A single chirp emitted from Santos’s pocket. He fished the communications device from his pocket and scowled at the display.
“What’s going on, Santos?”
His scowl must have been long enough for the foreman, Carlos, to notice.
“It’s those damn dirty, lazy, Americans.” Santos sighed, “I hate dealing with them. Every time I have to touch one, I want to rush home and clean their filth from my hands.”
“I seem to recall you campaigning pretty heavily to be the senior health official for the Arizona plantation of Instituto Mexicano del Café.”
Santos looked to the skies, possibly cursing the fate he now found himself in. “It’s just... I didn’t realize there would be so many Americans. They are always injuring themselves. It’s my staff’s responsibility to maintain the plantation workforce. Ultimately I report to Secretaría de Agricultura, and she is not happy with production yields.”
Carlos looked through Santos to his personal conveyance, emblazoned with the state seal. He smirked and replied, “Heavy is he who wears the badge of office.”
Before Santos could sputter his indignation, Carlos turned and proudly strode away. Santos became a dark cloud - Carlos’s lineage went all the way back to the coffee wars with the United States of America. That conflict (He was a proud Mexican and would never refer to it as a war) was the tipping point of the American economy. They had based their society on the production, manufacturing and distribution of corn and corn-based products. When the corn commodities crashed, Mexico, South America and many other tropical countries convinced the United Nations to back the coffee bean.
The fight was the same as when the Americans conspired to make the switch from precious metals like gold and silver to corn in the first place. But, America had it’s own coffee story during their participation in the Second World War. Their collapsed economy and the subsequent loss of the Coffee Wars resulted in Americans becoming the indigent workers of the North and South American continents. The entire Coffee industry would grind to a half if not for those Americans.
Whomever controlled the coffee bean production, controlled the primary production of coffee. Since coffee was so integral to society, Instituto Mexicano del Café became a world power. If you tried to grow your own coffee beans and the IMDC didn’t approve...
It’s best to not think about it.
He recalled the twisted old Cottonwood he found his second cousin dangling from. The state declared it a suicide, but Santos heard rumors from the family that cousin Marcos had discovered an aggressive blight that was threatening the coffee plant. Instituto Mexicano del Café maintained the coffee production was perfectly safe and when cousin Marcos decried these statements he was ruined financially and socially. His downward spiral culminated in his dangling from that cottonwood. Santos was in the area and had to identify the body.
Santos sighed again, and climbed into his personal conveyance. The trip up to Arizona would be a quick one, but he felt the trip north was beneath a man of his prominence.
The shouts assaulted Santos’s ears as he landed his personal conveyance. The centro medico was engulfed in flames. Greasy black pillars of smoke rose into the normally clear sky from the machinery and conveyances smoldering around the building. Most of the Americans hid behind the burned out carcasses of buildings. A few ran around wreaking untold havoc. The smell of burning ethanol indicated they were using Molotov cocktails to start the fires.
Damned uppity Americans! Santos thought. Don’t they understand we’re helping them live better lives? He considered the inevitable response from the Ejército Mexicano. American bandidos had been harassing loyal Mexican citizens and American loyalists. They wreaked untold havoc on the North American coffee distribution. In the past years they’d become more brazen – attacking targets with impunity.
Santos was ripped from his thoughts as he sensed motion overhead. He instinctively ducked just in time to see the Starbucks bottle strike his conveyance and burst into flame. Since the paneling was made from processed coffee bean plastics, it began to melt and ooze down until it pooled on the ground. He jumped out of the conveyance and rolled on the ground dirtying his cream colored suit.
A shadow fell across him and he looked up to see an American bandido pointing a rifle at him.
“Lookie what we have here!” The American grabbed Santos’s arm with his large meaty hand and hauled him to his feet. “We got an important beaner here!”
The laughs from the rest of the American bandidos infuriated Santos, but he kept his anger in check. He might still make it out of this situation if he only kept his cool.
“John, check out the placard on his car.”
The bandido with the meaty hands slung his rifle over his shoulder and turned to the conflagration that was Santos’s conveyance. He stared at the seal adorning the melting door and laughed.
“Looks like we’ve got ourselves the head honcho for Arizona’s medical facilities.”
Santos knew his American English since he spent so much time surrounded by Americans. He still had a little difficulty understanding John due to a long drawl. He assumed John was from Oklahoma or even Texas. Santos would be damned if he would acknowledge them by speaking English.
Instead, he inquired in Spanish, “¿Qué vas a hacer conmigo?
John stared intently at him. “What was that? Mexicana? You beaners may have stolen Arizona from us, but this is still America as far as I’m concerned. Speak American.”
Santos’ mouth twisted down and he sighed for a third time that day. He repeated in English, “What are you going to do with me?”
John roared with laughter as he released his grip on Santos’s arm. “You are now a prisoner of American Freedom Forces. We’ll do with you whatever we want.”
His fellow bandidos roared with laughter as Santos’ Conveyance continued to burn.