A blistering sun turns breathing into a gamble, burning the nostrils, throat, and lungs with every breath. Even the local fauna dare not venture out their sparse shade. The rumbling of a semi-trailer truck hauling car parts resonates off the slightly melted tires against the asphalt. Like clockwork, the drug cartel’s weekly profit is traveling southbound on the I-77, concealed somewhere in the truck. The courier, Alonso, is the latest of many incorruptible souls who’d been persuaded by the cartel to take such a job by holding a loved one hostage. A pack of vultures pick at a rotting corpse’s bound feet, dragging it out of its shallow grave; a sobering reminder of the price to pay for righteousness.