Thinking back to yesterday, Juan felt fortunate to have called Julie and checked in. It provided him a bit of time before she would grow concerned. With any luck he’d have a really good story and solution ready before they spoke again. Julie and he had been married for such a short time, yet it felt like they had faced and conquered challenges most couples take many years to face. Julie was a true family member of the R-Group, as were his daughter and son, he supposed. He missed the twins, almost as much as he missed his lovely wife at this point, but knew Julie was taking care of their fledglin g but thriving business.
Juan had fallen in love with Julie during a situation his brother Carlos and he had worked out of with their friend, Jacob. Juan had recently been allowed more visibility of the inner workings of the R-Group when he’d had taken off to locate his missing Uncle Jesus. He had followed so many leads and knew this absence would force him to regain the trust he had earned with the R-Group members. Juan was a pilot by trade, and passion, devoted to his wife and children. But he considered his uncle the black sheep par excellence and the last of his pre-Julie family. This feeling of loyalty moved through his mind as he focused on the conversation.
Juan listened intently, without interruption, to his Uncle Jesus as he recounted the story. A couple of times Juan started to say something but caught himself and motioned for Jesus to continue.
Jesus offered, “I know what you’re going to say, nephew, but I didn’t break my word to you and your brother Carlos. When you two got me out of the drug trafficking trade, I took my money, with the new identity, and went to ground. I’ve been lounging in the Caribbean for most of the time since I last saw you two, just taking it easy. But I got bored, with nothing much to do except order fruity chick drinks while moving from one seaside resort to another.
“I started to take stock of myself and realized I needed some gainful employment other than subsidizing the top-heavy female waitresses who all claimed to be going to school to justify the heavy tips they felt entitled to receive. It was fun for a while, but it became obvious that my money wasn’t going to support me and my following of co-eds. While I was studying the silver frame on my prized Velvet Elvis painting, it struck me that I could be investing in precious metals, like maybe silver or gold even.
“Don’t laugh, but I did me some research on the subject and was amazed at how familiar I was with some of the mines. I located, in Mexico’s Bajío region, the largest silver mine in the world. Guanajuato is one of the leading centers of silver mining, and it’s not far from the village of La Valenciana, which is a little north of Guanajuato. I decided to take a look. As I was touring there, I found an advertisement for the El Tigre Company that boasted of being able to place investors into their mining operations.
“You and I both know mining is a rigged game in Mexico, a lot like the drug trafficking business. To succeed, one needs a legitimate company that is on the take with the local government to be able to buy-in.”
Jesus looked at his nephew and could not see any hint of how this was being received. Juan had a talent, as did Carlos, of not showing his emotions, but the wheels were turning, regardless.
“It seemed my luck had changed for the better when I met this Paulo character. He claimed to be with the Collective Holdings of Assets Reserved for Denomination, I think. CHARD, he called it. He said he could get me a seat at the table with the folks mining these precious metals. Turns out that when you find silver you usually find gold and copper. I was only really interested in the silver, but old Paulo claimed that I had to do some copper in the commodities market before he could get me into the precious metals. Thinking back on it, I should have been a little dogged on my silver exposure and walked, when all they would let me play in was copper.
“Anyway, I put down my earnest money to do a trial to see if it was for me. I made up my mind a few days later and went to get back my earnest money and go hunt for something else. Upon reflection, sure wished I hadn’t done that. At first, I couldn’t find him. Then when I start making inquiries, I got a whole lot more attention than I was looking for.
“Anyhow, I am right glad you came looking for me, nephew. You and Carlos have always been the best of family for me.”
Juan clucked his tongue and offered, “Uncle Jesus, you say that because we are the only family you have. You mean to tell me you strolled back into Mexico, after we hauled you and your loot out, looking for high-profile silver mining investments? Did it occur to you that the federales might still be looking for you?”
Jesus made a sour face and stated, “Who’d of thought that the infamous Mexican government would clean up their act and actually abide by the law? I mean, after decades of corrupt practices they have to up and grow a conscience. You just can’t trust anybody these days!”
Juan closed his eyes and shook his head back and forth in disbelief. Then, sizing up the situation, he very subtly pulled out a tiny cell phone, which had been concealed in his boot, and placed a very quiet call to his older brother.
Carlos answered quickly and demanded, “Juan, where the hell are you? I’ve been trying to get ahold of you. Do you have any leads on our missing uncle? And don’t tell me you’ve gone bozotic on me!”
Juan blankly stared off into space and absentmindedly asked, “Bozotic?”
Carlos snapped, “Yes, bozotic. You know, that’s where Bozo the Clown has a colossal idiotic moment and goes bozotic, for all intents and purposes!”
Juan, with a very annoyed tone, responded, “No, Carlos. I have not gone bozotic.” Then in a hushed tone, he triumphantly proclaimed, “But, yes, Carlos, I have found our uncle.”
Carlos did a double take and, somewhat relieved but puzzled, asked, “That is good news. Where did you find him?”
Juan somewhat dejectedly offered, “I’m in the cell next to Uncle Jesus.”
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