Is that him?
She thinks. Her breath already is coming faster and harder because the answer seems obvious: yes, that is the most wanted criminal in country. Officer Calderon has her hand on her gun, which is on her hip. The audacity of this guy sitting here, outside a regular coffee in plain view, enjoying the sun, suggests that something else is going on. An involved ploy that will either be suicidal to the Officers naïve enough to rejoice at the prospect of an easy arrest or a body double or etc.. She remembers her best friend’s head sailing through the air.
She makes hand signals to Officer LaPaz who is on the beat with her. The first meaning they should cross the street inconspicuously, then when they get to the other side to take a look at the guy outside the café. It’s her eyes that signal all the surprise, open and still distending. Officer LaPaz has black, neatly slicked back hair. His eyebrows are two razor sharp black lines, he has the aloof alertness of a Gecko but he can’t scrabble up walls.
Perhaps because there is only one single picture of him, Nazario Gallardo the most wanted criminal in the country, he feels safe, especially now, with the facial hair and the big hat. He looks like a school teacher but what he teaches is pure craziness, an elaboration of something he must have jotted down while in hell. Officer LaPaz is also signaling now, that they should be turning off their walkie-talkies, then back at the car as in “I’m going to call back up, don’t even think of doing a thing”.
The fact that neither of these officers is even whispering any more, in the middle of the day, in the middle of a busy street, is a testament to the level of what kind of criminal they are dealing with. He, who sits calmly under the green parasol, drinking what looks like a Macchiato [from this distance], cracking his knuckles and observing the busy multitude. He, The Most Crazy, King Pin from Hell, Nazario Gallardo. With the beard. Sitting calmly. Perhaps, studying a particularly beautiful woman, taking a mental note, reflecting on an outstanding business meeting, coming up with a new commandment.
It would seem that the day somehow bends around him, that reality itself is slightly intimidated by the man. Then how can she…. The very, very improbable suspicion she has.
Officer LaPaz is crossing back the street among the people, noon, waving, towards their patrol car where a radio is waiting to call in every goddamn officer in a 20k radius, or however many people in blue it will take to arrest Prof. Gallardo. Yes, he is supposed to have been a scholar of theology, before becoming a polymath in crime; at any rate, he excels.
The day is sweltering. Officer Calderon feels as though she might begin to melt back into her original shape, this weather is too much for her. But now is not the time. The Most Crazy is scanning the street, there is a chance that he is waiting here for a contact to approach him about this or that narco operation. In plain view of the whole world, feeling too safe, perhaps believing in that contradictory, fallible saying that 100% visibility is the best disguise. Then again, nobody is taking note of him or, at least nobody dare look in his direction.
She moves behind the many tables of the Café Familia towards the counter where two busboys are extremely busy processing the spoons, glasses, plates, cups, forks, etc. that the waiters are bringing in like hectic ants. It’s a classical scene of surplus production, unpretentiously proletarian. The Officer is gripping her gun, a gesture disturbing enough that quite a few pair of eyeballs follow her progression to the counter. One of the waitresses is working the old clunky cash desk, rapidly typing in numbers while the thing chatters numerically. Officer Calderon’s first impulse is to hand signal to request if the man with the beard scaring away the day around him, is indeed Prof. Gallardo but realizing the impossibility instead bends forward and raises her voice to the bare minimum of audibility