This post was written almost two years ago now, in August 2006. Although the person mentioned apparently isn’t dead yet (or he wasn’t when I checked a few weeks ago), I now feel comfortable publishing it for technical reasons.
I just left Douglas, heading south, not really knowing if or when I will ever return.
My last stay in Douglas, AZ, has been a rather odd experience. For one thing, some people have read the book and reacted at least partially negative on some of my points. Specifically the fact that it is written in a Marxist framework is hard to understand for most probably.
However, even more odd is, I believe the fact that so many people have not reacted very much at all and that generally it seems as if not much has changed since I left last time.
One person stroke it rich though. Bicycle Peter (in the first edition of the book called “Bicycle Victor”) managed to receive around 82000USD in disability compensation. Those who have read the book might recall that Bicycle Peter is 77 years old and had been in the Korean War. From there he was relocated to Japan after an incident, and he met a prostitute, whom he grew to love and wanted to marry. Although that marriage never actually happened, he has since almost only been dating prostitutes across the line in Mexico.
But Peter has spent the money already. Part of it went into a new car (though no money is left for gas), some debts were paid, and the two houses of his girlfriend’s family in Chihuahua were fixed. “They are both big enough to put a small airplane in them,” Peter explains.
Another expense was a “big, fat Mexican drug dealer,” who had been harassing his girlfriend earlier. Both Peter and the women’s family wanted, according to Peter, to kill him. The way to do it was to monitor when he would enter and exit a cantina (bar) and then one day some of her brothers were waiting outside in a car. Once he came out, they drove him over and backed back over him again. “They thought he was dead,” Peter explains, but that just seems to not have been the case afterall. Peter explains his expenses in the deal: “See, the car needed to be dumped, and then we needed to find a lawyer who could convince a judge that there was no evidence.” That last part cost Peter 1000USD, but the drug dealer now sits in a wheel chair.
When I visit Peter on the 16th of August, I bring along nine pounds of bananas and one gallon of milk, because he has run out of money for this month. Now the big question is who will kill who first. “I said in a wheel chair? That’s not good enough, I want him dead!” Peter explains the conversation he has had with his girlfriend’s family, “I told her I will come one last time and then she better move up to Agua Prieta [the Mexican border town next to Douglas] and from there on I’ll get her across the line… legally.” Peter is not sure whether she will follow his advice, because last time he met her, she explained: “Peter, I don’t like the united States; I don’t like your laws, and I don’t like the people.” Peter tried to convince her by saying that all she had seen ” were just the worst part of it [the United States].”
“Maybe I’ll die for this, but then that’s just how it’s gotta be,” Peter concludes, “as you can see [pointing at the bible next to the sofa I am sitting on], I have been praying. […] Now I don’t know if you’re a praying type of person?” I decline the offer and ride my bike back to inner Douglas.
The next few days Peter visits me, and the time of writing i still don’t know if he can survive until the start of September, when he will receive about 1000USD of social security
Nothing has changed in Douglas.