Skipping ahead to the ‘juicy’ bits….
There were a few other escapades no less bizarre during this time, but I won’t recount them here. Like the infamous naked, midnight go-cart ride over and through some very nicely landscaped yards of the Lake Charles rich and famous. Well, rich anyway… “Don’t start Lance. Get on with the pot smuggling story.”
After several more ‘adventures’ as described above, Kim and I decided we needed to go to McAllen to expedite things with the Mexicans. We took our partner Kirk with us for balance and also because he had some friends in San Antonio we could hang out with before we drove south to McAllen. We ended up staying in San Antonio for several weeks before making our way south. Long story why and not particularly exciting, so I’ll skip it.
We arrived in McAllen late one sultry Saturday night and having nothing better to do until morning when we were to hook up with Pablo, we decided to drive into Mexico and visit ‘Boy’s Town’ in Reynosa. Kim had been there before and told us how the deal worked:
“Before we go, we have to make sure the car is clean. No pot, no guns, no nothing. If we get busted they will put us in jail for a w-h-i-l-e.”
Kim was beginning to sound like me: ever cautious and thinking ahead. Seemed almost too good to be true. It was.
We checked the car for any pot remnants, hid the .45 cal pistol–which Kim insisted on second thought we keep with us, as he didn’t want to try to stash it somewhere in McAllen–in the trunk, and hid most of our cash–about $2,000–under the spare.
“We just go into the bars, talk to the girls and then the beer is free.”
We pulled into Reynosa, found a place to park the car and proceeded on foot looking for free beer, Mexican girls, and some laughs. We turned onto a street that must have had no less than 20 small bars all along both sides of the narrow little dirt road. In front of every bar was a barker, each proclaiming the coldest beer and prettiest girls in all of Meheeco: “Come in Senor. Free beer. Pretty Girls. Come in.”
We entered one of the bars and were instantly served three Carte Blanca Mexican beers. And they were indeed, very cold. Three girls showed up immediately as well and each found an American lap to sit upon. We chatted with them for a spell and then decided to head on down the street and sample another bar. As we were leaving, we were stopped at the door and told we must pay for our beer.
“Okay, how much?” I asked.
“Three American dollars.”
“No problem,” I said, as I began to pull out my wallet.
“Wait a minute!” Kim protested, “You said the beer was free if we talked to the girls.”
Aside to Kim I said, “Forget about it; it’s only three bucks. Don’t make trouble.”
“Bullshit! We’re not paying. Let’s go.”
We argued over this for a spell, and against my better judgment, I relented.
“Alright. Whatever,” I said, and we walked out.
We walked down the street back in the direction of where our car was parked and I said I really was tired and didn’t much feel like a long night drinking in a Mexican bar. Kirk agreed and so we decided that we would head back across the border.
As soon as we got to the car and were about to get in, we were surrounded by no less than five Mexican cop cars and about ten Mexican cops on foot.
“Well shit! Happy now Kim?”
I knew we would probably get into trouble, but I was too tired to argue more with Kim over the beer tab, and maybe I wanted to teach him a lesson. Big mistake. I should have paid the guy for the beer over Kim’s protestations.
I remained calm and didn’t resist when the cops “gently” pushed me against the car. Kirk was following my lead. One of the cops began searching the back seat of our car. He had his head in on one side and Kim had his head in on the other, jabbering away. The cop found what he must have thought to be a marijuana seed on the floorboard and placed it daintily on the seat of the car. He turned and yelled to his sergeant, smiling, obviously very proud to have found something, when to his horror; Kim took his thumb and forefinger and thumped it out into the dusty street. I had to laugh at the expression on that cop’s face when he realized his ‘evidence’ had gone flying.
They found the pistol in the trunk, but not the money, so that at least was some happy news. Kirk and I let them put us into the cop car.
And Kim? He was livid. He decided to resist arrest all the while babbling about free beer. They got rough with him, drew their guns on him, and were about to shoot him when I yelled out the window of the car, “Kim, shut the fuck up, and calm down before they shoot your dumb ass!” That worked and he allowed them to place him into the back seat with me and Kirk, after they slapped the dog-shit outta him. That didn’t faze me. Hell, I wanted to slap the shit out of him as well. I was biding time, thinking of how I would sort it all out once we got to wherever we were going.
They drove us into a jail compound, took us out of the car and marched us over to a big cell full of Mexicans. I still remember the open sewer, the stench of that mixed with stale sweat, vomit, and the humid thick air. We protested these accommodations, and they agreed to put us somewhere else. We were taken to what must have been the sheriff’s office and seated there to wait for morning, which was about 4 hours away. Once the morning came along with the day shift, we were photographed, fingerprinted and generally harassed. At one point later that afternoon, Kirk got testy and started mouthing at one of the policeman office workers. They put him into a metal box in the courtyard, which I assume was very uncomfortable. After he had been in there for about two hours he started screaming, “Kim! Lance! Get me outta here!” Kim had calmed considerably since the night before and I let him plead Kirk’s case to the jailers. They acquiesced and released Kirk. I don’t think he said a word for the next two days.
During this time I was negotiating our release. They finally agreed on $600 a-piece for our ‘bail’ knowing full-well, as soon as we paid it, we would be back across the border never to return to stand trial. Since we ‘had no money’ on us, one of us would have to ‘go across the border’ to get the bail money while the other two stayed behind for insurance. I told Kim he should go and I would hold down the fort and try to keep Kirk calm. I had no worry about his not returning. I told him to make it look good and to drive around Reynosa for about an hour before coming back with the money. He took off, and about an hour later returned with the exact sum (taken from our stash in the trunk). An hour after that we were back in McAllen.
We found Pablo and told him our story as explanation for our being late. He said, “Why didn’t you get a hold of me? I could’ve gotten you out of jail for free just like that,” as he snapped his fingers.
“Didn’t think of it, besides, how the hell could we have gotten hold of you anyway? Doesn’t matter; we’re out now.”
We had supper with Pablo, met his family and talked about the upcoming deal. He apologized for all the delays and assured us that within one week of our returning to Lake Charles they would be ready with the 125 pounds. He even went so far as to volunteer to bring it across the border into McAllen so John wouldn’t have to fly into Mexico. That was an unexpected and welcome surprise.
Our journey back to Lake Charles was uneventful. It was good to be back, but we were now pumped with adrenalin knowing the deal was finally going to go through.