“Imitation of Myself”
Judge Santiago Burdon
Rayando El Sol
Scratching At The Sun
My eyes flash open and it takes a while for things to come into focus. The surroundings aren’t familiar and I wait for my human Bio-Computer to provide me with the necessary information. One revelation that I am certain of and I can lay odds on, is that I am not in jail. Always a good thing.
I hear a woman singing , dishes clanking, birds chirp and squawk outside the window, dogs bark and a solitary rooster crows off key. I recognize the voice singing “Rayando el Sol” while doing dishes. It’s my close friend and smuggling partner Becky. Now the events of the past evening start gelling together. I’m at Becky’s house in Nogales Arizona , a mile north of the Mexican border.
I take notice of less than half a bottle of Mescal on the brightly multicolored serape
covering the table next to the bed. There’s an ashtray overflowing with cigarette butts also a few roaches and a mirror with a pile of Cocaine. Tecate beer cans are strewn across the floor like dead soldiers. Proof a battle against sobriety had taken place. Drugs, alcohol and I remember a couple of prostitutes, friends of Becky’s hermosa cousin Bianca. I take comfort in knowing nothing out of the ordinary took place. Just another night of the usual.
Suddenly like a bee sting a frantic search for my wallet and other personal items ensues. I locate my pants under the bed and discover my wallet minus one hundred and eighty five dollars. My passport and other identification along with my credit cards are still there. Gracias a Dios,(thank God) an expression I use often however, I am far from being a religious man. One man’s religion is another man’s belly laugh as far as I’m concerned. I expected the money to be gone. The other personal items are far more important.
I snail crawl out of bed and wrestle with my pants then my shirt. I don’t see my shoes and they hardly seem to matter at this space in time. I head for the bathroom. Gotta piss like a poisoned race horse.
I take a look at myself in the mirror to see if my disheveled state is noticeable and notice my chest through my unbuttoned shirt. In large red letters that I assume is lipstick is written “Papi Rico” and “Dame mas” (give me more) I hope there’s video, I don’t recall any of this taking place. Upon finishing my business I slap some cold water on my face and make my way toward the kitchen.
Becky stands in front of the sink belting out the song, “mi muero porti viviendo sin ti”
( I’m dieing for you living without you) Mana
She’s a short, heavy set Mexicana with typically skinny legs. She spent two and a half years in prison for running marijuana across the border. After something like that you’d think she’d give it up but the money is too fucking good. It always keeps you coming back for one more last time.
“Well good morning lover boy! You were in rare form last night.” she shouts.
“Jesus Christ Becky can ya keep it down. I am nursing an ass kicking
She laughs and gives me a kiss on the cheek and a warm hug.
“I love you, you clown. Sometimes you make me laugh so hard I pee my pants. “ she giggles
“And other times?” I ask.
“Do you really want me to answer that?
Now what do you want for breakfast? This kitchen isn’t open all day.”
“Breakfast! Are you kidding me? I am seriously sick! I poisoned my self on half bottle of Mescal.” I whine
She breaks into a low chuckle and then a healthy loud belly laugh.
“Half a bottle! You mean two and a half bottles. You and the muchachas were pouring ’em down last night.” She testifies
“Ok eggs and refried beans it is. Here’s some coffee, it’ll make ya feel better.”
” Hey Beck, what time is it? Have you heard from Rafa?” I ask.
“It’s 3:45 in the afternoon October 17th 1989.”
“It’s Tuesday” She
answers before I can finish slurring my question.
“Haven’t heard from him hun. Sit tight, he’ll call.” she reassures.
Ok, so here’s the skinny, the lowdown, the whole ball of wax. I know, such trite expressions.
I’m waiting on a load, eighty kilos of cocaine to drive to San Francisco. It crossed the border yesterday morning and sits in a van on the United States side for a day or so to observe if it’s been tracked.
“Imitation of Myself”
Judge Santiago Burdon
Breakfast For Two
Rafa is a code name for someone I can’t disclose if I want to see everything I’ve ever loved or do love continue to live.
Let me give you an idea of the kind of mentality you encounter when dealing with these “Jefe Traficantes.”
I was deep inside Mexico visiting Rafa’s ranch in Sinaloa. There was a party for his daughter’s Quinceanera. Everyone’s having a spectacular time. They’re taking photographs, dancing, drinking, eating great food, Mexican band playing Musica de Campo.
so I ask Rafa ,” Come on, how about a photo of you and I together Jefe?”
“No! That’s not a good idea. It’s proof of our association. ” He says
“What, but you have photos of me?”
“Si claro” he flashes a cold smile.
“If I ever want to have you killed always good to have a picture, makes things simple. Now let’s have some mescal and celebrate. “
Do you want to know something? I never once thought he was joking.
I choke down a wonderful breakfast leaving the coffee and opting for a glass of milk. I stroll out in the backyard, noticing the bougainvilleas in full bloom. The wind scratches at me with a chilly touch . Seems uncharacteristically cold for October in the desert. Now here comes Becky’s obnoxious hyper enthusiastic dog Guero. The thing I like most about people are their dogs. In this case that expression doesn’t apply.
I open the back gate and throw a stick but the dog sits down and just stares at me with a confused expression. He doesn’t trust me I guess, or he enjoys my miserable company.
I lay down on a handicapped picnic table missing a leg that has been propped up with some concrete blocks and there are boards missing on one side of the bench seats. I feel it coming on and there’s no way to avoid it. I attempt to force my body to hold back but it doesn’t respond and I start vomiting. It becomes a steaming pile of puke that the dog quickly devours. The site of that only increases my nausea and I continue providing nourishment to Guero.
Becky screams from the kitchen window “Hey cabron your phone call, come on, he’s waiting. I collect what little of myself is left and make it to the phone. All systems go except one thing, me the driver. I’m to meet my connection at Sacred Heart Catholic Church near Interstate 19 at 8:00 p.m.
I turn on the TV
in an attempt to relax and catch some of the World Series. Next thing I remember is Becky shaking me.
“Wake up ,Santiago. Hey wake up. Look ,watch the TV.”
My intended destination for the run, San Francisco has been hit by an Earthquake. By the looks of the news footage they’re showing , it was a strong shaker.
I try to call Rafa to ascertain if he’s aware of the Earthquake and if the run is still on. As I expected there’s no answer.
Ten minutes later the phone rings. It’s El Gallo one of Rafa’s employees (soldiers). We are to meet in fifteen minutes at La Chiquita Sportsbar. Fuck I hate that son of a bitch with my entire being and he’s not very fond of me either. The reason I loath the pinche carbon is a whole other chapter.
I jump in the shower, get dressed and begin the search for my fucking shoes.
Becky is in the truck beeping the horn, ya like that’s going help. Then my memory kicks in. There in the closet they sit, with my watch, ring and turquoise necklace tucked inside one of the shoes. I give myself a verbal good boy.
El Gallo informs me at the meeting that I am to pick up the van take it back to Becky’s place and wait for further instructions. He hands me the keys to a rented new Ford Aerostar.
“afuera” (outside) is all he says. Cheap fucking Naco didn’t even buy me a beer.
I hop into the van with windows all around and loaded with eighty kilos of Cocaine. Don’t like those closed in cargo vans they’re much too suspicious. Becky follows me back to the house. When I turn into the driveway I breath a sigh of relief and I park the mule deep into the back of the carport. Becky parks her truck closely behind it.
We enter the house without saying a word to each other.