(I don’t just write criticism. Part of a larger piece I’m chipping away at) 

Hawkins slammed the cane knife thunk into the chopping block where it stayed, quivering, swiped his meshback cap off his head and mopped sweat from his brow with the back of his forearm. Christ, it was hot. He stepped back to allow his guys to come in and hook the fresh body under the arms, blood already sopping the dead man’s bright blue Acapulco shirt, palm trees and parrots fading into a dark red sunset. The trucker’s sandaled feet left two ruts like little wagon tracks in the bloody sand as they hauled him off.

Hawkins stepped into the shade cast by the truck’s looming, drab grey trailer, unclipped his canteen from his belt, and took a long draught of tepid water. Leaning against the side of the trailer he could feel as well as hear the truck’s idling engine, a low, sinister rolling growl, like a snoring predator. The stink of diesel exhaust mixed with the blood and the shit and the rot. His stomach flip-flopped.

It was shitty, shitty hard graft but who else was gonna do it? Work like this was the reason Mercado had Hawkins around. At this stage of his life and career Hawkins could maybe delegate to someone a little more limber and blood-hungry, but who? The problem with guys who wanted to do this kind of thing is that were almost invariably sloppy fuck ups who always left some dangling thread an ambitious and unpaid for federale could pull. Even in a theatre of operations as chaotic and bloody as this, there was still protocol. Guys who really wanted to lop off heads, they were driven by motives other than professionalism. You needed guys like that, of course but, fuck, you needed to ride ‘em hard. Tight leash. Tight fucking leash.

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