as he greeted each one of them individually by name. That was not how a gun-smuggling crime lord conducted himself.
“This guy is loco,” a worker packing M16s said to another.
“Amador was right to call.”
Mr. Tanner continued inspecting the line. He did not ask about the missing equipment Gonzalez was responsible for, arousing further suspicion.
“Hombres, gather around! I have an announcement to make,” said Mr. Tanner as they gathered. “This will come as a bit of a shock, but, it needs saying. I think it’s time… we get out of the gun trade. We’re only hurting the good people of Mexico by fueling the cartels with weapons.”
“Is this joke?” A guard asked.
“Of course not. I propose we take the money we’ve made and start investing in health services for people affected by the violence.”
Shots rang out. It was not clear who fired first. But by the time Mr. Tanner hit the floor it appeared nearly everyone in the building had taken their shot. He had changed, gone loco. It was clear an investment in his brutal leadership was no longer profitable. They had all lost friends and families but losing their jobs had appeared to be the final straw.
They weren’t in it for a higher purpose. They simply wanted to support themselves and what family of theirs Mr. Tanner had deemed loyal enough to live.