Reynoso made a familiar gesture to the bartender, then held up three fingers. The older gentleman hesitated for a moment, then recognized the signal and placed three shot glasses on the bar and filled them with Reynoso’s favorite tequila. Reynoso took one of the glasses, then pointed to the table with the Americans and the bartender shuffled out from behind the bar and placed the remaining shot glasses on their table.
The two FBI agents seemed to recognize the gesture. Their final drink before they died. Both men picked up their glasses and they toasted Reynoso as the three of them tossed the tequila down their throats.
“Very nice,” Nick said, sensing the end coming. “But in my introduction to my partner I failed to mention his prowess with a gun.”
The tall American, Matt, pulled aside his jacket and exposed a shoulder holster with a pistol. For some reason he smiled.
The bodyguards lifted their shotguns, ready to fire.
“You think this is some form of threat?” Reynoso asked. “I have two of my best men aiming a shotgun at each of you.”
Finally the partner spoke. “Here’s the thing. I’ve practiced drawing my weapon several hours a month. Sometimes I do it while watching TV just to keep fresh. I’ve been ready for this my entire life.”
Reynoso laughed. “You are a very stupid man. Wasting your life on such a useless activity.”
“So now I have a question for your men,” Matt said. “That’s a Mossberg 500 pump action shotgun they’re holding. What they need to ask themselves is--Can they actually rack and slide a shell into their chamber before I can draw and double-tap my Glock?”
Reynoso sensed a tightness in his bodyguards demeanor. He could tell they were wondering the same things themselves. Could this guy really be that good?
“Wait,” Reynoso said, pointing at Nick, “you will not be shooting your weapon?”
“Nah,” Nick said. “Be a waste of time. I’m pretty slow on the draw.”
Then he looked at Matt. “And you will draw your weapon and fire two shots before they can shoot their shotguns?’’
“Yes,” Matt said. “I think you’re catching on.”
“Come now,” Reynoso said. “Are you being serious with this?”
“Yeah, and listen, I want to make sure these guys understand English, because I warned someone earlier that might not’ve understood me. You see, I shoot to kill.”
Reynoso assessed his men and saw their nerve being tested. They didn’t have the same determination they had begun with.
“You should tell them to place their weapons down,” Matt said in a non-threatening tone. “It’s the humane thing to do.”
“And if I let you go?” Reynoso said. “Then what?”
“Then we leave,” Matt said. “And you go on with your corrupt lifestyle intimidating innocent people and killing anyone who threatens you.”
Reynoso was calculating the damage to his authority should he decide to let the Americans leave. With everyone watching, he couldn’t afford to be seen as weak. Word would spread. He needed something to save face.
“All right,” Reynoso said. “I will allow you to leave.” Then he nodded at the kid at the bar. “But he stays.”
The boy screeched, “No. You can’t do that.”
The two Americans looked at each other, considering the offer with a look of disgust on their faces while the kid sobbed and begged.
Finally Nick said, “Believe me, we’re tempted to leave him here, but we’re going to have to take him back home and deal with him there.”
The kid’s sobs became moans of gratitude.
Reynoso was up against a wall. He couldn’t afford to have these foreigners bully him in front of his people. He rubbed the back of his neck and frowned. “I am sorry, but the boy must stay. That is my final offer.”
Dane’s eyes were swollen and glossy with small childish noises coming from his throat.
Matt stood there with a look of disappointment. The fingers in his right hand fluttered by his side. “Then it seems we have a problem.”
“Yes,” Reynoso said. “We do.”
It was so quiet in the bar, the only sound came from a squeaky ceiling fan above them. Reynoso glared at the Americans with a determined expression. “It is unfortunate.”
“We don’t need to do this,” Matt said with a hint of sympathy in his voice.
“Yes,” Reynoso said. “We do.”
Matt’s stare was intense, but Reynoso noticed he was staring directly at Reynoso’s torso, as if looking through him. It became apparent that Matt was watching for any quick movement his bodyguards might make with his peripheral vision.
In the silence, Nick said, “Please, let us go. You can save your men’s lives. These are good men. They work hard for you. They have families.”
The entire room stool perfectly still, as if posing for someone to paint scene.
Reynoso lifted his finger like a gun and aimed it at the two FBI agents. Immediately the bodyguards took their cue and furiously pumped back on the rack of the shotgun. Two loud shots exploded inside the low-ceilinged room. Reynoso flinched. The two bodyguards dropped hard to the floor. As they landed Reynoso could see a bullet hole in the center of both of their foreheads.
A woman screamed. A bottle of tequila slipped from the bartender’s hand and crashed by his feet.
Nick Bracco walked over to the kid at the bar and grabbed the back of his shirt, then pulled him from his bar stool and tugged him toward the door.
Matt holstered his pistol and moved toward Reynoso. He looked down at the dead men lying next to their boss and with a look of disgust, he said, “Better call their families, Jefe. Tell them how brave they were.”
As Matt was walking out the door, he turned to Reynoso and added, “Have us followed and you’ll be making phone calls the rest of the night.”