The hot air burned my eyes as we traveled through the scorching desert. I wasn’t a big fan of Arizona, especially during the summer months, but I was doing my job and that’s what mattered the most. Although I was worried about my horse—it had gone without rest for several hours and my prisoner’s mule done already keeled over. I prayed we would make it without any other casualties. But, we couldn’t stop—we were so close to the town I could see its silhouette up yonder.
A short time later as we approached the town, I saw a large fellow who stood at the end of a dirt road that lead into the city of Fairbanks. I figured it was the town Sheriff, and confirmed it once I saw the tin badge he proudly wore. Beside him stood two other men; I can only assume they were his deputies. Each of them wore an excited smile as I brought the prisoner in toward them, but cautiously had their side arms drawn.
My prisoner was Paco Ortega. He was wanted in the town of Fairbanks for robbery, kidnapping, horse theft and murder, and with those sort of charges a hefty five hundred dollar reward came with it. Once I came upon the three men, I saw that their smiles were created more from nervousness than from excitement.
The two deputies flanked to my right and pulled Senor Ortega from my horse. “Cabrons,“ he shouted once he hit the ground. The two men manhandled Paco back to his feet. The Sheriff yelled out orders to the two men and threatened if they let him get away, he‘d personally inflict serious bodily harm to each of them, though he never actually moved from where he stood. The older heavyset man stared out from beneath his thick bushy eyebrows with a melancholy expression. At first I wondered if he was considering not paying me; it wouldn’t be the first time a small-ville sheriff that lived out in the middle of the desert tried to double cross me.
Finally he looked over at me. “How’d ya do it son?” he asked in a deep husky voice.
“It wasn’t all that hard, sir. It just took a little patience and timing,” I replied rather sheepishly. After all, I didn’t want to come across as if I were bragging.
“Timing my ass, boy,” the Sheriff spat. “I’ve been trying for over two years to bring that there Mexican in. And you come prancing up in here and say it was just timing and patience. Bull shit son, and I ain’t talking about the kind in ma barn.”
“The pendejo got me while I make caca,” Paco said in his best broken English.
The three men stared at Paco for a moment, and then their gaze shifted toward me, as if waiting for an answer.
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