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The Landscape of America

by Skyler Saunders 6 days ago in Mystery · updated 6 days ago
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A woman is caught up with the law after a mysterious package shows up at her doorstep.

The Landscape of America
Photo by Dan Meyers on Unsplash

I never should’ve opened it. It was early morning when I sat in my Bethany Beach, Delaware home. When I saw that black drone fly away like a giant mosquito, I should’ve left well enough alone. But I didn’t. I picked up the goddamn box and placed it on my dining room table. At first, I just looked at it.

Like a beast, I just tore into it, no knife, no box cutter, just my bare hands. After removal of some styrofoam, I revealed the contents.

“Holy shit….” I whisper to myself. Then I heard pitter patter.

“Hi, Mommy. What’s that? Is it for me?”

I told my five-year-old daughter Selenis in Spanish to go to her room. She responded without protest.

My husband came in the door.

“Mi amor, Adora!” He announced.

I looked for a way to conceal the package. My heart beat like a little drummer was beating away in my chest. I moved quickly but not quick enough.

“What’s that, honey?” Paolo asked.

it's just some pills,” I replied.

“Let me see that,” he advanced towards me. He grabbed the box and looked at the contents. He deduced in his head the trauma of me even being close to the pills.

“You’re going to call the cops,” he said.

“No! It’s some kind of trap. They want me back in jail,” I yelped. Now, Selenis is back out of her room.

“Hi, Daddy. Is Mommy going to jail?”

“No, dulce, go back to your room. Okay?”

Again she listened to her parents.

I looked up frantically. I heard the door close to Selenis’ room.

Palao took the box and we shut the door to the porch. “What the hell, A? What is going on here?”

“It’s some kind of trap, a ploy to get me back in the game. Whoever sent it knows I’m out for good, but they want to drag me back to that hellscape,” I explained.

“We’ve got to let the cops know.”

“I mean…I could move that tonight and make a quarter million. I know I couldn’t do that at the thrift shop and you running the landscaping business, you could make that in a year, but…I mean I could flip these with ease.”

“Do you hear yourself, Adora? You’re willing to risk your family for a few dollars. You’re earning your degree and you’ll be out of that store soon enough. Yes, though business is good and I couldn’t make that much in a night, but I’m doing honest work. I’ll clear a mil five in net gains in two years.”

“If this came from my previous plug, that means he’s going to want me to move it in the next twenty-four hours. No. I’m not for that jail life again. Hell no.”

“That’s the woman I married,” Paolo kissed my forehead.

I picked up my smartphone and dialed my lawyer. A receptionist answered. I hung up. I called his personal cell phone.

“Adora Aguilar, what’s going on in your world?” Mansu Stoppard answered.

“I’ve got a thing.”

“You’ve what?”

“It’s not something to talk about on the phone.”

“Understood. Swing by my office.”

Paolo and I dropped Selenis off at her tía’s house. We traveled and met up at Stoppard and Associates.

“What brings you two to my place of business?”

Paolo cleared his throat. “Los dragos.”

“Again? How?”

“It was on my doorstep.”

“They literally brought trouble to your doorstep…go on,” Stoppard said.

“I took it inside, opened it….” I started.

“It’s okay. Tell me what happened.”

“She looked at over two hundred and fifty thousand dollars in fentanyl,” Paolo pointed out.

“Oh, boy. Okay. The cops are the best thing to go to here. Do not distribute this stuff unless you want to look at twenty-five years as a repeat offender. Just breathe. You’ll be fine. This is just a minor misunderstanding. You tell the cops and you’re cleared from all charges.”

My spirits uplifted. I sighed and looked at Paolo who had a tear in his eye.

“How’s that criminal justice degree coming along?”

“I made the Dean’s list.”

“And work?”

“Work is work,” I replied.

“How’s Selenis?”

“She’s safe with her aunt.”

“Alright. Just go back home and turn the stuff in, you’ll still be in good standing.”

“Thank you, Mansu,” I said.

He and Paolo shook hands.

We raised and headed to Aunt Gloria’s house.

“How was she?” I asked, as I handed her a twenty dollar bill.

“Perfect as always,” she replied.

On the car ride home, we saw flashing lights and DEA and police cruisers parked outside our home.

“What the hell?” Paolo said.

I shielded Selenis’ ears.

“Are you the owner of this residence, sir? Ma’am?”

“Yes!” we exclaimed in unison, tension rising in our throats.

“There was a break in and your neighbors called in the emergency. We found narcotics. You both are under arrest.”

Someone ran up and took Selenis from my grasp and locked the cold steel of justice around my husband and my wrists. We told them about her next of kin. They took her back to her aunt’s house.

We ended up in central booking. I used my phone call to contact Stoppard.

“Hey, Mansu. I know we just called you, but….”

“Say less. I’m on my way to where you are.”

We sat in the interrogation room one at a time with Stoppard.

The detective, Omar Gannon, sat down with the ease of twelve years of service under his belt.

“My client has already stated that he had no idea that his wife’s package was not even supposed to be on her doorstep. She didn’t find any other markings on the parcel.”

“Is this true?” Gannon asked.

“What he said,” Paolo responded.

Then it was my turn. Stoppard seemed to know just what to say, again. Before I went to prison, I was supposed to serve fifteen years. I got out in four with good behavior and the start of my criminal justice degree.

“Mrs. Aguilar…you had no clue as to where the box originated?” Helene Bundt asked me the questions. Gannon sipped coffee.


Stoppard kept quiet.

“Did you know any former dealers would reach out to you on some level?”

“No,” I replied.

“If you two are finished here, I’d like my clients to be out of here,” Stoppard addressed.

“Okay, you can be out of here on $10,000 bond.”

“$2500 for each,” Stoppard said.


We posted the bond and picked up our daughter…again. Also, we looked to clean up the mess of our house. I wanted to take the box of drugs from evidence and show them that the drone dropped at the wrong doorstop.

“We’ll see the judge on Monday and Mansu will see us through.”

“I can see that happening.”

That Monday morning, Paolo wore his only business suit. I wore a blouse and a skirt. Judge Adaline Newton looked at my husband and me.

“This is like a joinder to expedite the process of the law,” she said. “I have looked over the facts of the case and am notifying you that the charges have been dropped. I am, however, sentencing you to community service.” The gavel banged.

I kissed Paolo’s mouth.

“You know what you have to do now, don’t you?”

I nodded. In six month’s time, I traveled to Washington, D.C. in a navy suit with gold buttons and red pumps to address a few politicians.

“Thank you to all members of this panel. I have come here today to petition that the drugs should be not only decriminalized but legalized. They should be free of taxes on production and contracts for those who consume them should be put in place. As a reformed drug distributor and inmate for my crimes and someone who could have spent a long time in prison for something I didn’t do, I am standing on the frontlines for the willing manufacturers, producers, marketers, distributors, and users of such substances. As long as no children have access to them, they should be readily available to any adult.”

“Now, saying all of that I am actually not promoting narcotics. They can be a scourge but that is no reason for the government to intervene in the matters of consenting adults except to protect property rights and therefore individual rights. Thank you.”

Some applauded others grumbled.

“We appreciate your testimony Mrs. Aguilar. We will take into account your words,” Senator Kaminksi said.

In about three years, my words changed the landscape of America with the introduction of a law granting grownups the power to do what they wish with drugs. I dropped Selenis off at school and I just looked at myself in the rearview mirror. I smirked.


About the author

Skyler Saunders

I am a forever young, ego-driven, radical hipster from Delaware. Investor. Objectivist for life. Instagram: @skylerized


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