‘Acres and Acres of Marijuana’ - Sept. 1973
Part 1 of 3
It was August 3rd, 1973 and not even three days had passed since I returned back to Acapulco from the states, that TB found me looking and waiting for him to show up at the El Mirador Hotel, just like we planned before I left months earlier back in the second week of April. If he ever doubted I would return, now he knew he could count on my word whenever I said something. .
Our first original hours of meeting and talking cemented our deep trusting friendship in the second week of March of 73’, and as we got to hang out and know each other really well, the days just flew by and before we both knew it, I had to say goodbye. But before I left for the states in the first days of April, I promised him I would be returning by the end of July. He understood my plan, which was for me to go back to our country to find a wholesale buyer for my future salt water tropical fish and bring back a sizeable variety of items I’d need to get the fish collecting business off the ground.
While I was gone TB was continuing to work on his own wild business up in the mountains above Acapulco, but well hold on, we’ll get to what’s that all about right shortly.
So after not seeing my new friend for quite a bit of time and being really busy back in the states, I actually had kind of forgotten how much of an imposing dude he truly was, but then being right there in his presence again, well then it all came back in full force. Now being more to the point of what I mean, is he’s one big strong in your face muscularly thick solid human being. I know I have a good memory recalling he being a big fella, but it hit me again what a visually massive large boned young guy he really was. I’m laughing out loud as I write this, but yeah, he was one scary big bad ass looking friend!
Now though, being away during that period of time there was nothing that I had forgotten about how he and I just clicked so well as two American young guys meeting each other in a little downtown church. . .As soon as he got out of his jeep, we both greeted each other with wide smiles, solid handshakes and what I called our awkward upper arm slapping body side hug bumps and then almost simultaneous saying, ‘GOOD TO SEE YA’ words to each other. . .And it really was good to see him and he felt the same heartfelt way, and we soon picked up right where we left off, meaning ready to rock and roll in our own no holds barred natural blending together spirited ways. . .
Right from the start for both of us we really felt that easy flowing connection, the kind of feeling as if we knew each other forever and that our friendship was like when two humans know when something is good, it truly is, and ours was just that. .
We were two very straight dudes about to begin a lifetime of full on action, with open throttled adventure and a whole lot of learning, growing and maturing mixed in, and now our book is giving us the most cathartic ultimate freedom of opening up, no holds barred.
We both knew we were lucky to come across each other at that very point in our young lives, which we both feel saved our souls and we thank God for that church because like we’ve said, that’s where it all started for us. . .
So now we’re back together again, and ya better believe it was really cool. We wasted no time because just a month after the rainy season ended in late August, my wild and unpredictable buddy had something up his sleeve, and just like right from the get go of our church union, the big guy didn’t hold back, no secrets or anything hidden between us.
So that said here’s the deal, TB asked me to make a trip up into the mountains with him to spot check some deeply hidden away and out of sight practically even from overhead flying planes, a very huge growing patch of premium marijuana. Like I said, he and I had no secrets and I didn’t shy away from telling him how I felt about his weed business activities. We talked often about the precautions he had to do to shield me from any possibilities of being linked to what he did, but yeah, I have to admit I should have ran as fast and far away as possible from anyone in that kind of illegal activity. .
Anyway, he explained to me the command center layers he had designed and set up to put the business in motion, were made to look like he had plenty of distance from being involved himself. The thing was for me though, I still at times caught myself looking over my shoulders when we were together or separate too, and he understood that vibe and found himself doing the same also. .
Excuse me again for opening up and speaking here straight up, but you have to understand I was beyond curious to go check out this giant growing patch of weed. The fact of the matter was, I was young, very alive in spirit, feeling adventurous like I’ve never felt before and I have to admit I was maybe unknowingly at the time becoming an adrenaline junky, so, hey, of course I said YES. . .
All I knew and this goes for TB too, our spirits just felt like they were harmoniously feeding off of each other, and this made us feel so alive and that rush of life pushed us even more with the attitude of a can-do spirit, full steam ahead, and there ain’t no stopping us. .
The day of our mountain excursion came quick and according to the plan my buddy made for us, I organized a shorter work day with my divers but it was a good day of tropical fish capturing in the ocean, so I felt really good about that. The big guy picked me up at my hotel right on schedule, then we drove to a safe location out of town to have a brief important chat which involved showing me some important goodies for our trip. First, he showed me all these hidden in and around specially welded and camouflaged compartments in his jeep, filled with what he explained were survival weapons, like binoculars, compasses, water canteens, towels, hydrogen peroxide, wrapping gauze and everything under the sun for what you could call a full on staying alive combat survival kit. I laughed about the peroxide because I was always a big believer in the stuff for cleaning any areas I cut myself and he told me he used it the same way. TB was always ready for almost any and every kind of contingency and I respected that. His nature of being cautious made a lot of sense and I felt the same way especially because we were in a foreign country with altogether different cultural ways. .
We became a buddy system right away, watching each other’s backs whenever we were together and reminding each other to always keep our guards up when apart. It seemed like our lives were in a zone that was fast paced and full of what you could say interesting times right from within our first hours of meeting. I flat out trusted him and knew right away he was one tough brave guy and I could feel I was becoming wilder and much more adventurous but by my own free will, and in some way I became the real boss between us.
So after his quick stop of show and tell about his jeep, we were on the move and it was quite the riveting driving experience. Our drive would take us a good hour and a half and then around fifteen minutes of hiking up and over rocky and rough mountainsides. Once we got out of the city and into the real mountains above Acapulco, our drive really became a scary adventure. . No seriously, one wrong move and over the cliffs we go, and I’m so damn serious like maybe you can’t even imagine. Well so moving on here, after we reached our driving destination, we had to hide the jeep really well in a spot that was safe from any thief’s or armed dudes looking after these growing fields we were going into.
The jeep was safe now, task completed and then we were ready to begin the next phase of his organized plan, which was the uphill mountain hike. But before we started that challenge, TB gave me some special darkening camouflage cream to put on my face, and he did his likewise. Right there thinking to myself, my buddy came prepared but this cream ain’t the half of it!
The night before he told me he had to bring along some of his personal protection toys and I appreciated him being straight up with me. So right there at the concealed parked jeep he pulls out of his special welded hidden compartments, his arsenal. He had three long sharp sheathed knives, plus a .38 caliber hand gun, and a loaded double barrel sawed off mean killer looking shot gun that he pulled out of one of those special welded underneath carriage hiding areas. One of those knifes was his faithful Bowie knife that he practiced throwing almost daily. . So like I said, he was a prepared dude. .
For me to carry, he handed me two canteens of fresh half frozen water and a bag with three peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and a large package of Oreo cookies inside. He had this friendly and happy smile and look on his face when he handed me those things to handle. His exact words were, ‘I thought we’d have a picnic.’ I admit I smiled and lightly chuckled because I appreciated his sense of humor and my buddy really had a good one, but at the same exact second, I’m thinking what the (!*!*) was I thinking, and I really was now wondering what have I gotten myself into. But heck, truth be told that only lasted maybe two seconds, , and oh, sorry about the bad language but I really recall both those two quick emotional thoughts that ran through my mind at that time. . .So tell me you the reader, wouldn’t you be thinking something similar?
Now we’re totally organized, plus I got my stinkin-thinkin worried thoughts out of my head completely, so we started our walk up this steep mountain side embankment to get to where we were going. It wasn’t easy for me but I pushed myself and I did okay. As we moved cautiously forward together, I stayed calm because this was around the point that I really started to feel I could trust my life in his hands and I also realized I was a little thirsty for the unknown.
It’s crazy but I felt this wild adrenaline rushing feeling throughout my being and I liked it, and I don’t know what or how else to explain it, but it was all happening and it was very real. Seriously, I can’t do justice with words here to the unknown we entering into.
TB was far more experienced than me in many ways and also adjusted and used to living his life in a much more matter of fact dangerous lifestyle than I or any average person. His life and death helicopter missions and combat times in Viet Nam gave him a great deal of experience in dangerous situations, but yet at the same time up on that rough terrain mountain, I was in a very focused life preservation mode, for him and myself. .
We each stayed laser focused for all things in and around us, along with our peripheral vision working and opened to the max, plus our ears were like sonar scopes searching for anything not normal. I was though especially taking each step very carefully for fear of tearing up my knee, but the big guy and myself worked out hand signals beforehand plus talked about a plan for me to follow as tight as possible his footsteps, so not to step into anything that could cause a leg problem. I made it to our destination without any tweaks or tears to my knee and the fact was, this new adventure made us both step up our game of helping and watching each other’s backs.
We were becoming a team and we both sensed it and talked about it later on, and I have to admit I truly liked it. Of course I knew it was dangerous and definitely a crazy thing to be doing, but the fact was for me this other side that somehow I could feel was deep inside of me was coming out and now I wanted to be right where I was without any hesitation whatsoever. .
So soon after reaching our destination holding mountain corner spot, we very quietly had a talk about the fact that he noticed my heightened awareness of things going on all around us. I told T that I had this natural instinct kicking in and it felt like something we all have in us, what I call that life preservation force, but do we use it, do we call upon it or just let it lie dormant. . .For me it was working in overdrive and I could sense things in some kind of other visual dimension with my buddy. He explained to me that these were the same feelings that many soldiers had when they went into a combat and unfamiliar dangerous situation, and TB liked how I was reacting and told me so . .
Sitting near each other, talking in a whisper the big guy laid out the plan of what we were going to do next. It was simple. We would wait patiently here at our holding spot and it was well into an hour after sunset, but he wanted us to sit tight, watch and listen for anything unusual. We were overlooking acres of this massive hidden valley of Acapulco Gold Sensamilla Marijuana and it was quite impressive to say the least, even though we really couldn’t see the full extent of the beauty of it all, but we sure as heck could smell it!
T’s plan was we would make our move down into a small corner section and load up samples of the weed in an army duffel bag he carried along. It was his gig but the big guy asked me what I thought so far of what’s going on, and I told him everything’s cool and then asked if he had any other options. He came quietly back at me saying not really because he had scouted and done his homework on this spot before, so after that I said it’s your show and let’s stick with what worked safely before, and that was that. .
So for the next hour we talked very sparingly, ate quietly and used the high powered binoculars as well as possible in the darkness. We didn’t see any human activity down there but TB never left anything to chance.
The usefulness of the binoculars in the dark would only by chance pick up a flicker of the burning fire end of someone smoking a joint or cigarette, if even that and for sure nothing else outside a flashlight.
TB explained to me later that he had picked this far end of the field because he had scouted it before during a sun setting stage and believed it to be the least patrol walked and watched over area and safest spot for us to enter to do our little snip and run. .
When the time was right, almost like a magic move out of nowhere he handed me a pair of special perfect fitting leather gloves. He had a pair too and after both of us put them on, he whispered, ‘Are you ready?’ Well I have to say that those few words were very awakening but without hesitation I quietly came back to my friend with ‘Let’s Go.’
TB was very organized and didn’t miss a beat. He carried a very sharp cutting scissors wrapped in protective leather that he had hidden in a special sewn pocket like section of his lower leg pant area.
So we carefully made our move and the exhilarating feelings that came over me are hard to describe but I’ll never forget them. We moved with every step very quietly but swiftly down the mountain. I was more like a monkey than human because I was using my gloved hands on all these strong branchy bushes to keep my balance or slow me down when the descent was too much. My bad knee was managing, but I never let my movements get too out of control or reckless, needing not to tear any part of my leg up again.
Being in the dark didn’t help either but TB seemed to be moving like he could see as if it was daylight, and the idea of the gloves proved to me he’d done this before and was well prepared for all the known and unknown factors. . .
When we finally got into the thick of the field, the smell of it all really hit me but even before we hit ground level, the soon to be harvested buds were permeating the air a hundred feet above ground level and it had this sweet like aroma, and seriously speaking, I could taste it in the back of my throat and it filled up my nostrils. .
Now we were ready to begin the plan we talked about and it was simple, he cuts the longest and best mature buds and I carried the duffel bag near him as he cuts and we work as a fast cutting and bagging team. Within less than four minutes we had the bag full and it must have weighed more than sixty pounds, packed with thick budding sticky ooh-wee gooey seedless weed. .
With no words spoken, he one hand signaled me that we’re done and it’s time to pack up and move out. . .My adrenaline was kicking in so much that the weight of the bag at the time standing in that field felt like feathers, but before we almost hit the upward edge of the field to retrace our steps back up the hill, TB fluidly grabbed the duffel bag with one hand, put his other big paw on the middle of my lower spine and helped kick start boost my first steps up that steep hill. Truth be seriously spoken here, no matter how much my adrenaline before was kicking in, TB read the situation immediately, realizing that I wasn’t going to be able to handle going up the hill with that bag, and I honestly needed that starting push he gave me. . .Yeah, so like I said, we just naturally worked smooth and often at times with no words needing to be spoken. .
When we hiked back up to our observation point, we gathered up all the items we brought and then we both instinctively double checked again to be sure nothing was left behind, absolutely nothing!
During all the time we were down snipping away and then back up at the picnic site, we only used facial and basic hand gestures to flawlessly communicate. I also recall how TB used his razor-sharp cutter at an angle to reduce any extra unwanted strange noise in the field. Down there together he was making dedicated pure clean cuts and it was all about keeping this operation as dog gone silent as possible.
Our work was completely done and it was now time to exit the area carefully, not making any unnecessary sounds but moving swiftly towards the jeeps hiding spot, a distance away. It was now time for my buddy to lead us out of there for I might have gotten us turned around and lost in the dark, so again his skills from Viet Nam were on point.
As we approached the jeep, we stopped and he very quietly spoke to me about doing a 360-degree sweeping check of the area, so to make sure it would be safe for us to drive out of there. Before he left, he quietly asked me if I could handle taking from him the .38, and I remember him saying, ‘Just in case’. . .That was a real moment you just don’t forget, as I clearly remember years later putting out my right hand to receive the gun and at that instant I realized the stakes just got a little heavier. . .Now I was alone but felt a total calm come over me, plus this complete heightened alert feeling kicking in also. .
I lost the sight and the carefully placed footstep sounds of TB in seconds, and then all of a sudden, I instinctively calmly crouched down in a comfortable secure position, thinking to myself that I should stay low and be less visible to any possibilities of a long shot of anyone happening by.
My entire being was camouflaged pretty good, starting with the full greenish face paint to the dark clothes, including a dark green baseball cap and a long sleeve black shirt I picked out. All the cloths plus a pair of black tennis shoes were some of the personal needed items and things I bought the day before with the gracious and generous help I sometimes received from TB. Nuff Said. . .
It was really eerie and kind of a bizarre spooky darkish vibe in the brushy area we parked the jeep, but we both agreed albeit we definitely found a pretty darn good well-hidden spot. The only thing now was to stay calm, remain stealth, and stay totally on guard and wait for TB’s return.