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14th February 2017

Java From The Chupa Cabra by Jeffrey P Frye

I was brushing my teeth this morning as I listened to my neighbor, Luis, butcher an Elton John song through the vent. "Hoe me closser Tony Danza. Count the hats out on the highway." It was 6:30 am and way too early to be singing, so I spit the toothpaste in my mouth into the toilet, rinsed, then I went and stood in front of the mirror and opened my lips wide like a horse so that I could get a good look at my giblets. Satisfied, I grabbed my coffee cup and headed out towards the hot water spicket that's located next to the ice machine in the laundry room.

As I passed Luis's cell, I stuck my head inside and said, "It's Tiny Dancer. Not Tony Danza." Luis is short with stubby brown hair, a milky eye, and a nose that looks like it's been booted. He replied, "Si, senor. I lub the Tony Danza song." I just shook my head and kept on trucking towards the hot water and towards my first cup of the day.

I was about halfway across the cell block when I noticed that Luis was following me. I stopped and turned around. Our conversation went something like this:

Me: Did you know that stalking is a federal crime if you do it on federal property, Luis?
Luis: No, senor, I no stalk. I hab question for you.
Me: Okay, shoot.
Luis: Que?
Me: Ask the question, hombre.
Luis: I hab a detainer for a DWI in Hidalgo County. Mi amigo says that chew can make it go away.
Me: Sure. For a hundred bucks.
Luis (yelling): MADRE DE DIOS!!! (and then he crosses himself)
Me: Breathe, Luis. Take deep breaths. I don't know how to do CPR.
Luis: I hab no pesos, senor. I hab berry leetle moaney from my wife Hermalinda. She only hab one leg and no can work.
Me: But you have el grande detainer though, right?
Luis: Si, senor.

I sat there and gave old Luis a good look. The more that I looked into his face, the more I became convinced that he wasn't from here. From earth. I started thinking that he was an alien, and not just an illegal alien either. I determined that he looks just like the chupa cabra. I finally said...

Me: Hokay, Tony Danza. This is what we're going to do. We're going to go to your cell and you're going to open your locker and I'm going to choose one item; anything I want, in exchange for getting your detainer lifted.
Luis (smiling to reveal two missing teeth and a gap that was big enough to drive a Ford F-150 through): Si, senor!

It's been so long ago now that I can't even remember why I decided to become a criminal. It sure wasn't for the dental plan. However, I do know why I DIDN'T become a criminal; I didn't become a criminal to become a jailhouse public defender to destitute, illegal immigrants. I think that God probably gave me some abilities and that He wants me to use these occasionally to help others. But I don't think that He minds me eating a few Honey Buns along the way while I help people. The bottom line was that I was going to help Luis no matter how leelte amount of pesos he had and no matter how many legs Hermalinda was sporting, but I wanted to run a credit report on him and validate his poverty first. This is so I didn't end up sweating over a motion and doing his legal work for free while he drank moonshine at the poker table and lived like a baller.

The first thing that I saw when we walked into his house was a pair of blue bobos that were parked underneath his bottom bunk. These are the shoes that they give us to wear in transit and they scream of "Indigent Mexican!" These shoes were my first clue not only wasn’t he a karaoke champ, Luis probably wasn't in the upper echelon of the Cartel either. The second thing that I noticed was that his locker didn't have a lock on it. I correctly surmised that this was because there was nothing worth locking up and because he couldn't afford the $7.00 that it cost to buy a lock.

I opened the gray metal doors on the locker and bent over and peered inside. There were some clothes that were folded, 3 pairs of dingy white socks that were balled up, a soap dish, two toothbrushes and a tube of Close-Up toothpaste, and a brand new bag of Keefe instant coffee. There was also a picture of a pudgy girl with acne that had shiny black hair that looked to be about 20. She was smiling and missing two front teeth just like Luis. The picture was in a silver frame that had been made out of the inside of potato chip bags that had been folded into little squares. She looked like she had the potential to be the sister of the chupa cabra.

Luis (proudly): That's mi seester, Consuela.
Me: I want her.
Luis: No! Please, senor! (Luis pleaded with his good eye)
Me: (I thought of taking her picture out of the potato chip frame and putting in into my pocket just to see if he would take one for the team, but instead, I grabbed the coffee) Just kidding. Me no want your seester, meester. (Luis looked relieved) Congratulations, vato. You've just got yourself an abogado [lawyer].
Luis: Ho, muchas gracias, senor! (Luis shook my hand)
Me: Give me your info and I'll put something together for you in a day or so.

Luis gave me his full name and the address of a judge in Hidalgo County named Juan Partido.

Luis: Chew no dees judge, senor?
Me: No, but if you've seen Juan you've seen them all.

I took the bag of coffee and left Luis and Consuela to head back to my house. Coffee is about $3.00 a bag and I drink one bag a week, so I was happy. I'll write the judge and in a month or so; Luis will get a notice at mail call informing him that the charge has been dropped. They'll do this because they don't want to incur the cost of dragging Luis across Texas just to prosecute him for a misdemeanor. On small crimes, it's really all a numbers game.

As I left his house, Luis asked me if I would write Donald J. Trump for him and tell him to stop acting so loco. I replied, "I don't think it's an act, but sure, I'll write him. Come see me when you get another bag of coffee. Or another sister."

Jeffrey P. Frye
Bank Robber's Blog