Goony Golf

There was green astroturf on the steps that led into the office area. There was green astroturf on the patios in front of every room. There was green astroturf that was used around every one of the many palm trees that were on the property.

Astonishingly, the one place that I figured should have had all the green astroturf, had none.

Instead, the 18-hole miniature golf course that was on the property of Las Palmas Motel in Matehuala, MX was all concrete. Rough concrete to boot. I was perplexed. I told my partner that it would be easier to make par putting a hacky sack.

Welcome to Mexico.

Late Sunday Night.

Long Day in the Saddle.

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Pollo Fresco

We approached La Frontera. One false lane could have meant an hour or two’s worth of headaches and figure eights. I remember coming to a complete stop on Hwy 95 in order to read all the signs. Thankfully it was a quiet morning. One of us spotted the word Declare, and that was a sure sign. We swooped over. It was there where we caught a first glimpse of our opponents.

If I was allowed to talk, and I wasn’t, I would have asked my partner why there weren’t any dogs on the scene. No not the kind of dogs that play fetch, or need a home, or do stupid pet tricks. More like the sharp eared breed that can bring a man to his knees. The breed that thinks dog whispering is a secret worth telling.

But to my surprise..no dogs. Not one.  Just layers upon layers of official and unofficial authority.

We stopped at an orange cone. A young man in a black uniform approached the cone, removed it, and pointed us to a parking space in the shade. We both got out.

Although he could barely walk, my partner went to work. In his Spanish, not to be confused with anybody else’s Spanish, I heard him use words like casasombra, and barbacoa. The man with the gun only seemed to have his eyes on what we thought he would have his eyes on. I sat on the long metal table trying to remain cool.

The moment of truth. My partner asked me for the piece of paper. I pulled out my book of receipts and began fumbling through it. The crucial piece of paper wasn’t there. My partner hovered over me. I couldn’t find it. He continued to hover over me, and much like a ventriloquist, he began calling me an idiot, a blow it, and everything in between.

I couldn’t believe it had come to this. I had one fucking job to do, and I couldn’t even do it. I was frozen. I found the doctored piece of paper that declared our stuff to be worth a ton, and immediately shuffled that away. Then I found the piece of paper that declared our stuff to be worth what we actually paid for our stuff, and immediately crumpled that piece up too. All eight cameras were on me. Under his breath, my partner continued calling me a complete jackass. It was bad.

We were moments away from either A, being humiliated and turned away at the border, or B, paying a boat load of tax. My partner explained to the Authority that I was an idiot. He muttered something like I was in an accident and something struck my head. I was dripping sweat. I continued to fumble through my paperwork.

But then I found it. Yessir! It was where I had put it all along. Blowing It!!  My partner yanked it out of my hand, handed it to the Authority, and apologized profusely for the misunderstanding. The man with the assault rifle looked over the piece of paper as he referenced what was on top of the 2002 Ford E250.

You mean to tell me that each board only cost $39 US?
We’re professionals. We get these boards at below cost.
Well why do you need nine?
We break boards all the time. We need backup.
It says right here that you should have ten?
That’s because we already broke one in California.
Is your friend a professional too?
Believe it or not, he’s one of the best around.
Where are you guys going?
We are competing in contests up and down the coast.
Where is the first contest?
En Zicatela!
Whoa, The Mexican Pipeline.
Exacto Senor!
 
 

It all went down in Deadpan Spanish, and my partner filleted it. We were asked to pay a token import tax, and that’s about all that I should tell you. I can tell you in private when you come visit.

Well it was now time to register and import the vehicle itself, as well as renew our personal visas. For that due process, we had to loop under, over, then around the bridge that crossed the Rio Grande.

I looked at him. He looked at me. I asked him how long he was going to hold this one over my head. He said forever.

Las Cosas

I was behind the wheel. In the passenger seat sat my partner. Inside the van itself there was stuff. Lots of stuff. Like What??

One 8×11 Expensive Turkomen Rug
One 5×7 Kmart Throw Rug
One Blue Coleman Igloo
One Yellow Craftsman Toolbox(filled)
One Green Werner Ladder
One Black Plastic Utility Box(filled)
One Black Briefcase Full of Books
Two New Coal BBQ’s(still in the box)
Two Old Suitcases(filled)
Two 10×10 Shade Tents
Two 5-gallon Buckets
Two Piano Speakers
Two 11 ft Stand Up Paddle Boards
Two Expensive Carbon Fiber Paddles
Seven Rolls of Fiberglass
Twelve Adjustable Paddles
 
 

On top of the van there was also stuff. Seven of them. There would have been Eight of them, but One of them had already made its way to Puerto Escondido three months prior. So Seven. Of Them. Bungee’d down like nobodies business. And then some.

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Home of the Whopper

Burger King, Laredo Texas//10:30am//Air Conditioned:

I suggested we use the drive thru because we were behind schedule. My partner suggested we dine in so that we could chill out a bit, enjoy a shitty meal, and get our story straight.

OK, what’s our story?

Well for starters, he demanded that I keep my mouth shut at all times. He didn’t care what shirt I wore. He didn’t care if I kept my sunglasses on. He didn’t care that I hadn’t shaved in weeks. He didn’t care about anything I thought was worth caring about. Just keep your mouth buckled he kept saying.

Yeah but…..
Shut it!
But what if..???  
Quiet!
How are we gonna..???
Zip it!
 
“Look Pollo, please just let me do the talking. Trust me this one time.  Just be sure to have the paperwork ready. Pretend you can’t talk. Pretend you can’t hear either. The ONLY thing you need to do is be sure to have the paperwork together the exact moment I ask for it. Got it?”

 

My partner wasn’t really referring to paperwork, so much as the work that had gone into this one piece of paper that suggested that the two beastly sporting-good items inside the van, and the seven monster sporting-good items on top of the van were worth a teency weency portion of their true value.

OK, but what about the rest of the items inside the..??
Calmate Cabron!
Are you sure that I shouldn’t…??
Trust me!
Don’t you think we should pretend..??
I’m not going to say it again Pollo, shut the beak!
 
I sat quietly in a plastic booth. I wanted to talk so badly, but my partner wouldn’t have it.  I just sat there and sipped shitty black coffee.  I can’t remember ever seeing my partner so serious.   
 
We went outside. It was hot. I found the folder that carried the ‘piece of paper’. I specifically remember taking out the piece of paper and repositioning it inside my backpack full of technology.
 
It was 11:10am on Sunday Morning.
 
Labor Day Weekend.

Newport Beach, California

It was 4:44am and I was wide awake. Friday, August 29, 2014 was set to be a bit of a turning point. A measuring stick. A monumental sort of day and time. My new era.  It was now the day that I had been looking forward to with a ton of reserve, a fraction of excitement, and a wee bit o’ fear. I walked downstairs to boil water.

With one eye open, my fifty something year old partner was fast asleep on the couch. I walked out into the garage and said a few prayers. It seemed apropos now that there was a plush prayer rug on the cold garage floor. Fact is, I had put everything I could into this very moment. If I wasn’t doing exactly what I was doing, I wouldn’t know what to do. Let us pray.

The only thing left to load into my 2002 Ford E-250 was my tool box and my backpack which hosts all my technology. I went back inside and poured hot water over instant coffee. Yeah, it was like that.

My partner finally got to his feet. His knee had ballooned up from the day prior. He asked if the guy had called or texted. What Guy? The guy that was delivering the glass. What Glass? The rolls of glass that we agreed to burro to Puerto Escondido. We? “Trust me Pollo, you’ll thank me later.”

I had forgotten that we shook hands the night before and agreed that if the guy delivering the seven rolls of glass wasn’t at the garage by 6am, we were Ghandi.

At 5:50am, I kissed goodbye a very special someone.

At 5:55am, I received a txt that read ‘On Jamboree, c u in 5’.

God said let there be stress.

And there was..