BEFORE THE NEXT TEARDROP FALLS
Recorded by Freddy Fender
Words and music by Ben Peters and Vivian Keith
Thanks to techsan and LadyCibelle for their more than able editing effort.
ISLA BONITA HOTEL AND MARINA, ISLA MUJERES
"Shut the fuck up! You will do whatever I goddamn tell you to do with no more of your lip."
I had started easing awake - my deep sleep under the hot Mexican sun gradually being interrupted by a loud argument nearby. The sudden angry shout rudely finished the job and I jumped up and looked at the couple: Teri and Lee Trane. I hesitantly started moving towards them when Lee pushed his fully dressed wife into the too cold waters of the pool and stalked off to the pier.
I grabbed my towel and walked over to help Teri out. Her name before marrying Lee was Teresita Mendez. I'd spent some time with her for the last two days while her husband was in the annual "Barracuda Bash", a two-day orgy of Barracuda fishing. There was nothing to our get-togethers, no flirting I mean. She was lonely and something was troubling her deeply; I was bored and had always found it interesting to talk to people. She was about medium in height with dark brown hair and eyes. She was funny with a face that was always animated.
I pulled her out and tried not to notice what the cold water had done to the transparency of her blouse and bra and to the hardness of her nipples. I wrapped the towel around her quickly, before she saw where my attention was focused. All the rooms were laid out in a semicircle around the large circular pool so it was just a couple of steps to her door. She was quite upset; her face was blotchy from the cold water and her crying. Hell, I guess the anger had something to do with it - she was truly pissed off.
I pulled her in my arms for a few minutes, making soothing sounds and patting her on the back. When she quieted down a little I gently pushed her inside and told her to take a hot shower and a nap and I walked over to my boat. Yeah, my boat. It's interesting how that came to be.
I'm Kevin Franz and I'm in my mid-forties. I spent my youth growing up in border towns along the Texas/Mexican border, mostly in Laredo. My dad was a Texas Ranger and was killed in a shootout during a drug raid when I was fifteen. My mom had died of breast cancer the year before so I moved in with my Uncle. He was a great guy; he was a few years older than my dad and had been married to a Mexican woman for over thirty years. They were never able to have any children so Lupe was happy to be a mom for a few years.
I had a lot of problems with school during the time of my mom's being sick and then changing schools after she died. I wound up flunking the ninth grade and had to repeat it. It bothered me at first, but I didn't know many people in my new school in McAllen so it wasn't as bad as it could have been. The other thing that helped is that year I grew a couple of inches and added about fifteen pounds and made the football team as a halfback. After the first couple games I became a starter and life was pretty good.
My uncle Max owned a series of trailer courts around the border area, catering mostly to the retirement trade. He had places in Eagle Pass, two in McAllen, Laredo, Brownsville and two in the Corpus Christi area, at Rockport and Port Aransas. Summers I would work at one or another to help out and learn the trade. Max told me my dream of the Texas Rangers was fine but even the Rangers had to retire sometime. He was pretty open with me: all he had was Lupe and I. He'd already provided for Lupe with a couple of annuities so the trailer parks were all coming to me some day. It sure gave me an incentive to work hard.
I grew up speaking Spanish and had many friends on both sides of the border. I liked the food and the culture and those dark haired chiquitas with their flashing brown eyes caught my fancy. Hell, I even liked Tex-Mex music... guys like Little Joe and The Texas Tornados with Freddie Fender. Several years after I moved in with Uncle Max I went over the river to Nuevo Laredo one summer night with some of my compadres and lay with my first woman... and she was a woman. Juana was a fiery little tiger and she taught me more about sex in one night than I would have learned in the next ten years. She was about twenty-eight - she wasn't sure exactly. I saw her just about every week for the rest of the summer.
Then that fall I met Janet. We were both seniors in high school and she was as different from Juana as possible. Janet was tall and slim with honey colored hair worn long. She sat next to me in Spanish class (yes, they made me take it) and she was really struggling with the accent. I graciously offered to help her and as her accent improved our relationship blossomed.
By the time we graduated from high school we were going steady and dated regularly. Sure we did some heavy petting — I was able to get my hand under her blouse fairly often... but never under her skirt. She was a 'straight-arrow' and was 'saving' herself for when we got married. Well, hell! What's a boy to do?
We went off to Austin, me to study Criminal Justice (yep, I still wanted to be a Texas Ranger like my dad) and Janet to study Business. This wasn't any lifelong dream or anything for her, she just wanted to be near me and this sounded like the easiest area of studies for her.
We plugged along and I graduated with honors and Janet... graduated. She did okay; only her heart wasn't really in it. I'd already applied and been accepted to the Texas Department of Public Safety and would start a month after graduation. I would start right off with twenty-six weeks of training in Austin but I didn't know what my assignment would be. I would come back to McAllen whenever I could get time off.
We had the wedding all set up and got married two weeks after I came home. The wedding was a lot of fun — all of our friends and family were there and some of my dad's friends from the Rangers. I got a chance to talk to them and they sort of hinted that they would look after me.
We took our honeymoon at Padre Island off Corpus Christi. It actually worked out really well. It's a beautiful place and we had tons of time for just relaxing... and making love. Janet was all that I dreamed she might be and she sure caught on fast. By the second day we were doing oral sex and her jumping on top. By the end of the honeymoon it seemed like we were spending all day in bed — not that I was complaining. A couple of times we even walked down the beach to a deserted area and did it right on the sand in open view of a couple of fishing boats going by.
This frequent hot sex kept up for about three months. I was assigned to Narcotics because of my knowledge of Spanish and the border area. I was sure this assignment had come from my "angels" watching over my career. I had to serve eight years before I could be considered for promotion to Texas Ranger.
My first assignment was in El Paso, kinda getting hands on experience. That's when the problems started with Janet. She got a job with one of the local banks and liked it a lot. I was working odd hours and frequently would be gone for a day or two. Our sex dropped down to once or twice a week.
After three more months I was moved into undercover work. I grew a beard and had to dress flashy. I hadn't spent too much time in El Paso so few people knew me there. Sometimes I would disappear for three of four days. Our sex was down to a couple of times a month and Janet was bitching a lot. She started going out with the girls after work. About a year after arriving in El Paso, I was told a transfer to McAllen was coming up for me. There was a large increase of drugs coming across the border between Reynosa and Matamoros and they were pulling together a task force to address it.
That pretty much tore it with Janet and I. She told me to get a regular job or I could just kiss her goodbye. That was just an expression... it turned out she really didn't want me to kiss her.
"Janet, I can't do that — this job is who I am. Becoming a Texas Ranger has been a lifelong dream of mine."
We took a trip to Dallas for a few days and for a while things seemed better. Sex between us picked up a bit but then slacked off as I was away from home more and more. Finally about a couple of months later the shit hit the fan. After dinner one night she took me into the living room to 'talk'.
"Kev, this is hard for me..." she stared at me for a longish minute, shook her head and continued, "Well, it's not that hard. I've met a wonderful man at the bank and I'm moving in with him immediately. As soon as our divorce is final we are getting married!"
Well, shit... what could I say? It turned out she had been sleeping with him for several months and giving me as little sex as possible during that time. I started yelling at her but she walked away leaving me to yell at myself. I gave up on her and moved to McAllen. I never saw her again.
I lived in one of the trailers at McAllen free — Max was happy to have a cop living there. The work was sometimes fun and sometimes scary as hell. Time flew by and I wound up as a Texas Ranger; I finally fulfilled my dream. It was everything I expected. I spent a couple years working liaison with Interpol and then settled into what looked like it would be a semi-permanent job: working with cross-border police issues. I would meet regularly with various Mexican police groups, mostly on drug issues and wanted felons that would move back and forth across the border trying to evade capture.
A couple of years later I was on a stakeout in Laredo looking for a couple of Mexican convicts that had escaped from a Mexican prison. After escaping they made their way north and killed someone in a robbery in Acuna then went across the border and kidnapped a couple in Del Rio. They killed the boyfriend outright but the girl took longer, a lot longer. It was... bad.
I had a guy from the Mexican Federal Police with me to make sure of the IDs. We were looking for them in Laredo based on a tip and were waiting for them to come out of a cantina. When they wobbled out, clearly drunk, I was worried about something and called in for some backup from the local police. I don't know what it was — just that the hairs on the back of my neck were tingling. I'd learned in working undercover to trust that.
We started moving in for the arrest and suddenly half-a-dozen guys came streaming out of the bar and we were in the middle of a melee. I could already hear the sirens coming but before it was broken up I'd caught a tire iron on the knee. Damn, the pain was a bitch.
Well, I wound up with three operations and months of rehab. The knee worked pretty good, I could even jog a little. Unfortunately, it had a tendency to give out ever once in a while and I'd go tumbling. It worked out as a full medical retirement when I was only thirty-four.
My uncle gave me the two mobile home parks in the Corpus Christi area — he was getting tired. It was working pretty well. I had my full disability check each month and invested that — never touched it. I lived nicely off the income from the two parks. A couple months later, the husband of a couple in a double wide died and his wife sold it to me cheap; it was a very nice unit. I moved in and decided I would do this whenever I could. Pretty soon I had a dozen that I owned outright. Once in a while I would sell one at a good markup.
My uncle decided to retire and gave me the rest of the mobile home parks. I didn't really want them but what the hell. I gave him whatever money he needed each month and he fished. A couple years later Lupe died and then Max kind of gave up. He was dead within six months.
I picked up about a mill from Max's odds and ends. After another couple years I was getting tired of it too and sold all the parks except for Port Aransas and Rockport. I took two million up front and an annuity of a hundred grand a year until I died.
I hired a guy to manage the two parks I had left and bought a small two bedroom, two-bath house on the beach at Port Aransas. It was built on stilts so there was parking underneath the house with the living quarters above. I decorated it nicely, sort of spare but good quality. I used lots of dark leather and wood. The house was really light but did have aluminum storm shutters that rolled down for the summer hurricane season.
I had a twenty-two-foot Boston Whaler that I had had for several years for fishing around the bay. I would mostly catch and release but kept a lot for food and to give to friends. I had a good friend I went out with a lot. We used his boat for the open sea and mine for the bay and coastal waters. Mine was a lot cheaper to run.
He was a retired charter captain with his own boat, a thirty-six foot Bertram rigged for Gulf fishing. He still took it out a couple times a year for long time charters as a favor. His name was Jesus Vega but everyone called him Chuy.
So things were going pretty good. I'd turned forty; I had many good friends all over both sides of the border (and too many non-friends from my Ranger days). I wasn't into casual sex but I seemed to have fairly regular long-term affairs. They all ended the same way. The women were looking for commitment and I wasn't. Sure I was tempted a couple of times... but I was more scared of getting married again than I had been as an undercover narcotics officer. I guess I had some issues left over from Janet.
Then Chuy asked me to go to Los Angeles with him. One of his long-time charters was buying a boat and wanted Chuy to meet him at the annual Los Angeles Boat Show at the LA Convention Center. The guy actually wanted Chuy to move to Newport Beach and work for him but Chuy didn't want to leave Texas so Chet wanted him to interview a couple other guys with him.
Well, I left LA with a new boat - well at least owning a new boat. They would build it for me with the features I wanted. It was not cheap. Hell, it cost a bundle. But I had no one to leave money to and I loved going fishing. A bigger boat would allow me to go much further afield and do more fishing for the big stuff.
What I got was a 48' Cabo Yachts with a flying bridge. I got it with less space for fishing but with an extra cabin. I was never going out with five or six guys fishing. It had an owner's stateroom with bath mid-ship and guest cabin with bath in the bow. There was a crew cabin with two single bunks (one over the other) on the other side of the boat from my cabin.
I've heard from my friends that I tend to go into too much detail about my baby so I'll just say it is a 5-star boat that can do over 40 mph and has a 500-600 mile range.
When the boat was ready, I flew out to LA to visit their factory and do a final inspection on the boat. They were located in Adelanto, which is about halfway between San Bernardino and Barstow. My first question was why build boats on the desert and they laughed at me. Man, did that boat look good.
I made a deal with Chuy. His wife had died a couple years ago. I had him sell his small house in Rockport and let him stay rent free in one of my double-wides in Port Aransas. So he became my Capitan and whenever we went on a longer trip I'd give him a hundred a day. He'd do it for nothing but I had the money. Fairly often we took his two sons and his son-in-law out with us so he was happy.
We were in Isla Mujeres, fishing of course. We'd been here for a couple of weeks and were pretty fished out. We had caught several big ones, a nice Marlin and a couple of Black Fin Tuna. We kept some of the smaller fish — the restaurant was really nice about fixing them for us any way we wanted.
About an hour after I had left Teri at her cabin I was on deck polishing rails when she walked up. Chuy was over at another boat talking to a friend. She asked if she could come aboard so of course I said yes. She hadn't seen it before so I gave her the grand tour. I thought she would just want to see the pretty stuff: the salon with the 42" plasma TV with a satellite connection and a state of the art stereo set-up and the cabins.
She wanted to see everything. We went into the engine room and she picked up on how clean we kept it. She asked some penetrating questions about the engines and drive train and why I had the propellers I did. Then we spent thirty minutes going over the electronics. Hell, she knew more about boats than I did. She never even looked at the TV.
When we finished, Teri sat in the salon and asked for a beer.
"Kevin, I want to tell you some things; partly as insurance and partly because I trust you... I don't know why but I do. Lee has been trying to get me to sleep with another man for a couple of years. I keep telling him I am not interested but he keeps at me.
"This is all coming to a head now because he has a client with him. He is trying to sell this guy property near Dallas for a large shopping center. It's a huge deal for Lee if it closes. He brought the guy down here fishing to soften him up and last night I found out that I am supposed to be part of that softening up process.
"Kevin, I can't do it. I've loved Lee but I'm just not going to sleep with this guy!"
"Teri, I'll do anything I can to help, of course but I don't know what I can do other than tie an anchor around his legs and throw him overboard."
She smiled a little at that and we went on to talk about other things. She left after another beer.
Chuy and I had taken our time coming down from Port Aransas. We would stop and gas up every other day or so. We did a little fishing, mostly for fresh fish for dinner. Chuy had about a dozen guys he knew that he had used regularly as deck hands so we had no problems finding someone for this trip. Pepe was young, about twenty but he had been doing this for years. He had finished high school and was very 'street smart.' Chuy trusted him so I did too.
The next morning while I was having some huevos rancheros for breakfast, I saw Lee and another man heading for the docks, apparently to do some more fishing. I looked for Teri; something in her voice last night worried me. I didn't see her around so finally around 10:30 I went over to her room and knocked. I didn't hear anything so I knocked again. Listening closely I could hear what sounded like muffled sobbing. I called out to Teri that I was coming in and heard a muffled "no, don't" but I entered anyway.
Teri was lying on the sofa wearing a robe. She had an ice bag on her face. I sat on the edge of the sofa and pulled her hand away. Her right eye was black and swollen and there was an ugly bruise on her cheek. I could see deep bruises on both arms and later I saw another nasty bruise on her stomach. I asked if she wanted me to call the police even though I knew she would refuse. She was born in Harlingen, Texas. Her family had moved to the area from Mexico three generations ago but she grew up along the border and knew what Mexican police were like. I'd worked closely with them and knew even better.
"Teri, what do you want to do? You can't stay here with Lee."
"No, Kevin, I know that. Last night he tried really hard to talk me into going to bed with Chet but I just kept saying no and wouldn't even talk about it. Finally he grabbed my arm and yanked me up. When I was standing he hit me in the stomach as hard as he could."
At that point, she pulled her robe open enough for me to see the large purplish spot.
She continued, "I must have passed out for a while. When I awoke, I was naked on the bed and he threw some stockings and a garter belt and told me to put them on and get into some high heels. He had me wash my face and put makeup on. If I didn't go to bed with Chet, he said he would hit me in the stomach again. I was scared and didn't know what to do so finally I just nodded to him.
"He called Chet and told him to come on over. When Chet got to the room, Lee went over to the bar to drink. Chet came in looking at me lying lewdly on the bed, looking like a cheap puta. He took off his clothes and started climbing on the bed. Kevin, I just couldn't do it. I kicked out with my heels as hard as I could and I think I must have caught him with the spike, because he put his hand on his groin and collapsed.
"I started getting dressed and saw Chet pull himself up and stagger to the door. I heard him yell for Lee and I tried to get out of there before Lee got to the room. I didn't make it and Lee started hitting me, screaming obscenities and then slapping my face and breasts over and over. I collapsed on the floor and heard them leaving after a few minutes. I hurt too much to leave so I lay on the sofa and fell asleep. This morning I hurt so bad I couldn't stand up."
"Jesus, Teri, do you want me to help you?" She knew that I was retired from the Texas Rangers but not any details. It came up when she asked about the scars on my knee.
"Oh, Kevin, if you could. I don't want to be here when he gets back. I'm so scared. I know I haven't known you that long but I trust you. It's too much to ask though."
"It's okay. I thought about it last night after you left and I think I can make it work. We don't want the Mexican Police to get involved; we have to get you back to the US as soon as we can. I want you to pack two small bags, one with anything and another with stuff you need for a couple of weeks. Not too much, because you will be able to wash them. Make sure you bring at least one swimsuit; you will need it.
"You with me so far?"
"Yes, Kevin. I'm smarter than you think," she answered with a somewhat wan smile.
I gave her a faint smile in return. "Okay, then. Write a note for Lee telling him that your mom is in the hospital and you have to take an emergency trip to Harlingen. Take your two bags to the lobby — tell them the same thing - that your mom is in the hospital and you need to get a plane to Houston as soon as possible. Take the ferry to Cancun. When you get there, take a taxi to the airport. Buy a ticket to Houston and on to Harlingen and make sure you tell them that it's an emergency.
"Check in and check the bag you don't need to Houston. After you have your boarding pass, don't go through security. Go to the coffee shop near the check-in area and wait for Pepe. You have seen him around. Do what he tells you to do. Also call your mom and ask her to go to her sister's place until she hears from you. This is really important.
"Also we need to get some level of documentation. I'm going to see if I can get a Mexican policewoman to take pictures of your bruises. Pepe will let you know."
"Okay, Kevin. I'm sorry; I really hurt. Do you have anything for the pain?"
"Sure. I keep a full medical kit on board. I'll send some Vicodin with Pepe."
She went ahead and packed and I watched her walk to the lobby with the two small bags.
I talked to Pepe and had him take the golf cart I had rented to the ferry and make sure he got on the same ferry as Teri did. I told him to leave the golf cart there and to give one of the kids hanging around the ferry terminal twenty pesos to watch it until I could pick it up.
After Teri had checked her bags he was to meet her at the coffee shop and then take her in a taxi to Playa del Carmen. Then they were to take the ferry to Cozumel. When they got there they were to take another taxi to the south marina, La Caleta. There they were to ask for Juan Valderama.
Juan was a long time friend of mine. I called him and asked him to take care of Teri and to put her on his own boat for two nights and not to worry about Pepe; he could take care of himself. Juan did know a policewoman on Cozumel and he would have his wife as a witness also. Both could sign affidavits. It probably wouldn't be legal in a trial but, along with a statement from me, it should be enough for my lawyer to work with. The policewoman was going to email the affidavits and photos directly to my lawyer.
I knew that they would figure out that Teri had not taken the plane but it could take a couple of days. I didn't want anyone to associate my leaving with Teri's leaving. I figured that with a two-day delay no one would associate her with me. I did not want the Mexican navy or immigration to stop my boat in Mexican waters.
It worked out perfectly; two days after Teri left I checked out with the harbormaster with immigration and customs. This was routine since I did this several times a year.