after painting the records, s. and fritz, rin wright, and another guy, took off for mazatlan in the $50.00 pink oldsmobile. everybody had their own little money.
it was a long drive. the mountain landscape kept changing. there were hills where it looked like some giant had hurled boulders into the the grassy mounds. then there were piles of boulders with no green. then came silky sandy deserts with black peaks sprouting out.
the baja coast can be mighty hot. driving along the pacific shore, the ocean a mile away, was more than they could bear. so s. pulled off the highway and drove down a bumpy trail right to the edge of the pounding surf.
"off with clothes!"
and naked they charged the waves of the cold pacific. the ocean did it's job. invigorating s. and his friends. s. was out of the water and back at the car when two jeeps full of gendarmes with rifles rolled over the dunes. they rounded up s.'s naked friends. when they pulled up by s., fully dressed, it was to collect him too. s. protested. he resisted arrest. he claimed he hadn't exposed himself on the beach… all the time wondering what the fuss was all about. he later realized that this was a catholic arrest. the misunderstanding about our bodies which are born clean and remain clean forever, the catholics have forbidden their people to look upon.
"porque? yo no lave." s. tried. but he heard the words "pelle agua", as one of the soldiers pinched his hair.
so off to 'el grande' in mazatlan.
no charges. no formalities, no judge. they were just herded in through the main gate of the prison.
a lanky grinning black guy asks, "are you a student?". "no.", s. shrugs and replies indignantly. "wtf?"
"i mean a student of life." he countered. "oh, yeah,. sure." still the insult was stinging.
once inside they found a courtyard in a square with a water well in the middle.
the perimeter was small alcoves with colorful homemade curtains. the 'rooms' were barely big enough for a cot and a shelf. the corner room was the best because it was slightly bigger than the rest. the occupant, a lifer, in for murder. he was american. he had been a dentist in the states. he had killed a man in mexico. he killed a san quentin guard who was on vacation in mazatlan. his version of the story was that this man had mistreated him horribly when he was doing time in san quentin for fraud. he had been so mistreated by this prison guard that, the moment their paths crossed accidentally,, he followed the guard to his hotel room, kicked down the door and shot him.
his room in 'el grande' was a pharmacy and he treated both guards and inmates for all kinds of illnesses or disasters.
beyond the rooms was a 24 foot wall. at each corner an armed guard was stationed 24 hours a day. no one ever escaped those walls.
in mexico, almost any crime could be paid for and you were free. as soon as you got the money to the authorities you were released.
the friends slept outdoors under the stars for two weeks. then, s.'s father ransomed all four. by that time the fish head soup, which was served three times a day, had taken its toll and s.'s back was riddled with weeping sores the size of silver dollars. not only that, but he was blind.
well, they had a runner, who went to the store and they had a cook. the cook was happy to work and enjoy as payment the meal of rice and beans with fresh tomatos; until their cash ran out.
finally, the money came and they were released. fritz drove because s. was blind. they made a beeline for the border. but fritz and rin wanted to score a kilo of pot since it was dirt cheap in mexico.
however, about a mile from the border s. made them throw it out the window. s. was sure that if they got busted again, he would die in jail.
when they crossed, the guard asked, "do you have anything to declare?"
s. handed him a half eaten apple. "just this, that's all."
and the guard waved the beat-up oldsmobile full of longhaired americanos though. unbelievable that there was no searching. those guards have a special 'spidey sense' for fear. rin said, "shit! we could have kept the kilo." s. said, "yeah sure, and then we'd be in jail right now."