Antonio “The Lion” Mateo Jorge Trejo or simply “Tony” begins his morning's training as he did thirty-seven years ago when he was a middleweight contender. Thirty minutes of meditation and prayer, a 5K run, 100 push-ups, 300 crunches and a healthy breakfast with steak and eggs, yokes runny, “it's all about the protein!” he admits, and four ten-ounce glasses of water. Nuevo Laredo's 49-year old World Middleweight Boxing Champion still takes time out for children, he is called “Champ” and is a respected entrepreneur. Very little enters or leaves Laredo without The Lion’s knowledge and consent. This resident “Godfather” has no issue with handling his business personally but, tries to delegate “things of that nature” to others.
“Today is going to be an awesome day!” Tony says with enthusiasm, “Eddie you'll see!” Eduardo Jose Suarez, or “Eddie,” has been Tony's best friend since the first grade, it was a fight to keep from having their peso’s and shoes taken that brought them together. Eddie Suarez is Tony's conscience when needed and voice when Tony is away. Eddie has seen the good and bad when dealing with Tony Trejo. Many prefer to meet with Eddie. Eddie is stern, but reasonable and fair, sometimes forgiving. He realizes life happens and not everything works out as planned. Tony is the opposite. “Heads roll” when events go south.
Tony and Eddie sit on the balcony of the Presidential Suite at the lavish, “The Constantinople,” Tony's grand five-star hotel overlooking the city. The men meet there each day at 9 a.m. for breakfast and to update each other of the previous days, or night’s, activities, as well as newfound opportunities that may have come to one of them while away from the other. Tony prefers the hotel to his home. The hotel places him right where the action is, and screening visitors and/or potential clients is an easier task for his security staff, no sense inviting trouble to meet his young wife and 3-year old son.
“Guillermo sent word this morning that he is ready to buy,” Tony says. “I may need you to have Ricardo take a trip! Maybe take Bartoli with him, it’s time people see and recognize him. Eddie looks up from his coffee. “Have you looked at Lucero's work?” Tony asks. “Yes!” Eddie replies. “I found a flaw with the way the ink and paper react with the test pencil, Lucero says it will be okay, money changes hands quickly and greedy Americans don’t take time to examine such things closely. I am not comfortable with such an error so I don’t believe him, to make certain, I am having the product field tested; I am waiting to hear from Bartoli; he had a kid go to the exchange in Brownsville. I should hear from him soon!” In the meantime, he will work on the mixture. Lucero believes the issue should be neutralized once he retests the ink mixture and the paper compound. Eddie picks up his cup to sip his coffee. Tony looks out over the city, “This could be our big score! Low risk, fast return, and a larger payday! I am forecasting a 5-million a week once we complete testing. We just need a good “front” to move product,” Tony exclaims. “Maybe you should have Ricardo begin recruiting, but tell him none of these greedy fucking locals! They have “shit” for brains, and they can't take the heat! I also need Lucero to move his operation to another safe house. We are practically ready to launch; I don't need any fucking assholes trying to get too close! Have him find another place,” he stops to consider, “and add another guard.”
Tony and Eddie continue their breakfast with conversation and laughter. As friends since their childhood, something said always brings a funny story or a memory. The men reminisce about their younger days, fighting in the streets, stealing food from “Old Man Martinez,” as children still call him, for lunch after they were robbed of their lunch money. Proving their worth to one another, one saving the ass of the other day after day. Tony and Eddie are brothers in the truest form, you see it in their eyes and hear it in their laughter. Tony, forever optimistic, always has a plan and Eddie with the patience and fortitude to see the job to the end making him the perfect assistant, though he hates that label. He considers himself a partner.
Marvin Casey arrives at the truck stop after delivering his load. He contacts his dispatcher to inform him that his trailer is clean, empty and ready for his next assignment. As he sits on hold, waiting for his driver/manager to discuss his next dispatch, he again begins rehearsing his script, preparing for his call to Uncle Tony.
“Uncle Tony,” Marvin tries to say confidently, “I have everything worked out! The Border Crossing will not be a problem, I know what to look for, I know when to cross; I can ensure there will not be an issue! And since I am assuming all of the risk and doing the legwork, I need $10,000! I have a 53’ trailer, my loads going to Dallas usually weigh less than 20,000 pounds, I can carry up to 25,000 pounds of whatever you have. That’s just forty cents per pound to move your product Sir, if you are wanting to move a large quantity of something.”
Marvin smiles at the thought of the grand figure, but the idea of buying fuel to pull a 45,000 pound load sours his face, but the payoff, the trucker thought, it returns a smirk. “I will call him as soon as I can!” Marvin's says to himself. Uncle Tony told me at our reception and back when I met him that he has a job for me if I ever needed one, it's time for Uncle Tony to put up, or shut up!”
Marvin’s dispatcher informs him that he needs to take another call and that he will call him back with the information for his next pickup, they end their call. It takes a few minutes for Marvin to work up the courage to make the call to Uncle Tony. He nearly talks himself out of making the call, considering what his wife Rita would say if she knew, but the idea of “all that money” and the options the money brings wins the argument Marvin is having with himself. The truck driver takes a deep breath and dials the number. “This is it!” the truck driver says to himself. The phone rings, anxiety begins to build. Uncle Tony', of course, doesn't answer his phone. After several rings, his phone goes directly to voicemail. Marvin hangs up since he hadn't scripted a message. Marvin practices his message and calls again, and again the ring goes to voicemail, but this time Marvin leaves a message.
“Uncle Tony, this is Marvin, Rita's husband,” Marvin felt it might be wise not to mention his last name. “I was hoping to talk to you about some work, you said at the wedding reception that you might have “something I can do.” I can be reached at (214) 978-2232. Please give me a call when you can, thank you, Sir!”
Marvin taps the red button on his phone to end the call just before his dispatcher calls back with the details for his next load. Marvin starts his truck, as he begins driving to his appointment his phone rings.
“Hello, this is Marvin.” Marvin tries to speak as professionally as possible since he did not recognize the number. It could be the shipper, another dispatcher or maybe another company since he is always looking and applying for new job opportunities as they come available. “Marvin, this is Tony, how are things? Is everything alright? How is Augustina?” “Everything is fine, Sir!” Marvin replies. “Rita is at home.” Marvin figures he should quickly get to his reasons for calling.
Sir, you said at our wedding reception you had “work” for me if I ever wanted it, I was hoping to talk to you about that.” Tony pauses to look at Eddie. He then asks, “where are you right now?” “I am in Laredo Sir, on my way to pick up my next load to take back to Dallas, I am still a truck driver,” Marvin explains. “I was hoping to offer my service to you and handle some of your errands; you said that you don't like to travel.” Tony doesn't respond; Marvin waits for a moment. “Are you still there, Sir?” Marvin asks politely. “Yeah... ah... Marvin... I just might have something you can do for me, when are you leaving to go back to Dallas?” Tony asks. “I can stay until morning if needed, this load delivers tomorrow night at 10 p.m., but I was hoping to leave this morning, I would like to stop and see Rita tonight and also try to get to my delivery appointment early. “Outstanding!” Tony exclaims. “I will call you back shortly after I work out some details here. Maybe we can meet later this morning.” Marvin smiles, “Okay Sir, I will wait for your call!”
Marvin gives himself some praise, “Some people are watchers, and some are doers, AND I AM ABOUT TO DO THIS SHIT! HA! HA!” Marvin can smell all that money he is about to make. “My problems are over!” the truck driver says with a smile.
Tony presses the “end” button and sets his cell phone back on the table; Eddie waits for his boss to brief him. “That was Rita's dumb ass husband; I don't know what she see's in that stupid fuck!” Tony takes a second to laugh. “This asshole says that he wants to “run an errand” for me, he says he wants to offer his service...” The Lion scoffs, “like I need his fucking services! Fucking Negra!” “Like I would trust his fucking dumb, arrogant ass with my business! What a fucking puke!” Tony Trejo was disgusted with the idea of employing anyone who wasn't Latino. The Cartel Boss did not do business personally with anyone who wasn't Mexican. He did not like white Americans. He found them greedy, untrustworthy, calculating and vindictive, always looking for a way to overthrow their competition. Blacks, African Americans or “Fucking Negra's!” as he so eloquently describes them are humanities scum, “The Something for Noth'in People!” Willful killers of their own kind, gaining little to nothing for their exploits. Tony prefers hiring representatives to deal with, “those” people; he considers them below him and tries to keep distance between him and them. Tony only attended the wedding and reception to support his pride and joy, the family's princess Augustina, hoping to show her that her family is not the “Cast of “Ruthless Gangsters” she depicts. Tony never expected Marvin to consider his offer; he knows his niece Rita would not stand for it! The Cartel Boss weighs Marvin's assets; it took a moment before he realized the truck driver’s worth. The kingpin had a thought; his lips curl into a devilish, “Grinch-like” smile. Eddie knows from the look on Tony's face he has an idea, usually an idea that will at some point bite him in the ass.
“Eddie!” Tony barks. “Call Bartoli; I need to know how the kid did at the exchange! Then, call Lucero and tell him to get ready for an order. I just found our delivery guy!” Tony laughs. “Eddie, you see, what did I say to you?” I said, “This would be an awesome day!” Eddie takes his phone from his pocket to make his calls; it's not long before he tells Tony everything is a “GO!” Tony smiles, Eddie dials Guillermo, “Que Paso, this is Laredo, the Hamilton's are down three for one.” Are you ready to move?” There is a pause, “Si,” the voice says. “I am in for three!” Tony's eyes widen, “Tell him you will sell him five for one fifty!” Eddie nods, “did you hear that?” “Si,” the voice said with a pause. “Same guarantee?” “Of course Mi Amigo!” The Lion adds, “Okay!” the voice on the phone replies, Eddie smiles looking at his boss, “Mañana, adios!” Eddie turns off the phone; he then looks at Tony. “I will call Lucero, tell him to bag 500 “G's” American!” Call Bartoli, let him know he is taking us for a ride.” Tony orders as he picks up his phone and dials. The phone rings only once. “Yes, Sir!” Marvin answers. “I have an errand for you; I will meet you at the truck stop in thirty minutes!”