Chapter 9

Judging from the sad and fearful expressions on everybody’s faces, there is no escape. Finally something good happens today. I helped catch five illegals yesterday, and I don’t know how many today. Nobody can say I’m not doing my part in making this country safe.

The agents are shoving everyone into the back of the break room. It looks like we’re getting shut down. I probably shouldn’t bring up the fact that it was me who made the call.

Darren is already talking to one of the officers. I should probably at least let these guys know I’m a supervisor, and find out what’s going to happen to the store. “Excuse me, I’m a shift leader.”

“Good for you. Now shut up and stay against the wall with your Primos. Hands on top of your head. Now! Manos encima de su cabeza! Manos encima de su cabeza!

I put my hands on top of my head with everyone else and we all get pushed up against the back wall and get frisked. “Excuse me, I’m not an illegal. I’m a US citizen.” I look around for confirmation from the other employees, but everyone seems to be preoccupied with what is happening to them.

“You got any ID?” A female ICE agent asks.

“Yeah, I have my student body card.” I go to pull out my wallet.

“Hands back on your head, and I mean now!”

I feel the air rush out of my lungs when she hits me in the gut with her baton. I wave my arms wildly at her to stop.

“Calma te,” a male voice says as I get slammed up against the wall, his forearm pushing hard against my neck. I can barely breathe.

Why isn’t Darren . . .  I can’t believe it. He told them I was a Mexican? That son-of-a. . . Look at him. All fake distress and concern. Well, it’s his shift now. How you going to explain this to Robb? Asshole.

I get frisked by one of the male ICE agents, while Forearm-guy keeps me pinned against the wall. “What’s in your pocket?” he asks.

“My wallet,” I squeak out above the pressing forearm on my neck. “It has my Student Body card in it.”

“Student body cards are not legal forms of identification. Do you have a drivers license, social security card, state issued ID card, greencard, non-resident alien card, passport, anything like that?”

“I have a social security card at home.”

“At home?” Forearm guy spins me around. He holds my hands behind my back with one hand, while emptying my back pockets with the other. The right side of my face is smashed against the wall and I can’t see much of anything in this position.

Suddenly I remember the picture of my parent’s wedding that fell out of the umbrella this morning. The one I forgot to throw away because this whole shit-storm of a day got me sidetracked. This is not going to look good.

He pulls the wallet and photo out of my back pocket. “Student body card huh? This your graduating class?”

“Oh, I forgot about that, ” I reply. Why do I feel like I’m lying?

“Sure you did. This your family?”

What do I tell him? They kinda are, but I’ve never met any of them.

He lets me go and I turn around, keeping my hands where they are. Forearm guy points to someone in the picture, “Hey, looks like we got a Mexican John Travolta here.” A couple of other ICE agents come over and have a laugh. I look over at Darren. He is purposely trying to not look at me. What an asshole!

Forearm guy opens the wallet and reads the name off my Student ID card and writes it on a plastic baggie with a Magic Marker. I thought that isn’t a legal form of ID. Looks like it worked for him, but I’m not going to say anything. This guy’s a little slap-happy for my taste. This is so degrading. It’s not me they should be making fun of. I’m on their side!

When they are through making fun of me, Forearm guy slips the picture into the plastic bag with my name on it, along with my watch, wallet, and my Taco Bell ‘1’ year anniversary pin.

After about half an hour of ID checks, they let some of the other workers go.

They put plastic zip lock-like handcuffs on the rest of us, and then we are led out out, one by one, to a tan truck-like wagon that is parked out back where the Taco Bell supply truck had been earlier today.

A small crowd has gathered behind the building. They stare at us like we’re convicts and whisper amongst themselves.

There is a slight drizzle coming down, and I see a news truck pull into the driveway. Great. Now we’re going to be on the news. Just when I thought this day just couldn’t get any worse, it gets way worse.

After the last of us gets put into the truck, I look out the back window at the news crew talking with an ICE agent. Darren is nowhere in sight. I hope I’m not going to be on the news. What if Willie and Shane see this? They may never let me patrol again.

When the last of us are in the truck, the doors close and we begin to move. We turn the corner, and out the back window I see Roselyn, standing at a bus stop. She’s a good six inches taller than most of the others, and has a jean jacket on over her Taco Bell uniform. She was obviously far enough down the street to not know what just happened. I bet she’ll know all about it in an hour when she gets called back to pull a double shift.

This is humiliating; being treated like a rat. I look at the other workers. There are ten of us in here. Eleven if I count myself too. I was sure some of these guys had valid ID. Maybe they are waiting until we get to the station before checking us out more thoroughly. Maybe they need to access a database or something.

Oh well, I’m sure this’ll all get ironed out when we get to wherever it is you take illegal immigrants. I just hope it isn’t far. The way my day’s been going, I’ll probably have to walk home when they let me out.


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Mike J Quinn About Mike J Quinn
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