Wednesday, May 23, 2007

The Hold Up: A Border Saga Part IV

Gomez was a statue. His feet in concrete.

Twenty feet away a child was crying, its mother doing her level best to console it, a man answering questions in Spanish was speaking in a homely accent. It may have been put on, but Gomez was so nervous that he didn’t pay attention to the inflection in the man’s voice.

Two minutes ago he was dead sure that he was about to be found, now he was silently thanking the Virgin Mary, Jesus and God in that order. The headlights still stared straight ahead, unblinking and unfeeling, but the spotlights were showing the humanity behind them by bathing the trio of Mexicans and the duo of Agents. Gomez was sweating but he was coasting down from an adrenaline rush.

***

Mason called to the young man, “What ya got?”

“One man, one woman and a child.” he answered.

Shit. Mason thought. “Anything on them?”

“I don’t know yet.”

Shit.


When the agents and the men had hustled the immigrants up the hill they sat them down with blankets and water, then they called it in.

“HQ, we have three, repeat, three, one man, one woman, and one child, repeat, one man, one woman, and one child. Over.”

The radio crackled back. “Copy, number sixteen. Bring them in. Over.”

“Copy that, over.”

Mason and the other men watched the illegals carefully. There were no drugs found on their person, no reason to believe they were trying to do anything except restart their lives. Yet, on the border, everyone is suspect. There are no limits to the desperation of someone trying to provide for their family. For all the Minute Men knew, these people had thirty condoms full of cocaine in this kid’s stomach and were just posing as a family.

The border agents opened up the back of their truck and put the family in. “Thanks Mr. Mason, we’ll process these people and they’ll be back in Mexico by Thursday at least.”

“Just doing our part.” Mason replied, “Y’all take care.”

The agents nodded at the Minute Men and got into the truck.

“Well, let’s call that a night.” Mason said to everyone. It was about 4:00 in the morning. All night and the haul was three people, one man, one woman, and a crying child. Everyone measures success differently and by the usual scale this was a hell of a night.

Goodnights and goodbyes were passed around. Then everyone got into their trucks and Broncos and SUVs, all the engines started in a vague concurrence and all the headlights flickered in the same manner. The night’s silence was polluted by the roar of the convey going home.

***

Gomez stayed where he was until the last wind carried off the last motor. Then he checked the hill as his eyes had adjusted to the light. He kneeled, stood up warily and he was off. There was work to do.


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