The following morning after a sound night's rest and a day started out with a generous dollop of Tanqueray gin (a little hair of the dog) and a pot of coffee, I set out to make my plans a reality for the trip to Campeche. the very first thing I did was to find a travel agent that would be able to put together the trip with all of its necessary details...flights, hotel bookings, etc. After talking to a number of friends one particular travel agency was repeatedly recommended. The travel agency was called "The Black Widow Agency." The name of the agency should have been my first clue that something was amiss with this agency but in my rush to find Raoul all logic was cast aside. The next clue that things may not be right with the travel agency was the name of the owner: Conchita Lupe Sandoval Gomez Gutierrez Gonzalez Fernandez Sanchez Chang!
I called the agency for reservations on the first flight available to Campeche. Conchita Lupe Sandoval Gomez Gutierrez Gonzalez Sanchez Chang answered the phone using her full name...but softened the impact of her name with the statement "just call me 'Guido Marie' because that is what all my friends call me." This time my sixth sense tried to kick in and let me know that this travel agency and Guido Marie might not be quite what they were supposed to be. However, I quelled my doubts and told Guido Marie about my plans and what I wanted by way of flights and timetables. She said, "No problem Senor Juan, I will take care of everything for youse (you?)." Little did I realized how all-inclusive that statement would be. My flight was then booked on an airline called Air Noriega...and I was to be leaving at midnight the following night from the International Terminal, gate 62XB from LAX.
Without knowing it, I was in the process of be set up with an organized crime ring involved in the smuggling of "squirrelus groundus Californius" (more commonly know as the California ground squirrel) into Mexico. The purpose of this smuggling was so that these ground squirrels could be made into super burritos that would eventually make their way back into the United States to be sold at Taco Bell as well as to be distributed throughout Northern California by certain key distributors that were yet to be named. More about that later...
The next night when I arrived at the LAX International Terminal, Gate 62XB, it was to my shock to discover that Air Noriega consisted of one (one only) converted B47 Bomber...and that was what was to fly me and whomever else into Campeche, Mexico. It was to be piloted by two nefarious looking characters...you know the type...clean cut, razor cut hair cuts, smiles, friendly amiable attitude...which immediately put me on high alert. The two pilots were called Senor Miguel and Senor Skippy. Senor Skippy informed us that we were to call him "Captain Skippy." I had never met such an unsavory pair in my life. Once again, my otherwise sixth sense was awakening and telling me that all was not as it should be. My sixth sense red-lined when I ultimately discovered that I was to be the only passenger on the plane...except for and none other than Guido Marie! Guido Marie cast a benign smile in my direction but I was now ill at ease with this whole flight thing. Several additional crates where also packed into the fuselage before we took off and I did my best to ignore what might be in them. Then as the flight slowly became airborne, engines screaming, fuselage rocking from side to side, wings shuddering I really began to consider the seriousness of this situation. Right then I knew I needed to find out what was in those crates.
So, in an attempt to divert Guido Marie, I pulled out my flask (Rodgers 1716 silver-plate) of Tanqueray gin and offered Guido Marie a generous dollop. After feeding Guido Marie a couple of dollops of Tanqueray gin, I then suggested that the co-pilot (Senor Miguel) and Captain Skippy might want a generous dollop of Tangqueray gin as well...or perhaps a glass of white wine and a scotch and water since Captain Skippy seemed the scotch & water type of person. My comment to Guido Marie as that libation would make the time pass quickly. I served up the drinks and then asked Guido Marie to serve them to the crew. With reluctance she left the cabin we were in and went to the cockpit. The plane continue to rumble along in a clear midnight sky spotted with occasional clouds.
As soon as Guido Marie left the cabin, I quickly pried open the nearest create. To my shock (total shock) I was greeted with by Whiskers and hundreds of his companions. Whiskers let out an excited squeak when he saw me. I quickly turned the crate over so all of the little squirrels (aka squirrelus groundus Californius) could escape and hide away in the plane. I then filled the crate up with blankets enough to approximate the weight of hundreds of ground squirrels.
...to be continued...