Wiser than most soldiers Ah Puch had encountered, Guzman followed him and Chancho at a safe distance. While remaining clear of any quick movements and gripping his knife tightly, he allowed the Rurales to saunter through the armored freight car on their way toward the back of the train. With light coming through the door where Obregón had exited, Chancho used the opportunity to let his eyes wander about the cargo.
Most of it seemed common: a dozen crates of coffee beans, an equal amount labeled “cerveza” but most likely packed with tequila, and several dozen crates of vegetables to make the whole shipment appear as mundane as possible. Near the far end of the car, stashed in the shadows, Chancho strained to read the label on a dozen oversized metal boxes, “Geological Survey—Secretariat of the Interior.” Without time to ponder its contents they reached the metal door, and Ah Puch tugged it open.
The blistering sun greeted them. With Guzman watching from inside the armored car they leapt across the coupling and waved goodbye from the neighboring car. Shutting its door behind them, they returned to suffocating darkness. “Cheery fellow.”
Ah Puch grunted. They staggered forward in the dark until Chancho bumped into bales of hay. The car echoed and rattled, revealing its relative emptiness. Its smell informed them it contained mostly feed and grain. They bumped their way to the other end and heaved the door open to let in light. Their partners in crime, Jorge and Emilio, waved at them from the railing of an open-air livestock car containing several horses, their four included.
Chancho gave them the thumbs up. “Any trouble with the caboose?” They shook their heads and smiled. Chancho breathed a sigh of relief before settling back on a bale of hay to map out their next steps.
Ah Puch searched the shadows of the car to ensure they were alone, finally joining his friend. “Things are going well,” he offered.
“Hmmm? Oh, yes. Did you see those metal boxes?” Chancho scratched his chin.
“Mining. I’ve seen them used before in mining.” Ah Puch stretched, touching his toes.
“I wonder what’s inside them.”
“Rocks, dirt, ore.” Ah Puch cracked his neck and shrugged. “There’ll be plenty of time to look later if this plan works.” The second half of the sentence sounded more negative than he had intended.
“Oh it’ll work. What is there to go wrong now?”
“What is there—” Ah Puch shook his head. “Everything we’ve done up to this point has been easy.” He leaned forward. “This is not a game. There are over a hundred people on this train that will kill us if they find out what we are doing, several who will try to hunt us down and kill us if we succeed.”
“No one will find out what we are doing. The four of us are together, we’re in position, and besides only two people on this train have even seen our faces. They’ll be too busy losing a revolution to find us.”
Ah Puch grunted and sat back. “One thing at a time.” He knew Chancho would be useless if he grew distracted or discouraged at this point. A sly grin crept across his face. “The boot bomb worked pretty well.”
Chancho laughed. “Pretty well? It was incredible. Torres is wishing he could’ve been strapped naked to a cactus instead. The only problem is now I have a hole in my boot.” He held the tip of his boot up for Ah Puch to inspect.
“Bah. It’s nothing. I could fix it in five minutes if I had my tools.”
Chancho slapped Ah Puch’s leg. “I can’t wait to try out the spurs.”