by Dawn Pisturino
The body was found not long after the mariachi band had left the hotel. A young housekeeper dressed in a grey uniform had been stuffed into a broom closet, a piece of thick rope twisted tightly around her neck. The housekeeper who found her later described the purple face, protruding tongue, and bulging eyes to friends and family.
“And I know who did it,” she said in hushed tones. “That trumpet player, Juan Rodriguez. I saw him lurking in the hallway right after the mariachi band finished playing to the turistas down on the beach. He was always after Rosa to go out with him, but she wouldn’t go. She said he was loco – he scared her. She saw him kill a cat one night in the back alley with a pocket knife. He was always killing helpless animals.”
“Did you tell the police?” asked her wide-eyed neighbour, Lucita.
“Of course, I did, but they said they needed more evidence.”
Lucita gasped, covering the grey braids on her head with a black scarf. “There’s a murderer in the village. We must spread the word!”
When Juan showed up with his trumpet for the Mexican Independence Day Parade, the mariachis turned their backs on him and walked away. During the fireworks that night, the band played without him on the beach. The villagers cheered wildly and shot their pistols into the air.
The next day, poor Juan Rodriguez washed up on shore, a bullet hole in his head.
For the next week, villagers passed each other in the streets, giving each other high-fives, winking, and exchanging secret glances and giggles. The whole village knew who executed Juan Rodriguez, but the people refused to speak to the police, despite fierce interrogations, because in their minds, justice had been done.