Wind tugging his sombrero, Chancho cracked the heel of his boot hard on the coupling. The deteriorating railroad ties of the alternate track blurred beneath his feet. Ah Puch steadied him as he twisted the heel around 90 degrees.
With a quick yank Chancho ripped it from the rest of the boot. A phosphorus- and potassium-covered fuse trailed from the detached heel, the friction of the tug sparking it to life. After Chancho slapped the magnetized metal of the heel down on the coupling, Ah Puch pulled him onto the platform of the armored freight car.
On cue Emilio and Jorge leapt from the top of the feed and grain car to the top of the armored car. The magnets in their boots clanked onto the metal roof loudly. With one last glance back at the burning fuse Chancho flicked his spurs from their usual resting place until they were underneath the soles of his boots—the sharp tips protruding out the front.
Quickly Emilio and Jorge laid down on the roof, dangling their arms over the edge. Clasping at the wrists, they heaved Ah Puch and Chancho up to join them, just in the nick of time.
The metal door at the rear of the armored car slid open, tentatively at first, before eventually opening wide. “They’re on the roof!” a voice barked. Without warning the heel charge detonated. Blasting apart the coupling, the explosion buffeted the train cars with a deafening roar.
On the roof Chancho struggled to gain his balance. Perched with the half-moon shape of his magnetic spurs under the balls of his feet, he locked their harness firmly into place. Clanking loudly, magnet on metal, he darted for the front of the car.
Still at the back of the armored car, Jorge, Emilio and Ah Puch stood in a triangle. With Ah Puch facing toward the front of the train, Jorge and Emilio latched onto his arms from behind. “Launch me, boys.”
As one they moved to the back edge of the roof while Ah Puch, the smallest of the four, flipped his legs up and over his head. Swinging him full-circle, Emilio and Jorge fell to their knees and then flat on their stomachs. With their heads and arms dangling over the edge, they sent Ah Puch careening through the opened doorway below, feet first.
With his momentum carrying him into a second backflip, Ah Puch’s left boot struck flesh as his right rotated underneath him more quickly. He caught himself hands-first before finally gathering his knees underneath him and crashing awkwardly into a stack of vegetable crates. From beside came muffled swearing. Behind he heard Jorge and Emilio’s magnetic boots drop onto the landing.
From the top of the train Chancho could see the tunnel approaching fast in the distance. Timing was critical. Running as best he could on the balls of his feet, the wind and rocking motion tried to tug him off the side. Finally he reached the front of the car.
Sliding feet-first, he grabbed the lip as he went over the edge and swung down onto the landing. The sudden proximity of the closed door leading to the armored car, as well as the door across the way leading to over a hundred more Constitutional soldiers, sparked an even greater urgency in him.
Gripping his remaining heel he twisted it 90 degrees and tugged it from the sole of his boot, flicking its chemical-laden fuse to life in the process. As steadily as his nerves allowed he stepped down onto the coupling to place the charge. But before he could reach the joint the metal door behind him slid violently open.