Dream of: 06 March 2001 "Marionette"

I was in a mess. With a fellow who was my friend I had traveled to Mexico and together we had arrived in a large city. We were completely unprepared for what we found. We were standing in what appeared to be a parking lot cars were parked everywhere where a gun battle was taking place between two opposing groups of Mexicans. I hunkered down behind a car and watched the Mexicans shooting round after round at each other. I could hardly believe the Mexicans were so crazy that they were trying to kill each other this way. My only desire was to exit this scene as quickly as possible.

Separated from my companion, I slowly inched my way toward the side of the parking lot. On the way, I encountered a Mexican, scuffled with him, and managed to wrestle his hand gun from him. As I continued on, I shoved the hand gun down the back of my pants, thinking that with all the turmoil surround me, I might need it.

I reached the edge of the lot, climbed down a short cliff, and found myself standing in a dilapidated section of the city. Ugly worn-out brick buildings lined the streets. A quick perusal of the area told me this was a mean part of town, that I needed to find safety as quickly as possible. But I didn't know which way to go, and the streets were deserted. Finally, however, I spotted a young fellow (probably 13-14 years old). He saw me at the same time and quickly hurried up some steps in front of a building, tying to get away from me. But before he entered, I reached the bottom of the steps and called up to him in as friendly a voice as I could muster. He stopped and listened to me. I first spoke in Spanish, until he answered me in excellent English, then I switched over to English. I explained that I had just arrived in town and I was lost. I simply wanted him to tell me where I could catch a taxi which might take me to a hotel. He nodded toward a cross street about a block away. I saw a busy street which I hadn't noticed before. Clearly if I could reach the street, I would be safe. I thanked the boy and hurried off.

Without further incident I made it to the busy thoroughfare. I had thought the boy had said the name of the street was "Oaxaca", but I saw on the street sign that the name of the street was "Michocan." The entire atmosphere immediately changed as I stepped onto a street of giant red-brick buildings bedecked with white statues. Well-dressed people walked past, entering and exiting the buildings. Thinking the buildings might be part of a university, I decided to enter one and investigate. I walked inside a building and discovered a giant bookstore. Rows and rows of tables laden with books surrounded me. As I continued apace, the wares in the store changed from books to clothes. Individual vendors were also hawking clothes in the aisles, and I wondered if under Mexican law people were given the right to sell clothes in stores like this. One vendor made me angry when he grabbed my arm and tried to detain me to show me his wares. I certainly didn't want to try on any clothes. Besides, I was still carrying the gun in the back of my pants, and I was a bit worried that carrying a weapon here might be against the law and grounds for arrest. I walked past another vendor selling a black and gray sweater, exactly like one witch was for sale on one of the racks. But I wasn't interested and I headed toward the exit.

***

Without knowing why, I had been arrested and incarcerated in a Mexican jail. And what a disgusting place it was! Perhaps 50 prisoners, all dressed in white prison garb, were cramped together in a small room whose floor was covered with human feces, several centimeters deep. How could they live like this!? I immediately set to work cleaning up the place, sweeping the excrement toward a drain in the middle of the floor. I also shoveled some of it into a filthy commode. Even though some filth smeared on me, I was determined to clean up the place; I could wash myself off later. One other prisoner helped me and together we slaved over the cleaning process, scrubbing and washing the concrete floor.

When at last we finished, I was happy to see that the place was at least inhabitable now. But just when I thought I was finished, I once again detected the stench. Looking around, I saw pieces of pink carpeting, each piece about 70 centimeters square, had been laid in the room, and a couple of the pieces of carpet had piles of feces on them. The carpet presented a problem because it couldn't be cleaned as easily as the concrete floor. The solution would be to take up the carpet and leave the floor bare so that the floor could be easily cleaned when necessary. However, I thought I needed the approval of the other prisoners before I could do something so drastic as to take up the carpet. So I stood up in front of everyone, explained my plan and asked for a vote, which could be taken by applause. First, I asked who was in favor of taking up the carpet and I was happy when I received overwhelming applause. I then asked who was against taking up the carpeting, and practically no one applauded. Feeling authorized, the fellow who had been helping me earlier and I picked up all the pieces of carpet and stacked them on the side of the room.

I was beginning to feel a bit more acclimated and feeling more accepted by the other prisoners. One handsome Mexican fellow in his mid-twenties even made a pass at me, which I rejected. Latin music was being piped into the room on loudspeakers. Maybe I would learn to dance while I was here. I had been thinking of learning various Latin dances such as the Salsa and Meringue. I might end up making friends with the guy who made a pass at me after all, so I could have someone with whom to dance.

I also noticed that three men wearing gray suits had walked into the cell. They were obviously officials in charge in the place, and I wanted to go to them and try to explain that I didn't belong here. But I refrained, thinking they wouldn't listen to me anyway.

When they departed, they left the door open, and I walked out into the hallway. Some heavily armed soldiers raced past me and I heard someone say that someone had been shot. I walked along the hallway, which was on the second floor and had a railing along one side so that I could look down into a courtyard below. The soldiers had gathered in the courtyard and were standing around a young man lying on his back, with a bullet wound, obviously dead. A woman bent over the man and began examining him. The dead fellow's mouth was open and the woman seemed particularly interested in looking inside the mouth. I was amazed as the woman reached into the dead man's mouth, and pulled out his tongue. I was even more amazed when I saw that along with the tongue, the woman pulled out the man's foot and another body part, which were tied with heavy twine to the tongue. But most surprising was when the man then stood up without his tongue, foot and other body parts. His movements were jagged and clumsy. Then I noticed that his arms and legs had been severed at all the joints and were being held together with wires. This guy wasn't alive! The word "marionette" passed through my mind several times, a word I rarely used and hardly knew how to pronounce. But, here before me was obviously a life-sized marionette, created from a dead man, jerking around as if he were trying to walk. Who would create such a thing? Who was pulling the wires?

As I looked down on the pathetic scene, I noticed a woman (probably in her mid 20s) standing near me, a female prisoner also dressed in white prison garb. She was also looking at the marionette and she blurted out that she wished she had insurance. I understood that she was saying that she was afraid that she might end up like the marionette-man, and she wished she had some insurance to cover her death in such an event.

I exchanged words with her. She was tall and slender and had black hair. She wasn't especially attractive, but seemed friendly enough. I asked her why she was here and she told me her story. She said that she had been taking archery lessons, and with her bow pulled back, and just about to shoot an arrow, she had been stung on the hand, between the thumb and index finger of the hand pulling back the arrow, by a bee. In pain, she had let the arrow fly, and it had struck her instructor. (I was uncertain whether the instructor, also a woman, had died). As a result of this accident, the black-haired woman had been thrown in jail.

Her incarceration seemed so unfair to me like mine. On the spot I decided I must immediately begin working on freeing myself from this place. I would begin by contacting Mexican lawyers to handle my case. I still had the money I would need to hire the lawyers. And I would contact Carolina to come and help me. Some time might be required, but I would work hard until I was free.

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