The Iron Writer Weekend Quickie #40

TijuanaThe Iron Writer Weekend Quickie #40

One Picture

One Element

One Emotion

200 Words


A Yellow Scorpion


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9 thoughts on “The Iron Writer Weekend Quickie #40

  1. In a dirty, beige convertible I sat, parked in the chaparral a couple miles from the Mexican border. The sweltering sun glared down on me.

    A cassette protruded from the tape deck. I pushed it in with a click. A deliciously thick bass line by The Clash rattled out through the car’s stereo speakers.

    “Indecisión me molesta”, indeed.

    I scoffed and sat back in the cracked vinyl seat, pulling a cigarette from the flattened pack of Camels in my shirt pocket. I let the song play, the irony of it not escaping me, as I flicked open a Zippo and lit up.

    In the seat next to me was a canvas bag and a gold-plated Colt 45. It had white grips inset with a yellow desert scorpion on each side. Inside the bag was about fifteen kilos of pure, white blow worth about 500 grand.

    “So what do you think, amigo?” I said, looking over my shoulder and taking a drag.

    In the back seat lay the well-dressed corpse of some cartel honcho.

    “I’m thinking you fucked with the wrong cowboy.”

    Should I stay or should I go?

    Half a million bucks could buy me paradise south of the border.

  2. A decision. Or not. I sat in my late model Toyota Tundra, the engine idling, pondering my choices.

    The most recent piece of information was my target was now calling himself Jordan Bell from Indiana. Not only had he grown a beard, but he altered his behavior. The first sign was embracing a crude language that scared the neighborhood kids back in Utah, and his wife Emily. He revealed who and what he had become, the kind of man who would down a shot of Tequila with a yellow scorpion on the back of his hand on a dare.

    He slipped across the border last night, sliding into the night life of Tijuana, with its drugs and sex that hid many a desperado. I knew I had to follow, but doing so meant I would battle the cartels Bell was now a part of. Still, the bounty was more than what Bell had taken.

    I put the trunk in gear and pressed my foot against the gas pedal.

  3. A yellow scorpion scurried across the bonnet of the pink Mazda2, embarrassed as I was to find itself within 100 miles of its presence. Trust me to borrow my wife’s car on a day like this. I’d seen the shiny topped bearded man in glasses smoking in his convertible at the 2 mile mark into Tijuana on Highway 2 a moment ago and I parked in the nearest layby. Was that the dead body of Carlos I’d seen in the back seat? Adjusting the fluffy pink framed rearview mirror, I saw the car some way back at the junction. It sat there like some big beige monster ready to change my life. But for good or bad? I knew what Carlos had been up to and how he felt such a bigshot since getting connected, and I knew what he’d carried out of the trailer this morning. I’d warned him but now it was all too late. Should I do something? If I were in my Ford truck, there’d be a shotgun under the seat. In this car, the most lethal thing I’d find would be haircurlers. What now? A Toyota Tundra drove by with speed back towards the vehicle.

  4. First Impressions

    Years ago I attended a conference in California, my first visit. I loved it. I now know we were shown only selected parts, but, hey, they wanted California to make a good impression.

    They organised the delegates to visit Mexico. As our bus trundled down the highway, I was agog with the subtle beauty of bare hills and dry desert. But stopping at Tijuana, we were ushered into a nightclub called The Yellow Scorpion. I wasn’t sure I wanted to go in, but, no choice; the bus driver herded us like lambs into a slaughterhouse.

    Inside the gloomy interior, we found all tables and chairs were screwed to the floor; the Margaritas were expensive, sweet and so watery, I wasn’t sure if any tequila was in the recipe; the singer was so desultory, I thought she’d fall asleep mid-song. She’d tried to compensate by showing more skin than you’d find on a Malibu beach….

    Obviously, the motivation was to separate us ignorant tourists from our money with no concerns about making good impressions.

    The Yellow Scorpion’s stinger had been removed a long time ago. We were ushered back onto the bus safely, perfectly sober and with a story to tell. Not so bad, all-in-all.

  5. Narrator : Poised to strike, El Escorpion Amarillo looms large on the barren South-West landscape when he spies a small spider running toward him.

    El Escorpion Amarillo : “FREEZE dirtbag? Grovel at my feet ‘worm’!”

    Narrator : The spider runs left, then right, then left again trying to escape, but El Escorpion Amarillo grabs her stings her to death. Then he sees a grasshopper coming his way.

    El Escorpion Amarillo : “STOP, Slime! How dare you approach me! Are you REALLY so foolish as to enter my space?

    Narrator : The grasshopper runs left, then right, then left again trying to escape, but “El Escorpion Amarillo grabs him and kills him too. Then he spies a large lizard scurrying toward him.

    El Escorpion Amarillo : “HALT, scum! You shall not pass by me without praising my glorious attributes.”

    Narrator : The lizard turns left, then right, then left again, trying to escape, but “El Escorpion Amarillo” stings the lizard to death.
    Suddenly an enormous shadow engulfs the scene. El Escorpion Amarillo looks up and shrieks in terror. Running left, and then right, then left again there is no escape ….

    … SQUISH!

    An old rusty pick-up leaves El Escorpion Amarillo as a tiny smear on the sizzling tarmac; just adjacent to the road-sign to Tijuana…

    Narrator : … and such is the fate of a little fish in a big pond.

    • … and thus you have a story published BEFORE my wife edited it. There’s a question mark where an exclamation mark should be, and open quotes, and more … That’s what I get for being impatient.

  6. A cloud of dust moved toward the cantina. Buzzards circled.
    The faint sound of “Hotel California” echoed the desert walls.
    Right on time. Rose smiled to herself.
    Her money sat hidden beneath the skirts of two Mexican dancers- Estelfa and Carmen. Both packed steel blades and bullets.
    Rose turned and nodded to them and their eyes watched the door.
    The cowboy parked and strode into the crumbling pink cantina.
    He saw Carmen and Estelfa first, but forced his eyes away.
    Rose waited by the window.
    “Been a while,” he said, scraping the wooden chair across the floor, taking a seat.
    “Too long,” she said.
    “Three years in a federal prison will do that to you,” he said, feeling for his Camels.
    He’d almost turned back at the border. But he was obsessed with his money, making Carlos pay, and her.
    “Glad you could make it,” she said, smiling a bandito’s smile.
    “Wouldn’t miss it for the world,” he said, lighting a cigarette.
    Miles away, a Toyota Tundra made its way south from San Diego, followed by a Mazda as glorious and pink as the setting desert sun.
    Inside the beige convertible, Carlos twitched.

  7. The sun disappeared over the horizon long before I got to the cantina. It was hot and I knew it would get hotter. This village was the kind where real men died quick and painless, left to rot in unmarked graves. I locked the Tundra but knew it would be gone in an hour. I could sense it.
    I rolled a cigarette, sneaking furtive glances at the shadows and open windows around the square. The place was closing up, the natives knowing it was not the time to be on the street. The only one I saw was a young boy in dirty white pants and shirt down the street, dragging a jackass into the darkness.
    I put a match to the cigarette and glanced back down the road. Right on time the vehicle that had been following me the last few miles drifted into view; a god awful nondescript pink foreign job of questionable craftsmanship. It rolled past in the dust, the driver doing his best to appear indifferent. I knew better. I figured if that was the best he could steal to get to the party in, he didn’t have a chance, not with who was in the cantina. He was out of his league and didn’t know it. But then I realized I wanted him, I needed him. While Herr Bell, or whatever name he was using tonight, was busy deciding where the danger was coming from, I could make my move.
    I unzipped my jacket and flexed my shoulders, feeling the dead weight of my twin 45’s hanging in their holsters. I turned on my boot heels and slipped into the cantina, a place I was sure that most could check in, but not out.

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