May 05, 2013

Source: Marco Walker


I was driving on instinct alone. I”€™d lied to Jennifer when I told her I had an idea where Mickey might be, but when I got behind the wheel, taking the usual shortcuts, it was like my hands were doing the thinking. They were driving the car and driving me…to where Mickey might be. All I knew was: T-J. I didn”€™t know where in T-J. Since la violencia erupted in 2007 I hadn”€™t once been down there. (I doubt I”€™ll go again until they capture El Chapo and things finally quiet down, the drug-war death toll settling at over 100,000 people.)

I made the border in one hour and fifteen. I took the roundabout planted with the largest national flag in the world”€”Mexico has a thing for outsized flags; bigger even than North Korea’s”€”and before I knew it, I found myself parked outside the entrance of the Palacio Azteca Hotel. It was a business hotel, somewhere clean and American where Mick and I had stayed on previous visits to T-J, principally because it has the best security. It wasn”€™t much of a hunch to go on, but I proceeded.

At reception I asked if there was a Michael Waltz, a Mickey Waltz, maybe a Mick Waltz staying. The lady did a thorough check of her systems. Finally she concluded: No. 

I walked out the lobby, past a sign declaring A.A. Fellowship: 7:30 Dinner -> This Way ->. I wondered who exactly comes to Tijuana to detox, then admitted the demand here is intense all right (as evidenced by the cartels”€™ frequent destruction of local rehab clinics and the removal of corpses from the city’s overflowing morgues). Then her voice reached me: “€œSir! I have a Michael Fynn staying in room 402…?”€ 

A shiver snaked up my back. My instinct was correct.

I returned to the desk and had Eva the receptionist place a call. The phone rang, rang, rang”€”after three minutes the occupant of 402 picked up. I”€™d briefed Eva on what to say, but her request for a room clean was declined; the occupant told her never to call the room. He went on to explain he was waiting for an “€œIndian friend”€ to arrive at the hotel. And when he did arrive, this Indian friend, Eva was to send him up to his room. And no one else. No more phone calls. He was not to be disturbed. He hung up.

By now I was certain it was Mickey. I asked Eva to point out the window of room 402 from the courtyard. She obliged, then left me by the pool. I kept my eye on the window for ten minutes when the curtains opened for a flash”€”to check the world was still out there”€”then closed again. Too fast to glimpse a face. 

I ordered a beer and stayed put. I was halfway through my second Corona when the curtains opened again and first one, then two faces”€”belonging to two glamorous, heavily made-up Mexican ladies”€”appeared in the window frame. They were leaning on their elbows, looking down at the pool in a dazed kind of way, lazily smoking cigarettes”€”taking a break from the mischief and mayhem occurring in room 402.

The Indian friend. Who was he? Native American? From the Indian subcontinent? Either way, somebody was due to visit room 402, and it didn”€™t take a genius to imagine this person was a drug courier. The “€œIndian friend”€ was a ruse. But it was ruse I could use.

Assuming Mickey would have barricaded the door with whatever furniture was loose in his room”€”based on firsthand experience of his serious paranoia”€”I understood that my only way into room 402 was with, or via, the Indian friend. 

Whatever, whoever he was. Whenever he arrived. All I had to do was stay in the lobby until he pitched up. There was no alternative. 

I decided there and then. Intervention was the only option. It’s never fun, but the time had come. I had to perform a room-invasion.

Damn. Someone’s calling. Blocked number. I”€™ll tell you the rest next time. 


As ever”€”


(to be continued)



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