Everything appeared calm, bucolic, even. I leaned back against the metal wall and took stock of my position.
Salazar ruled this little section of Sonora with an iron hand. The woman outside would not help me, for fear of payback. In fact, no one who knew him would be fool enough to assist Salazar's crazy American woman.
Especially when she took something that belonged to him. Something he valued above all else. And it wasn't only his pride, although that would be enough to get me killed.
I opened the canvas backpack next to me to make sure the contents were still safe, that I hadn't somehow lost it all in my mad rush to escape.
The cash was all there. I breathed a sigh of relief. It meant my survival. Without it, I would have nothing with which to bargain for my life, if it came to that. As it was, the stash wouldn't get me the immediate help I so desperately needed. It wasn't like I could call a cab in this part of Mexico, even if I had a phone.
If I knew Salazar, he'd already locked down the small airport a few miles away, and was probably trying to bribe aviation officials in Hermosillo, Obregón and even Puerto Peñasco, although each of the towns lay miles from his hacienda.
I needed to get to San Bruno, a small fishing village on the Sea of Cortez. Salazar didn't have much pull with the ex-pats who lived there. Besides, they'd help a fellow American.
Especially one with a boat load of dinero.
I zipped the backpack closed, stood up, and heaved it over my shoulders. Funny how much money weighed.
I waited until the older woman had stepped inside her weathered home, and then I quietly slipped away down the dirt road, careful not to disturb El Gallo as he strutted past the disinterested goat.
I tucked my blonde hair up under a baseball cap to hide it and hitched a ride west on the back of an ancient Ford pickup. The driver looked me over once and waved me into the truck bed to sit with the alfalfa, probably thinking I was some silly gringa on a tourista's adventure. I was glad I had grabbed an older jacket from one of Salazar's bodyguards. All of my clothes were too new, too expensive. I'd be a prime target for bandits. As it was, I was a sitting duck lugging around the cash, paranoid that everyone knew I'd stolen millions of dollars from a notorious drug lord.