“Don’t Touch My Bags If You Please, Mister Customs Man”
So we set about the business of selling marijuana in earnest while looking for a way to increase our volume to meet the ever-increasing demand in Lake Charles. The first order of business was to find a pilot. As I was the ‘behind-the-scenes-guy,’ Kim took on this assignment. I knew that if there were a candidate anywhere within one hundred miles, he would find him.
Within two weeks, I was being introduced to John Byrd, who, along with his new bride, owned a pet shop in town. Barbara, (A veteran of the off-shore oil rigs—really. She was an ex-roughneck) ran the place. John was flying roughnecks back and forth to the oil rigs out in the Gulf of Mexico when they met.
He was a three-tour Vietnam vet chopper pilot—First Cav—and he was bored. We, well Kim, had found our man, but Kim would not tell John anything about our business or his potential role in it until I had met him and given my blessing. At least, at this point, Kim was following my rules. This would change later.
We ‘hired’ John one night over beers, pizza, and loud music at one of the local hang-outs and our next task was to find a contact with contacts in Mexico who could turn us on (pun intended) to a supplier. South Louisiana and South Texas had no shortage of Mexicans
(Generally referred to as “Meskins” in the Texas vernacular, but not by me, finding that a little too much “country when country wasn’t cool”) then or now, and it wasn’t too terribly long before we had our contact.
His name was Pablo (I swear) and he lived with his family down around McAllen, on the southern Texas border. He also had family in Reynosa, Mexico which was just across the border from McAllen. Things were looking very good for us.
After we made all the contacts, had everything set up (too easy, in my mind), and were making plans to move forward, two things happened: Our local supply dried up and our money ran out. We were losing the apartment, the Harley, and some of Kim’s ‘good friends.’ The last didn’t upset me at all.
On the night before we were forced to move out, I sat down with Kim, our other two partners (the ones who had been living in the apartment with us), and while Kim’s girlfriend cooked supper and we drank, I explained to all the seriousness of our situation.
No real need to explain to anyone other than Kim, but we were ‘a team’ and I wanted complete understanding and agreement from everyone for our path forward. Kim was still in denial over his ‘empire’ crumbling, or at least in bad need of repair.
The only one missing from the meeting was our pilot, but I had already spoken to him, and since he was the oldest and most mature, I had no trouble with him understanding.
The path forward was a simple one: Joe would move back in with his parents (wealthy Lake Charles family), Kirk would move in with his girlfriend, and Kim, Gerry (Kim’s girlfriend with a “guy” moniker—never did ask her how that came about) and I would move in with John and Barbara.
Gerry and Barbara had become instant fast friends the first time they met, so this was an easy deal and a no-brainer.
We would all lie low while Kim and I sorted out the mess and tried to convince the Mexicans to give us marijuana on credit.
A lot of marijuana. In fact we figured the plane John was planning to lease could hold well over one-hundred pounds, so that was my goal.
I probably don’t have to tell you that asking for one hundred pounds of pot on credit from Mexican drug dealers was ludicrous, but I have always been cursed with a little too much self-confidence and cock-eyed optimism and I just didn’t see how we could fail.
We made arrangements to fly Pablo and an associate from McAllen to Lake Charles for a ‘face-to-face.’ After they arrived, we took them over to John’s house for drinks and food (We had told Barbara we were bringing some friends over from Texas: ‘William and Paul’—Gerry already knew the score) and laid out the plans for our, certain to be, prosperous and profitable business venture, of course partnered up with them.
They spoke English well enough for me to make them understand how very professional we were. Kim lathered on his charm and had them laughing and joking with us before it was all said and done, sealing the deal. Immediately after they left Barbara asked her husband, “How come William and Paul are ‘Mexican?’”
John said without hesitation, “Honey, I suppose their parents are Mexican.”