Jack Hardcock: The Wrath of God (Part IV)

The border crossing station stuck out against the barren desert. The two guards laughed as they contemplated their easy assignments. “Lo tenemos hecho,” one said to the other.

Suddenly a lone figure barged in. The guards stared in awe at the ominous character. “Passport, please?” one asked in broken English.

The mysterious figure pulled out his .38.

“Jack Hardcock,” a guard gasped.

“Which way to Juarez?” Jack asked.

The guards silently pointed to the west.

“Gracias,” he said.

As Jack walked away, the guards watched as marched towards the horizon. “Dios ayudanos,” they uttered.

Gunshots and Mariachi music echoed through the streets of Juarez. Jack feared no evil as he walked through the valley of death. He knew the city would face the fate of Sodom and Gomorrah; God’s vengeance would soon reign.

If he himself was the one to deliver this vengeance, Jack did not know.

“I’m looking for La Casa de La Muerte,” Jack said to a random street vendor.

“Que?” the vendor replied.

“I’m an American,” Jack stated, “it’s my right to not speak Spanish. So you better answer me or answer to my .38!”

“sé lo que estás diciendo,” the vendor said, “pero no conozco este lugar.”

Jack pistol whipped the vendor and prepared to empty his revolver into the poor bastard. But Heaven granted the man a reprieve: at that moment, an angelic voice appeared. “Jack, no!” it ordered.

Jack’s hand began to shiver as he aimed the .38. He knew this voice.

“Maria,” he uttered.

Jack slowly turned around. Maria was as radiant as a bluebonnet under the Texas sun. He thought he’d never see her face again. “Wh-what are you doing here?” he asked.

“I’ve been in Juarez for sometime,” she said, “why did you not respond to my letters?”

“Maria,” he pleaded, “I’m so sorry. I…”

That moment, Pablo Santora came marching up in his Wrangler jeans and snakeskin boots. He put his arm around Maria. “Jack,” Pablo smiled from underneath his mustache, “so pleasant to see you again.”

“Pablo,” Jack simply said. He had to restrain himself.

Pablo lifted a cigar to his mouth. “Jack, old friend,” he continued, “I am the proprietor of La Casa de La Muerte. Please, stop by and see us, yeah?”

“Thank you for the invitation, Pablo,” Jack said.

“Mi amigo,” Pablo chuckled, and he slowly strolled away.

Jack and Maria continued to lock eyes.

“Why Maria?” Jack asked, “Why Pablo?”


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