A flashlight beam smacked her in the face. Isabella gasped and her fear forced a bahhhh out of Cesar and a growl from Jimmy Smits.
“Bitch, you think you can leave me?” Herman says in English. “Bridge was fine. I was ten-seventeen - that’s cop talk - on your ass from the jump.”
“Cerdo!” Isabella hissed. And she never, ever had the heart to hiss at a muthafucka in her life. Better to smile. Offer him something soft and wet or she got it worse.
She expected Herman to throw her in the damn river, for real. But Herman just laughed. “I admire you,” he says. “You ain’t as dumb as I thought. How did you get across the river in that little fucked-up boat?
He was using his cop mind on her, but more so like he was in CSI: Miami, solving some fake-ass crime. Isabella let him talk as the sun grew redder and brighter over her shoulder, toward the beach.
Mira, first, he guesses that she ferried over Cesar and the yams, with Jimmy Smits tied to a tree trunk. She leaves the yams, rows back with the goat, lets Jimmy Smits loose and ties Cesar to the tree trunk - all in the dark - and takes Jimmy Smits over. Then she goes back for Cesar.
Isabella nodded. That was exactly how she did it, and Herman Munster tucks the flashlight under his arm and claps like an asshole.
Then Isabella drops Cesar and Jimmy Smits to the muddy ground. They run for Herman’s feet but hey, he was an NYPD sergeant. She’d have to do better than that - crackheads throwed live toddlers at his head to start a diversion.
But Isabella wasn’t running. Herman recovered from the goat and cat attack, and he cocked his arm, ready to send her to the wet ground with a mouthful of broken teeth.
That damn sun - the old petardos always said it was brightest after a hurricane. The rays burned his eyes just long enough for Isabella to reach into her purse and draw the Browning.
He heard the slide snap, and how the fuck did this stupid bitch take my gun off my lap and learn how to-?
POP-POP. Two in the head. POP-POP. One in the chest, then the groin. Fuck you, Herman Padilla, she say as he fell back into the shadows.
Isabella dumped the yams onto the road. At least Cesar would have some food, and, if nature and the Virgin Mother feels it, Jimmy Smits could come and eat Cesar if he, too, is hungry. At least they would be free, one way or another. And she’d practiced her story all during those first rain showers before Howard hit Puerto Rico. Yes, officer - looters scattered my Cesar and my Jimmy Smits after they killed my Herman Padilla from the Bronx. Looters even carried away my husband’s rings and gold chains, his travelers checks, cash. But I saved a few papers from these bandits - here in my purse which my beloved bought for me in San Juan. Like this one - a life insurance policy? Patrolmen’s & Firemen’s Mutual Benefit Company of New York? Cash value is what? $257,000. Is that a lot? I am now just a poor widow, with a farm full of dead chickens. I think I’ll just have to sell this land and move to New York and buy a new purse at this place Barney’s I hear about, Paramus Mall.
Isabella hiked to the beach, tossed the Browning into water. Mrs. Herman Padilla had figured that there were a few husbands who could figure out how to get yams, a goat and a pygmy jaguar across a river. But not too many men