They were driving north on I-10 toward downtown Tucson with Nick in the passenger seat and Matt and Dane in the back. Jesse Martinez was already in custody and going through the bargaining process of reducing his sentence for information on Reynoso’s Uranium-trafficking deal. The Familia Reynoso was greeted quite harshly by a CIA-FBI taskforce a half mile offshore from the Puerto Vallarta port. It would be a long process, but the FBI’s Russian contacts would eventually lead them in the right direction. In the digital era there were always trails to follow and the FBI would get their due.
Matt was looking down at his phone scanning his emails when he glanced at Dane. “We found your friend.”
Dane’s mouth opened and stayed there. “How? Where?”
“He crawled his way to the front door of some unsuspecting family just inside our border,” Matt informed him. “He was suffering from multiple gunshots and many broken bones, but it looks like he’s going to survive.”
“What? That’s crazy!”
Hal looked over his shoulder at the kid from behind the wheel. “Really? That’s crazy?”
“Leave him alone,” Nick said. “He’s delirious.”
“That’s the nicest thing you could say about him,” Hal said.
Hall turned onto an exit ramp with the sun lighting up the eastern horizon.
“Where are we going?” Dane asked from the back seat.
“You think we’re going to let you go free after all the trouble you caused?” Nick asked.
“But . . . but . . .” Dane stammered, his eyes pleading with anyone who would look his way.
No one did.
Hal turned right and maneuvered down a two lane road, then turned into the entrance to a small hospital overlooking the highway.
“But I helped you find that Reynoso guy, right?” Dane said, looking at the parking lot and recognizing something. “Wait, that looks just like my mom’s car.”
“That’s because it is your mom’s car,” Nick said.
Hal swung the SUV around the semicircle drop-off area fronting the entrance to the hospital and stopped.
“What’s going on?” Dane asked.
Nick swiveled around in his seat and said, “Your friend is inside and I’ll bet he’d like to see you.”
“So . . . I can go?”
Dane looked at Matt and he nodded without looking up from his email check.
Dane pulled the handle on the door and when it opened, he said, “Are you coming with me?”
“No,” Nick said. “We’re leaving. We have more important challenges ahead of us. You’re free to go.”
“Your car is at Palisades Repair Shop a mile from where you drove it into the ocean. I hope you have good insurance.”
“And I’m not going to be arrested?’
“What about those guys that were waiting for me outside you complex? You said they were going to be at my house.”
“We lied,” Nick said. “It was a couple of college kids. The driver’s mom is an old friend from Baltimore. They were glad to sit in the rain for a couple of hours for a little extra cash.”
Dane tried to put the pieces together while sitting there with his hand still on the door handle.
Nick finally raised his eyebrows. “You can go, Dane. You did something very stupid and broke some laws in the process, but you are a guppy in an ocean of sharks. We’re after the sharks. Stay out of Mexico for the rest of your life and you’ll be just fine.”
Dane still couldn’t believe his ordeal was ending. “What if I have more questions?”
Matt rolled his eyes, then pulled a business card out of his coat and tossed it at the kid. Dane lifted from his lap and gave it a serious examination, as if it might be a fake.
“Go,” Matt said, “before we change our minds.”
Dane got the hint. A smile creased the side of his face. He jumped down out of the back seat and just as he was about to shut the door, Matt said, “Hey kid.”
Matt gave him his best FBI agent glare and said, “Don’t be greedy.”