The Bazaar: Chapter 25


The two MPs had set to beating El Jefe viciously about the head with their rifle butts when the alarms went off.

Emily watched with her hands folded across her chest.

War is not Breakfast at fucking Tiffany’s, Number Eleven. “Don’t die for your country, make the other bastard die for his.” You know who said that, Number Eleven? George S. Patton. He was the finest soldier this country ever produced and you would not have been fit to lick the shit off his boots.

Jefe‘s head resembled a misshapen melon. Blood trickled from his shattered jaw. A vicious backslash ran left to right across his forehead. His right eye had swollen shut. Blood speckled the floor and walls of his cell.

Still, he had not yet begged for mercy. He hadn’t even cried out. The only sound they’d got out of him was a grunt when the first MP jammed a rifle butt into his stomach.

Behind Emily Pritchard paced back and forth like a caged animal, dicking around with the wi-fi via the computer implanted in his brain, looking for updated stock prices, or whatever else kept him up nights.

Then the lights turned blood red and a siren began shrieking. The MPs’ walkies crackled. Voices squawked frantically over the airwaves. Her Rosetta Stone caught bits and pieces.

“…Breach…down…gunfire…Block B…prisoner…”

The MPs allowed Jefe to collapse and lie still. He lay face down on the concrete. Blood pooled around his mouth and began inching its way along the floor. Without a word of explanation the two MPs bolted down the corridor in the direction from whence they’d come initially. They didn’t bother to shoulder their rifles, or even to lock up the cell.

Emily and Pritchard exchanged looks.

She knelt by Jefe‘s head. “Who’s doing this?” she asked.


Emily grabbed him by the hair on the back of his head. She twisted him around to face her. “Who’s their freelancer?” she asked.

When Jefe spoke it was a whisper. Bloody sputum came out with the word. Between his tone and Espanol Made Easy‘s frantic efforts to calibrate to the wailing prison klaxons the word came out sounding like “raghs.”




Maybe he got tired of her holding his head in a death grip. Maybe Espanol Made Easy finally got a handle on the background commotion and his strangled voice. Whatever it was this third time the bud in Emily’s ear finally resolved the sounds into an intelligible word.


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