Inspired by a writing contest sponsored by Moleskine, a black notebook immerses Detective Emilia Cruz in a strange case of names, dates, and cartels in Acapulco.
Acapulco Black Book, Part 3
Emilia was behind the wheel of her Suburban. The afternoon sun beat down on the roof of the vehicle. She wore the big dark sunglasses that always made her feel like a masked superhero. Sunshine reflected off the glossy covers of a couple of magazines sliding around the passenger seat.
Driving through the colorful Colonia Alta Progreso residential neighborhood meant traversing the hills on the west side of the bay. Houses with a sea view preened over their lowly neighbors.
Neither too close to the tourist areas nor too far, Colonia Alta Progreso clung to a slowly fading dignity. Violent crime was encroaching, like everywhere else, but the narrow streets were clean. No graffiti marred the walls enclosing each property. No litter lined the gutters. Each household probably paid a street sweeper a few pesos each week to collect
trash and scrub stucco.
Up ahead, a truck swerved as if to avoid a pothole. With the sixth sense of a cop who’d beat the odds more than once, Emilia knew something bad was going to happen a split second before it did.
The truck jumped the curb and screeched to a stop. The passenger side tires left skid marks on the sidewalk. Two men with long guns leaped out and ran to an ornate wrought iron gate bisecting a cherry-colored stucco wall. The upper floor of a house in the same bright shade peeked over the top. The men didn’t jump the wall or bust down the gate but fired
through the iron filigree at the house.
Sicarios. Cartel killers.
Even as she yelled into her radio for backup, Emilia threw herself out of the Suburban. Crouching behind her open door for protection, she trained her automatic on the shooters. “Stop! Police!”
One of the sicarios turned toward the Suburban, his weapon carelessly sweeping rounds that chipped cement off the sidewalk, chewed a mangy bush, and thudded into the passenger side of the SUV. The vehicle rocked. Her glossy magazines slithered onto the floor. Heart pounding, Emilia squeezed off four rounds. All hit the man in the center of his
He pitched backwards and slumped against the wall by the still-closed iron gate. A young man’s soft mouth hung slack below glassy and sightless eyes.
The other shooter let out a cry. He grabbed his fallen comrade’s arm and headed for the truck.
“Stop right there,” Emilia shouted, her ears still ringing with the echo of gunfire. “Police!”
Even as the sicario kept his hold on the dead man, the ferocious rattle of his weapon shook the air. The windshield of the Suburban exploded like an atomic bomb, spewing a mushroom cloud of glass and chrome. Emilia flinched away and stumbled into the middle of the street, far from the protection of the big vehicle.
She saw the whole scene as though hovering above. The shooter vibrated with the constant recoil of his automatic weapon. His long hair danced against a high forehead.
Leaden fire raked Emilia’s body. She swayed and flopped, as helpless as a corn husk doll in a threshing machine.
The street became a slaughterhouse. Her skin was a sieve that leaked blood. Her screams went unheard in the bright afternoon sunshine.
“Em, Em. Wake up.” A quiet voice broke through the nightmare.