The four las mujeres Mexicanas met every other Thursday at a restaurant in Culiacan for an afternoon of comida, dominos, drinks and gossip. The women drank, ate, sang and nervously talked over, around and through one another. They talked about clothes, children and relatives. They talked of their favorite television shows, beach hotels in Mazatlan and their husbands. The women wore large sunglasses perched on their heads like tiaras and carried cell phones in little black holsters. Boys fought outside to wash their monster big cars. Their husbands ran the four largest drug cartels in Sinaloa. The men killed one another, the women were amigas.
This week’s fiesta was at the restaurant Poderosa Señora, where owner Jesus Malverde closed the restaurant for the women and cooked all the food himself. He brought in his mother Maria to make the Oaxaca chocolate mole tamales the women loved. Their table was decorated with fresh flowers and a center piece ice sculpture of cherubs shooting rifles.
Guadalupe spoke excellent English and lived for eleven years in the United States as a child while her father waited for the Mexican law to change so he could, and did, return. She was tall, flashy with creamy mocha skin, green eyes and beauty that frightened men.
After child numero cinco, Rosario lost her figure, but her gordita body still had all the soft rolled curves most Mexican men liked.
Segrid, Rosario’s cousin was named after a popular character in a television novella . She was muy gordita and ate for a reason ─ her husband had an appetite for young girls and 5,000 peso blowjobs.
Paloma was quiet, thoughtful and had six children. Without the twenty gold and silver bracelets she always wore and the red streaked, short hair she looked like a nun in court.
That day Rosario bought a bottle of 100 year old tequila she purchased at an auction for Cruz Roja and the women quietly sat together, talked and sipped the tequila reposo. Soon the devil inside the bottle loosened their tongues and they talked about things they dared not ever speak of. A terror inside of them forced their feelings out their mouths like little black snakes. The waiters silently closed the doors and waited in the kitchen.
The Mexican government had cracked down on the Sinaloa drug trade. The military had been brought in, men arrested, shipments of drugs confiscated, raids in the middle of the night, houses and property seized and it made the cartel families loco kill anyone who tried to take advantage of their misfortunes.
With Mexican fatality and another drink of tequila, the women knew their happiness would soon be taken away. They laughed that not even a miracle, saint or God could deliver them up from their fate. They accepted death, but they feared most for the future of their children. The innocence of the children to the evils of the world had to be protected for as long as possible. The women hated the violence; but there was no way to stop it.
After another shot of tequila, Rosario and Segrid cried. Six of their cousins were shot to death in their casa the night before. Then Guadalupe broke down and sobbed on her knees how she argued with her husband so violently he placed a gun on the table. She ripped her blouse open and yelled in his face. “Kill the mother of your children! Kill me Mexican! Kill me!” When he didn’t kill her, she knew he was weak and couldn’t stop the violence.
With every drink the women continued to cry in one another’s arms like children. Rosario’s drunken solution was give the macho machachos all the guns they needed to kill themselves. Paloma said it was only matter of time before marigolds were laid on her grave.
Guadalupe lit another cigarette and suggested they kill their husbands to stop all the violence. The women yelped and whistled with raised tequila glasses. They finished the last of the tequila and in the deadly silence las muerjes knew Guadalupe was right.
Paloma, the practical one shouted, “Como?!”
Rosario had the obvious solution. “Con sexo!”
Someone suggested they put their sunglasses in a hat and draw another woman’s husband to kill. Paloma said they should talk about it like women and then decide. One week later they met for lunch and it was decided. Rosario would kill Segrid cheating husband. They all wanted to kill him, but Rosario said she had the right and obligation to the family. Segrid would kill Rosario’s and Paloma and Guadalupe would kill each other’s husband.
The woman found guns in their houses and spent a weekend planning at Segrid’s secluded beach casita in Mazatlan. For two days in the late afternoons, half drunk, they fired into the sand and ocean waves to get the feel of their pistolas.
The plan was simple and irresistible. Simple ─Information was easily supplied by the wives of where their husbands ate, drank, meet friends and socialized. Irresistible ─The women knew the men’s lust and temptation of screwing the wife of the head of another cartel family would replace any good judgment they ever had. It only took three weeks to set the men up.
One early morning, all wearing black rebozos, their heads covered in black lace, they met in church, knelt together at the Communion rail, held hands and prayed to Santa Muerte to have great success.
“Oh, Santa Muerte, I call upon you to free me from all dangers, I implore you to grant me the favors I should request of you until the final day. Desired Death of my heart, do not abandon me from your protection.”
The blessed themselves and in a quiet procession lit candles and left a large money donation in the poor box. If one failed she would kill herself and the other women would raise her children.
On the steps outside the church, in the bright morning sunshine, they silently hugged, cried and kissed; it was the only thing the women knew to do. They also knew that death, muerte was female.
That late morning two large mocha breasts lured Paloma’s husband to a “No tell” motel. When he was taking off his clothes in the bathroom Guadalupe opened the door and fired six times. He grabbed the pink shower curtains and fell back into the bathtub. He died with his pants half off, holding his shoe. She wiped off the finger prints and threw the gun next to the body. She lit a cigarette and knew there was another gun at the house if the others failed. Guadalupe felt calm by the time she arrived home and ate posole with children too young to understand death.
After a meal of stuffed chilies, beans and rice, tres queso enchiladas, unos grandes tacos dorados, tres cervezas and two chocolate flans, Segrid seduced Rosario’s husband in the dark behind a closed restaurant. Feeling his hard cock with one hand she slipped the gun from her purse and emptied the nine bullet clip.
In a car on a secluded road, Rosario fired three shots into Segrid’s husband’s groin. He struggled to open the car door and staggered away. She emptied the gun in his back as she walked toward the body. Rosario pulled a knife from her purse and was going to cut off his testicles and stick them in his mouth. She had seen that in an American gangster movie. There must be a more Mexican way she thought. She lifted her dress, pulled her panties down, squatted and peed on his head and face. She wiped herself with a piece of bloody shirt and calmly walked back to the car and drove away.
Paloma had drinks with Guadalupe’s husband in a barato motel room and felt very sad. He said his heart soared whenever he saw her. He reminded her they danced together when they were children. He even brought flowers. Paloma kissed him tenderly on the lips and then only needed one shot in the back of his head.
Immediately there was a national scandal in the press that the Mexican government had become so desperate that they had permitted secret agents from the United States into the country for the “professional hit.” Violence spun out of control with weeks of revenge killing. The women stepped in and became liaison between the cartel families. They calmed the violence and quietly exported the troublemakers and their families to South America by private plane and warned them never to return to Mexico. The ones who refused were picked up by the police and arrested. Drugs, guns and money were found in their car and home.
When the men of the drug cartel figured out through rumor and truth what really happened, the women were in complete control. But the men had doubts. Las mujeres appealed to the women of the cartel families and in kitchens Mexican men were confronted by their wives to end the violence. Doubts were erased with money given to cartel family members for their children’s future. The men finally agreed, saying they didn’t like all the family killings either.
One year later las mujers de Sinaloa were on vacation in Mazatlan; children playing out in the swimming pool, Paloma looking through the books, when the news came on the television saying the killings and violence in Sinaloa were way down. The government was withdrawing army troops. The women watched in silence and then turned off the television and got ready for a day of sun bathing and dinner at a private restaurant. Segrid and Rosario had lost 25 kilos each and wanted to go shopping. Guadalupe found another man. He worked for the federal police.