As far as I know, I’ve never been on anyone’s hitlist myself. It doesn’t work that way. Revenge is never taken on the assassin but on the one who pays the money. But you still have to watch the ground beneath you for traps.
After the phone call and when I woke up the next day after a fitful sleep, I tried to write everything off. If they wanted the deposit back they could get it – the guy knew my email – but if they didn’t, I was going wipe my hands clear of this. Normally I’d get out of dodge as a second safety measure – switching hotels was the first one – but the last place anyone would expect me to stay would be in Puerto Vallarta.
The truth was, I wanted to see Alana. There was a voice in the back of my head, one that I’ve tried to ignore over the years, that told me if she was valuable dead to someone she might be even more valuable alive to someone. She meant something and those were the people I usually had to kill. No one pays a sicario to assassinate the worthless.
For the first time in years, I was intrigued, curious, interested in the world before me. I was fascinated by this mystery woman, this flight attendant with the big smile. Why her? Who was she and what had she done?
And so it was probably a big fucking mistake that I slipped a gun down my cargo shorts before slipping on shades and a wifebeater. I looked like your typical tourist down here to party – no one would look twice at me. Then I headed out the door, taking the bus to the hospital I knew she was at.
It’s funny how much I stick out like a sore thumb in Mexico. Though I’m as tanned as a motherfucker after being here for so long, I’m obviously not a local. My Spanish is excellent, though I dumb it down more often than not. It’s better that way. When you speak the language too well you raise questions and even though everyone always noticed me, they never noticed what I was doing. That was the big difference.
On the bus, for example, I was just another tourist trying to go somewhere. People looked, an older gentleman gave me a discerning glare, but then they forgot about me. I was different but not interesting. They would never in a million years know what I really did, how my trigger had time and time again changed the course of the cartels, and as a result, the citizens’ lives.
But though normally I would be cool and calm, this time I wasn’t. On that bus, I was nervous. Just enough to make the palms of my hands damp. I have no fucking idea why I was nervous, except that I was doing something I shouldn’t be.
I didn’t know what I was doing. That was a first.
When the bus finally let me off at the hospital, though, I didn’t waste any time. Even without a plan, I knew it was best to keep moving. I waited by the side doors to the building until a nurse went back inside from her smoke break and then followed her in. I got looks in the hall, but again I looked like someone just visiting their sister that got roofied at one of the downtown clubs or broke a leg in a parasailing accident.
One doctor ended up stopping me, asking me what I was doing and after I quickly explained, in English, that I was visiting family, he let me go. When an orderly on the second floor asked me the same, but in Spanish, I answered back in rapid fire English. That was enough for me to confuse him and he let me walk past. My size and strength probably had something to do with it as well.
Finally I found her floor. It was a big hospital and slightly chaotic. I used the disorder – the bustling staff, the patients wheeled to and fro, the opening and shutting of doors – to my advantage as I walked down the hall with purpose. Few stop a man with purpose.
I knew her room because there was a plain-clothed policeman standing outside of it. It wasn’t very subtle but I guess that was the point. To scare away people like myself, people who wanted to harm her.