Hopping into the Hilux, Breaking into Two

Don Cuervo leaves the Act 1 World behind

Raven’s been kidnapped by persons unknown. Her dad, Don Cuervo, gave chase, to no avail. Not knowing what else to do, he plays fetch.

Home wasn’t any better. In fact, aside from Wesson being happy to see me, it was worse. The embassy was worthless, and I hadn’t heard from Pedro, and I didn’t know what else to do, so I threw a stick around the yard for Wesson.

After a few tosses I decided I’d had enough and went inside for a beer. Wesson followed me inside with the stick. When he saw me sitting at the kitchen table, his tail stopped wagging and he dropped the stick. He looked so heartbroken I stood up. Wesson picked up the stick and pranced outside. As soon as I made it out the door, he offered it to me.

My beer was in my right hand. I grabbed the stick and gave it a toss left-handed. It fluttered few feet away and landed in the empty spot where Raven’s Hilux should have been. Wesson looked at me. He was probably wondering about the lame toss, but I was thinking about Raven.

There’s a flashback here, adapted from What’s She Doing in There, where Don Cuervo reflects on his relationship with Raven and how they wouldn’t be in Tulum without her.

When his neighbor Jerry comes back, Don Cuervo snaps out of his reverie and we’re back in the present.

I was on beer number two when Wesson dropped the stick and sprinted to the gate, barking happily. Jerry and Smith were at the gate. It looked like they were coming to a party. Smith had a ball in his mouth, and Jerry had a margarita in one hand and he’d just had his crew cut freshened up.

“I was just coming to check on Wesson,” Jerry said as I opened the gate. “He gets kinda lonely without Smith.”

“I’ve been tossing the stick for him.” The dogs started chasing each other around the yard, growling and play-barking.

Jerry said, “Aren’t you usually underwater this time of day?”

“Yeah. I wish I was right now. And not just because it’s so hot. Let’s get inside.” We sat in the kitchen where we could look out the window and watch the dogs. Jerry’s smile disappeared when I told him about Raven.

“So those bastards were for real. You two got away so easy yesterday, I didn’t think they were.” 

“That’s how I saw it.” I pulled on my beer. “The whole thing seemed amateurish. They trashed her computer, but that was it.”

He rubbed his chin. “It’s real now.”

“Jerry, if I don’t do something, I’m gonna go fucking nuts. I just don’t know what to do.”

He downed the rest of his margarita. “That’s easy. Find your girl, no matter what.”

I shook my head. “I’ve got no idea who the hell’s behind it all. Whatever Raven found out was on her computer, and it’s trashed. The cops haven’t seen a thing, the embassy’s not worth a damn, and all we’ve got to go on is the guy that drove the truck had a crab tattoo on his arm.” I finished my beer and tossed the empty on the lawn.

Jerry rattled the ice cubes in his glass. “Don’t take this the wrong way, bud, but it sounds to me like you’re whining, and that’s not gonna help any.”

I looked at him. “You know what, Jerry?”

His gray eyes held my gaze. “What’s that?”

“You’re right. Sitting around here’s not going to do anything.”

Jerry smiled. “There you go.”

We stood and walked outside. Jerry whistled for the dogs while I opened the gate and Jerry whistled for the dogs.

“Anything I can do for you, all you have to do is ask.”

“Keep an eye on the place for me, if you would.”

“No problem.”

“Oh — you mind if I hold on to that pistol?”

“Something tells me you’ll need it before I will.”

“Thanks, Jerry.”

I made a pile on the kitchen table. Raven’s smashed computer and a notebook I found in her desk. Jerry’s .38 and the box of extra bullets. That plus all the cash I had in dollars and pesos. It all fit into a small backpack. I added a couple bottles of water and checked my pockets. I had my keys and Raven’s.

It wasn’t much, but it was what I had. I pulled my truck into the street and locked the gate behind me. For just a moment, I stood looking at the house and the yard, thinking about Raven, wondering where she was.

Then I climbed into the truck, put it in gear, and started towards Pedro’s house.