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I dont even think I heard them close and lock the door. My eyes were on the food. There were stacks of soft tortillas and beans, strips of beef, and thick pepper-and-onion-filled potatoes. I was so hungry it tasted as good as anything Id ever eaten.

They left a large pitcher of cold water. We drank the whole thing since the peppers were hotter than pitch. There wasnt a bit of food left. Laura looked down at the empty plates and said, I hope we dont get sick from stuffing ourselves.

Not a pretty thought, I said, remembering the Mon-tezumas revenge that had me dehydrated and ten pounds lighter a couple of years before when Id been fishing off Cozumel. One guy with an AK-47. I think we should move over by the door so that if he comes alone again, well have a chance at the guy with the gun.

Laura nodded. Theres only this one skinny pillow and the blanket. Ill mold them under the sheet. Maybe for an instant theyll think were on the bed, asleep.

We did that and stood back to look at our handiwork. Not very good, I said, but hopefully itll work. Which side of the door would you like?

I ended up on the side of the lock, Laura behind the door. Shed taken off the heavy porcelain toilet lid and held it against her chest.

They must know that we wont be sitting here idle, she said. Theyll expect us to try something. Its even possible that theyre watching us even now.

Id thought the same thing. I got up and went over that small room, inch by inch. I didnt see anything that remotely resembled a camera lens or a peephole. I sat back down. I sure to God hope that Sherlock and Savich are all right.

Maybe Sherlocks sitting by the door as we speak, a toilet lid hugged to her chest.

We waited. For a very long time. We slept. We awoke early the next morning. My watch read about 6:30 A.M.

We took turns using the toilet and washing up. At exactly seven oclock, we heard them coming.

A key turned in the lock. The door slowly opened. But no one said a word, no one moved in. A canister of gas rolled through the doorway. I jumped to my feet, grabbed the thing up, and threw it in the toilet. I flushed it. Smoke gushed out of the bowl. I slammed down the toilet seat. Thankfully it contained most of the smoke. Id inhaled only a bit. I didnt feel a thing.

I heard a man laugh. I turned to look at the two men who stood watching me from the doorway.

/Asi se hace! one of them said. He had a deep bass voice. He was a short, wiry, dark man, dressed in army fatigues, like his partner. He said in strongly accented English this time, Si, that was well done. We knew you would be waiting for us. And now you have finished. Move. He waved the AK-47 toward me. The woman is still sleeping? You wore her out, eh?

I took a step, watching the men. The man with the bass voice raised his weapon, but he didnt say anything more because Laura rose up, whipped around the side of the door, and smashed him in the face with the porcelain toilet lid.

The other man leaped through the doorway, his eyes on Laura, his AK-47 up, ready to fire.

I yelled and ran straight at him. He whipped the gun around, only to moan and fall hard to the floor when Laura hit him hard on his temple with the porcelain toilet lid.

The first man tried to struggle up. Laura calmly leaned over and smashed him hard again with the toilet lid. Then she kicked both of them hard in the ribs.

Close the door quick, I said. I grabbed the larger man under his arms and began dragging him inside the room. Laura grabbed the other guy.

I picked up one of the AK-47s and looked out the door. There was a long narrow corridor on either side of the room. No one else was in sight.

We need their clothes, I said.

Five minutes later, we were buttoning our camouflage pants and lacing up our combat boots. Laura had ripped the sleeves off my white shirt to stuff in the toes of her boots. She stamped her feet a couple of times and smiled at me. Good fit now. Im glad one of the men was bigger. The fatigues nearly fit you.

It took us longer to tie up the men. Laura stripped them both to their skin and tied one of each of their legs to the rings in the floor where shed been shackled. She rose and dusted her hands and looked at me.

Okay, lets get out of here. Savich and Sherlock have got to be somewhere close by.

Categories: Mystery and Thriller

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