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  • Tomas had been waiting twenty two minutes too long. His couriers were never late. Always, they were on time; always. He should have known better than to use his sister's two oldest sons, but he felt an obligation to family. At nineteen and twenty, Miguel and Anton swore allegience to the cartel and, until tonight had handled business without fault.

    He sent Santos out to wait for them while he considered what punishment to give them. It would not look good if this break in procedure wasn't punished, especially as they were family. Nothing too harsh or his sister would never stop crying; but bad enough to serve as a warning to others.

    He felt a draft on his neck as the outer door to the warehouse opened. Santos came into the office and his normally dark complexion was ashen. In his right hand was his mac-10 and his eyes searched left and right as he came forward.
    "Boss, I think you need to see this for yourself.", he said as he handed two old fashioned polaroid photos to him. "The subjects are outside in their car."

    He felt sick as he realized his sister would probably never stop crying and would blame him forever. Both boys had their throats slit and their tongues fed through the slits. Two big black X's had been placed over their faces with a magic marker. Feeling very old, Tomas slowly got up from his chair. That's when Santos handed him the third polaroid. The red circle around his face; it had to have been taken within the last hour. The killer had been here; in this very room.

    "Lock it down, Santos and call for some backup troops" Just then they heard sirens in the distance and he knew they had to move the bodies fast. Santos ran out the front door.

    "Boss, they're gone. The car too." Santos wheezed out as he ran back in.

    "Get rid of the hardware before the police arrive." Tomas told him. "Is everything else put away for the night?"

    "Yes boss, but we're thirty thousand light from the couriers."

    "Can't be helped now. Let's look like the normal factory workers on third shift."

    "Boss, I don't think you understood me when I said they were gone. I didn't move them. Someone else did."

    The sirens continued as the police cars sped by. Santos slipped out the front to make sure none of them stopped or circled the block.

    Tomas didn't understand why the killer would move the bodies. And who was he? Someone trying to take over his business? Tomas was getting angrier as he thought of someone trying to take what was his; what he had built if not from scratch, at least from his uncles scratch as he was put into prison. But he, Tomas had modernized the shipments and organized the different suppliers under one system. He had grown the organization to a modern business complete with his own listing on the stock exchange. He is the one who made it into a huge industry. How dare some newcomer challenge him?

    "Santos!" he called out with real anger.

    "Santos!" he repeated.

    He felt the draft on his neck as the outer door to the warehouse opened. He waited for Santos to enter.

    "Santos?" he called again.

    Tomas palmed the 9mm and opened the office door. There, against the wall was Santos. He would never again answer. Complete with Columbian necktie, he lay with a just developed polaroid on his chest. The black X from the magic marker was still wet...
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