The Mexico Job: Hard-Boiled Short Fiction By Kevin Hine
Kevin Hine, author of The Mexico Job, studied creative writing at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and at the graduate level at the University of Arizona.
There has not been a gun in my hands in many years, but the comforting feeling they provide never left me. Proper grip, sight alignment, trigger squeeze… it was still muscle memory, reflex. Even after all this time.
This job would be different. As all jobs were unique in their own ways, this job was different because any tools that would be needed had to be left behind once the work was completed. I was headed to Nogales, Mexico and getting weapons across the border was never a problem. Getting them back into the United States of America after having just used them in the commission of a crime, not as easy a task.
I didn’t have much notice. I received the call yesterday from El Jefe on the burner phone. His instructions were simple. I had a name, an address, and a job to do. That was all I needed to know, and that was all that would be provided for me. This type of work wasn’t optional…not that a ‘choice’ was ever implied.
The thing is, once you’ve managed to get yourself into this Life, you can never really get out of it. Not really get out of it. I have long since been retired, or so I thought until yesterday. That’s just another example of how encompassing The Life really is. If I had known when I was younger, I probably would have chosen a better way in life.
I received the call yesterday from El Jefe on the burner phone. His instructions were simple. I had a name, an address, and a job to do.
Running low on time, I grabbed an old backpack from behind the sofa in the living room of my condo. From the closet, I stuffed two different T-shirts and a NY Yankees ball cap into the backpack. One black shirt and one white shirt. Between the two disguises, I placed my two tools inside: a 9mm Glock 19, 4th generation pistol & a back-up Sig Sauer P365 SAS subcompact. In the side zip-up compartments, I inserted four loaded magazines for each weapon. It’s always better to have more than not have enough.
I selected those handguns because they were both recently stolen from a local business in Tucson, where I happen to live. These weapons would be virtually impossible to sell or move otherwise around here, and the the risk — or more so the punishment — of being caught with them was greatly enhanced. Their purpose now was to be used; one & done.
I tossed the backpack into the bed of the 4×4 and hit the road. It was a direct route to the border crossing, highway the entire way.
It was getting dark when I pulled into the parking lot across from the border. I slipped the Hombre in the beach chair a $20 bill as I walked out of the parking lot, “I won’t be very long,” I said.
Carrying the backpack slung over my left shoulder, I knew exactly where to go. I fended off the vulture-like vendors and cabbies hassling all border-crossers for a buck. “No gracias, no”, was usually all it took. The pushier ones that invaded my space got a different reaction. More of a death growl. The look in my eyes has always ended those interactions.
From the Google Earth maps I’d printed out, I knew the address was only two intersections up from the crossing and the business was located on the ground level. With any luck, they’d still be open by the time I walked there.
Carrying the backpack slung over my left shoulder, I knew exactly where to go.
As I crossed the second intersection, I could see the brightly lit ‘OPEN’ sign hanging in the window of Pan de Jorge.
I pushed open the door, causing some bells suspended from the top of the door frame to chime.
“Hola, como estas?” greeted the young Mexican woman behind the counter.
“Hola, bien.” I began, “Donde esta Jorge—“
Jorge walked through the employee door leading to the kitchen as I was mid-sentence. It wasn’t clear if he’d heard me asking about him, or if he had simply come out to greet his last customer of the night. Either way, I had my backpack swung around to the front of my chest and had begun to retrieve the Glock 19 when the young cashier spoke again.
“Aqui! Jorge esta aqui,” she beamed, feeling accomplished for being able to assist the stranger.
I smiled in her direction as she spoke, and watched the confusion set in across Jorge’s face. His brow furrowed slightly and he looked perplexed as he began to put together the words of his employee along with the sight of me suddenly pointing a pistol in his face. The cashier’s face turned ghostly pale as she seemed to freeze in place.
I barely felt the recoil of the pistol as I squeezed the trigger, hitting my target square in the face with all three rounds. The noise was deafening inside of such a tightly enclosed space. Jorge was dead before he his body hit the floor. Job complete.
Realizing I needed to get back across the border – and quickly, I turned back towards the clerk and fired another two rounds into her forehead. No witnesses. Placing the pistol back into the backpack, I retrieved and put on both shirts (black over top of white) and the hat.
Crossing the second intersection headed back towards the border crossing, I sat the backpack down beside a Sonoran hotdog cart and politely ordered a hotdog and Tecate beer. I chatted the vendor up in broken Spanish enough to distract him from the fact that I’d kicked my bag beneath the bench behind him. Finishing up my street food, it was time to head back home.
Inside of my wallet was my ID and my passport card required for re-entry. I hope this was the last time that phone ever rings.
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