“Huh. Well, look at that. It’s my suitcase.” Drew stared at the black bag sitting in the middle of the floor. Sitting in the middle of the first floor of what had once been a grand department store with sunlight streaming through the broken out front doors as if to spotlight it, his FBI-suitable case had a sadly forlorn look to it. “Was it there before?”
They’d run through that part of the broken down building so quickly all he could remember was the blur of motion and the effort to navigate through the abandoned store. Well, what ever. It was nice to get his belongings back. He came down the rest of the steps from the upper floors, heading for the suitcase. The two men with him followed right behind.
“I haven’t seen this since it since a few hours after I crossed the border.” He reached for it.
One of the Mexicans who had befriended him – Carlos? – knocked his hand aside and shook his head.
“How you know it is your bag?” The other one, Juan, asked.
“Um…” That was a very good question. Drew looked at it and wondered. Same sturdy black canvas, same pockets in the same places, same strap, and none of it any different from the millions of others like it to roll off the assembly line. He’d never personalized it in any way. “Well, I think it’s mine.”
He leaned over and pressed on the top over the flap for the main compartment. The bag crinkled. Whatever was inside was hard, too.
“That’s… different. There should only be clothing inside.” He tried to remember if clothing was supposed to sound like cellophane and feel like books. He was pretty sure it wasn’t. He quickly unzipped it, throwing the flap open to reveal an enormous pile of US dollars.
The Mexicans whooped for joy. Speaking rapidly in Spanish, they re-zipped the bag
It was a drop; a drug deal in progress. From the way his two companions were acting, they were a part of it. Drew reached for his cell phone to demand backup, then remembered he was in Mexico. Besides, this probably didn’t have anything to do with China Black, so it wasn’t his case. But he needed to get in touch with someone.
He used his contact list to call Agent Johnson in Albuquerque. Agent Johnson promised to contact the right people.
“Hey, who you calling?” Juan asked.
Drew almost told him. Then his brain kicked in. Juan and Carlos were bound to be drug dealers. If not then at least the members of some gang. They wouldn’t be so kind to him, offering to take him in to El Paso, if they knew he was an FBI agent who just reported this suitcase.
“My pet sitter.” He shrugged and smiled helplessly, as if expecting them to accept the lie just because it was the only thing he could think of. “I’ve been away from home too long.”
They gave each other curious looks, but both men shrugged as they hefted the suitcase that clearly was not Drew’s.
“Come. We get you home.”
If only that could be true.
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