Hamish Todd


I walked up the pavement and there, much to my delight, was a tienda, a store selling beer and wine and hard liquor, jammed full of people.  I bought a big 40 oz. can of Tecate’.  There was a quaint little park almost directly across the street from the store.  I sat down at a bench, intending to pull out my weed and pipe and have a little toke to go along with my beer.  Out of nowhere I was accosted by a gang of kids, 5 or 8 of them, ranging from 10-15 years-old, “Hey Mista, cocaine?  You need?  How bout Marijuana, you want?”  “No, no- go away, I’m fine.”  No sooner had they scampered off, when, out of the blue, three Mexican cops came bounding out of nowhere and were on top of me.  The lead cop was big, with a fat neck, looked like the lead bull in Midnight Run (old movie reference-sorry).  He had fat hands, which he banged down upon the bench, demanding in broken English, “Where are the drugs?!” He bared his fat bull teeth as he hissed at me again, “The drugs, where are the drugs!?” The liquor store across the street was gone, shuttered, no sign that it had ever existed.  The kids were working for the cops, sell the tourist drugs then come the cops to shake them down.  The captain nodded to the other two cops, who spun me round and proceeded to pat me down, pulling things from my pockets and placing them on the picnic table as they went.  I was wearing cut-off Carhart painter’s pants, which have lots of pockets- and I am a person who picks things up; a collection of paper clips of various sizes, a big bobby pin, a few bucks, some change, a pocket knife, some orange ear plugs, a special marble, stones and seashells picked up from the beach; a comb and a gold tooth that had fallen out and ended up in my pocket, all were piled atop the table.  They went through my right pocket and the side pockets, and my back pockets.  Somehow, I can only ascribe to God looking out for My wife who would have been called out of bed and told, “Your husband is in jail,” and asked to pay some ungodly sum for my release, weak-willed, naughty, compulsive, alcoholic me, lucked out.  The Bulll rifled through the assortment of keys and special stones and frick frack, with fury dripping from his teeth, he looked at the other two cops, who shrugged their shoulders, “Nada,” they said.  Somehow, miraculously, for some unknown reason, they had failed to search my left front pocket, which is where I kept my little stash of weed and pipe.  Relieved doesn’t begin to represent the way I felt.  All I knew was that I just narrowly missed waking My wife from a Mexican jail.  I never spoke a word of it to her.  She was asleep when I got back to the room.  I undressed and quietly slid in behind her.  When we woke, we had breakfast and then drove on out of there. To my way of thinking, what didn’t happen last night, was nothing short of a miracle.

By Hamish Todd