Chapter 6 Summary
Jesús and Maradona stay at the Mexican border Hotel San Antonio in Sonoita, where Chespiro keeps rooms permanently booked, and wait for a call. It is a horrible place. El Negro comes himself to place the boys with their local mentors.
The new smuggling route is dangerous, anywhere from 35 to 65 miles long, depending on the eventual destination of the walkers. El Negro’s scouts cut a trail that should get them where they need to be in two days, three at the most; if they have to detour, there are several million acres of possibilities. The terrain here is more difficult with very few water sources—and neither Jesús nor Maradona knows where to find them.
Between training runs, Jesús and Maradona stay in their hotel room during the day and go out drinking at night. Jesús meets and falls in love with Celia Mendez, and soon he moves into her house while Maradona rents a room nearby. Jesús assumes Celia’s name, Mendez, as his alias.
El Negro’s plan is for walkers to arrive by bus in groups of fifteen or twenty; they will stay in the hotel until the night before they depart, then spend a night in a boarding room run by Nelly (which El Negro owns).
“The Saturday before the fatal walk begins,” Mendez and Maradona take a group across the Devil’s Highway. It is a long and arduous but uneventful trip. They travel over Bluebird Pass and arrive at one of El Negro’s outposts with a water tank; they rest and wait for their pickup.
Instead, a Border Patrol car picks them up. Maradona and one pollo escape while Mendez and the other twelve walkers are apprehended. The Border Patrol does not recognize Mendez, or the Yuma 14 might not have died. From then on, that water stop is always a risk.
Three brothers were in that group; they beg El Negro for...
(The entire section is 501 words.)