Walking In The Land Of The Enemy
It is an intoxicating feeling to walk on the enemy's ground...completely alone? Where if they knew who you were...what you were, you would be dead in a heartbeat? Totally alone...and for the most part...unarmed. Nobody to call if things go wrong. And if you could call, they would pretend they didn’t know you. Life or death...failure or escape, all on you and you alone.
Its an exhilirating and frightening experience, yet it is liberating at the same time. I have tried to find the right words, yet they still escape me. Never will you be more alive or more terrified. And having lived there, others will not understand. What could you possibly tell them.
So you let the memory be covered by the dust of the years.
But a sound, a smell, or a spoken word will bring you back to that moment like it was yesterday. You can feel the blood rush through your veins, though you tried to not show it. You can smell the food from the street vendors and the beggars waiting for something to be left unguarded...or dropped on the filthy sidewalks. The exhaust from the vehicles...the Latin American cars that seem to go out of their way to pollute the air. And the cacophony of car horns, and the incessant strains of "Chico Malo".
The 24-7 sounds of a Latin American city.
Looking over your shoulder...but not too much. Hunting and hoping you are not hunted. Watching…always watching…but pretending you are not lest your watchfulness betray you. The goal is to fit in. Strangers are not welcome here.
Nothing you are wearing...or carrying, says "American". Moving to your objective...quietly...as quiet and unseen as you can be in such a world. Accomplishing the task swiftly without a smile…or a frown...or a word...passionless, like opening a door or closing it.
And then leaving...not too fast...but fast enough.
The Browning is locked open and disassembled as you walk. The magazine goes in one trash can...the slide onto a rooftop. You hear the clatter on the corrugated tin.
The frame in the back of somebody's open topped convertible....the suppressor in the storm drain. Holsters in those days were different...you didn't use one. No spare magazines...not because you didn't want one...you were not given any.
Soon you are on the airplane...the people around you are smiling and drinking. The others will not be missed until you are in the air. Food is being served...drinks being drunk. They don't know you, and will never know you. It is as if they are walking in the dark through their lives...never knowing anything more than what is in their hands. They are not like you...not even the same species. But you are not walking in the dark with them. You are like a ghost watching them...once like them...but not like them. You are at home in the dark.
Here is to days past...may they never come again.