THE LISTMAKER OF ACAPULCO: A Detective Emilia Cruz Novella
The distant burble of steel drums and happy laughter masked the lengthening tension. Emilia steeled herself for whatever Alvaro had come to say.
“I guess you’re happy,” he said at length with a gesture that encompassed the bar, the beach, the hotel.
Her life with a gringo.
“Is that why you’re here?” Emilia asked. “To give me another lecture about living in sin with a gringo?”
Even if Alvaro took back the words tonight, Emilia would remember them forever. You sleep with him and you take money from him. What’s that called?
“No.” Alvaro dug in a pocket and produced a black flash drive. “I found this today in the bin assigned to the Tito Sandino Hernandez shooting. It’s not logged into the evidence tracking system.”
Emilia took it from him. The USB connection was covered by a clear plastic cap. Otherwise there was nothing remarkable about the little drive.
“Just say yes or no.” Alvaro paused. “Was it in the bin when you came to the evidence locker after the shooting?”
“That’s all I needed to know.”
She was surprised that Alvaro didn’t mention that a black notebook and keychain were missing from the bin. Perhaps he thought he knew who took them.
“Did Victor Obregon Sosa come to the evidence locker after I did?” Emilia dropped her voice to a whisper, “Ask to look in the same bin?”
“I know you’re facing a board of inquiry.” Alvaro finished his mojito. “It’s not looking good.”
“Who says so?”
“There’s a duplicate flash drive in the bin.” Her cousin shifted to face the beach, rather than Emilia. “It’s new and blank. A decoy until the original is replaced.”
“Understood,” Emilia said.
“Come by the office tomorrow morning for coffee.” Alvaro said. “Ten o’clock.”
“I’ll be there.”
He rose, still not meeting her eye. “Tell Rucker thanks for the drink.”
Emilia watched him leave the hotel, her thoughts swirling. Was her cousin taking a huge risk to help her because he was concerned about the board of inquiry? Or was he a pawn, delivering a message from Obregon?
It was impossible to know.