“There are ways,” he chuckles. I imagine those ways involve a ghillie suit.
I don’t keep this blog expecting anybody else to read it. I don’t care if anybody finds it and does read it, but I use it primarily for my own writing efforts. IT can be discouraging to finish a 12 hour shift of writing on the book and then go back and suddenly you feel as though you’ve completed nothing all day. That is a function of my crippling depression and general outlook in life I guess, but when I paste a stupid photo up on the blog and write something under it I at least feel like I’ve done something with the day. Perhaps once I finish That said, once I finish In Sickness, Sadness, Celebration I will write a Mexico book. To that end, let me introduce you to Patton. First name? Last name? General Patton? No idea. He’s Patton. And he’s officially AWOL from the US Army, though I believe that’s a lie meant to throw people off his true crime.
Lalo introduced me to Patton. Lalo had been sleeping on the streets for about a month and he was at the point where he had cultivated that permanent homeless stink. It happens when BO and sweat fold over and form a kind of earthy urban cologne. All of Lalo’s possessions had been lifted from his backpack will he slept, including his Apple laptop. His 25-year-old American girlfriend Victoria had left him for a mezcalero who lived under a roof.
Patton has a lot of great army stories. There’s one he tells about his arrival in Afghanistan. His first day and the first time he’d ever set foot on foreign soil. The first time he ever left Ohio was to go to boot camp in South Carolina. Wide-eyed, he talks about opening his eyes after a 20 hour flight and seeing the vastness of the landscape. HE goes on and finally when you think he’s been talking about Afghanistan and its people, you realize he’s been going on for ten minutes about the inside of the chow building at Baghram Air Force Base in the northwest part of the country.
“There’s a Pizza Hut Express,” he says. “And then over there, a Panda Express.”
“They told us the food would be different,” he says.
He brags about how he served two tours over there before he actually came face to face with an Afghani native. He worked inside an air-conditioned warehouse building and never left the base. So he was troubled when he had to deal with an actual Afghan.
His first words to a native were an attempt at understanding . “Tu hablas Ingles?” he says. “Me no hablo Espanol.” He repeats a series of exaggerated hand gestures then says it louder. “No soy Espanol,” he says. “Yo solo hablo American.”
Lalo found his tree yesterday and took me to it. It’s practically across the street from my house, in the park that he uses as a toilet. His words.
He’s working on gathering construction material so he can build a treehouse up in the tree and live there. I think the tree is some kind of monument so I’m not sure how the locals would regard his treehouse but it’s one of those tule trees so once you get above the canopy you can get lost relatively easily.
Lalo was born in Veracruz and has Mexican citizenship. I’ll try to explain Lalo at another time. He’s essentially like a Julian Assange figure but without anything to leak. Nothing to announce. He’s always vaguely threatening to shut down the internet or garrote somebody who cut in front of him at La Brujula but nothing ever comes out of it. I know he shot up a store where Victoria was working, I want to say somewhere in Colorado. She had a shitty boss so he retaliated with an automatic weapon after hours. Not sure if he’s wanted for that or something else or what.
Oaxaca is a great place to hide and normally there are enough tourists to blend in with. When I first moved to Jalatlaco, I heard people referring to me as El Fugitivo Desconicido or something similar. Now, a year later they just call me Guero.
I haven’t been arrested since 2010 and that was a misdemeanor. Well, technically it was three misdemeanors but when the authorities have you like they had me, there was nothing I could do but cop out. If I even tried to fight it, I was told by the deputy, they would change the trio of misdemeanors to a felony. The idea of getting off with no jail term and a $500 fine versus going to trial with a shit lawyer and possibly losing and getting a mandatory minimum one year in state prison…?
The BLM people (I still read it as Bureau of Land Management thanks to time spent in Northern Nevada) are shooting and killing cops. In the long run, it;s only going to make the cops behave even worse. Once they started militarizing police departments, everything went to shit. You don’t need to have three commandos pulling guns to make a pick up on a shoplifter. And the odds that one of those guns goes off as its being pointed at a suspect’s head goes up the more military gear he’s wearing.
I was watching To Catch a Predator on the internet the other day. It’s a hilariously horrible show because of the general state of self-decay these pedophiles exhibit. Dude. You’re a 30-year-old computer programmer supposed to be meeting a 14-year-old girl at her house. At least comb your hair? Maybe put on some slacks? I guess these guys aren’t exactly thinking anything through, which may contribute to their problems. I don’t understand how some of them can be employed at all. And then to think that a girl who would’ve rejected them and laughed at them when they were 14 in the same grade actually wants them NOW, pretty much sight unseen? I’m not sure how those chat rooms work. I went into some chat rooms while I was lonely at college and it seemed like it was just a clique of people pretending to care about one another and they seemed to spend all their time in the chat room. And these chat rooms were for people looking for friends in foreign countries, etc. They weren’t for people looking for sex or drugs. I imagine those chat rooms are full of people undercover from the NSA talking to undercover people from the FBI, etc. To fast forward my editorial–castrate the sex criminals. End of story. But watching five cops from Hick County, Georgia armed to the teeth, bristling with military gear, champing at the bit to use it, watching them sprint out toward a loser leaving a house after being roasted alive by Chris Hansen… these guys all have their sidearms pulled. They scream. All screaming different commands. “GET DOWN!” “ARMS ABOVE YOU!” “FACE ON THE GROUND!” And these poor bastards can’t do it quick enough and end up taking a knee to the back or worse while the cops diffuse the situation. Come on! They were just confronted inside by an unarmed prick. If they had a weapon they would surely use it on Chris Hansen, no? The cops go into these situations fully pumped and they escalate everything until it’s a do or die moment.
And then the next episode the cops are from a different county and still arrest the guys but they don’t even have their guns drawn. They have one leader who orders the suspect to put his arms up or behind him or whatever and it seems much less likely that these cops are going to shoot somebody in the face.
Also, they shoot to kill. If you’re three feet from a guy and need to disable him, you don’t HAVE to shoot him in the chest. Often, winging a guy is enough to get the job done. But it seems like they’re untrained for anything but crisis. That’s why when I have been pulled over by cops in the past, I’ve been very nervous. Once they suspected I was on drugs because I crossed the road in LA with my college roommate outside the crosswalk and my pupils were “too large to be natural.” Ridiculous. Another time, right before I graduated, I supposedly resembled a guy they were looking for (I saw the wanted drawings and I actually did look a bit like him) and they stopped me and held me at gunpoint then threw me in the back of a squad car with handcuffs on for 40 minutes until they realized I wasn’t him and they drove off with me and then left me on a street corner a mile from my apartment. They had stopped me right outside my apartment. They didn’t want to be seen as having made a mistake so they let me out in another neighborhood. I told the guy, this is not cool. My neighbors now think I’m a criminal because they just watched me being driven off in a cop car. “Tough shit,” said the cop.
They were so mad. I guess the suspect owned a Camaro or some type of red sportish car. I owned a Jeep. They accused me of trading it in and asked me where the other car was and never told me what they wanted.
“Why are you so nervous then?” said a cop, pointing his service pistol at me.
I had severe anxiety and panic disorder. Of course, once the panic went off and I was pleading for some ice or some water I was “on drugs” again.
As they left, all 20 cars full of them, each one told me not to leave town. And they told me I was lucky I wasn’t being arrested. “Where were you yesterday at 3 pm?” they asked.
“I was graduating from college,” I said.
“Did anybody see you?”
One dickbag in particular told me it was my lucky day and he “knew I was the guy” and how if we were alone he would beat it out of me.
From that day on, my respect for police was somewhat lowered. It’s the one job that isn’t a meritocracy. It’s based on experience.