He was the worst kind of criminal; the exceedingly rare and almost legendary monster that’s literally too rapacious and violent for organized crime. He was effective, no doubt about that! But no good for a team. You could see in his eyes, his dangerous inhuman eyes, that no one was safe in his presence. The regional narcotraffickers compromised by forming a sort of alliance with him. Anything shipped along Route 2 in Sonora was deliberately and carefully routed directly into his sphere of influence; Cananea, Sonora. There, he took his cut. He grudgingly reciprocated by moving it on down the line. The narcotraffickers, in control of virtually everything for hundreds of miles, wisely decided “the Cananea tax” was a better investment than the all out, scorched earth, devastation Cananea’s ruler would surely unleash should things get out of hand.
For their part, the residents of Cananea, simply endured. Chairman Mao, Stalin, Caligula, all these men had come and gone and some portion of the humanity around them had simply endured. So too would they. Cowering for a time in the shadow of a monster. Also, they had biology on their side. They felt confident that he wouldn’t live long.
It was an uneasy truce but any truce is better than none. Unfortunately, all bets went out the window when Tyrone Woodruff appeared. Sporting a shaved head, numerous tats, a modest convertible sedan, and the kind of attitude that only an American refugee from Chicago could muster, he simply arrived one day. No one knew where he came from. All he offered was a vague reference to Chicago and an insistence that you quit asking stupid questions. He paid in bitcoin, had a trunk full of machine guns, there were bullet holes in his passenger side door, and he was obviously fearless.
Everyone knew this was going to lead to trouble.
Cananea’s Ruler woke early that day, like he did every day. As soon as the sun breached the horizon he was strutting around screaming at everyone in sight. “Get up you asshloes! There’s shit to do!”
He was always in a hurry in the mornings. He ate a huge meal, ran off to his harem to urgently do things that would make Harvey Weinstein cry, and returned slightly ruffled and ready to go out and kick some ass. He summoned Pedro, his servant.
Technically he had hired Pedro to be his bodyguard but that’s like hiring a bodyguard for a tornado. Mostly Pedro ferried him around, made sure he never ran out of beer, and functioned as a translator. He liked Pedro, but of course sooner or later Pedro was going to die. He was just too damn vital and excitable for anyone, even Pedro, to be in his presence for too long.
It had been a busy morning. He’d checked on the narcotraffickers shipments (and taken his cut of course) and followed that up with some extortion, a little bit of arson and, when he ran out of ideas for interesting crimes to commit, he jumped around vandalizing cars.
That’s when he met Tyrone. Tyrone’s car was the only vehicle in Cananea he didn’t recognize. As soon as he spied it, cruising around looking for a decent body shop, he ordered Pedro to pursue it. It was a lively chase but eventually they cornered Tyrone in the parking lot of a defunct Blockbuster video.
“I’m thirsty Pedro,” he grumbled, “cervesa! Now!”
Pedro, as always, had a beer in hand. “Here you go boss.”
He drank deeply. It was hot out.
Pedro continued, “Should I explain things to our new friend?”
“You see, we come to say hello and you run away. That is not good. You give the boss some money. That’s how you show respect see?”
Tyrone couldn’t believe his eyes. “Shiiiiiiiiiit.” He drawled in an accent more southern than Chicagoan. Then the Chicago dialect kicked in “Get the fuck away from me ya dumbass redneck shithead afore I shoot yo balls off.”
The boss had already noticed the firearm. Indeed, it was pointed directly at Pedro’s family jewels. Then again, he had known all along the Pedro was at best a temporary hire; it looked like his days were up. Pedro, for his part, hadn’t noticed the firearm but he wasn’t one to overthink such things. He’d seen the boss tear apart so many challengers that he assumed the gringo would be dead as soon as the boss finished his beer.
The boss thought the same.
Tyrone had a different opinion. He didn’t shoot his way out of Chicago’s meanest streets to get hassled by a dimwit carrying a chicken. He’d pop a cap in Pedro and his dumbass livestock in the time it took either one to reach his door. Tyrone’s specialties back home were armed robbery, and conveniently for his current situation, carjacking. Tyrone knew precisely what threats he could and could not handle from the wheel of a car. He slid the transmission into park. He hoped he could finish this without putting another hole in his door. It was always a hassle repairing shot up doors.
“A rooster.” Pedro corrected him, as if reading his thoughts. “And he is almost done with his beer…”
Knowing where things were headed, they all mentally prepared. Tyrone breathing deeply, getting in the zone for a good old fashioned throwdown. Pedro grinning, ready for the show. The Boss, anxious to add another to his long list of bloody victories.
And those are the circumstances that led to what came to be known as “The Pollo Loco Shootout of Cananea”.