CHUM

CHUM

.

Who would have thought that my death would be owed to my friend of a lifetime?

Tied to the mast of a boat that is sinking, abysmally bound?

Feast for a shark that is circling beneath reflections of dimmed sky?

~

Shuffling the memories dealt to me, frantic for meaning from God, “Please!”

Double-crossed!  Spitting down blood to my shadow on legions of sea waves!

~

Seeing those waves, as they pass like the years of my life in my grade school;

Seeing them, when was I only those nine elementary years old?

Yes.  It was friendship we made in our wood-crafting class time together.

Was it Felipe who dared me to carve ourselves two “assault rifles”?

~

Sent to the Principal we were arraigned by our teacher and sent home.

~

Spending the rest of that day with a newfound alliance while swimming.

There in Felipe’s new family pool was a dowry to seal any marriage.

“But,” he warned, “If you try peeing in our pool the water turns purple!”

~

So it began just like all foremost friendships of youth: with some bullshit.

Dream turns to Lie, not like fairy tales televised under the moon’s face.

Dark sides of animals search for a light in the struggle to grow up.

~

Worshiping rock ‘n’ roll bands in our stone age, we sacrificed virgins.

I was expected to get a real job after college diversions.

Feral himself, Felipe was heir to his family’s horse ranch.

Yet we were “bruthas” from different “muthas”, Felipe would tell me.

~

We shared the long march of youth and the uprising freedom of ourselves.

~

One day Felipe returned home to Mexico, “Adios,” to me.

That day our odyssey ended but we didn’t really believe it.

Even when I joined the DEA I didn’t feel different.

~

So I was justified one day when I saw reports of drug trade.

Listing of dealers involved in the West coast supply pegged Felipe!

Next report said that the West coast connections were all being removed.

One at a time they were prey to a take-over bid by El Papo,

Swallowed by Satan himself, the elusive El Papo drug cartel.

~

I had to find how to rescue Felipe since no one gave a shit:

“Let them all kill one another and we’ll yank ‘Pendejo Last Standing’.”

~

I had a plan since we knew how El Papo would set up his victims.

“Victims are hit by their last link supplier who’s ‘owned’ by El Papo.”

“Let me just bring in Felipe from out of the heat and turn witness.”

“Yes.  He is still my old friend from our childhood together, I just know.”

“No, I do not need a wire.  Just let me go in undercover.”

~

Calling Felipe’s old cell number I got his old message voice mail.

“Por favor, dígame como ayudar el uno al otro.”

(“Please, tell me how to help each other.”)

~

I said, “Felipe, my dude, it is ‘mio’, your ‘brutha’ from ‘mutha’.”

“Where are you horsing around these days?”  DEA knew it was Long Beach.

“I’m headin’ Calif’orn’ya, my bracero, Felipe, to farm pot.”

“If you still live on the Left Coast then maybe we’ll meet for cervesa.”

“I’ll bring Maria my Juana along just to show what I do now.”

~

After a while I received a short text asking, [Back from the dead, bro’?]

Texting my answer, sent, [Hell is a bore without you there, my brutha’]

The replies: [I am an absentee landlord, my tenant, so sorry]

[Meet me instead in San Pedro.  We’ll fish from my boat and we’ll catch up]

~

Setting the date I was hoping I wouldn’t catch Hell on this moon shot.

~

Hugging our greeting I thought, Holy Hell, was Felipe’s boat primo!

Nodding, Felipe said, “Papa would take me out fishing the West Coast.”

“Papa just loved the old classic sport fishing fleet just like this ‘DYER’.”

~

Passing the breakwater barrier, soon we were rolling the main sea.

All there turn pirates who aren’t really seamen, and I was no different:

“Ahr, matey, where bound ye, Phlegm Beard the Pirate, the Scourge of the Maidens?”

~

Playing along, said Felipe, “I say with a scimitar smile, ‘Ahr’!”

“Out to that fog bank erasing the western sea’s edge and horizon.”

~

Asking him, “Fishing is good there along that grey wall of cold mist, yes?”

Answered Felipe, “Ah, Yes, but there’s more payoff inside the fog bank.”

~

Inside that vault was a phantasm world at the edge of what’s certain.

Boundless horizon retreated outside the cathedral of the fog.

~

I opened beers for us, uncapping how I would broach my deception,

Hoping Felipe would find that my lying was justified tough love.

Coming to take care of business, El Papo used hostile maneuvers.

I could arrange for Felipe a Witness Protection concealment.

~

Suddenly water was boiling up close to our vessel and rocked us.

I yelled, “A whale!”, and Felipe laughed, “White whale blows, matey!  For Pop-eye!”

~

Rising: a mini-sub (“narco-sub”) transporter; cargo of “white blow”.

Just like the lectures described it.  But this had been totally submerged.

Very improved over previous subs that were partially exposed,

Men and the motor all needing fresh air from the surface for breathing.

~

“What do you think of my sea horse?” Felipe asked, narrowing his eyes.

“Wouldn’t you like to be riding with me and not digging in the dirt?”

“What do you know about working ‘Maria la Juana’s’ weed garden?”

~

“You are a smuggler?!” I faked my surprise as a voice from the sub hailed.

“Verga mojado, arriba con tuyo,” it cryptically said.

(“Wet dick, up with you.”)

Answered Felipe, “Encuentre agujero en océano”

(“Find hole in ocean”)

~

That must have coded the “call” and the “answer”: “All clear” without radio.

Reading my mind, said Felipe, “…and track with fake fish-sounding sonar.”

~

Wanting to hear more, I couldn’t when two men appeared on the sub’s deck.

Both of them held a machine gun.  Then one of them climbed on our boat’s deck.

Then, said Felipe, “I need to go next door and ‘sign off some papers’.”

Climbing across to the sub’s hull Felipe descended below deck.

~

I was left here with that submarine crewman.  I smiled and he didn’t.

Looking away, all the fog seemed to swirl as if warning me.  Too late!

Red sky fill eyes fall with stars boiling ocean of pain tasting salt blood.

~

Waking to pounding behind both my eyeballs, I’m hearing a man sing.

“Lindo pescado no quieres salir a jugar con amigo?”

(Pretty fish, won’t you come out and play with a friend?)

Submarine Crewman is slashing to pieces a fish that is thrashing.

Into a bucket of blood and intestines and bones go the fish heads.

~

Naked, I’m tied to the mast by wire fishing lines; hooks in my torn flesh.

~

“Are.  You… El Papo?” I mumble in pain to the submarine crewman.

Singing, he laughs and he throws in my face a fish carcass and cuts me.

Placing the buckets of viscera squirming and shivering, he stands.

Over the side in an arching expulsion he smears on the swells gore.

~

Then do I recognize slowly our boat has been settling and sinking!

Scuttled!  Felipe! This can’t be the end of it all for you and me!

~

Submarine Crewman is climbing across to the sub and his partner.

“Lindo pescado no quieres salir a jugar con amigo?”

(Pretty fish, won’t you come out and play with a friend?)

Submarine crewman now points as he sings and I see the first shark fin.

Swells are beginning to lap on the gunwale as bloody foam splashes.

~

Suddenly there is Felipe who’s peering above the sub’s hatchway.

Crying, “Felipe!” I‘m totally stunned when Felipe waves ‘buh-bye’.

“I am El Papo, my DEA friend, which spells ‘DEAD’.”  And they submerge!

~

Who would have thought that my death would be owed to my friend of a lifetime?

Tied to the mast of a boat that is sinking, abysmally bound?

Feast for a shark that is circling beneath reflections of dimmed sky?

~

Suddenly water is boiling up close to this vessel and rocks me.

Nothing describes all my tears of last hope as Felipe returns here.

Suddenly there is Felipe who’s peering above the sub’s hatchway.

“You are now dead,” says Felipe, “So rise again, live as my partner?”

~

What else can I, were you me, ever do in this same situation?

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