THE INSURGENCE of CHAN SANTA CRUZ
BOOK SIX: THE FIRST of the BOOKS of CHANGE
CHAPTER THIRTY SEVEN
The same meal of tortillas, beans and meat which so enticed the prisoners remained untouched in General Bravo's office where the Commander and a few associates remained under guard, as much for their own protection as to prevent the General's escape. The senior officers of Santa Cruz were, for the most part, submissive creatures... moons who gave no light of their own but reflected the will of Bravo so faithfully that Rivera had judged them of no use to his plans. There was not a Huerta among them, not even a Blanquet.
But rank is not always a certain mark of abilities - proof of this was that, of the four men most dangerous to Manuel Rivera remaining at large in or near Santa Cruz... one, Boleaga, held the insignificant rank of a Corporal, and two others, El Chacol and Miguel Chankik, bore no rank at all. For this reason, no order was given preventing Boleaga from entering the General's office unarmed and, when the guards were looking in another direction, Bravo had leaned towards the Corporal, whispered for him to remove the contents of a certain dead tree on the outskirts of the city and have them brought to Akbal.
Where, of course, resided the fourth of the dangerous men, Major Macias.
Bravo knew well that Rivera must have him sent to Vigia Chico but, also, that Madero's emissary would not be expecting trouble on the way. "The fool!" the old General thought, to have perceived such absence of hostilities on the part of the Maya and mistaken it for peace. Once Rivera had taken command, and Bravo and Chankik had met with the sublevado chiefs, Mexico would realize what a fragile thing peace could be. Yes, and if the diversion of resources weakened Madero's position, so much the better.
Entirely forgotten, among these speculations, was the General's order to Boleaga to seek out and kill the old brujo as a retaliation for Consuela's witchery.
If the foolish decision of the runt to put his own man at the head of the territory led to his own fall, Bravo continued to reason, it was no more than he deserved.
Of the forgotten men, now, Chankik had already disappeared. His destination was the monte... in the caves and swamps and ruins where the sublevados hid; he would bring to them word of their time of uprising. Boleaga charged the Jackal, whose expression had been unusually sharp, even alert since his execution of Bravo's orders, with the transport of what he referred to as the important papers and orders retrieved from a tin box in the old tree overland to Peto, then Merida, finally to Felix Diaz in Veracruz. To carry these, El Chacol produced Bravo's saddlebags, the same, Boleaga realized with no little horror, that had contained Consuela's heart. They were even still greasy and the smell was intolerable. "Why, my Cabo, no thief will dare look inside and think anything of value is contained in this," the Jackal reasoned with an almost Jesuitical logic.
"The General's trust is making a man of this beast," the Cabo worried, rummaging through the contents of the box, in case anything immediately useful was contained within, for he did not need men and their ambitions so much as instruments who would carry his orders out without question... or without even curiosity. "So many pesos!" he sighed, aloud.
"These?" inquired the Jackal, lifting a sheaf of papers from Bravo's plunder.
"Certificates of deposit, to accounts in British banks," Boleaga replied, sifting through the papers. "American, also, even German... he must have made arrangements with the chicle buyers or arms sellers. Perhaps a million pesos, cabron, but nothing of use to us!" he warned El Chacol, "they are payable to the Territory and may only be redeemed by the Governor of Quintana Roo, upon production of these other certificates of identification, specifying the old man... unless he signs them over to Madero's parrot during what should be a short term of succession."
"Bravo is beyond redemption," the Jackal answered... waxing philosophical for perhaps the only time in his short, violent life.
"When the dwarf is removed, in Mexico, the General will find a way to return, as Governor, even for only a few days... long enough to cash in the certificates. Do as he says and there should be a reward waiting for you in Veracruz or, perhaps, Havana," the Cabo ordered as the certificates were wrapped in deerskin and returned to the bloody saddlebags. In this way, the Jackal was distracted from Boleaga's intent to appropriate the gold that the General had hoarded... over seventy pounds of it. Gold pesos and pounds, dollars and deutschmarks, francs and a dozen other currencies, besides, and even gold without denomination in bars, nuggets and dust... with an aggregate value approaching one hundred thousand pesos.
Whatever oath Bravo had sworn to Diaz, then Madero, he had taken no oath to honor their paper money. There were only a few, sad Porfirian pesos among the treasure, which Boleaga allowed the brisk wind as had followed rain to waft away to the monte and, perhaps, some poor chiclero who would be disappointed when no merchant would take such dinero muerto.
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