The pig emailed us the other day. Said he had some work for us to do, given our … unique talents. Lee and Gabby were all for pursuing it, and although I don’t trust cops as far as I can throw them (and I am getting better at throwing people, mind you), this pig is too stiff with his own honor to double-cross us. Plus, to him we must seem supernatural.
Hey, I guess we are.
We decide to meet at Gabby’s and carpool from there in Lee’s car. Except, on the way, I was followed. I know I was, and I know the make and model of the damn car. But when I turned to catch a glimpse of the driver? I look her … him … square in the eyes, and then … pull up into Gabby’s driveway, not remembering how I got there.
I have got to remember that although I might get cocky, we are not the only supernatural motherfuckers out here.
So the first thing the pig pulls on us when we get to the precinct is something I wasn’t expecting. Turns out, when we were looking for that watch for Veronica, that Lee and Gabby took the information I pulled out of thin air and went and blackmailed someone. Only, Gabby gave him her real name, and he filed a blackmail report. Now the cop made it disappear, which really surprised me. I thought the kind of guy who would cover up a woman’s murder wouldn’t think twice about turning someone in for blackmail charges. But he surprised me, I’ll give him that.
He gave us some info on a haunting in Tosa. A woman and her foster son, living in a house haunted by what sounds like the spirit of the child killed by her drunk-driving ex-husband, who’s rotting away somewhere in Green Bay right about now, not that there’s that much to do in Green Bay even if you aren’t incarcerated. So the pig wants us to do something about it. Interesting.
We reconvened at Tea Leaves and talked it over. And that’s when something strange happened. I didn’t see it – my back was to the damned window – but Gabby and Lee did. Someone tagged right outside the shop. A little man, no arms or legs to speak of but a gigantic hat, and some kind of writing underneath. I couldn’t care less about the writing, but when we went outside to look, I recognized the drawing as some kind of Mayan icon, a god of death. Couldn’t remember what it was called, of course, but there it was. And lying atop the leaves in front of the freshly-painted figure was an envelope, with a definitive black thumbprint on it, and a phone number.
It was like getting a girl’s number and having to tell your wingman that this one’s for me, bro, because she’s not into dudes. Lee and Gabby and I talked about calling, like it was a group decision, but in the end, I knew that this was for me. This was my gig, and I was the one who called the phone number on the envelope, and I was the one who got the invitation. Because I’m the one who got herself into this by asking the wrong question of the wrong people. About the wrong person.
La Madrina would like to see me, the voice on the other end of the line says.
I agree to meet tomorrow. I know enough to agree without protest, to show respect. Because if this woman is in with the cartels, she could have me killed in a second. Just send another white suit and bam, my guts could paint the street red.
We get to our destination, and I’m ushered out into a small waiting room. Dark, with a strange idol in the corner – the same as the graffiti we saw last night, and surrounded by offerings. Cigarettes, little bottles of liquor. Ofrendas for the dead.
I hope to be so lucky, when I go.
When I was finally called in, Menchu surprised me. I don’t know what it was exactly. It’s not that she didn’t want something from me; everything in this new world seems to run on a system of favors-given, favors-owed. But for once, I didn’t feel out of place, like I did when Fitz gave us the speech about ushering the dead to the other side of the Big Fucking Lake, or when the big man tried to impress me with his money (and I admit, I was impressed.) For the Great Lakes kids, it’s a job. A calling, if you’re charitable. For the big man, hell, even for Lise, it’s a bank account. But for Menchu, it seems like something sacred, a sacred mystery. And that’s something I get. It’s not that I’ve been happier since my death. But I have been awakened to the world by the injury I sustained, and I have been strengthened by Red Arrow Woman.
There are so many things I don’t understand, and can’t, not even with my wits and my computer. I’ve watched my language die, and even though they didn’t teach it in public school I know how much of my culture has been lost, has simply been erased. Is that just? Is that fair?
No. And I sure as hell won’t produce any justice by doing ghostly police work or lining my pockets. What I can do, though, is uncover the secrets. Bring back the old ways, the secrets that all have forgotten. Then we’ll see who holds the power. Then we’ll see who balances the scales.