Raven Series Part #15 | Jump to Raven # 1
“You haven’t met Don Hidalgo,” Don Pedro said to me, “but he hates you.”
“Why?” I asked.
Don Pedro was pacing again, and he was tapping his machete against his leg.
“I should have thought of it sooner,” Don Pedro said, “He wanted to buy the property your shop and hostel are on now, but he thought the price was too high. He was outraged when you bought it. He felt it was yanqui imperialism.”
I grinned. “Is Yankee imperialism worse than Spanish colonialism?”
Don Pedro smiled. “Don Hidalgo thinks Spain should still rule the Americas. He sees norteamericanos as uncultured peasants who accidentally became rich. And brown people such as myself should work the fields.”
I looked at Pato, who grimaced. “I am afraid it is true,” he said. “Don Hidalgo does not share the modern ideals of liberty and equality.” He paused. “But, my friends, why are we talking about this now?”
Don Pedro ignored Pato’s question. He put his hand on my shoulder. “The other thing you don’t know, Don Cuervo, is that Don Hidalgo’s son is El Cangrejo.”
Pato looked alarmed. “The less said about that one, the better.”
I sighed. “Pato,” I said, “Raven’s been kidnapped and we think El Cangrejo is behind it.” Pato whistled and made the sign of the cross.
“It gets worse,” I said. “Right now El Cangrejo is locked in the compressor room.”
“Joder, Cuervito, this is a bad business,” Pato said. “What have you been doing while I’ve been diving?”
I told him everything from the attempted kidnapping to the USB drives to El Cangrejo’s attempt to trample me in the hostel.
“Hidalgo has hated you for years,” Don Pedro said. “Why would he do this now?”
“He must be involved in the oil for weapons deal,” I said. “He must know some government sub-minister with his fingers in the oil pie and when Raven’s search shook the web, he heard about it, and that set everything in motion.”
Don Pedro nodded. “It makes sense. He wants to know if his name is in those USB drives because he doesn’t want to end up in prison on the same cell block as El Chapo.”
“If it’s true,” I said, “we have the outlines of a deal. We trade Raven for El Cangrejo. Raven stops the searches. We keep the USB drives as insurance, and El Cangrejo doesn’t use his narco connections to kill us.” I looked at Pato. “Do you know him well enough to talk to him about this? You being a fellow Spaniard and all.”
“I can try,” Pato said. “But let me give you some advice, Cuervito. Don Hidalgo is very old-fashioned. Honor and respect are very important to him. If he has Raven, he will be treating her like a royal captive. So you have to treat El Cangrejo the same. You can’t keep him chained up in your compressor room.”
“We used zip ties,” I said, “not chains.”
Pato rubbed his face with his hand. “Zip ties,” he said to himself.
“I have a suitable room at the fruit market,” Don Pedro said. “Ramón and I will guard El Cangrejo while Pato talks to Hidalgo.”
“Hold on,” I said. “El Cangrejo said Raven is on Holbox. He will need some time to get her from there.”
“I think Holbox was a lie,” Don Pedro said. “Hidalgo has a house and many other buildings at Cenote Tortuga. It would be simpler and easier for him to keep her there.”
Pato nodded. “I agree. She is at Tortuga. We’ll do the trade at Cardenas. Neutral ground.”
“Okay, let’s get moving,” I said. “Don Pedro and I will move El Cangrejo. Pato, you talk to Hidalgo. Hopefully, we have Raven back by tomorrow night.”