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     We were driving somewhere on the New Jersey Turnpike. I was brand new to the States. Hell, I was so new that I still had the wrapping paper on me. We drove a nineteen ninety-something Volkswagen Jetta with bullet holes in every door. The holes were covered with pieces of cloth. We wanted to keep the heat inside the car. George said he got the car in Newark at the police impound for the affordable price of a 100 US dollars. I had my doubts that this was true, but that didn’t matter. We were driving as if in a Hunter Thompson novel, minus the heavy drugs. Three dumb, young, and drunk culo cagaos on their way to New Brunswick.

     Here we were in this colander full of Brugal bottles, 7up, an ice box and foam cups with lids and straws approaching exit number 9 where according to Henny we were going to get laid, or at the very least get our dicks sucked. Who could argue with that premise? I took a train from NYC to Newark where George picked me up first and proceeded to pick up Henny who worked full time at a bodega close by. Henny sold weed part time on the side to save for his trips to DR.

     It was pretty dark by the time we got to New Brunswick. We didn’t know where to go because dumbass-Henny left the address in his other jeans. We decided to drive around for a while, waiting for a miracle to happen and somehow guide us to our destination. Alas, the only thing we found was a flat tire.

     While making a reckless u-turn, George hit the curb and split open the right front wheel like an avocado. We got out of the car in our buzz state to assess the damage.  

Henny asked for the spare tire, “Tiguere, we can fix this easy.” 

George opened the trunk and after rummaging for a bit said, “Coño, I don’t have jack”

     Here we were stranded, and not a single human being in sight. I had an idea, at the time, I thought it was brilliant, but looking back all I can see is the danger in this idea. I told George to pump up the volume on the car, so that cops might come by and provide us with the necessary tools to change a tire. Luckily for us no one showed up to our rescue. This was Jersey, not Wakanda. We sat on the curb while we meditated. Henny refilled our drinks. 

George sprang up and said, “Follow me, let’s search for another VW and borrow their tools.” 

“Come again? Borrow?” I said.

    After a few minutes on the hunt George found a VW a lot more modern than his. He went to the back of the car and after a few tinkers and thumps voila the trunk was wide open. He grabbed what he needed and promised to come back and return it. Fear crept slowly through me, thinking about how close we were to spending a weekend in central bookings. But, he did as promised; he changed the tire and returned the owner the tools. We went around New Brunswick a few more times hoping to hear the weepy sound of a bachata song wafting from one of the houses around, but nothing happened. 

“We only have enough gas to get back home” said George. 

“We better be going home. I don’t have a cent under my name” I replied. 

“Don’t look at me I only have a condom and a pack of gum,” said Henny.

Three stern faces sipping, carefully, engulfed in the darkness of the turnpike.

Francis Mateo is an actor and writer.

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