An Incident In Juarez

April 2, 2023

The Incident In Juarez

A Short Story


R.E. Prindle

Officer Smith:  Look at this, face down, feet in Mexico and head and torso across the line in the US.

Officer Riley: Ya, on the Bridge of America.

Smith:  Don’t see any wounds.  Is he asleep?

Riley:  I don’t think so.  Probably just knocked out loaded.

Smith:  I wonder who he is.

Riley:  You don’t know who that is?  That’s the folk singer Cowboy Buddy Wright.

Smith:  Who’s that?

Riley:  Never heard of Cowboy Buddy?  C’mon, man, as President Biden would say.

Smith: OK, big deal, I never heard of him.  Who is he?  What next?

Riley:  Well, we’ll pick him up and take into the station house, put him in a cell, and wait till he comes to.

Smith:  Yeah, Ok, but who put him there?

Riley:  I don’t know, but I know someone who might.

Smith:  Miguel?

Riley:  Uh, yup.  Here, I’ll, pick Buddy up, throw him over your shoulder and see if can raise Miguel on my device.

Smith carries Buddy while Riley hefts his phone and pushes a key.  It was a hundred degrees in the shade and there wasn’t any shade on the bridge.  Smith throws Buddy in the back seat as Buddy unconsciously mutters:  I can’t breathe.  Neither can I Smith huffs and puffs in the heat.

Smith:  Get ahold of Miguel?

Riley:  Yes, I did.  And he’s as chipper as ever.

Smith:  Do I care about chipper?  What’s his take on Cowboy Buddy?

Riley:  I don’t know. Mystery wrapped in an enigma.  It seems that Buddy’s presence was required by El Lobo to make a charity concert at the Sisters of Mercy orphanage.  Easter time too.  But they’re not celebrating Jesus but the guys on either side of hm.

Smith:  The place that’s trafficking in the kids.

Riley: The same.  Big to do. Lots of the Epstein crowd making merry and taking their choice.  Buddy seems uncomfortable with the gig but lacks the balls to refuse El Lobo.  Of course, I’m not sure that I would have the balls to refuse El Lobo.  Buddy gets a little intox providing subpar entertainment and offends El Lobo from the stage.

Smith:  From the stage?

Riley:  Yup.  Should have been there.  Buddy says that he has had enough, packs up his guitar and heads for the door, unsteadily.  El Lobo in his quiet way is enraged.   Buddy  leaves, falls down he steps, fortunately not hurting his guitar, stands up and starts yelling for a taxi.  Even if taxis were standing around outside the doors of the orphanage none are in sight.

So Buddy muddled and lost is stumbling down the streets of Juarez looking for a direction home when a car pulls and up and a voice says get in.  Miguel ends his story there, saying that he doesn’t know what happened then.

Our trail ends there Smitty, my lad,  now we’ll hat to prove we’re real detectives, inspector Keene, tracer of lost persons.

Smith: Yeah, like real detectives we’ll get our knowing sidekick Miguel going where no gringo dares to go.  Pay him another c-note and put him on the track.

Riley:  Cynical bastard you Smitty.  Maybe you don’t, but I’ve got a nose for this kind of work.  Jeez the pervs out picking up the kiddies and it’s Eastertime too.

Time passes.  Miguel the bloodhound sniffs, get on the trail and makes his report.

Miguel:  Ah Senores, it went down like this.  Senor Cowboy Buddy Wright of who I’m a big fan and sincerely regret his mistreatment, apparently lives in a different world when he’s one brick from completing the wall, should not have offended El Lobo, not only once but twice in the same evening. 

El Lobo is very tender concerning his orphans, several of which he has apparently made so he thinks Cowboy Buddy must learn a lesson.  Standing in front of the orphanage is a poor choice to hail a taxi,  Buddy appears to have thought his next step was the very dangerous one of walking stoned, alone and in the dark through Juarez to the bridge.

However he doesn’t have to.  A car pulls up, a door opens and Buddy is pulled inside.  Sound familiar.  What happened to Cowboy Buddy, I am not permitted to say but they drive him down to the place called The Rue Morgue, know that club, yes?  Yes, well you know then the trouble our Buddy was in.

Riley:  Oh, you don’t have to say any more Miguel, I’ve got it figured out.  See, Smitty, I told you I’m a master detective.

Smith:  Nevermind the self-applause, it’s disgusting.  So, what’s the story?

Riley: You know the reputation of the Morgue?  Buddy’s up and about now but he did have a couple punction marks. But he’s fine for now.  This is a case of ‘Better dying through chemistry.’  Murder but it will never be traced.  Buddy’s been injected with some chemical delayed action poison.  Very slow acting.  Ten, fifteen years from now Buddy will break out into a terrible rash that intensifies and will kill him.  Not knowing what to call it the Docs will name it Shingles, no one will be the wiser and El Lobo, if he’s still alive, will sit back and smile.  You should never mess with El Lobo he will be thinking that it was a simple twist of fate.

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