Chapter 57

“Pancho Villa.”

Huh? Did someone call my name?

“Time to go, Pancho.”

This feels darkly familiar. I get up, and two guards lead me out with the last of the guys who shared my cell. I don’t know where the other guys went; I fell asleep. We all wait to be processed and some of the guys are handed back some personal property. I’m next. I get my plastic baggy with the business cards and phone numbers, wedding picture, and St Christopher’s medallion. What, no hat? No such luck, it’s coming. Look who’s coming with it; it’s officer Bradford and Lee. What? No Frank?

I’m handed my sombrero and we’re herded down a hallway with officer Lee leading the way, and officer Bradford in the rear with me. “You know, you should really pick a better name than Pancho Villa.” I just look at him.

Officer Lee opens a door that leads outside. “Yeah, you’re better off using a different name. Why don’t you try one a little more American.”

“Yeah, ANY other name. Hell, you’d-a-been better off using John Wayne.”

“At least that’s believable.”  They laugh. They’re so easily amused. Lucky me.

“Yeah, and you should work on that accent too.”

“Ha! Yeah, that’s the worst one I heard today. Ha!”

“And what’s up with that tan? Ha haaaaaa!”

“What really gets me is the hat! Ah haaaaa.”

Everyone piles into the courtyard and Officer Lee hits a buzzer. The outside gate opens up.

“Okay, Pancho, as you can see were letting you go,” says Bradford.

“We could have kept you for a couple of years, Pancho.” Officer Lee gives me the hundred-yard, highway patrol-sunglasses stare. “So consider yourself lucky, punk.”

“Yeah, we got better things to do than deal with little pukes like you, but listen good, because this is your third time being returned to Mexico. I’m thinking the next time won’t be so easy. You are hereby officially banned from entering the United States for ten years.” I start to reply, “Let me finish. If we catch you one more time trying to cross this border, we will incarcerate you, do you understand what I have just said to you, or do you need this in Spanish too?”

What can I say? I’m being refused to be let into my own country, and I’m being threatened with jail if I try to go home again. Life just can’t get any worse.

“And,” Officer Lee continues, pushing me out the door that leads to the Mexican Border, “you’ll be fined five thousand dollars.”

I try to ignore him as I walk back into Mexico. I look around and try to figure out where I am. There’s a long wall heading in both east and west. The border fence. But where? According to the rising sun, I head right. I have no idea what I’m going to do, or if I’ll ever get back home.

Mike J Quinn About Mike J Quinn
%d bloggers like this: