Dead Cold Presents “Captured”
By Sam Thomas
c. 2013 All Rights Reserved
Day 952: Captured.
Day 945: The torture begins.
Day 942: They tell me that they have caught my brother Raul as well. I don’t believe them.
Day 941: They bring me the ring my brother always wore. His finger is still in it.
Day 930: Maybe they’ve forgotten about me. I sit in my cell with other men and wait.
Day 900: The others are being taken away. The guards say they are being sent to the United States. I don’t believe it. I stay in the cell.
Day 505: They take me to a small room and handcuff me to a metal table. A captain from intelligence comes in carrying a thick file. He shows me the name on it. It is my real name, not the one I gave to my interrogators. I’m fucked. He tells me that they have a plan for me. If I cooperate, they will set me and my brother free. I tell him to fuck off. He does.
Day 500: The captain comes back. He explains the plan. I tell him I’m in. To save my brother. To avenge the fuck up at Playa Girón.
Day 307: The doctors work on me for months, and soon I’m healthy enough to leave the hospital. They take me to a camp in the mountains where I begin training. They know I can shoot, but after a year in prison I need to knock the rust off. The instructors are Russian, of course. The others in my squad are from the invasion. I wonder what they were promised, but never ask.
Day 275: We practice different shots with different rifles. Long shots at a stationary target, shorter ones at a walking target.
Day 252: Today they began to train us in explosives, but we know that’s a waste of time. No way we get close enough for that. At night they bring us a jug of moonshine. We sit around a fire, drink and talk.
Day 173: Today we practiced shots at a moving car, a Russian limousine with the top cut off. They put a dummy in the back seat, but I take a shot at the driver. I felt good when I saw the splatter of blood on the windshield. The trainers were pissed, but what could they do? The driver was some gypsy they’d pulled out of prison. Who the hell else was going to drive the car?
Day 15: My turn. We hide the rifle inside a mounted swordfish – what else? – and I fly to Mexico City. The captain who recruited me meets me there. They’ve got someone set up to take the fall.
Day 11: I spend an eternity in the hotel, waiting, waiting, waiting. I take out the gun and clean it. The swordfish looks at me as if it’s my fault he’s been nailed to a board and had a rifle stuck up his ass.
Day 4: I cross the border. No problem.
Day 2: Dallas.
Day 0: Bingo.
SAM THOMAS teaches history at University School, an independent boys’ school outside Cleveland, Ohio. He lives in Shaker Heights with his wife and two sons. The Midwife’s Tale is his first novel, and readers can expect a sequel in 2014.