As the sun sank in a blazing glory of red and purple, the Regulator's motorcycle roared across the dusty Mexican landscape. He was wrapped in a leather trench coat, sunglasses masked his face, and a shaggy wig topped his head. His trusty hickory stick was strapped to the bike and his .357s and bowie knife were on his belt. It was dark save for the light of a full moon when he reached the hacienda's gate.
He raced the engine loudly. "Hey! Amigo! Open up, you Mexican buttholes!"
A voice crackled from a speaker at the gate. "Who the Hell are you? We got enough stinking gringos."
"I'm one of the Satan's Reich brothers. I just rode down from Texas. I gotta talk to Mad Dog, now! The heat done come down, so open up!"
"How do I know you are in the Reich?"
"Take a look at my colors, you bean-eater." He flipped aside the trench coat to reveal a leather vest, blazoned with the Satan's Reich insignia. He let out a hyena laugh. "I got the Reich stuff!"
The gate swung open and the Regulator roared in. Two masked men stepped out of the gatehouse, and stood directly in his way. One pointed an H-K submachine gun and the other held a Smith & Wesson .45. "Now we will go to Mad Dog and Comandante Scorpion."
"Later dudes." The motorcycle leapt forward and the Regulator fired his .357. The gunman with the H-K went under the wheels of the heavy bike.
The regulator roared around the side of the hacienda and paused for a moment. He flicked open his cell phone and speed dialed. Over the throb of the Big V-Twin engine, he uttered a single word, "Kayfabe." As gunmen began to run toward him he fired his machine to life.
Bullets spat from guns and the Regulator's .357 replied. A group of large men in leather and denim appeared.
"It's a trap! The Mexes have turned on us!" The Regulator roared past them just as one went down from a stray bullet. The bikers pulled pistols and began to send hot lead at Los Zeros.
The Regulator wheeled toward the back wall just in time to see El Rey Ferreo leap down.
"My costuming skills served well, eh? But you lost your wig."
"It was time to pull on my mask anyway. I see my advice about using the spare kevlar to cover the broken glass worked out. Let's go!" The Regulator pulled down his mask and roared up to a window. He grunted as El Rey climbed his shoulders to reach the window. "Lordy, you are big enough for an ox! Call if you run into anything too big to handle." Once El Rey was in, the Regulator roared off around the hacienda.
There was sporadic shooting from all around the hacienda. The Regulator took the corner of the building at full speed and then skidded to a halt. Masked gunman were hunkered down behind a black SUV while bikers roared in close to discharge shotguns and then race away. When Los Zeros saw the Regulator they aimed a hail of lead at him. The Regulator replied to their fire by emptying the .357 over his shoulder as he took the bike up the hacienda's stairs and burst open the front door.
He found himself in a large front hall. To either side were staircases leading to the open balcony of the second floor. A man stood there leveling a rifle. The bullet flicked past the Regulator's head and he gunned the bike into a slide behind a heavy oaken table. Another bullet cracked into the wood. The Regulator reloaded his .357s and took a deep breath. Just then his cell phone rang. With a sigh, Watt Armstrong answered.
"Hi. Everything's fine. I'm real, real busy. Is Carlos's cat OK? Love you. Bye."
The Regulator closed the cell phone. He rose, guns in hand ready to fire back at the sniper.
He expected bullets, but got much more. The sniper came hurtling, rifle in hand, straight at the table. The Regulator dodged aside and looked at the second floor where El Rey stood grinning. The luchadore leapt to the ground floor.
"The door!" The Regulator fired both guns at a masked gunman who charged through. The man staggered back and the Regulator kicked the doors closed. Bullets smashed through the heavy wood doors at random and the Regulator replied with his .357s. El Rey surged forward and shoved a leg from the broken table through the looped door handles.
"Quick! That won't hold them long!" El Rey darted off into a side room that opened onto a hallway. They ran through the halls, seeking only to get some distance from the gunmen who would soon be through the doors. They turned a corner and found themselves in a small room. The Regulator shut the door and turned the lock. Then he realized there was only one exit.
A group of folding chairs was grouped around a large-screen TV and a computer network. El Rey pointed at the computer. He tapped a key and the screen sprang to life. A PowerPoint presentation was on screen bearing the Satan's Reich logo and the words, "Bienvenidos North American criminal friends!"
Quickly El Rey paged through the presentation studying its maps of highways, border checkpoints, and smuggling routes. Colorful slides outlined criminal investment that integrated drugs and people trafficking. The illegal immigrants were a triple profit center, paying once as customers, then serving as drug mules, and then being sold to sweat shops and brothels. Surplus heroin and meth-amphetamine was used to either keep the slaves docile or to increase their labor output.
A special animated slide explained how kidnapped women could be a valuable commodity. Photographs of Juana Molina and Sophie Rodriguez accompanied a note saying they were Senor Sanchez's gift to Satan's Reich. El Rey popped open the CD drive and stuffed the disk in a spandex pocket.
The Regulator stiffened and held up a warning hand. A sound came from the other side of the wall. The Regulator saw a part of the wall swing out a little. He stepped to one side, guns in both his hands. El Rey lifted a folding chair.
The wall swung open and Sanchez stepped into the room. He goggled at the sight of El Rey.
"Don't try anything," the Regulator said from behind him, the clicking of two hammers emphasized his warning.
Sanchez looked at the chair in El Rey's hand. "Hey that's not fighting fair, tecnico."
"I guess I'm just a heel." El Rey brought the folding chair down with a decisive swing. Sanchez dropped like a bag of mud. The Regulator knelt at his side. A key dropped from the coyote's hand. The Regulator picked it up as El Rey stepped into the passage Sanchez had emerged from.
They found themselves on a narrow stairway leading into a dark basement. At the bottom El Rey found a light switch. The basement was divided by partitions with sturdy doors set in them. They stopped at the first one and the Regulator tested it.
"Did you come back, you creep?" said a familiar voice from the other side. "Afraid your friends will shoot you, eh?"
The Regulator fitted the key in the lock and swung open the door. Maria and two other women were inside sitting on a dirty bunk under a naked light bulb. The two women were dressed in tight miniskirts and high-heels, nightclub finery sadly in need of a wash. One was nervously dabbing her eyes with a supply of tissues. The Regulator allowed no sign of recognition to escape him when he saw she was Carlos's cousin, Sophie. The other was Maria's friend, Juana.
After assuring the men that they were all right, Maria asked a simple question, "So how do we get out of here?"
"Well, we started a battle between Los Zeros and Satan's Reich. While they are busy killing each other, we walk out in the confusion."
"That's your plan? To get all the murderous gangsters armed and on the alert and then walk through the middle of them?" Maria's voice was rising in pitch that made the Regulator think of various ex-girlfriends.
"Hey," he replied hotly, "If I was any good thinking up clever plans, I'd have a high-paying job in some corporation!" The Regulator closed his mouth and looked at El Rey.
He shrugged. "It seemed like a good idea at the time."
Maria snatched the cell phone from the Regulator and began to dial.
"Who are you calling? Now is kind of a bad time for chatting." The Regulator began to head back to the stairs.
"I'm doing what you should have done in the first place. I'm calling the Federal Police."
"Do we really want to get them involved?" the Regulator asked.
"Do you think just because this is Mexico you can wander around shooting whoever you like? Is this some sort of spaghetti-western superhero story?"
"Yeah, kind of."
Maria held up a hand for silence. "Yes, please send help immediately! I'm atc" She paused and then swore bitterly. "They put me on hold."
The group proceeded up the stairs to the conference room. Sanchez was gone. El Rey retrieved his folding chair and peered carefully out of the door and they began to move down the hall. At the rear of the group Maria was whispering into the cell phone, "No, I do NOT want to be transferred!"
Shots were still being fired about the hacienda. Sophie began to wad her tissue into earplugs for herself and Juana. "I have a feeling things are gonna get loud."
The Regulator peered about nervously. With a sickening feeling he realized they had taken a wrong turn in the maze-like corridors of the house. There were side passages and doors on all sides. The group turned a corner and saw a further hallway ahead. A masked Zero stepped out from a doorway at the far end of the hall. The Regulator's eyes were drawn to the RPG launcher the man held in his hands. An RPG launcher that was pointed directly at the Regulator and his friends.
The Regulator raised his .357s and fired. The gangster with the RPG spurted blood and began to fall. The grenade launched. Guns went off in all directions. The lights went out. Someone screamed and screamed again.
The Regulator © Dave Hardy. HTML © Tim Hartin.
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