LOST AND FOUND
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Lost and Found (five things that never happened to Sheldon Sands)
"See anything you like?"
Ajedrez laughs at her own joke, gun nuzzling bluntly up and down the length of his jaw, biting at the edge of his lip. She likes the smell of him, the quivering impotence of him, remembers him bucking beneath her on the old spring mattress when the calipers were digging deep.
And now what, he's gonna shoot her? So fucking predictable. Ajedrez ignores the fake arm, reaches down and wrenches his wrist back till it snaps. The pistol discharges into air and she blinks back a flash of the dusty office, thigh to sweating thigh and white dripping down her belly.
"Fucking little monkey." The words almost a caress as she kicks him to his knees and clubs him across the back of the head.
Sands topples and sprawls; she thinks maybe she'll keep him.
The kid again. His hand on Sands' sleeve, tugging him to his feet and into the waiting taxi.
Sands sits back and lets the kid babble directions. He fronts the cash when they reach their destination and follows the boy out into the street, neither trusting nor untrusting, aware always of the gun slung beneath his arm and the knife tucked into his belt.
Even so, he's caught by surprise when the boy lets go of his hand, slipping away in the thick of the crowd and, as Sands belatedly realises upon patting his pockets, taking his wallet with him.
"Hey!" Sands shouts, suddenly blood-poundingly furious. He turns around and around, buffetted this way and that. "You little fuck, I should've shot you the first time."
Grinding his teeth and wishing he could wring the kid's neck, he elbows his way viciously through the crowd until he reaches a wall he can put his back up against. Standing there against the cool stones he's aware of breathing too hard, of his heartrate running high and nervous, not quite panicking but almost.
Only one day into the game as a blind man and you're already fucked, Agent Sands. Screwed over by a ten-year old, and how's that going to look on your record?
"Shit," Sands says aloud and manages to laugh; and again, "shit," as he slides down to his haunches.
The intermittent stream of insults and complaints doesn't bother him. It's only the word 'Carolina' that makes El slam on the brakes.
Sands lurches forward, forehead dipping almost low enough to hit the dashboard and tied hands reaching out instinctively. "Ow, I bit my tongue." He's pissed off. "You call that driving, dumb-fuck? What was it, a rabbit? So you'll gun down half a town but brake for a fuckin--"
El reaches across, opens the passenger door, and shoulders Sands out of the car in one easy movement. The blind man hits the side of the road with a thud, dust rising around him, breath forced out as oof.
Even winded, bound, abandoned, it doesn't take more than a few seconds for Sands to start bitching again. He curses El's name, god's name, both in the same breath - El would think it almost flattering except he's not around to hear it.
Already a mile down the road, just a dot on the horizon, gone.
Sands makes a dozen calls - not one lasts more than a minute and he's never the first to hang up. Word travels fast in Mexico and he's got no more strings left to pull.
As a last and desperate resort, he dials the emergency number, the direct line to Washington he's used only once before - but all he gets is a polite message telling him that this number has been disconnected.
"Well, fuck you," he says under his breath with a smile that bares all his teeth, "and your mother," and slams the phone down hard enough to crack the receiver.
He fumbles in his pockets for coins - sorting through a jumble of bullets, breath mints, dice, and a baffling quantity of lint - finally scraping together enough centavos for one more call.
Sands bites his lip consideringly.
"Screw it," he says at last, and shoves the coins back into his pocket. He'll buy himself a drink instead, maybe get some pork.
A couple of relics, that's what they are, left-overs from an older order. What's El Mariachi without his revenge? Little more and little less than Agent Sands in peacetime.
El settles his fingers on the frets. Recalling how awkwardly the guitar once felt, he's reminded of the space between their two bodies, the imperfect fit. Over time they've callused where at first they rubbed each other raw. So too they begin to quietly fill the spaces that used to gape and yawn.
Squinting against the light he strums out the beginnings of a song. El doesn't turn at the squeak of bedsprings, nor the slap of bare feet on the tiled floor, offers no word of greeting and receives none in return. He knows now that Sands is least eloquent before midday and by then he plans to be gone.
And then? A week will pass, maybe a month or more.
But he'll come back, likely as not bearing a bottle of tequila. He'll stay the night and the next day ease out from under Sands' outflung limbs, the stained and knotted sheets, to pick up his guitar and play the morning out.
El closes his eyes against the early sun, hands moving effortlessly across familiar strings.
Disclaimer: Once Upon A Time In Mexico and associated characters are entirely and utterly not my property. This is a non-profit fanwork, completely unaffiliated and benign.