“Spoiler Alert” is a serialized short story, coming in 13 parts every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. “The Beginning” is part two. It’s best if you know the end first, so go to part one if you haven’t read it yet.
I met David when I was in prison in El Salvador. What was I doing in prison in El Salvador? Drugs. Not my fault. Some asshat on a bus just outside of Sonsonate stashed an ounce of cocaine in my backpack. I think it was an ounce. Might have been a gram. I don’t know shit about coke.
In fact, I didn’t know shit about why I was in prison until David explained it to me. He said it was a scheme for taking advantage of tourists, especially solo ones — some guy stashes the drugs on you, the police look through your luggage, maybe taking a few choice items, and then they get you to bribe them to let you out of jail.
I asked him how he knew all this.
“By pretending I’m not fluent in Spanish,” he said.
Same thing had happened to him. He kept quiet through the whole ordeal until they finally came to him with the offer. “You give money, you can to leave prison,” they said. He told them to go to hell.
Why? Good question. That’s what I asked David. Here’s where it gets weird.
His answer: “If someone had told you when you were a kid that you’d break out of a Salvadorian prison when you were 50, would you believe them?”
There was a mouse moving across the floor of our prison cell when he asked me this. It came within a few inches of my feet. I remember thinking he had a lot of nerve, that mouse.
Then I noticed David looking at me with his eyebrows raised, like he wanted me to actually answer the question.
“No. I would not believe anyone who told me I’d break out of a Salvadorian prison,” I said. “Are you telling me that I’m going to break out of a Salvodorian prison?”
“Yes. I’m not entirely sure how it happens, but it will.”
I asked him if he knew when it would happen ‘cause Salvadorian prisons aren’t that comfortable. When he said no, I just chuckled and tried to get some sleep.
I think I dreamt of mice running through mazes. It wasn’t a very reassuring dream, but it was better than being in prison with a nutcase. So when David woke me up in the middle of the night, I wasn’t too happy about it.
“I was just getting comfortable,” I told him.
“Now’s our chance.”