Border Patrol Finds Heroin in Shoes is a headline I read today that struck me as funny and sad. They were black Adidas shoes with white stripes. Wrapped in tape in the soles of the shoes were two packages of heroin. The man was driving a 1999 Saturn when he tried to enter the US from Mexico. My dad owned a 1999 Saturn. A sad beige car that typified the perpetual sadness of his life.

The report said the heroin weighed in at 1.3 pounds and had an estimated street value of more than $15,600. I think about what I could do with that money. It’s not the most amount of money in the world. It’s a decent size of change.  A decent pocketful of money. I could use it as a deposit on a new apartment. I could buy a used car. I could buy some new clothes. I could move to a new city, explore, create a new life, a new identity.

“I could move to a new city, explore, create a new life, a new identity.”

I could leave it all behind. Not that working at Hardees is that bad. It’s fine. I like grilling burgers. Not a bad way to spend the day except that you smell like grease and oil and French fries even if you shower. You can’t shower that stuff off. I’ve tried. It’s why I wear cologne. Just a little. A subtle musky manly sent. Drives the ladies crazy.  

What does it take to be a drug smuggler? Connections, probably. But maybe this man was smuggling because he was being threatened. Maybe they threatened to kill his family if he didn’t take over this measly amount of drugs. Now that he was arrested, though, what happens to his kidnapped family? Do they die? Is it over?

I’ve never done heroin. Never really wanted to.  I don’t even like pot that much. It makes me paranoid. I hate that feeling. If anything I’ll become an alcoholic. I like beer. I like hard alcohol. Whiskey. Vodka. Gin on a summer day.

“I’ve never done heroin. Never really wanted to. ”

I’ve never been really threatened in my life, had to choose between something illegal like running drugs and my family’s safety. I once had to choose between calling the police and not when my father broke down the front door when he and my mother were separated. My loyalties were with my father at the time but I was living with my mother and so it was a hard choice. She had changed the locks.

He broke it down with a crowbar because his favorite pair of work shoes were still in the closet and goddamnit he wanted them now. He took the shoes, left a hundred on the coffee table to pay for the damage, and told me to say hi to mom. She’d told me to not open the door for him, that he was in one of his rages and couldn’t be trusted. She’d stepped out for a drink down the street.

He didn’t seem upset I hadn’t opened the door. I was watching Entertainment Tonight, my favorite show. I was going to be a movie star. I had to see how they lived, what they did, the trouble they got in. I went up to my room to practice my monologues. I hadn’t ever acted before. But I got a book of monologues since I knew they had to audition—at least the young actors who were starting out—and I wanted to be ready. I practiced them in front of a mirror. When my mother caught me doing it I was embarrassed and almost stopped practicing. But you have to suffer for your art.

“They were trying to make some money, and get this, they decided to rob a bank where one of them had worked before.”

I tried out for a local production of To Kill A Mockingbird but didn’t get the part of Boo Radley. Instead they asked if I waned to help build the set. I said sure, why not. I could observe the actors who got the part and see what I was missing.

That’s how I found myself backstage late at night when I overheard these two actors talking. It was late and everyone else had gone home. They were trying to make some money, and get this, they decided to rob a bank where one of them had worked before. They weren’t the brightest people, and I didn’t know if they were serious. A lot happens in theaters that isn’t serious.

They arranged the time and the bank and I was curious so I got up the next day and went to that bank. I parked my car out front and waited. It was a small bank, one of the local ones. They ran out with some bags and I followed them. They drove to Olmstead Home, an abandoned orphanage outside town.

They pulled around back. I kept driving on by and pulled into a side lane. Under the cover of the trees, I parked the car and walked back to where they were seated in the car. They were both dead. They had shot each other. Must have done it at nearly at the same time. The bag of money was between them. Maybe they were fighting over it. This was some better dramatics then they ever displayed on stage. I took the bag and walked away.

They were just understudies so the play went on. We got some decent reviews.

“It’s my “Fuck you” money. I’m going use it when I need to get out of here. To start my new glamorous life. ”

I still have the money. I haven't spent a dollar. It’s in my closet. I look at that money occasionally. It’s my “Fuck you” money. I’m going use it when I need to get out of here. To start my new glamorous life. My Hollywood life. Just waiting for the right moment. They’re going to have a story about me on Entertainment Tonight one day. Probably something bad, something very Hollywood.  So Hollywood, they’ll say about me. Like smuggling some heroin in my black Adidas’s with the white stripes. Something like that. But I'll be famous so I'll get off. I'll pay whoever I need to pay and I'll get off. That's how it works. It's so Hollywood.