Jose Cupertino sped down Highway 133 in an old busted up 1985 Toyota pickup truck. He had been driving for days, weeks, hours. Time didn't really register to him anymore. His main last memory among his numerous other thoughts was of a woman handing him a black notebook. He could remember the look in her eyes as she handed it to him. It was an expression of fear, tired, lamentable fear. He was the last person anyone would suspect and that probably had been the reason of why he was chosen. He was a postal office worker in the little town of Medillin. It was a town that had transformed from a peaceful village to one of civil unrest. Killings and gunshots were now a part of everyday life. In the black book was a short plea to hide the pages secrets and stuck into the bookend was a passport, his photo imprinted in the middle of it, perfectly as though it had always been there. He had never been to the U.S. He found it somewhat ironic that now he was being forced there that night. He had barely known the woman. She had been a regular customer of his, an international customer, and later there had been a light friendship, but nothing more and now he was headed up north to meet relatives of hers that she had never seen and he had never known apart from the envelops that he would deliver to her doorstep every couple of weeks. It seemed fitting for the times, yet surreal to reality at that moment. It was under the cover of darkness that he had left Medillin with its deep green hills and humid breeze. There was a guard post just outside of the village and he was stopped, but no one paid much attention to the run of the mill postal worker. Soon the green hills were at his back and night sky were in the windshield before him. Two hours later he had made it through customs at the Metropolitan Airport. The passport had checked through, a modest business man he appeared to be in the photo and then he was taxing on the runway with another 150 passengers headed for Houston, Texas. As the wheels left the tarmac two words popped into his brain and he wondered why they would be those two words, but also partly understood and then the plane banked upward into the black space of the Columbian night sky and disappeared into the low hanging clouds that only a jungle could command and contain.
Further instructions had been on the first page of the notebook. The instructions led to the location of a parked Toyota pickup at Houston Airport. There was a key and a drivers license hidden in the back cover of the notebook along with $150.00 of U.S currency. He remembered Houston's airport had been bustling with throngs of travelers at noon when he had landed. Men in business suits were hunched over newspapers and magazine's. Children waited with their parents, already dressed to fly off to some far away tropical destination, and airline attendants rushed to connect to subsequent flights as their roller bags made clicks against the well used linoleum floor as they entered onto the series of different flooring that American airports were made up of, each set of flooring seeming like a checkpoint, a span of time hardly noticed, but never forgotten. At this point Jose had memorized the instructions in the book. This is how time had consumed itself during the five hour flight that took him from the lush green hills of the northern part of South America to the desert metropolis of Houston. His eyes scanned for the East Parking Terminal. From there he knew that finding the Toyota would be a cake walk. "How many 1985 Toyota's existed?" he chuckled to himself. The date on the magazine he had thumbed through on the flight read July, 25th, 1990. It's amazing what five years of technology had done to the vehicle sector. 40,000 dollar Japanese made vehicles had poured into both South America and the U.S. The ones in Columbia were owned mostly by criminals as only they had the money to afford the price tag. However, in the U.S the Toyota Pickup was the new vehicle of utility and everyone wanted the latest that technology could buy. Therefore a 1985 model was already considered quite old. He could make out the English signs above him. Working in the postal service had given him experience in gradually learning English through addresses. He was grateful at that moment to have that knowledge of English. He couldn't speak very well other than basic phrases that had allowed him passage through customs. Finally, he saw what he was looking for. He had found an airport map outlining the blueprint of the airport and on the lower right corner was the East Parking Terminal exit colored in purple right by a pair of handicapped bathrooms. He had traveled with all he owned, which was a black backpack with a couple of shirts, a pair of pants, a rain jacket and the notebook, which was tucked into the front pocket of the backpack with a zipper. He found it quite comical that the backpack was an American made company. "High Sierra" it read on its label, and yet now at this very moment he was in the U.S. Up to the moment previous he reasoned that the backpack had been more American than him, but now as he paced and passed the series of concourses he concluded that the tides had changed. He was in the US, and that made him feel like a citizen. Two escalators down found him close to the Eastern part of the airport and then his eyes made out the exit sign leading to the parking terminal. The humid hot air somewhat resembled Columbia's humidity minus the lush green growth and hills of the Columbian jungle. Bright yellow taxis sped by and airport buses as well and Jose was quite caught up in the metropolitan noon of Houston until the parking shuttle bus pulled up with a neon sign indicating its destination to the East parking terminal. Jose was one of only a few other passengers on the bus. The mid afternoon sun beat down on the vacant leather seats around him and even though air blew out of the front ventilation system, it only seemed to rotate the boiled air and circulate it around the inside of the bus. In Mexico and Columbia it was common to drive with the windows down and the air conditioning off while in the U.S the windows were rolled up tight and air system was at full blast. Soon the bus pulled up to lot B and Jose got off, nodding to the bus driver as he exited. He had watched what the other passengers had done at the previous lots and followed suit. When in Estados Unidos be Unidos. He could see it on a bumper sticker in his mind. It was pretty good he thought. Perhaps he could go into the business of bumper stickers. It seemed that blending in was a far better option than standing out at this point "Be Unidos". He rolled it over in his mind as he searched for the vehicle. He located the truck quite easily. Its green paint was soaking up the Texan heat and other then that the vehicle was motionless, ordinary, and at first glance not seeming to draw any attention other than the green Colorado license plates.
If Jose had to describe his first impression of the Unidos he would've put down three words on a piece of paper and handed it to the powers that be. Those words would've been "Love Gas Stations" They popped up at regular intervals as he made his way up north. Just as night fall descended upon "The Unidos" he reached Colorado. He remembered the countless envelops with the return address of "Carbondale, Colorado" printed in the upper left portion of the package. He thought of another slogan at that moment, "Medillin Postage Municipality, where we bring return packages ourselves" In many ways it seemed like he was on a postage journey, discovering the home of his long distance recipients. He pulled into a Love's Gas Station, stuffed a pillow in the center consul so it was softer to sleep on and fell asleep in "The Estados Unidos".
The morning found him driving again, trying to put more milage between him and the south. He arrived in Carbondale at about five minutes past 5pm and kept driving down Highway 133 as it gradually snaked into the mountains. Eventually he saw a sign for Marble and the truck pulled left and kept on driving. This road was poorly kept and soon the truck was climbing a steep dirt road that he realized only the Toyota could handle. He was looking at the map in the black book as he drove. About 45 minutes later he past the water mill that the pages outlined and then the road grew more steep until sure enough there was a left hand turn up a steeper grade road, which he took. Finally, just as another night was settling down on Earth, this land, The Estados Unidos, life.. Jose arrived at the green field. He grabbed the shovel out of the back and started digging down about three feet. Then he placed the book in a metal tin and covered the Earth once again. With that the truck and Jose began their long dirt paved journey back to Carbondale. Jose was thankful to reach the smooth pavement of Marble. Carbondale was only about 20 minutes drive from there and then he was home free and supposedly a handsome amount of prize money awaited him as well as a place to live in the U.S. He could feel his life feeling lighter with each mile until the moment when the window pane shattered and something entered the left part of his head and then his life became quiet and the lightness became real. Right Then the truck veered right and plunged into the Crystal below and with that a set of headlights blinked on, a discreet black hidden vehicle emerged from the dark night like a panther. The radio clicked on. "Did you follow his locater up to the spot?" and a gruff reply through a puff of smoke out of a cigar "Of course I did" Then there was the static and some pause and a reply back "That's good. It should be easy to find then. The black car pulled off 133 into Marble, the sound on the GPS unit being held by the man inside making a rhythmic steady drone as it faded from where a lone truck had veered off the road moments before. Then the cars red tail lights, the sound of the beacon, and all movement dissolved into the darkness and once again the wild took over. All the while the Crystal River kept up it's gentle murmor softly seeming to hum two words, the only ones that were the only recollection that a postal man had ever been there in the Estados Unidos.
Three miles up a dirt road a man standing next to smoking black car cussed under his breath. The flashlight lit up a portion of the road and planted right in the middle, shining in the moonlight was a metal locator with a frayed wire attached to it, a seedling gone astray.
About the Creator
Hello and welcome. Creativity shows itself in a myriad of different ways for me. I intend to get out of my comfort zone on this page, be vulnerable and create. Follow me @soundandthemessenger