Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Wherein I was in the Mexican jail

(A tall tale to tell children)

When I was in college in Houston, we used to take road trips down to Nuevo Laredo in Mexico.  We'd shop for Mexican blankets, ugly pottery, and bullwhips.*

One day, I was down there wandering around through touristy shops looking for tchotchokes, when I looked out the door of the shop, and I saw some robbers coming out of a bank across the street.  They had masks on and in one hand, they had a revolver.  In the other hand, they had big sacks with large dollar signs on them.  I'd seen this in cartoons, so I knew it was a real robbery.

As they ran out, I decided to follow them.  I kept about a block behind, as they weaved in an out of alleys.  After a while, they came to a police car parked in the shadows.  They put the money in the trunk, took off their masks,** and put on their police uniforms.  They were real, Mexican policemen!

Needless to say, I was outraged.  I went up to them and said, "Hey!  You guys are supposed to be the good guys - take that back right now!"  Also needless to say, I didn't always think before I spoke.  There might be a lesson there.

The leader said (use your best Mexican villain accent here), "Ay, stupid Gringo!  No one will believe you over us.  You are under arrest for loitering, vagrancy, and resisting arrest."

And they put me in jail.

Mexican jail is pretty boring.  I didn't have money for bail - just 15 cents in my pocket (you must particularly remember the 15 cents, Best Beloved)***- so I sat there for a week.  Each day for three meals a day, they gave me tortillas and re-fried beans.  After the first day, I was tired of it, so I put the leftovers under my bunk.

Then, I had an idea.  I took the tortillas and re-fried beans, and made a false wall on the back of my cell.  I hid behind it, and when the guard brought the next meal, he thought I'd escaped.  It was a beautiful false wall.

The guard shouted, "Hey, I think the Gringo has escaped!"

They all ran out to look for me.  I waited until it was quiet, then I ate my way out.  I went down the main street back to the bridge to Laredo.  Heh.  They thought I'd sneak down alleys.

The turnstile to get back into the US cost 15 cents, and I went home.

* The bullwhip plays a major part in other, true stories for another time.

** I advocate Oxford commas.  Despite what the definition says, it's not optional.

*** Read Kipling's Just So Stories to your kids, too.

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