I suffer the risk of death while you simply have to suffer my horrible grammar.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

I've Already Slept with a Minor

I got bored so I Ebayed my life’s possessions away. After I accepted a half-baked job offer to work in the malaria-infested jungles of Honduras, I made a stop at the local sperm bank on the way to the airport. I also made a call to get any last minute advice from my new employer before I left.
“Yes, can you hear me down there?”
“Yes, amigo, we are skype connected.”
“Grand. See, I was wondering if there was anything in particular that I should bring.”
You know like a working understanding of Spanish.
“Ah, yes. You should bring your soccer kicks and some whiskey.”

As I was saying goodbye to my parents, my brother requested, “Well, my bro’, don’t do anything stupid.”
“Isn’t that request a little late? Love ya, bro’. Cuddles!”

In the airport, I called my Grandma for permission to leave.
“Hey, Melba!”
“Don’t you ‘Hey, Melba’ me. What’s this about you going to Honduras?”
“Don’t worry, Melba. Please, the political situation is mostly totally over and I negotiated a break mid-contract to come visit you during your 90th birthday house party.”
“My birthday is in 3 months.”
“…Dad didn’t tell you that I was going for a year, did he?”
“No, your Dad didn’t tell me that!”

In the Miami airport, I bought my last American meal; I purchased a Pizza Hut personal pan pizza, coke and a Butterfinger candy bar. I’ll miss you, corn syrup nation!

{I like this picture b/c it looks like it says 'butt-a-cola'}

While waiting at the gate, I noticed the maintenance crew had been called out to work on the gate kiosk counter. This totally happens all the time and surely wasn’t any sign that I should read into at all.

Melba called me back.
“Craig, what’s this I’m reading about a scam where someone calls and says that your traveling family member is in trouble and needs cash?"
“Well, this will absolutely not happen. But, you and I should have a safe word to prevent my parents from tricking you into handing over my birthday card stash of two dollar bills.”
“Good idea.”
“How about, oh, I don’t know…how about a safe word like, ‘spin the bottle’.”
“ ‘Spin the bottle’, I got it.”
“Don’t share it with anyone.”
“Of course.”
“Let’s keep, ‘spin the bottle’, you know, just between you and me.”
“Wait a minute--”
“—Bye. Love ya!”

It was time to board my plane for Central America. I boarded reviewing my grandma’s earlier last minute nugget of advice,
“Craig, now seriously, you watch out for those Mexicans with their Latino eyes and their big butts.”

There were warnings about tourists being robbed in taxis around the airport in which I was landing. There I was arriving alone at night in a third world country with way too much equipment. So, I was relieved when my neighbor on my plane offered to have his wife drop me off at my designated hotel. Great!

After we landed, I made it through customs only to watch my ride get escorted for extra questioning. Of course! Fortunately he was searched and released quickly or had his bribe readily available. Either way, his wife showed up in a tiny car with their entire family inside.

It was clear that his generous offer hadn’t been run past the wife department quite yet. Phew, plan approved! I was in the car and we headed into town. We were having a great start. This is perfecto!

“So, Reck…”
“It’s Craig.”
“Right, Reck. So, before we go to your hotel, I, ah, need to drop off a little something-something with a friend. It’s on the way and it’ll be super quick.”
“Yeah, no problem.”
I mean, that sounds shady as all hell, but whatever. At least we aren’t in those risky taxis, right!?

We took a turn and immediately things changed. We had turned into the post-apocalyptic barrio in a third world country. It was like the Latino version of mad max the movie. I’m talking here about fires in old oil drums; car carcasses and dangling live electrical wires. And here, of course, they turn on the dome light inside the car so that everyone could see the first-world gringo. Was driving around with a gringo a status symbol? For the love of god turn off that damn light!

As the gringo pope tour progressed, the road got more and more narrow. We were now navigating through huge piles of dirt in the road. I tried to pretend that there weren’t freshly buried bodies under the piles of dirt. And here now we turned down a back ally in this third world ghetto. No one knew where I was. I didn’t know where I was and I definetly didn’t see an OnStar system in the car. Crap. See, I’d promised my ever-loving mom that I’d be safe on this trip and within thirty minutes of landing I had already failed.
We stopped. I looked for snipers.

“So, Reck, I’ll be right back.”
I bet you will. You’ll be back with a gang of machete wielding Somalians that you’ve been feeding a steady diet of tazer shocks. I now looked at his kids in the car as human shields.

My friendly drug cartel leader started yelling, “Pedro! Pedro!”
I saw shifting in the shadows.

Awesome, my year-long adventure was going to last, at most, thirty minutes. My drug mule friend went one way down the alley and his wife went the other way. Right, this is where my Nica’ mafia gentleman squares up a debt by offering my tender white meat to his loan broker.
I was now trying to all casually turn to watch for the oncoming motorcycle gang that was about to shanghai me through the car window.

My friend/scam ringleader came back, “You know, I’m going to go with my wife. I don’t really feel safe with her walking down there alone.”

There I was outside the Latin green zone alone in a car with both his three-year-old kids looking at me. The kids had a bad habit of turning on the dome light in the car. I had a habit of quickly turning it off.

My savior/traitor returned again, “So, I hear they are coming, my friend.”
Yeah, cool, so should I just start pulling out my DSLR camera, laptop, credit cards and passport now?

“I hear they will be here in 15 minutes. Is it okay we wait?”
This is great, 15 more bonus minutes of being alive. Thanks, amigo.
The kids kept looking at me. I kept looking at them. No one knew what was happening.

I saw the motorcycles coming. I knew they would be on motorcycles. They would signal for me to roll down the window. They asked me to roll down the window. They would stick their hand in. The stuck their hand in. They would boil me down for my fillings.
They shock my hand, “Welcome to Nicaragua, amigo.”

The family was happy to see their friends. I was happy to be alive.

“Reck [Yeah, it’s still ‘Craig’] thanks for waiting.”
Ah, thanks for not killing me.

Now we drove to my hotel. Well we tried. See, the streets were blocked with this cluster fuck called ‘Easter’. I know, I’ve never heard of it either. The streets were like spring break, Mardi Gras and the super bowl all combined into one disorganized street party. Though, honestly, seeing the Jesus parade blocking the street felt more like my own personal celebration that I was still alive.

We drove through the parade. Please, please don’t run over anyone in the Easter parade, as that seems like a really really bad idea.
We arrived at my hotel.

“Sorry, no room.”
Really? But everyone is in the streets.

My driver called around; no one had a room.
“You know, my friend, why don’t you just stay at my house tonight.
Oh, yeah, sure so you can force me to build a geocity homepage for you. Ah, hell no.

My capture took me to his house. After being in the States for two years, my Nica’ escort returned to his home with his dome light on showing off the thirty-five year old gringo he had adopted.

Arrangements were made. I was to sleep in the room with his nine-year-old son. There I was thinking this local Nica’ man was going to grind my vegetarian corpse into chorizo and yet here he was letting me sleep in his own son’s room.

I could only imagine his kid’s confusion when the light was turned on in his room and in walked an adult gringo man who promptly slept down in the bed next to him and slept.
Hola, yo soy un gringo and tu hermano nuevo. Beunos noches, mi hermano.

It took him, count ‘em, 15 minutes for him to leave the room crying. And there, in the dark, I totally wasn’t questioning where I was in my life as a thirty five year old man sleeping in a kid’s bed in a stranger’s house in the middle of Nicaragua. I only had 364 more days of trying to stay alive. Yep.

1 comment:

  1. Love it man. too funny. i have had several experiences like this when someone is being too nice that i suspect they have bad intentions. Once as I crossed the border into Syria and got offered a ride from an Iranian family, I also thought to myself, what are you doing, man? Of course they turned out to be the friendliest people in tje world. keep up the great stuff. I read it all and wanna meet up again. peace, adam (belize with momma)