“Long time since I’ve seen you Mon”
Petey had been watching me approach

The walk was long
Down a monstrous block of concrete
Stretching out into the white and turquoise ocean
Under a hot Central American sun

Yes, the walk down the dock
Was long and hot

Petey was a driver
In a mountain village
With ramshackle cars
Dirt roads
And lots of drugs

Petey’s mountain village
Was a dangerous place

Petey was somewhere around sixty
He had one and a half arms
A worn face
And an easy smile

I never asked
About the missing

“Do you want to go to Maria’s?
She knows you are here”

We sat at the bar
With cold beer
A dirt floor
And a black open sky

I had a long thick black braid
On my mind

They came in sometime after midnight
Dead sober
And sat at the bar

Maria shifted
Watching my eyes
Petey appeared out of nowhere
Standing next to me in silence

Long minutes went by as I watched the contorting faces
Feeling the stress rise
I leaned over “Petey…”
He walked out
Maria at his side

Long minutes went by
The exit was fast

Spinning tires
The air was filled with dust and gravel
A long fast ride
As I watched the following headlights
From the back seat

Running through the check point
My papers held high
Kids with assault rifles
As I ran under the big sign

Petroleum Terminal of Panama

Days later
Pacing the bridge
Speaking in low tones
We all listened to a crackling radio

Somewhere in another world
A space shuttle fell to earth