I was walking on the beach when I heard my name. Soft. Raspy. Plaintive.
"Al........... Hey Al..."
Where was the voice coming from?
"Don't step on me, man."
I looked down and...
"Please, no Spanish. I've had my fill of Spanish."
"How the hell? What...? You were in custody for the, um, drug thing."
The last I'd seen Chet was at the border, over a year ago, when Feds hauled him away for trying to smuggle heroin in his fez.
"The cartel tunneled me out, but into Mexico. I told them I wanted to be on the other side of the border. They thought I was crazy, but they put me on a fishing boat and wished me luck. The captain didn't want to deal with me, so somewhere out there they told me to swim ashore, then tossed me overboard. I swam for what seemed like hours, days. I couldn't tell which direction I was going or if I was swimming in circles. I was exhausted. I grabbed onto this kelp and hoped the currents would take me to land. Where am I? The US or Mexico?"
"California, my friend."
"But the authorities will be looking for you."
"Yeah. I guess I'm a big time fugitive from justice now. Oh well."
"I was planning on going to San Felipe, but you wouldn't wanna be..."
"No. No Mexico for me. The opposite direction would be better."
"Yeah. Okay. Good to have you back, buddy."
"Good to be here."