A powerful drug lord threatens to bring America to its knees… Only one man can stop him.
As he made his way through the cantina, Pablo Guerrero could hear the cries of the crowd, calling for blood. He tugged at the cap, pulling it low over his face. Dressed as he was in a laborer’s clothes, and not the designer fashions he’d grown accustomed to, he wasn’t recognized.
Stepping out the back door, he threaded his way through the crowd to the side of the ring. He caught the eye of the boy standing in the middle. The boy, no more than thirteen, nodded briefly then held the black rooster up for the judge to inspect. After checking for injuries, the judge held out his hand and the boy handed him the one-inch curved blade. The judge inspected this, first looking then sniffing for the tell-tale signs of poison. Although he didn’t detect any, he wiped the blade with a lemon—a long-standing practice to guard against cheating. Satisfied, the judge tied the blade onto the rooster’s leg then stepped back.
The boy moved to the center of the ring, thrusting the bird in front of him, letting him see his opponent. Across from him, an old man holding a white rooster did the same. Guerrero watched as his rooster twisted and writhed in the boy’s hands, clucking and hissing, anxious to fight. A slight grin crossed his face then disappeared. The judge signaled; the boy and the old man retreated to opposite sides of the pit.
The judge eyed the crowd and called out once more. “Apuestas!” Bets.
Guerrero signaled and handed the judge one hundred pesos, nodding in the boy’s direction.
“El negro.” The black one.
The judge nodded, held the hundred pesos in the air and called out to the crowd again. When all bets were placed, he signaled to the boy and the old man. They stepped forward again, thrusting their roosters at each other several times as the noise grew. The spectators, those wagering and those just watching, began to shout and chant, excited at the imminent battle. The judge called out again and the roosters were placed on the ground. Like prize fighters, they danced around each other for a second or two before the black rooster charged. Wings flapping, the birds pecked at each other, clawing and fighting as they’d been trained.
The black rooster jumped, fluttered a foot above the ground for a moment, and then dove at his opponent. The white rooster turned, swung his right claw out. As the chants and calls rose to a din, the black rooster crumpled to the ground.
The old man would be found three days later, the dismembered white rooster sitting on top of the man’s brutally beaten body.