This is the first issue in Volume 3 of A Long Road to Fortune. It is titled Condescending Memories.
20 years ago...Edit
The bright sunlight made the day shine heavenly. The seagulls flew around aimlessly without a care in the world. Over here in this military outpost located somewhere within the Costa Chica region of the State of Guerrero, a frustrated man ran some laps around a training course along with the rest of his fellow soldiers. Unlike the other soldiers, this particular man was giving it all he had because he obviously wanted to get his training done as quickly as possible. When he finally did finish, he retreated back to his bunk to wait further instructions. Mr. Chet, or at this point in time, Joaquin, was the troubled man. In his bunk bed he held a photo of him and his daughter Anna. She had only been born 7 months ago and he had only been drafted into the military 3 months ago, and yet it felt like the last time he had seen his wife or daughter was much longer than that. A single moment felt like an eternity of moments he would never be able to reclaim, to forever be drowned in rage. Just then, another man came into the bunks. "Hey Joaquin, stop fucking about with that damn picture of your family and live a god damn little. That shootout with the cartel we had last week was damn great. Did you see the head shot I gave that gangster punk?" Gustavo asked. Joaquin had always been sickened by murder and during these run-ins with the cartel he only aimed to injure the opposing shooters. "They say they were some of Escobar's guys. What the hell are they doing all the way up here? This is Don Tucan's territory," Joaquin commented. "Man fuck Escobar and Don Tucan. I'll tell ya anyone of these days they'll get Escobar and Don Tucan's luck will run out too," Gustavo replied. Just then, an alarm sounded, which told the soldiers to move out to their respective vehicles. "Come on, I want to see if I can get a bullet through one of their eyes," Gustavo commented. "Fucking damn it Gustavo, we're just going to patrol the streets. You don't need to get so gitty," Joaquin replied. Gustavo could tell by his tone of voice that his fellow bunk mate was as sour and angry as usual so he went on ahead without him. Joaquin got up and grabbed everything needed. He stood still for a moment and took a deep breath. He had his eyes closed for a few seconds until he began to clench his teeth and began to punch the wall. After that display of emotion, Joaquin finally left.
Mr. Chet and his camaraderie had successfully escaped the Hermenegildo Galeana Elementary School. Night time was now upon them and a short road to the marketplace awaited them. There were few groseros in sight and between each other, the men had more than enough muscle to take care of them. They parked their vehicle 4 blocks away and made their way to the marketplace on foot. The lively houses that composed La Reforma were now damaged and abandoned. What was once themost populated street in Tecpan de Galeana was now reduced to looking like a decrepit ghost town.
"Think Jose is still up?" Jaime asked everyone.
"Of course he is you imbecile, that's his job. He's the guard," Aguila replied. Jaime gave Aguila the bird and he responded by doing the same.
"If you fools bring on more attention to us, I'll kill you," Daniel said, threatening the both of them.
"Relax big guy, we are just too damn happy about making it out of there in one piece. But looks like Murrieta showed them who's boss, ain't that right?" Jaime said.
"I just did what I had to do," Mr. Chet replied, with a surprisingly neutral tone.
"But damn, did that guy look fucked up. You destroyed him," Aguila said, with glee and respect. His sudden outburst caused a small group of groseros to take notice of them.
"Motherfucker, what did I tell you? We just needed to walk 2 more blocks! When we get back, I'm going to give you an asswhooping!" Daniel replied, clearly furious. The 4 men began to make quit work of the groseros with their respective melee weapons. Mr. Chet and his icepick, Daniel and his axe, Aguila and his hammer, and Jaime and his knife. Together, they stabbed, mangled and reduced grosero heads to mush.
"See Daniel, it ain't like these thing are tough or anything. Me la pelan," Aguila said.
"Really Daniel. You need to relax, it's always ass whoopings with you. If our government was as strict as you, more of these huevones would be alive today," Jaime replied. He had never been to bright.
"How is that a bad thing? You know, more people being alive?" Daniel asked. Jaime pretended to ignore Daniel while the rest of the groseros were decimated.
"Alright guys, we need to tell Mendoza about Gustavo. I know he will be back and I know he will want to kill for revenge. I know that man very well, had we stayed there any longer he would have used you for shooting practice. I'm just lucky his people were loyal to him or they would have shot us both down," As the men approached the marketplace, their candle caught Jose's attention.
"Ha. I knew good ol' Mr. Chet would be a hard cabron to kill," Jose said. He began to open the door for the rapidly approaching men.
Back at the school, Ashton was getting reacquainted with his old classroom. He had vivid memories of sitting in that blue desk by the window everyday, from kindergarten to the very end of grade school. Just looking out and seeing the ghosts. He decided to sit down and relive some tragic nostalgia. "Condescending memories..." Ashton began to doze off but kept himself from falling asleep. He could not risk being found, but at the same time he was exhausted. He had not slept the night before due to the grosero attack on the marketplace. He needed some shut eye and he knew it.
Before leaving his classroom, peeled off some of the paint on his old desk and uncovered his fingerprint. The school wasn't terribly big. Only an outdoor hallway split the school, one part had all the classrooms and the principal's office, including the front gate and the courtyard, while the other contained the playground, the recreational court, the cafeteria and their storage room. Ashton knew that if he could get some shut eye and remain himself from being seen, it had to be in that storage room. As he walked down the hall he could observe what use each of the classrooms had attained. Some were for sleeping and some looked to be for keeping prisoners. Only a few were locked, an obvious sign of their use for keeping weapons and supplies safe.
"It's a heck of a lot more organized than the marketplace..." he thought to himself. Most of the people were asleep, and only one room remained lit. Ashton had to maneuver his way around it to avoid being seen.
In that room were none other than Yuri and Francisco, who stood next to their leader's bedside. This used to be the nurse's office so it made perfect sense for it to keep it's delegated use. "Why didn't you do what I tell you to do...now that marketplace will be much harder to inhabit....we needed those hostages...," Gustavo said. "Sir, we weren't going to kill you just to keep the hostages. You're the man in charge. All of us would be lost without you," Francisco said in response. "We're loyal, sir," Yuri added. Gustavo was calm and not his wild self. "Tomorrow we'll attack the marketplace. The only thing I'll need to be ready for tomorrow is a good night's rest. You should do the same," Gustavo ordered. With that, Yuri and Francisco killed the lights and left the room.
Unbeknownst to them, Ashton had seen and heard everything from outside. The window was open on one side, so he could see, but it was hard to make out what was happening outside of the room, which had granted Ashton the stealth he needed to eavesdrop. He left for the storage room before Yuri and Francisco left the infirmary. Ashton made his way past the court to the storage room, which he searched for groseros. After deciding it was clear, he hid under some old cardboard boxes and dozed off slowly. Just outside, however, Francisco and Yuri were waiting.
- This issue marks the return of the marketplace, which had been absent since Issue 11.
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