Going Down to Mexico
Disclaimer: Mexico is just one of the many countries where I do not own Castle. Rating: K Time: Between seasons two and three.
Sheriff Conklin finished the concealed carry permit paperwork, but just sat there looking at it.
"Have you ever considered a career in New Mexican law enforcement, Detective Beckett?"
"You mean leave New York and come here? No. Never."
Conklin smiled. "Well, you have left New York and come here. Now, I want to help out my four deputies, or at least make sure that idiot Dormand doesn't shoot them, and Mr. Castle, of course. If you were a special reserve deputy sheriff, you'd be a sworn peace officer in the State of New Mexico. The county couldn't pay you, but a badge might come in handy."
"Where do I sign?"
When Kate left the sheriff's office, she had another badge on her belt. And as she walked to her Jeep, she saw she had someone waiting for her.
Castle couldn't wait to down a cold beer and lay down on a nice, comfy couch.
"You okay, Rick?" Miguel asked.
He nodded. "In spite of abundant evidence to the contrary, I may be getting just a bit old."
"Nothing another beer won't fix, amigo." He was handed a second beer.
As they sat there, they began trading stories. Castle, of course, shared stories about his cases with Kate Beckett.
"She sounds like one hell of a woman."
"She is, Cowboy. Smart, determined, compassionate, knowledgeable and incredibly gorgeous."
"Sounds like one you ought to latch onto."
Castle sadly shook his head. "She's not interested." Castle explained how Beckett had become a cop because of her mother's murder and how that had changed her. "Even after she killed the guy who actually killed her mom, it didn't change her. It turned out he was a hired killer. We have no idea who he did the job for, except he's got money and connections."
"If you need a little work done one day, you know how to contact us."
Castle shook his head. "No. There's no way she'd go along with it. She's a cop through and through."
Cowboy smiled. "No reason she'd have to know. Just between you and us. In fact, since you're a friend, we'll give you a special rate."
Miguel stood up. "This conversation is getting too serious. The sun is down, so you people should go outside and fire up the barbecue while I make up some of Miguel Cervantes' World Famous Venison Burgers. You want to give me a hand, Rick?"
He led Rick back to the kitchen.
"You have a freezer, refrigerator, stove and an air conditioner in this trailer? Where does the power come from?"
"Propane tanks. We have lots and lots of propane tanks, plus enough food, water, medicine, weapons and ammo to stay here for a hell of a long time. Now, pay close attention because you may never see my world-famous venison burgers made again."
"First, we form the ground venison into thin patties, then we add my world-famous spice mix. "He took down a spice jar that was labelled "Miguel's world-famous spice mix" and mixed it in with the ground venison.
"Now, remember that we made these very thin patties?" Miguel asked. "This is why. We take a patty and put a bit of blue Stilton cheese in the middle. It has to be real English Stilton cheese. Accept no substitutes. Then we put in some garlic butter like this and then we put another patty on top and squeeze the edges so we have one big patty. Now, you do it."
In no time at all, they were sitting in front of the cave feasting on burgers, beers and home-made potato salad.
Full of food, Castle took a beer and walked out past the cave and sprawled onto the soft sand. He looked up at the stars and thought.
Sooner or later, Beckett will dump me, one way or another. She'll find her one and done and consider me a fifth wheel. If I tell her now that I want more than just being her police partner, I'll get dumped sooner and it'll be over quickly. Well, quickly depends on just how long it takes my heart to heal. It's been a long time since Kyra dumped me and I still remember that. Will I be able to stand being around Beckett in the meantime as just her partner? To see her every day and know that she sees me as a sometimes useful pest? Shit! I wish I knew what to do.
Castle made breakfast the next morning and as they were all washing the dishes, Cowboy spoke.
"We need to contact the man this morning. Sorry, Rick, but you can't listen in. He's kinda peculiar that way."
"You want me to take a walk?"
"No need for you to leave the air-conditioned comfort of the trailer for the desert. We'll take the walk."
In five minutes, they were ready to go. In addition to some food, water and their weapons, they had a satellite phone with them.
"A satellite phone? And a newer model than mine."
"We'll be back in a bit." Hernan said as they left the trailer.
They were back in less than an hour.
"What did he say?" Rick asked.
"He's aware of our little problem. He told us to sit tight and let him do the heavy lifting."
"Can you tell me who he is?"
"Not now, but he's probably going to want to talk to you before this is all over. Now, does anyone here play poker?"
Castle was seven dollars to the good when the satellite phone rang. Cowboy took it outside and had a quick conversation.
He stuck his head back inside the trailer. "The man wants to see us. Not Rick, just us. He's sending a helicopter for us. Get your gear and get ready."
He walked over to Rick. "Things are looking good for all of us, but you still have to stay here. There's plenty of food and water, but we'll likely be back by tomorrow sometime. You've got your rifle and .45, however, we're leaving you an AR 15 and plenty of ammo. If the FBI or other cops show up, surrender at once. The AR is because there are a lot of nasty people in this desert. Not likely they'd find this place, though. See you soon."
And then they were gone.
Kate walked slowly towards the woman standing by her Jeep. She looked the woman over and decided she didn't look like an FBI agent. She was too old, for one thing. She had long snow white hair and looked to be Hispanic. She wore a colorful dress and lots of silver and turquoise jewelry.
"Can I help you?" Kate asked.
"Are you the detective from New York that came looking for her boyfriend?"
"Who wants to know?"
The woman smiled shyly. "I'm not with the FBI or the police. I'm Teresa Cervantes. My son Miguel is one of the ones the FBI is looking for. I have friends in the County Center. They told me about you. They also told me about Dormand. He thinks Miguel and his friends are too dangerous to be taken alive. He wants to shoot them all. Are you Detective Beckett?"
Kate nodded. "How can I help you, Mrs. Cervantes?"
"It's how I can help you. Can we go someplace away from the FBI? They could be watching us."
Kate got into the Jeep and opened the door for Mrs. Cervantes.
"You only need to go a few blocks, Detective."
Kate drove for four blocks and pulled into a parking lot.
"Now, how can you help me?"
"Miguelito has a place where he and his friends can go, way out in the desert. They think no one knows about it, but I found a map showing where it is." She pulled a sheet of paper from her dress top and gave it to Kate. "It'll be easy to find. A lot of the way is on dirt roads, but they're easy to follow. The last part you'll need your GPS, but you should find it easily enough. They won't shoot you, especially now that you're a deputy sheriff. They know and respect Sheriff Conklin. And your boyfriend will tell them you're okay."
Kate made no response to the part about Castle being her boyfriend and studied the map. "It looks simple enough. I'll do everything I can to keep all of them safe.
"I know you will. Vaya con Dios, Senorita Beckett." And Mrs. Cervantes was out of the Jeep and gone.
When he first heard the engine, he thought it was the helicopter coming back. Then he realized it was a car or truck. He pushed his pistol under his belt and tried to decided which rifle to take.
If it's the FBI, the Springfield will be less threatening. If it's drug smugglers, I'll need the AR 15. What if it's neither? Zombies? A hippie commune? Outlaw bikers? We're not that far from Roswell. Could they be aliens?
His thoughts were interrupted by a familiar voice.
"Castle! Are you in there?"
He ran from the trailer and out into the cave. "Beckett? Is that you?"
"Of course, it's me."
"What are you doing out here?"
"Getting my partner out of trouble? Or trying to. What else would I be doing here?"
"Is the FBI with you?"
"Of course not. Can I come in? It's hot out here!"
"Sure. Sure. Would you like a cold beer?"
"You have cold beer in a cave? What…." Kate stopped as she saw the trailer inside the cave.
"Come on it. I'll get us both a beer."
Kate took the beer and took a nice, long swig. "Okay, Castle. Tell me just how you got involved in this mess."
"It's a long story."
"Your stories usually are. But if this one has a naked woman on the cover, don't tell me that part."
"It began about five years ago when I was doing some research for a Derek Storm book. I wanted to find out about how the US went about taking down high value targets in Iraq. People like Saddam Hussein's sons. I had some contacts with the CIA, but they wouldn't talk to me. I asked the Special Forces people, but they just muttered something about people who had asked that kind of questions had ended up floating face down in the Euphrates River. I took that for a no."
"Too bad you don't know the mayor of Baghdad." Kate snarked.
"I did run into some young Army Rangers who'd been at the capture of Hussein's sons. As long as I bought beer, they'd talk to me."
"Those would be Coleman, Almagro, Johnstone, Grey, and Cervantes?" Kate asked.
"They hadn't met Cervantes yet, but yes, them."
"Is this going someplace?"
"I told you it was a long story. About a year before we met, I wanted to do some research on the US-Mexican border. I may do a Nikki Heat in that area.
"Desert Heat?" Kate asked, interested in spite of herself.
"Maybe. Anyway, I'd kept in touch with Cowboy and we spent some time on the border. Cowboy's family has a really nice cabin here in New Mexico."
"But you decided to go to a trailer in a cave instead?"
"No. I finished Heat Wave in a month, but Gina and Paula, my agent, wanted me to start on another book at once. And do a lot of book tours. I decided I needed a rest. I thought about Vegas, or Miami, or maybe Curacao…Have you ever been to the Dutch West Indies? It's great. They have…"
"Castle!" Beckett snapped.
"I decided I needed a real rest. Recharge my batteries. I called Cowboy and asked about the cabin, but his family was using it. But he told me about Gray's little place. It's really nice, although it's a little bit…."
"In Mexico. Go on."
"We were mostly asleep, except Gray is really hyper alert. He woke us up and fired a flare. Then these people opened up on us. No "We're the FBI." No warning, they just opened fire. They acted like I was Al Capone or something."
"Considering the area you were in, it's more likely they treated you like Duke Mantee."
Castle smiled. "Bogart and The Petrified Forest? Did you see the movie or the play? It's so cool that you know things like that."
"Castle! Focus! We're not playing Trivial Pursuit."