Caleta Beach– Acapulco, Mexico (Previous Chapter: 001)
Acapulco is a resort-city that has an arching bay that urbane skyscrapers and mountains surround. It is a hotbed of escaped millionaires, locals and vacationers. The bay separates into Acapulco Bay and Puerto Marques Bay where dozens of hotels, restaurants, and tourist shops hug from behind. More luxurious hotels and gardens lay in the crevices and at the peak of the mountains between exotic vegetation and palm trees. The sun was hot and dry over the premier tourist city of Mexico where its major port buzzed with activity.
The city was not so popular once. It rose to fame rose in the late 20th century after the International Airport and the city of Acapulco were connected by order of the current President. Hollywood stars such as Elvis Presley molded a getaway out of the city, further heightening its notoriety. The rich history of the area allures international attention to the city that held remnants from pre-Columbian Mexico to Modern culture. Acapulco pushed every stereotypical viewpoint of its culture to entice the luxurious with the exotic. Now the city was the “pearl of the Pacific” attracting thousands of tourist year-round.
It was easy to determine the tourist from the locals. The tourist who wore bold and brightly colored patterned skirts that one thinks of when one thinks of Mexico. They did their hair up in beads and scarves, and wore tons of jewelry. Those were the imitators. There were also the Americans, bleached and blonde and too skinny in bikinis and body-con dresses. They perpetually talked and texted with their sun glasses on, said hola to every olive-skinned person they saw, and spoke their English like molasses. However, none was worst then the honeymooners. They, so wrapped in themselves and their love, polluted the beach with their endless love garble and face-sucking.
Lana sat on a beach overlooking the Pacific. It was infested with tourist that Lana watched with little interest as she took bites of her proscuitto sandwich, bought from Oleander, one of many Italian restaurants to be found in Acapulco. If she’d cared to look behind her, she would see large buildings created shadows with tall arches and screaming traffic. Cruise ships from Panama and San Francisco could be seen in the endless blue that surrounded Mexico’s largest beach.
Lana had spent her morning interviewing tourists and bartenders at this very beach, showing rough sketches of the two teen girls found dead earlier that morning. As usual, no one had seen anything nor could anyone identify the two girls. She had Medina keeping tabs at other local stations to see if a missing persons report was filed.
The soulless bodies had been left with Coroner Greene while she went to APD Base to update Commander Juarez. Lana waited for an official autopsy and toxin report that she didn’t need to tell her that the two girls were high as a kite when they were killed.
A small fig fell from her sandwich and landed in the sand. Lana thought to pick it up, who would care. She looked around at the people around her: families on long towels, women with beach waves and baked skin, a baby boy crunched white earth, and many flocked around the balneario‘s. Paid actors walked around in red flowing gypsy skirts, white shirts and beaded bracelets offering drinks. Market sellers coaxed children towards their stands with colorful jewelry and woven crafts. Her eyes looked absently and saw nothing, glazing as her mind slipped back to the past.
It was Saturday, and she was off of work. It was so rare for her and her brother to be off work on the same day.
This was during that time that she believed in luck.
She had walked into the room like a bob cat grinning. Lana hadn’t seen the cotton hoodie on the floor.
Her brother laughed as she stumbled; the bowl of off-brand cheese puffs in a jalapeno flavor snowed around her. Her brother that she hero-worshipped with slicked back hair and big hands had a rich laugh. It had mingled nicely with Malena’s throaty laughter. His wife, perched on the sofa’s arm had seen the whole thing.
With clarity she saw him in his white beater, too-big jeans, his long dark hair braided and his favorite beanie. She teased him endlessly about the hat that he wore even in the dry, Mexican summer.
Malena had sighed, the plump child on her hips clapping her hands at the laughter she didn’t understand. Lana had scrambled to clean up the mess, throwing it in the bowl at her feet as her brother screamed ’10 second rule’ and then ’20 second rule’ racing with her to get as many puffs off the floor.
“We still can’t eat that Luis.”
Malena’s hand grabbed the back of his shirt, pulling him up.
“Waste not want not.” He’d grinned down at her, giving her his charming little smile with smoldering eyes and then turned to his raving wife, kissing complaints from her lips. It was enough to make Lana wish she was not in the room. She had rolled her eyes, turning away. Towards the television that had an annoying buzz when turned on.
The flashback fizzled as her cell phone hummed.
“Detective Vargas.” She spoke between mouthfuls of fig.
“Medina. I need you at the Groves in 15. Red 200.”
Eyebrows cocked, she began a question that died with a click.
To no one in particular she said, “I can be there in 30.”
The Groves was a lavish neighborhood far from the touristic beaches of the resort city of Acapulco where APD Base resided. The Groves was less, vibrant and splashy and looked more like the beauty of the Mediterranean off the coast of Greece with white houses and a green sea. It was simpler here. Free of restless night life, heavy traffic and perpetual exhaust fumes. Here, getting from one place to another wasn’t a war against Rome.
She pulled up to the gated community, hand poised over her gun. She unnaturally tensed, feeling death before she saw it. Even smelled it. She pressed a button and a dusty British voice spoke, “May I help you?”
“Lieutenant Vargas. APD.”
The wrought iron creaked as it slithered open and the tension increased, settling at the base of her neck, causing her hand to grip her gun tighter.
Her phone rang.
Lana nearly jumped. She reached into her pocket.
“I see you. 8943. Park in the back.” She rolled her car into the back of the yard, looking up at a the mansion in front of her. It was three stories high, with a cobble-stone driveway and wide-arch pathways in true form of Mexican eclecticism. Bougainvillea plants lined the edges of the roof and the window-sills. Lana walked around the side of the house to the front. The house separated into three units, connected by an outdoor bridge-way with tented roofing on the second floor. The main house was in the center. The houses were in pretty tones of beige and cream that she admired for its simplicity. Lana walked up a small staircase and knocked on the door. Medina answered.
She brushed past him, noting his full Base Uniform, a black shirt, black pants, kevlar vest and combat boots to the knee. He wore the standard camouflage jacket. His shoulder length hair stretched into a small ponytail and his hand had never left his gun. She responded to his signals, gripping her own gun. The odd tension came back, weighing on her neck, pressing against her shoulders. He led her through a small archway and then a larger one until they reached what Lana presumed to be the family room. The door was slightly ajar. Medina pushed it open, walking gun first.
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