In a Moment it all can Change

mexican militia

Mexican Militia

Hot to cold
It’s not the same
In a moment
It all can change

El capital
De Nayarit Mexico
Tepic, dawn, 6 AM
Gas up
Excrement out
In a Small Pemex bathroom stall
Now too late to be early

Door slams open,
I’m still in my stall
An eruption breaks out
Then fades
Then next stall opens and closes
The barrel of an AK-47
Accompanies some heavy grunting
I walk out
To see
Seven black masked PDJ cops
Beady eyes and hands on the AK triggers
Parked right next to my family
And my Nissan Frontier, del ano, new
I avoid eye contact
Adjust my pachuco hat
Get in the truck
Without a word
Turn the key
And ride into a new sunrise
In a moment it all can change

Guadalajara, 7:45 AM
Noodles emerges from a small shrub median
Palos, just like that
What was that?
A tiny voice asks from the back seat
Topes dear, just speed bumps
The Frontier moves on
But Noodles will be back

Wheels humming
Torque converters rev
We’re going 100 mph plus
You don’t need a plane to fly
I tell my wife
Purple mountains
Red, brown, and gray dessert
Blurs my vision
In a moment it all can change

12:35 PM, at full speed
An oncoming vehicle flashes his high beams
We approach the incline overpass
Understanding very well what the signal means
I slow down to 85 but it is too late
Federales, three, looking for speeders
I am a candidate
One flags me down, I pull over
He tells me my velocity is in excess
I cannot lie
I see my life in patches
Before my eyes
Feeling lonely and vulnerable
Along the dry mid-day roadside
I reach for all my thirty years of experience
I propose a 500 peso solution
His scowl instantly relaxes
Still, it’s not over
He asks for my vehicle registration papers
My Mexican wife hands them to me
We make eye contact
She shows concern
The vehicle is insured
But our lives are not reassured
As he heads back to his car
Coached my suegra’s strong voice
Pure instinct prevails,
“Sir, why must you take those papers?
They are official documents that we must have.”
It sounded much better in Spanish,
His train of thought is disrupted
She has this direct connection with the Virgin Mary
And the Federale knows it
In a now turned nervous, unwillingness to duty demeanor
He utters, “I’ll be right back, cinco minutes.”
He holds up five fingers
I now feel more confident to interject,
“It’s taken care of, right?”
“Si, si,” he says, “Cinco minutes.”
In cinco minutes he’s back
A 500 peso handshake seals the deal and we’re off
Five Hail Mary’s and five Our Fathers has worked again.
His last words, “Have a nice day!”
In a moment it all can change

5:45 the things look bad
We are on the other side of Monterrey
At the infamous Cadereyta
Were dead bodies are found
Often dozens at a time
On the way to Reynosa
Federale vehicles look like Christmas lights
Dusk looms
On the outbound lane
Truck, cars, and trailers are all being pulled over
Soldiers man their stations
Kilometer after kilometer
Loaded trucks scurry in caravans
Armed militia take cover behind sand bags and orange barrel dividers
Road block after road block
With gas trailer trucks strategically parked
All on the outbound
Occasionally shots can be heard
The drama unfolds against a backdrop of returning Christmas vacationers
105 mph now feels slow
I envy the scattered nopal and yucca trees
In a moment it all can change

6:45 PM Reynosa skyline begins to emergeThe past sunset has gone unnoticed
The huge factories full of air pollution
Now look like heaven
Entering town we see civilians
Congregating in throngs along the pavement and water-filled pot holes
Psychedelic light shows transform the Epicurean knight
Silhouetted by every type of sign imaginable
The moving seems pacific
Though not home,
We feel like survivors
In a moment it all can change

8:45, after a 2 hour wait in line
We cross the bridge into the United States of America,
Claim where we have been
And get sent to the second check point
This is a natural procedure since we were in interior Mexico
A well-trained expert dog is given the command
He starts inspecting the back of the truck, where the luggage is,
Jumps inside the vehicle leaving hairs and scratch marks all over,
Next, the hood is popped up and he checks there too
Then, when it looks like the journey is over
The dog finds Noodles
Okay, Noodle’s remnants
My tired family sits on the bench waiting to be dismissed
But it does not happen
The dog goes crazy
We all jump up
My wife tell me – Noodles
I tell Napolean, the well-trained agent,
“We hit a dog, just outside of Guadalajara,
About 12 hours ago,”
He gives me a Liar Liar look and calls the other agents,
“I ran over a dog,” I frantically cry out again
Napolean is not buying it
He asks for my keys
I comply
He drives the Frontier over to the X-Ray machine
We watch the interesting never seen before procedure.
Napolean, like the dog, is barking up the wrong tree
He finds nothing
However, being the tiny general that he is, he is not content
He now drives the truck to another stall
In view but partially blocked from view
Alone he searchers in vain

9:32 The silver bullet Nissan comes back from its sequester
Exhausted, frustrated, and sweating Napolean gets out
Tilts his head slightly, gives a cold stare, and hands me the keys
No “Have a nice day”
No 500 pesos

Every since the two hour crossing
The Big W in Hidalgo has called our attention
As we are finally dismissed
We drive towards the big W until we are there
Things always work out
Both good and bad
We are Mexico trip survivors
Whataburgers never tasted so good
In a moment it all can change


Author: Ken “Bluetown” Trevino

Ken Bluetown Trevino is a poet, a playwright, surfer, father, and husband. He has a Bachelor of Arts in English from Incarnate Word College, and Associate of Arts in Behavioral Sciences from San Antonio College, and is currently working on his Masters in English at UT Brownsville. He has two daughters, one wife, four cats, one boxer (Duke), and a turtle named Shelly. When he is not working he enjoys reading, writing, and being with his family in Tepic, Nayarit, Mexico. Bluetown resides in Port Isabel Texas.


3 Responses to In A Moment It All Can Change

  1. Eugene Gene Novogrodsky says:

    Bluetown connects! Loved his recent pieces, with this road slice great!

  2. Comments on “It Can All Change In A Moment”

    Bluetown has penned a Mexican Travelogue like no other. I call it “The Mexican Vacation Death Race Coast to Coast. Horrifying and enormously amusing at the same time, out running criminals and cartels, the army, and what passes in Mexico for law enforcement; trying to outwit all the predators, but knowing that “It can all change in a moment.” It is quite the ride.

    Construction is wrapping up Mexico on Super Highway 40 from the port city of Mazatlan on the Pacific Coast to Matamoros across the river from Brownsville. So the Death Race now will be even faster, and the Chinese and Mexican productos cheapos will get to the U.S even faster, with less shipping expense.

    Bluetown captures well the surreal experience of Mexico, which no longer stops at the bridge. American Authoritarian nonsense Quickly takes over.

    The Pacific State of Nayarit Mexico is the origination of this literary journey. A beautiful place I hear, with still much left of the charm of Old Mexico. Not like the new, not so much improved, Mexico.

  3. ken trevino says:

    Thanks Gene. You say more with eleven words than I can say in four pages!

    Edgar, perfect description: charm of Old Mexico, not like the new.

    And Mexico, mi patria: until we meet again!

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