He would kill him behind the cantina; this much he knew for sure.

Jaime Guerra had a knack for ending lives in a quiet, out-of-sight manner that gained him much fame with the local gangsters. This, along with the obscene amount of tequila he consumed everyday, kept him alive. The parts of Mexico this slick-haired, suit-clad hit man frequented were never a walk in the park, even for locals. Jaime felt lucky when he didn’t have to break down a door, or slaughter an entire family. It wasn’t the people he killed  that got to him (he was more than aware of his sociopathic ways), but the noise that drew the attention of law and laymen alike; something along the lines of gurgled screaming and gunshots.

Although he felt like he was going to die nearly everyday since he was fifteen (the age of his first kill), he was able to shake the feeling from time to time. However, the abysmal numbness had been on him for nigh on three weeks with no end in sight.

It’s probably the drinking he thought.

Jaime’s eyes maintained a deadpan stare at the Cazadores bottle he held, but a hyena firecracker exploded in his mind.

Just like my fucking father.

Jaime would tell you that he hated his gangster father more than he hated every rich white tourist that passed through Tijuana. What he wouldn’t tell you is that the laugh in his head had exactly the same vigor and manic staccato that insane day.

Although the sun came up the same as every other day in the small Durango pueblo, Jaime had never really noticed the way its light cast across his parent’s bedroom, each ray highlighting in jagged slices. His mother, Maria, had been beautiful in her youth, but the constant physical, verbal, and emotional abuse dealt by his father aged her far beyond thirty four years. She slept next to him, curled away from him with a new bruise on the side of her misshapen nose.

Diego Juan Guerra looked like a scarier, less cartoon-like version of the Tapatio man. There was a charred spoon on the dilapidated nightstand next to his bed. It went perfectly with the syringe on the floor, the needle bent, the plunger slammed. How the man had not wasted all his veins, Jaime had no idea.

Diego did a nine-year stint in prison before his son was born, which is where he became involved with La Eme, and ultimately became the raving alcoholic heroin-addict. There were legends of a decent human living behind his father’s gangster exterior, but they stopped shining through long before Jaime’s birth. Beatings were daily, whippings happened every so often, and the kids deemed too young to strike (usually an appeal from a mid-slapped Maria) had chili peppers stuffed mercilessly into their mouths. Personally, Jaime would opt for the beatings every chance he could; the chili peppers made his stool bloody.

He pressed the sawn-off shotgun to his father’s chest, hoping that he would wake to his last bleary-eyed beat of existence, but the spoon was still hot and the warm milk soothed his sleep. When he pulled the trigger, his father’s chest cavity burst in a playful mix of blood and bone. The spray woke Maria, who screamed at the sight of Jaime’s crimson-dotted face.

“Calm down, mother,” was all Jaime could think to say. “We’re finally fre—”

She slapped him hard.

“You ungrateful little shit!” she shouted during a break in her sobs, the look of disdain growing more intense with every word. “Now what are we to do for food? What will his friends do when they find him? You stupid fuc—”

He shot her too, mostly out of panic.

Now he sat, twenty-two years later, no richer in compassion, drunk as he had ever been. It did not take much to make a name for yourself in a small pueblo, but Tijuana was another story. After that morning, Jaime ran and ran until his lungs gave out on the steps of an old church. He didn’t dare go inside, but slept in the alleyway with the shotgun tucked snugly under his jacket. When he woke, four men were closing in on him, each with 13 tattooed on their throats. Jaime didn’t know what they were after, but two fell to one blast before a single hand connected. The two remaining gangsters ran, but not fast enough.

Word spread of the cold-blooded fifteen year-old, and the right people began to find him. The income alone was worth each bullet, but Jaime didn’t want to do this forever. Now, in the cantina, he knocked back his final shot. The name of the soon-to-be dead man was scrawled on an index card that he kept safely in his pocket. He knew the man, and knew his habits; he would be here. Just to pass time, he took the empty Cazadores bottle and walked outside. As he began to walk behind the bar, he lit a cigarette and wrapped his hand tightly around the .45 revolver in his pocket.


Tijuana, Mexico – A well-dressedman was found dead behind local cantina. The cause of death was a self-inflicted gunshot wound. No I.D. available, but an index card with the name Jaime Guerra scribbled on it was found in the man’s front pocket.

– Pieter Weststeyn

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One Response to Vague-rant

  1. jaguarpress says:

    A stunningly deep portrait of the fear, violence, and narcotics that fuel the chaos of the Mexican-American border. It shows that the horrific problems facing Ciudad Juarez to Tijuana are not Mexican problems, but turmoil in Aztlan!

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