Outlaw Road (A Hunter Kincaid Novel) - Page 53

The two men returned carrying what looked like plastic wrapped bales of hay. The bales were bulky and Hunter watched the men struggle down the slope. They put the bales in the boat and went up again, returning in several minutes with two more bales. They did this until there were ten bales in the boat, and then the men pushed the boat in the river and paddled across to the U S side, landing right at the mouth of Madrid. They unloaded the bales and recrossed the river, doing it over again and bringing another ten bales across. When they had forty bales on the U S side one of the men climbed out of the canyon to a point by the pavement. He pointed a flashlight in the direction where the road went into the hills and blinked the light three times. He waited a moment, relieving himself as he waited, then climbed back down to the mouth of the canyon and sat on a bale with the other man.

Raymond’s voice crackled in her earpiece, “That guy almost peed on me, he was so close.”

Hunter smiled at the image, then pushed the mike button and said, “Did he get a return signal on the light?”

“Yeah, three blinks to answer. Looked like it was a couple miles away, up where the road goes into the hills.”

“They’re waiting down here with the load, like it’ll take a few minutes.”

“Yeah, I’ve been watching the road, and if they’re coming, they’re driving with their lights off.”

“Moon’s up, wouldn’t be too hard.”

“Hey?” Joe’s voice came over the walkies.

“Go ahead,” Hunter said.

“I’m seeing a tractor-trailer rig in my night scope. It’s coming lights out; looks like it’ll reach Madrid in a couple minutes.”

“Bueno,” said Raymond. “It’s game time.”


The driver of the big rig was good. He was alone, and had to stop the truck to open the wire-gap gate. He drove down the half-hidden caliche road to the canyon mouth, circling the rig around the bales of marijuana so he was pointed up the trail.

Hunter watched him get down and give the two men handshakes. They didn’t waste time, and opened the trailer to load the drugs. Hunter kept the agents informed, whispering in the mike as she looked over the rig. It was old, looking like it had a lot of miles on it. The cab’s paint was faded so badly it didn’t shine in the moonlight. The tires didn’t have a lot of tread left, and the aluminum-sided refrigerated trailer had so many dents she couldn’t count them all. She doubted if the refrigeration unit even worked.

After loading the truck, the three men got in the cab and the diesel cranked up, belching a column of black smoke from the twin pipes behind the cab. “Here they come,” Hunter said, and she left her hiding place to follow the rig up the trail. The truck went slow and careful. Hunter had no problem keeping up on foot, making sure the driver couldn’t see her in his big rearview mirrors. When the truck reached the open wire-gap gate, the driver stopped to let one of the men out to close it behind them.

The agents appeared like wraiths, swarming over the cab and the man at the gate. They were so sudden and so silent that when Joe grabbed the man at the wire gap, he screamed and wet his pants. Raymond and the others had the doors open and the men pulled out before they knew what was happening.

“Come on up, Hunter,” Said Raymond on his walkie as the others patted down the three men and read them Miranda in English and Spanish, asking them several times if they understood their rights. All three answered in English that they understood.

Hunter walked to the group and noticed the dark stain on the front of one of the men’s pants. “Somebody have an accident?”

Gary said, “Joe has that effect on everybody the first time they meet him.”

“It’s the excitement of seeing such a dynamic figure up close,” Joe said.

The agents were feeling good, still high on the adrenaline rush, and pleased with the operation. The man with the wet pants shook his head as he looked at Joe like the agent was crazy.

Hunter said, “I’m gonna open the back and take a look at the load.” Raymond went with her and both put on gloves to open the back doors. Hunter climbed inside the trailer and snapped on her flashlight. Raymond shined his from where he stood. Hunter checked several bales with torn plastic covers that exposed the marijuana.

Raymond said, “That grass as bad as it looks?”

Hunter squatted by one of the bales, “It’s the sorriest weed I’ve ever seen. Almost nothing but stems and seeds. I even see parts of a stalk in here.”

“Whatever they paid for this load was too much.”

Hunter hopped down and closed the doors. “We ready to go?”

“Yeah, Joe’s dying to drive the rig back to the office. He can’t wait to tailgate Gary and blow the airhorn.”

Hunter grinned, “Who’s taking the three?”

“J.D.’s taking one, Gary one, and you, if you want the last one. You always get them to talking, so I thought one with you might be more productive than the rest of us.”


Tags: Billy Kring Thriller
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