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I followed Big Johnny through the house and out the back door to his garage. Once inside he pointed to a pile of cash on the table: "It's all there, count it."
"It looks alright to me." I reached into the bag and pulled out my gun. "What the f**k?" Then he yelled something in Spanish. It must have been a signal. I heard the back door slam shut and feet running. Standing five foot - ten inches tall and weighing every bit of 400 pounds - Big Johnny made the perfect human shield.
"Tell them to toss their guns inside and walk in slowly with their hands in the air." I held my gun to the back of his head - keeping him between me and the door. He repeated my request, half in Spanish and half in English.
"F**k him, essa. I'm putting a bullet in his white ass," replied a voice with a thick Latino accent.
I could see the sweat starting to run down the back of Big Johnny's shaved head. I pushed the barrel harder into the base of his skull and whispered in his ear, "He may put a bullet in me – homeboy - but not before I send this one right out through the front of your face - comprende?"
With an urgent - almost pleading tone - Big Johnny said something else in Spanish. After a long moment of silence three guns skidded across the floor and in through the doorway. With their hands in the air - three Mexican gangsters came in.
Adrenaline was rushing through my veins - making me feel better than any drug I've ever done. This is what I lived for - I was in my element.
"You," I said, pointing to one of the three amigos. "Come over here, empty this bag and put the money inside." I tossed the black gym bag onto the table. "Then I want you to put those guns inside - one at a time." When he was finished I walked them out single file into the yard.
Big Johnny was the first to lie on the ground next to the brick wall separating his and his neighbor's yard. I put the three amigos on top of him and used them as stepping-stones to scale the wall. I threw the gym bag over, put my gun in my pants and followed. Landing on my feet I grabbed the bag on the run.