Smoothies and Shrimp Cocktails

Raven Series #11 | Jump to Raven # 1 

Photo by Jurre Houtkamp on Unsplash

The three of us crowded into the single room.

“Let me show you this,” El Cangrejo said, handing me a wallet. “My name is Ray Bonetta. El Cangrejo is part of my cover.” 

Bonetta sat in a wooden chair by the window facing the hostel courtyard. A prickly pear I’d planted when I bought the place to give the room some privacy blocked the entire window. Flipping the wallet open I made a mental note to have it pruned back to let a little more light in and plant some sort of vine at the base of it to make it look more festive.

I found myself looking at a scuffed CIA identification card with the name J. Ray Bonetta printed it. It wasn’t a great picture. The CIA camera must be even worse than the one they use at the DMV.

Don Pedro perched on the end of the bed. He kept his machete close.

Bonetta opened his mouth to say something.

“Skip to the part where you tell me where my daughter is,” I said. I pulled the other chair away from the table and sat down. I offered the wallet to Don Pedro. He waived it away.

“She’s fine,” Bonetta said. “The quick version is we are working with the Mexican government to stop illegal oil for arms trades. We were moving a lot of money around—”

“Where is she?”

“She’s on Isla Holbox snorkeling with two female agents.”

Don Pedro said, “That kid has unbelievable luck. The government kidnaps her and takes her on vacation.”

“She wasn’t kidnapped,” Bonetta said. “She agreed to go.”

“Just teasing,” Don Pedro said. He didn’t smile.

“What was up with the three guys storming my house?” I said.

Bonetta rolled his eyes. “Not my idea. Embassy staff pretending to be tough guys to talk to you. To ask Raven to stand down on the searches so we could keep the sting going. We were afraid if we did it by the book, word would leak out.”

“Stupid idea,” I told him.

“Typical,” Don Pedro said, “Gringos come to Mexico, the only thing they can think to do is invade.”

Bonetta shrugged. “It was a mistake,” he said. “After that we cooled out.”

“So that’s why nobody followed us to Oaxaca,” I said, “And why it was so quiet when Raven and I got back to Tulum.”

“I was in Washington getting my ass chewed,” Bonetta said.

“How’d you meet up with Raven?” I asked.

“The female agents contacted her at a licuado cart. She agreed to ask you to turn over the files in exchange for the Holbox trip.”

“What did you threaten her with?”

“Nothing. The tech dorks at Langley were so impressed with her coding they talked the higher ups into offering her a job.”

“Why not just have her call me? Why use the code and all that?”


“Sounds like you spent a lot of time with her,” Don Pedro said.

Bonetta looked puzzled. “Well, this is an important operation.”

“You should be careful,” Don Pedro said. “Raven will empty your treasury ordering strawberry licuados and shrimp cocktails.”

Bonetta laughed. “She does go through them.”

Anybody who spends any time with Raven knows she only drinks mango licuados. I knew it. Don Pedro knew it.

Bonetta, somehow, didn’t.

I sat up straight in my chair.

Don Pedro closed his hand on the machete handle.

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