Buster of course was late as he ran into Tony’s garage to pick up his hopefully repaired truck. What he found instead was his truck still up on a jack, wheel removed and a pile of pieces on the floor below. The only thing missing was Tony. After ten minutes it became obvious, no Tony and he was not going to drive his truck to Chetumal today. A quick glance at Tony’s clock on the wall, told him nor would he take the bus either, since it had left a half hour before. He cursed, in Spanish, and kicked the dirt as he walked out of the garage wondering how he was going to get to Chetumal to pay his accountant. Buster had told him “mañana” the previous day and he knew that, unlike when a Mexican says mañana, when a gringo says it, it means tomorrow. When a Mexican says it, it simply means not today. Since Buster said mañana, there was only one thing left he could do. He walked to the edge of the road, and held out his hand with the thumb pointing toward Chetumal and said to himself, “Vamanos a Chetumal pinche Buster!”
Suddenly, as if sent by the Mayan transportation Gods, a beat up old VW Bug stopped in a cloud of dust and burnt oil exhaust, and the driver said, “If you need a ride to Chetumal, get in.” Buster looked at the smoking old wreck and decided that if it could get even half way there before breaking down, he would be that much closer, so what the heck. Today seemed like as good of day as any for an adventure. The guy seemed to speak good English too, so it might be some good conversation if nothing else. He climbed in the bug and away they went.
The driver introduced himself as Chuey and began the story of his ten years living in the states running a sod crew for a landscape company in LA. Buster was paying very little attention to the fact that he had laid the sod for Britney some one or the other’s lake house, thinking more about if he could get to Chetumal in time to pay his accountant and still be able to catch the afternoon bus back to Mahahual, when Chuey asked, ”Mind if I smoke?”
Buster laughed as the engine smoke seeped from under the back seat into the cab of the vehicle. “Might as well. The smoke from that engine is going to get me sooner than any of your second hand smoke” said Buster. “Smoke away amigo!”
“Cool” said Chuey as he began to drive with his leg, freeing his hands to roll a joint from the bag of marijuana he pulled from his pocket. Buster looked at him with concern but said nothing and kept a nervous eye on the road.
“Don’t worry, you can roll a joint but not a bug. Get it, you can’t roll a VW bug man. It’s a joke vato, lighten up. Besides, I can do this even when I’m drunk, which I’m not. Takes more than a couple shots of tequila to get me drunk, so don’t worry man. I got dis.”
Of course, Buster began to worry and ask himself, “He said smoke but I didn’t think he meant that! Shots of tequila? How many is a few? And yes, you can too role a VW bug.”
Chuey masterfully rolled the joint, lit it and took a deep pull. He of course offered to Buster who declined, assuming he might need his wits about him to jump from the vehicle at any time. They laughed as Chuey smoked and talked about all the things he was going to do to the bug, and between the carbon monoxide and the second hand pot smoke, it somehow all began to seem okay for Buster. That is, until he looked up and saw the police check point.
“Pinche policia” laughed Chuey when he saw the line of police ahead. “Here, hold dis” he said and with that, tossed the bag of marijuana into Buster’s lap.
“I’m not holding your pot,” yelled Buster tossing the bag back to Chuey.
“What pot. I ain’t got no pot” Chuey said with a laugh, just before coming to a stop for the police, and quickly pushed the bag into Buster’s shirt pocket, making it too late to do anything except pray. “Don’t worry. They won’t check you. You’re a gringo man. They don’t mess with you guys, at least not too often.”
“What’s too often?” asked Buster nervously as they came to a stop.
The police seemed very glad to see Chuey and smiled as they asked both to step from the car while they searched for anything that might be against the laws of the great nation of Mexico. They asked Chuey to empty his pockets and the conversation began to change. Buster walked over and began to chat with the other perimeter guards, trying to act as casual as one can when they are standing with 10 policemen and a bag of pot in your pocket, and hoping that would keep him out of any more extensive search. The other police quizzed Chuey as they walked around the vehicle, tapping the side panels to make sure they sounded hollow and not loaded with drugs, conch, out of season lobster, fake Oakleys, fake Cubans, fake Coach purses, fake NFL gear or any of the other tons of fake Chinese junk smuggled into Mexico from Belize. That and they seemed to know this Chuey and that could mean a money making opportunity for some of Mexico’s finest. Finally, convinced Chuey had nothing to cause harm to the great nation of Mexico, or that could make any of them richer, the police allowed them and the smoking little bug to proceed.
The very relaxed Chuey settled back into his seat and said to Buster, “See man. I told you they don’t mess with you guys. No problema! Now, gimme back my pot.”
“What pot? I ain’t got no pot” said Buster, tossing the bag out the window, still close enough to the police check point to make sure Chuey did not dare go to retrieve it, but far enough away to not be noticed by the police, who were now focused on a car full of Euro-trash musicians, leaving Mahahual after strolling the beaches for several days and annoying everyone with their drums, flutes, out of tune guitars and the nastiest BO this side of the Chetumal Zoo.
“Oh, man. That wasn’t nice,” cried Chuey as he watched from the rear view mirror, his bag of pot blowing off to the side of the road.
“Yea, that is exactly what I was going to say you asshole. Now shut up and get me to Chetumal so I can change my pants.” replied Buster. And with that, Chuey turned up the Santana, giggled and pressed his foot on the gas, sending the smoking little bug on its way.
And so goes another day in Paradise! Ahhh … Mahahual!