No sooner had Nancy left their table to buy something inside Starbucks than David, the reformed family man, began asking Eddy — the man kidded for being under the thumb of his wife — what he thought of this Nancy girl. Did Eddy like her? David pulled out his phone to show Eddy a few pictures of his girlfriend, who was Nancy’s friend. David happened to have a few shots of Nancy too, posing in a bikini.
Eddy admitted she was nice-looking. He thought or didn’t think about his wife. He thought or didn’t think about the child his wife was expecting, the lateness of the hour, the coffee in his hand. After Nancy of the little nose bought whatever it was that she wanted from Starbucks and talked briefly in Spanish to the two men at the table, David assured Eddy that Nancy and her friends were okay. Eddy could go out with Nancy if he wanted, and there would be no problema whatsoever.
Unfortunately, Eddy Tostado believed this. He’d been a football quarterback and a Baja racing champion and maybe he could still turn a girl’s head. He believed — and who hasn’t believed a flattering lie? — that when Nancy called David a few seconds later and asked to speak to Eddy, she was very interested in him, so interested that she wanted Eddy to write down her phone number. Eddy took it down. He had that phone number with him the next afternoon, Friday, June 8, when he was sitting with his good friend Carlos — his daughter’s godfather — at the Butcher Shop Steakhouse. He decided to call up Nancy and ask if she wanted to have dinner with him.
Nancy said Sí. But she didn’t want to have dinner at the Butcher Shop. She suggested they take a little trip across the border to the Cantina de los Remedios, where there would be mariachis and margaritas.
Nancy told Eddy she had to pick up her passport before they could go to the cantina. She wanted to change her clothes too, so she told Eddy to meet her at the Starbucks in Sunbowl and follow her to her aunt’s house in Chula Vista. He did this. He drove his black Range Rover to yet another Starbucks and began to follow Nancy’s silver Jeep Liberty with Mexican plates and the Hank Rhon bumper sticker. He followed as she turned right, left, right, left, right in a maze of streets named for promontories: Point La Jolla Drive to Morro Point to West Point to Barrow to Dume. As Eddy Tostado sat in his Oxford leather seats outside a house far shabbier than the one in which his wife and daughter lived, he received a call from some employees at his dealership, Premiere I, who complained they hadn’t eaten lunch yet even though it was now past 6:30, and they needed some money from him. He was going to have to drive over there and give them some cash.
Nancy said that was okay. She’d just run in and change while Eddy took care of those guys. In fact, maybe he should stop at the liquor store for some Buchanan’s Red Seal whiskey. Her aunt wasn’t home, she said. Eddy could come in, and they could have a drink before they went to Tijuana.
So Eddy drove to his dealership, then to Bobar Liquor, where he bought whiskey, cognac, and condoms, and back into the maze again, to 1539 Point Dume Court, which Derek and Freddy could have told him had recently been rented by a couple of Hispanic guys, not anyone’s aunt.
It was now past 7:00 and cloudy, just like the day before. A gloomy twilight hung over the roof and the evergreen pear tree. In the pop-out window where other neighbors with the same house plan displayed porcelain angels, swans, flowers, and small American flags, there hung a bent venetian blind. Eddy noticed that Nancy’s car, which had been parked in the driveway outside the garage door, was now gone. He watched a blue Chevrolet SUV roll slowly into the cul-de-sac, turn a tight circle around the evergreen pear, and leave. The driver of the car was a man wearing a hat. Uncertain, Eddy called Nancy to ask if she was expecting someone, such as a boyfriend. “No,” she said. She wasn’t. “Come on in.”
He walked to the front door of the house where Nancy waited for him, and when she opened the door, he noticed she had not yet changed her clothes.
Before Nancy had even closed the door they tackled him.
At first there were two men. He felt one grabbing his feet and another grabbing his back. Two men dressed in police vests and hats, their faces covered with ski masks, ran toward him. They were carrying rifles. Eddy tried to shake off the two men who were tackling him, and they began to hit him. One of the masked policemen hit Eddy on the bridge of his nose with the back of a rifle. Then they hit him with the rifle in the back and on the legs. He heard and felt the stun gun after that. With each shock delivered to his spine and the soft tissue of his lower back he heard dak, dak, dak, dak. Ten times in less than a minute.
Eddy started to shake, and he fell facedown on the floor. Everything that had been in his bowels and bladder came out. He was nearly unconscious, and he couldn’t move to get away. They went on hitting and kicking him. On the back of his head, he felt a single hard blow. They handcuffed him behind his back. They taped his ankles together. They put a towel over his head. All he could see were the shoes of the men walking around him and the guns lying on the floor — two handguns and one rifle.
In Spanish, they said, “You’re not so tough anymore.”