Tuesday, July 05, 2005

His first reaction when he saw the two bodies was to look up at the horizon. Maybe two hours he thought as he saw the storm clouds building in the east. Monsoon season meant humidity added to the heat. The scene was bad enough without that added factor. Carlos grabbed his cell phone as he headed back to the truck for his camera. He looked at his watch. The ambulance would take 45 minutes if it wasn't busy and longer if they had gone across the line with another premature delivery. He shot a roll of film and lit a cigarette. When he saw the cloud of dust racing at him he stashed that roll in his crotch and shot half of another. Four federales got out of the suburban. Carlos knew two of them but the other two were strangers and had a polished look to them. Had to be Mexico City. To him that meant something big was coming up this way. One of the men he knew spoke.

"How many pictures do you have?"

Carlos looked at his camera.

"Thirteen of a roll of 24."

"And the pocket?" The man moved his hand indicating he wanted Carlos to give him what he saw.

Carlos pulled the empty film canister out of his pocket and tossed it to the man.

"Just the empty canister. I keep the film in the fridge because of the heat."

"Finish the roll and I'll take it."

Carlos shot up the roll and handed it to the federal agent.

"The ambulance should be here in 20 minutes."

"We'll take care of it."

Carlos took that as his cue to leave. He knew that the federales would now sanitize the crime scene. They would cut the ropes from the two men's hands and search for anything that would show the killers were sloppy in their work. Two attendants would arrive with the ambulance. Now was the time for rumor control. Even though murder was obvious, fewer phone calls from Juarez and Chihuahua meant fewer headaches.

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