Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Cross to Bear

On the evening of May 9, 2008, three trucks loaded with fifteen gunmen drove into the parking lot City Club supermarket in Culiacán and went all Sonny-at-the-tollbooth on Édgar Guzmán López, ("apparently to the surprise of his security detail," as La Jornada magnificently put it), killing him and two companions, injuring a fourth person and shooting up about 20 vehicles.  Édgar was the son of Joaquín El Chapo Guzmán, head of the Sinaloa Cartel, so killing him was a bad idea for all the obvious reasons (his two companions were both second-generation narcos as well).  "They made a mother cry," Chapo is said to have told Édgar's mother.  "I will make many mothers cry."  Chapo went on to make good on that promise.

But Chapo is not without his sentimental streak, and he directed his underlings to erect a small, understated monument to Édgar marking the spot where he died - well, small and understated unless you consider it's in the middle of a supermarket parking lot, in which case it might be considered sort of gaudy and obtrusive.  We drove past it at least three times in the middle of the week, and never saw a car parked within 100 feet of it.  Would you want to be the poor fucker who accidentally backs into it?  We also never saw the Bridgestone AutoCenter open.  We assume it's been closed since May 10, 2008.  If you've got a problem with your brakes, this seems like the worst conceivable place to try to steer your piece of shit Nissan Tsuru. 


But so being a tv crew, we got out and started to shoot pictures in the middle of the empty parking lot.  Suddenly, a young man appeared (literally out of nowhere - it was like he'd dropped from the sky) and said we could shoot it, but not touch it.

Um... okay.  And not that it's any of our business of course, but who might you be?

"I guard the monument."

He doesn't work for the developer or the supermarket or the Bridgestone AutoCenter.  He's one of three guys, each working an eight-hour shift, whose entire job is to stare at a granite cross in the middle of a supermarket parking lot 24 hours a day, seven days a week, weekends, holidays and drive-by shootings included, and make sure nobody - nobody - fucking touches it.  (He's also the softy of the group, telling us that the other guys wouldn't have let us film, but he's cool with it as long as we don't touch; we predict he'll be boiled in acid by the end of the year.)  We immediately thought of about 50 questions we wanted to ask - Do you get bathroom breaks..? - but decided it best to shut up, finish our work and leave.  Which we did by hugging the van to the perimeter of the parking lot and giving the monument as wide a berth as possible.

4 comments:

pc said...

Wow, crazy job. My roomate at the time worked for City Club in some capacity that would send to him to different random cities for weeks at a time, and he was at that went when it happened. Not WHEN it happened, but I mean he was stationed there at the time, and had been there that day and would return the next. Normal working hours....

Anyway, he called up with a play by play of the security camera's shots. He said they couldn't get everything, because the shooting took everyone outside the field of vision of the camera, but a bazooka round hit Édgar's car and glanced off, presumably because the thing had more armor than a tank.

Burro Hall said...

Jesus. That's possibly the best story I've ever heard retold from a supermarket employee.

I'm always amazed there aren't more accidents caused by armored SUVs skidding out of control. They must weigh like 8 tons.

Crazy Rita said...

My favorite saying is you (or I) couldn't make this shit up if you (or I) tried.

Jeff Shear said...

Not may people can make me laugh out loud but, Frank, Frank...