TITLE: MESSAGE FROM PANAMA
Felipe and the narrator are in a Panamanian jungle village tracking Marcel,
an embezzler who is also part of the Colombian narco-terrorist organization
known as F.A.R.C.
Felipe smiled, stood up languorously, then looked around like a man
satisfied with his meal but needing a place for part of it to exit. The
Caribbean lilt issued from under his breath: "Yellow skin, white shirt.
You sure, mon?"
"Any idea who dat odur guy be?"
"No," I said. Marcel's companion was squat with pocked skin and Tonton
Macoute sunglasses. He bore an unnerving resemblance to Noriega and moved
with the finesse of a cement truck.
Felipe walked toward Marcel, every loose-jointed bone in action. His long
fingers probed his pockets for a cigarette. He began whistling a reggae
"Ey mon --" Felipe called to the Tonton Macoute man, putting on the full
Creole. "Weh di batruum deh?"
Rematerializing as quickly as they had faded into the jungle, the rest of
our group broke from their hiding spots at a dead run. Marcel instinctively
swiveled to look behind and I watched the Tonton reach in his pocket and
bring out a huge black object. As Marcel turned back, his mouth wide in
unuttered speech, I saw the deadly gun come up, registered the man's finger
contracting on the trigger--and then, as I opened my mouth to shout a
warning, Marcel's head blew apart before me into a gruesome shower of brain,
blood, and bone.
For a moment, the last of the sentient man littered the air. Then in slow
motion, the pieces submitted to gravity and settled down to earth around his
collapsed and headless body.