Saturday, August 16, 2008

Chapter 1

A relative of mine maintained...

"Do not be too moral, you may cheat yourself out of much life so. Aim above morality. Be not simply good, be good for something."
-Henry David Thoreau

Chapter 1

Wednesday, March 22nd 2006; 5:05AM AST
Destination: San José, Costa rica
E.T.A.: 1:35 pm tico time

I was just walking through the metal detector as the drugs finally began to let go. Thirty minutes in an airport security lineup can rip anyone out of bliss. I didn’t hear the gate beep, and the Toyota Tundra of a woman carrying ‘the wand’ seemed to nod at me. I walked to grab my carryon when I heard her, “No! Wait!”

My hands instinctively shot up in the air.

“Out not up sir.”

They’ll never let me on the plane now, not in a million years. I’m fucked.
She knows.

Pure bewilderment. 48 hours up straight, a mush trip, and you’d need an accountant to try and tally the amount of rums, joints, pills, cigarettes & bong hits I’d done since my pupils were last at normal dilation. Not to mention all the coke. Though really at this point all it was doing was keeping me above ground.

“Arms out not up sir.”

What? Was I still there?
I lowered my arms to the shoulder.
I volunteered an explanation. “I didn’t hear the… the… arch beep.”

“They don’t beep anymore sir, it’s all LED now.”

Whatever the fuck that means. As she approached my crotch the wand whistled.

“Whatcha got in there?”

A trillion lines go through my mind, not one of them original.

“Are you wearing a belt sir?”
“Could you unbuckle it for me?”
“Why not?”

She runs the wand over my seatbelt belt buckle several times before her focus became my ass.

“What’s that?”
“That’s my wallet” you sublime cow.
“May I see it?”
“You can see whatever you like.” … scratching an itch.
“The wallet will be fine sir.”

She seemed to enjoy that.

I watched in horror as 90 seconds went by. Imagine that for a moment -ninety real seconds- under examination lights in front of 1000 staring eyes, after coming off of a massive bender. A disciplined mind starts to unravel.

Finally I’m cut loose just in time to watch my bags go through the x-ray. “That thing is a darn mess.” I hear the man mutter.

Normally I pack in a pretty organized fashion, but this time I’d thrown everything together in a haste… so I just knew he was talking about mine. A second guard joined him and squinted at the screen, “holy cow, look at all that cash.”

“May I look in this sir?”

My first straight response in over a day… “certainly” as long as you don’t look in my little black shaving kit. The man methodically molests every nook in my bag. Of course the first thing he went for was the money.

“How much is here?” he asks.
“Eight thousand.” I replied.
“Okay. Because you know you have to declare anything over ten right?”
“Yes I am aware of that.”

He knew that though. He counted the money, satisfied he continued through the rest of the bag. The shaving kit, at long last. Please God no. No. Please no. Just not the tooth whitener.

You will leave the tooth whitener alone.
You will leave the tooth whitener alone.
You will leave the tooth whitener alone.

Click my heels. Several small churches. I swear. The man came to the tiny white container and asked with authority if he could examine it.

Jesus Mary and Joseph save me. I’m done. The man slowly, painfully opened it. Peered inside for half a second, and slammed it shut immediately.

Oh God. Ohhhhhhhhhh God. The whole process flashes before my eyes. First a cold empty room for at least an hour, followed by the cavity search. Soon after I would be interrogated for a timeframe most likely involving days; even if they somehow didn’t find it… answering any question wrong could result in 90 days in a holding cell, no questions asked… by anybody.

You can fuck with rent-a-pigs.
You can fuck with the pigs.
You can fuck with the Royal Canadian Mounted Pigs.
Just never. Ever. Fuck with customs.

“All good here sir, enjoy your trip.”


What sort of place is this? It was a miracle. A pure Columbian miracle. That confirms it I thought. There is a God. And he’s even more twisted than I am.

Thirty minutes later I was finally entering the plane, everyone looked at me with wide eyes. Who is this man? They probably thought. To fully appreciate the humour I found in this you need the image. I stand at about six feet with my shoes on, and I weighed at this time about 210 pounds, most of this collected in my rather large gut. Other than the stomach I’m actually a fairly healthy looking individual, but even I have to grant just how big it really is. It’s so big, it actually impresses some people. Not wide, thick.

So there I am, wearing a ten year old Hawaiian shirt, a three day beard, and a hat with the word ‘SECURITY’ emblazoned on the front. I staggered down the isle carrying too many things, two plastic bags full of books, a completely overloaded shoulder bag (containing approximately $5000 in electronics)… and a giant cardboard tube holding all my large paper. Nobody knew what to make of me, especially when I sat down in first class. All of these business types off to Toronto for some big-city meeting, and me reading the Report on Business (just to throw the bastards off).

As I sat down the paranoia from the security incident finally began to subside. I had pulled it off, but yet… I didn’t feel satisfied. Something didn’t feel right. The captain came on the intercom and informed us the de-icing process would take forever so I put my player to ‘It’s a New Day’ by James Brown and hit repeat. Two minutes later the stewardess decided she would give me my steaming hot towel.

I had just put it over my face as it hit me.


I’d left the drugs at home.

Sol Mann