I don’t know where I am. Maybe New York. It doesn’t matter. I can’t see anything but frosted glass and can’t talk to other prisoners. I only get out of my cell an hour a day and sometimes am so lonely and depressed I almost enjoy it when guards call me shorty or cabrón or worse. I wish they’d turn off those damn fluorescent lights a little while at night or whenever the hell I’m trying to sleep. I need to escape, if only into dreams.
Oh, that’s very funny. The guards open my cell door and just outside wheel a laundry cart like the one I hid in during my first escape from prison.
“You guys gonna give me a ride to freedom?” I ask in Spanish.
“Stand at attention, Chapo,” says the guard. I always get at least one or two bilingual bigmouths.
Another guard pulls sheets back from the cart and up stands a guy pretending to be Donald Trump. Guards help him out of the cart and into my cell.
“Hola, actor. You’re pretty close but not enough to fool me.” The sheet-lifting guard serves as translator.
“Don’t fool around, Chapo. You’re lucky as hell I’ve come to see you, especially after the nasty comments you made about me during the campaign and your threats against my life.”
“Okay, I like jokes. What can I do for you, Donaldo?”
“Even though you’re right where you belong, your absence from Mexico has created a terrible void. Members of your Sinaloa cartel are killing each other, and many innocent people, as they try to replace you, and other cartels are also moving in. The Mexican murder rate’s almost as high as it ever was.”
“I’m a man of peace who simply tried to give the gringos the drugs they crave.”
“You’re a murderer who killed to fatten his wallet.”
“Let’s see how many people you kill before you leave office. I know what’s going on.”
“Maybe my lawyers tell me, maybe I figure it out myself. You coke-snorting, crack-smoking gringos aren’t getting enough to fry your brains, so a lot of you’ve switched to heroin. We don’t need the Colombians or anyone else for that. We grow poppies at home and manufacture the product there, too.”
“Heroin’s killing thousands in the United States.”
“Only the bad stuff. We guarantee quality. Don’t forget, junkies are a lot mellower than coke addicts. We’re helping you, even though heroin makes us less money.”
“Whether it’s coke or heroin or illegal aliens coming across, we’ve got to build my wall.”
“That’s not going well.”
“It will. I’m here to offer an incredible deal.”
“And what’s that?”
“We’ll let you escape again if you return to Sinaloa and supply us with information on your cartel and others. We also expect you to turn over half your sales to us so we can build the wall.”
“If I do that, people who love me will kill me, and people who already hate me will torture me to death.”
“Given the number of murders in Mexico and heroin overdoses in the United States, we may have to get pretty unpleasant right here in your cell.”
“If I agree and go back to Sinaloa, how will keep me from disappearing?”
“Medical team,” Trump shouts.
Four men and two women, all clad in long white lab coats, rush in, wheeling a long silver box.
“We have a new tracking device that can be placed in any large bone,” Trump says. “One per person is enough but in your case we’ll implant one in each femur and one in each collar bone. If any of these devices are tampered with, or if we’re not happy with your efforts, we’ll activate explosives in all four.”