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Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Chapter 4 - Part 2

“I don’t plan on getting caught, and with any luck, the name I’m using will give me just enough cover if I do. Most of the time the border patrol just sends you back without getting your prints completely processed first, or at all. Not a good policy, but with the amount of traffic that crosses the border here, and is caught, it is understandable,” the conversation was over as quick as it had begun, and they drove on in silence. Jan’s mind wandered back to the arrangements they had made if she were to get caught. She was going to use the name Isabel Garcia Lopez. If there were any problems, the phone number she would give them would be Manuel’s cell phone, in Mexico, or a phony address in Hermosillo. Ward arranged this when Manuel had dropped off the clothes, and then later shared it with Jan. He was to pose as her brother if she called. Most importantly, he was not to let Mama Garcia know what was happening, they didn’t want to worry her anymore than necessary. Manuel would be good cover, and would come to meet the bus if necessary. Ward left a vehicle available for him to use for just such an event. Ward and Jan tried hard not to involve the Garcias at all if possible, but sometimes they would use Manuel as back up.
The drive through what could only be described as a dusty, sandy, low scrub desert was fairly boring if one was not in love with the desert. They didn’t talk for hours and barely shared their thoughts. Jan watched the scenery as they traveled down the nearly empty roads through the countryside. As they passed through the small towns she would watch the locals walk along the streets and glance unnoticeably at the Explorer. She drifted in and out of a restless sleep, and when it was about noon they stopped to grab a couple of sodas and a taco with everything, from a vendor on the corner. The place looked as if it was well kept even though the wood that held the stand together was well worn from the years of weathering, and the paint was almost nonexistent from sun and wind. There seemed to be a lot of people enjoying the food and just as many waiting to be served. They finished eating quickly and got back into the Explorer. As they got back in, Jan and Ward started a small conversation that had nothing to do with the job they were about to embark on. It was just simply small talk. The small talk seemed to loosen up their minds as well as their muscles. As they talked about nothing of importance, the tension seemed to drift off on the wind that passed through the vehicle. Most of the drive was done, but they needed to get to Hermosillo before the last bus left for Nogales. Jan had printed out the schedule yesterday to make sure they didn’t miss it. One more day could mean that they would lose a lead. It could also mean that there would be more people preyed upon and lost. On this job, time was everything. They also knew that the full moon was tonight, and for the next couple of days crossings would be favorable, and frequent.
Ward drove for another hour and a half. He then pulled over to the side of the road on a dusty and sandy turnaround that barely existed. Off to the side there were the remains of a table and what might have been a trash container at one time or another. The Explorer jostled to a stop and he turned to look at Jan. They were just outside of Hermosillo. Ward wanted to ask Jan if she had everything she needed, but he already knew she did. Words would not serve his purpose right now. Instead he just stared at her and she returned his strong gaze with one that was equally as strong. Knowing what he was thinking without even reading his thoughts, she allowed her thoughts mix with his to let him know that she was feeling the same. To ease the tension and create a diversion, in her thoughts she went over what she had in her bag, and going over the premise of the legend, or persona she was about to adopt.
Jan had placed two thousand dollars in the bottom of the bag, and had a bit of extra cash sewn carefully into the straps of the bag where it would be hard for anyone to know it was there but her. It was a less likely place for someone to look, and even if they did, she had it well disguised within the folds of the fabric. She had carefully packed the bag to look like it contained nothing important. A couple changes of clothes, a few bread rolls bought from the local bakery, a bottle of water, a ragged old pad of paper, a pen, and an old rosary that Manuel had tucked in the bag before he gave it to her. The bag looked old, shabby, and lacking in the many items she may be in need of to protect herself, but in all reality it contained all she would possibly need or want. Ward had always been baffled by her choice of items. It wasn’t standard equipment, but it always seemed to get her out of trouble when she needed it.

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