Wednesday, October 2, 2013

El Expreso de Medianoche

Up at 4am. Going into the city today. It will be a 17 hour day for me. Somebody should call the police. It seems illegal.

Never call the cops. That's what I've learned. The situation always gets worse when they arrive. 

In Mexico, I have been told many times, and found it to be true, that if the cops arrive, you just hand them $50, point at a Mexican and say, "He tried to rob me." Your troubles are over, and the troubles for the other fellow have seemingly just begun. They'll put him in the car and drive him away. I'm assured that they just drive him around the corner and drop him off. It is all for show, a mere pretense. It is not uncommon for them to buy the victim a beer when they drop him off, to show that there are no hard feelings, amigo.

Once, to test this theory, I was in Mexico with several friends. Some cops stopped the car and realized that there was a stinkin' gringo on board. They made us all get out and started asking us questions, separately. It didn't take long before this goggle-eyed group of dancing wayfarers started coming unravelled, babbling nonsense in a nonsensical tongue. They realized that there was potentially much more then $50 to be earned here. Justice must be served. So, they arrested me. They put me in the car and told my friends they wanted $500.

Now, I had a rather large bag of powdered ecstasy in my pocket. A thing that was then practically legal. Though it was not, in fact, actually legal at all. But it was neither denounced nor misunderstood in the way that "Molly" now is. I knew that I was potentially looking at a much larger problem, the complexities of which came at me in soft waves of fluctuating intensity. The situation, as it stretched on, started settling in and speaking to me through the little explosions of pixie dust that were occurring in my mind. 

I continued to sweat it out. All will be well, the drug told me.

My friends, luckily, had access to precisely this kind of money, but knew better than to just go get it, as the price would most assuredly go up based on some event in my behavior and the bloodhound-like sense that all cops have when they are in close proximity to cash. So, my friends were forced to beg and plead and make phone calls and put on an elaborate show, and then all go off in different directions, coming back at first with only half the money, bargaining more with the cops, etc.

My reasoning went a different direction. I began to see the entire thing for the farce that it was and suspected that soon I would be released. Perhaps not before the good guys got their full $500, but soon. At the time, they accepted both dollars and pesos, as was the custom. Now, only pesos.

They had not bothered handcuffing me before putting me in the car, the way that American cops must. So, while they were busy negotiating the terms of my release I reasoned that less evidence was preferable to more evidence and that my very pleasant, warm high was beginning to wear off. I had reached the drug's half-life. I did what any reasonable, thinking person in that situation would do. I ingested more. Not so much as to be dangerous, but enough to recharge my waning befuddlement.

Shortly after that the cops got in the car and we drove off, much to my surprise and increased concern. 

I know my way around Mexico City pretty well but not quite as well as the cops did. I couldn't tell exactly where we were going. I was made to understand that jail was our next stop. The cops knew just that much English. I started to worry through the drug's effect. I pictured myself getting raped by strangers while other strangers watched and cheered, while on ecstasy. Not them, but me. Somehow the vision did not satisfy the sensation. I'm not a racist, but being raped by Mexicans somehow seemed less preferable than what we are told to imagine will happen to you in an American prison. I would be an albino in that place and as such would possess special magical powers, I thought. 

Maybe I am a racist, it only took an imagined Mexican prison gang-raping to finally get it out of me. Perhaps it was the idea that being raped by those who understand my pleas for mercy would be somehow be better than being ridiculed to beg in a foreign tongue. Why would being mocked in a foreign tongue during this brutal act somehow be worse than understanding what was being said. I don't think compliance plays much of a part in it. Though understanding the specific nature of the command must come in handy at times. Otherwise you must be shown, taught how to be raped.

But there I was, on my way to years behind foreign bars, decades maybe. Why did I also suspect that a Mexican prison would not meet the standards of an American prison. Do we really think that we were so much better at everything? We really are despicable, I thought to myself. We can't even go to prison in Mexico without looking down our noses at it. We didn't even invent the prison system. I think it was the French, or the British. I believe they used America as a prison, the penal colony concept. Australia, Haiti, Louisiana, etc. Of what did I have to feel so superior about.

Well, at least I will have an opportunity to learn some Spanish, I thought. I will be quite the novelty there. They will all participate in my advancement, taking turns teaching me various phrases that denote submission and subservience to a set of unspoken rules that one day soon I will master and know implicitly. When I am finally released and return to America I will be able to get a job working in a kitchen, or gardening. Fuck, I don't even have my passport on me. I might have to sneak back over the border.

All of this bouncing around the inside of my skull cavity while the cops are driving me towards my doom. After about half an hour I realized that we were in the same section of Distrito Federales that we had just left. Sure enough, we were pulling back up on the very spot that we had just departed from, where my friends were waiting. There was some more negotiation, the handing over of cash, and then the official ceremony of my release. They opened the door and pointed for me to get out. I was not worthy to be in their car any longer.

I complied. 

I may have even thanked them, stopping just short of a nice warm hug.

(This story was told in the first person for the purpose of comedy and to maintain the sacrosanct verisimilitude of this site. The experience relayed here was actually that of a close fiend, fictionalized by myself.)