Four Days On a Trail of Tears
Day 2 -- Smuggler

M. Stanley Bubien

My first mistake was forgetting to ask the size of our load. My second was realizing it as the Coast Guard boarded our bucket.

I leaned toward Raul and asked, "How much we carrying?"

He answered in Spanish.

"Not enough!" I said. "We're the damned decoy! Takin' the rap while the real shipment slides through---" I cut myself short. The officers were asking to inspect our freezer.

I slapped Raul on the shoulder and slid below. Peering into the refrigerated hold, I began pulling bricks from the piles of fish, stuffing them into my pack, and once I had about twenty kees, I headed forward.

Popping back through the bulkhead, I faced Raul's knife.

My heart sank. Raul and I had bonded on this trip. The last thing I wanted was to hurt him---this haul was already enough of a disaster.

"Please," I pleaded. "You can even come along."

His brow raised---but only for an instant. He frowned and began passing his knife from hand to hand.

No choice.

Before he could flinch, my gun appeared and three cartridges unloaded into his chest. His body thumped onto the deck at my feet.

I was speeding away in the skiff as pandemonium broke out. I sighed. That much pure cocaine in the freezer would keep them very busy---too busy to chase one escapee. I caressed my pack, happy to have salvaged something.

But against my will, I found myself wondering how many other bodies would be thumping against the deck before it was over.

Based on a true story.
Read Day 3

Copyright ©1996 M. Stanley Bubien. All Rights Reserved.

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September, 1996
Issue #6

Four Days