Chapter 42

We get into the building and I’m led down a white cement hallway, and put into a small cement room with six Mexican guys. They all look at me and then at each other. The guard cuts my handcuffs off and closes the door behind me.

I smile and wave, “hola!” They don’t move. They just keep staring at me. I feel so self-conscious.  I really don’t know what to do. They don’t teach jailhouse etiquette in high school; at least not at the one I go to.

There is no clock in here. I never realized how often I check the time until I lost my watch.

After what seems like eternity, another door opens and we are all led to a hallway, and one by one we’re led to a window where we are given our personal effects back. What’s happening? Was I arrested? What are they going to do with me?

“Como se llama?”

Really? In Spanish? “Francsico Villa.”  The other guys look at me and take a step away from me, like I’m going to explode or something.

She stares long and hard at me, and opens a plastic bag and slips it to me under the thick, bullet proof looking window. I take my things.

We are led to a large chain-linked fence area outside. The black starless night has the coolness of late evening or early morning.

We’re left alone again for awhile and I’m drawing lots of cold stares. It’s like they can’t get far enough away from me to whisper amongst themselves, but at no time do any of their eyes leave me. This is creepy. Am I going to get gang raped? Do they really do that stuff in real life? Is this the time where I’m supposed to pick the biggest one of them and kick his butt so nobody will bother me? No, he’s pretty big. Maybe the second biggest . . . no, but I’m pretty sure I can take that little guy over there, would that count?

Someone comes and unlocks the gate and we’re told we can go. Go where? The Mexicans all just turn and leave, but I don’t want to go back to Mexico. “Look, I’m an American, I just lost my ID in Mexico that’s all.”

“You must be Pancho Villa.”

What the hell does that mean? He’s not saying anything, just looking at me through those wire-rimmed sunglasses. Well I’m not going to say anything either . . .  Wrong move. His stare just got meaner and he moves closer.

I turn and walk back into Mexico. What the hell?! I can’t believe I’m getting refused entry into my own country. This is nuts. Where am I supposed to go?

I walk around for a while, and then I laugh when I realize I’m not worrying about getting lost because I don’t know where I am to begin with.

I spot a pay phone. Right now it looks like a big, metal and glass rescue beacon. I wonder how much this change is in real money?  I guess I’ll put it all into the phone. Pay phones give change if I don’t use it all, don’t they?

I dial my home. I get a beeping noise and then I’m told something by the Mexican cousin of that operator recording you get when you dial a number that’s disconnected or no longer in service. Same voice—different  language. I wonder how many languages she speaks?

She says something about dialing a “uno.” I look at the pay phone and see it says, Ustedes Unidos and there is a 1 next to it. I hang up the phone and hear the change drop back into the bottom of the phone.  I put the change back into the phone, and this time I dial a one and then my area code and phone number.

The phone rings four times and then just before the machine picks up, I hang up and let the change fall back into the bottom of the phone. Mom must still be at her second job. I need to talk to her in person so I can make arrangements for her to meet me somewhere, and I don’t exactly have a number I can be called back on.

I wonder what time it is. I think I’ll wait till after sunrise and then call Taco Bell. I’m so tired. It doesn’t look like I’m getting home today, so I need to find a place to sleep. I’m not really tired, I slept some in the car. With no clock and no watch, time seems to stand still in Mexico. No wonder nobody’s in a hurry down here.

Mike J Quinn About Mike J Quinn
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