Dream of: 25 March 1998 (2) "Culebras"

Shortly after crossing the Texas border into Mexico, I began working on a complicated drug deal. The broad contours of the plan were to travel into the interior of Mexico, pick up the drugs, return to the border, and finally to cross back into the United States. However, many of the details were yet to be determined — I wasn't even sure who my contacts in Mexico were. Nevertheless, I soon met some Mexican men who knew of my intentions, and together we boarded a plane bound for the interior. I didn't climb into the plane, but rather sat on the very front nose of the plane, with my legs dangling on each side. As the plane lifted off and banked to the right, I held on to the smooth metal as tightly as I could, exhilarated by the rising altitude.

***

Once we had landed, I had immediately been taken to the location where the drugs were protected. By now, my role in the whole deal was nebulous — I knew I was involved, but I didn't know exactly in what capacity. I had a few ten-peso bills (small red notes) with me, and I was trying to remember how much a peso was worth. I finally concluded that ten pesos were worth about twelve and a half cents, but that I could think of a ten peso bill as worth about a dime. I knew that a large box of crisp new pesos would be used in the present transaction.

The drug itself was lying not far from me. It was rolled up in brown paper or cloth, about as long and thick as a person. It appeared that the big roll of dope would be stuck into a sleeping and shipped that way.

***

The journey from the interior back to the border was underway. A couple other Mexicans and I were traveling hot dirt roads through the mountains. We had stopped for a break and were standing at the foot of a tall mountain. Part of the side of the mountain consisted of pure white sand in a wide swath which appeared to stretch all the way to the top. I climbed up the sand for a short ways, but I soon realized the slope was too steep, and I began sliding back down, trying not to go to fast.

Once I was again at the base, I noticed a large pond nearby, surrounded by trees with branches drooping down to the water. Some children were swimming near the trees. I wondered if any snakes were in the water and I tried to remember the Spanish word for snakes. Recalling that the Spanish word for snakes was "culebra", I thought I might walk over to the children and ask, "Hay culebras?", to find out if any snakes were in the water. But I decided against it. However one of my companions, a tall strong Mexican, had already walked over to the pond and jumped in. I walked along the edge of the water, watching him swim.

The scenic surrounding contrasted with the purpose of our journey. It was so pleasant and peaceful here, and yet we were involved with such a dangerous operation. The police could show up at any time. People were busted all the time shipping drugs out of Mexico. But so many people were successful, the reward was worth the risk. It was hard for poor Mexicans to make much money any other way. Trafficking in drugs was a poor Mexican's one opportunity to become rich.

But I had also finally realized that on this particular trip, the only person making money was the Mexican man selling the drugs. The rest of us were just lackeys. People such as ourselves would have to take many risks before ever having the opportunity to actually make money. Most would never get that far. But a few would. Such a one was the man selling the drugs. If all went well, he would receive $150,000.00 for this shipment.

***

I was at the border, sitting at a desk. It was now clear that I worked here at the border, monitoring shipments which passed over the border. Of course, now, I was intending to let the roll of drug stashed in the sleeping bag pass through undetected. But I began to perceive a problem. The area around me was obscure, but I seemed to be at the end of a passageway. Walking toward me down the passageway was a group of men whom I recognized as my superiors here at my border job. I was concerned that they suspected my roll in the drug shipment, and that they were coming to question me about it. Only now did I realize that I had a small amount of drug with me. Next to me was a small cardboard box with a little brown powder on the bottom of the box. The powder resembled chocolate-drink powder. There wasn't enough to use, but enough to cause me problems. I quickly picked up the box and blew the powder out. The only way that I could conceive of getting caught now was if some kind of special detecting machine was brought in; but I doubted that that would happen.

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