I roll over and clutch my stomach suddenly feeling sharp pains. It was 12:00 AM in Eugene on the night of my departure to Mexico. I listen to the old grandfather clock tick in my room and try to get cradled to sleep by its sound. I wake up 6 hours later to the sound of my alarm clock telling me it’s time to leave for the airport. I walk downstairs and say my goodbyes to my roommates and call a taxi. As i'm leaving Taylor shouts out to me jokingly “ Hey Trevor be careful of all the gang activities going on in Mexico, wouldn't want to see yah taken” and laughs. This was my first time leaving the country so the joke didn't sit well with me. Little did I know this warning would prove to be a reality in the coming days.
“This is your captain speaking, we are beginning our descent into Mexico City. The local time is 4pm and it’s a comfortable 78 degrees here. We will be landing in approximately 15 minutes…” I stepped off the plane onto the hot tarmac, and a pungent smell of burning rubber floated in the warm breeze. I navigated my way through the crowded airport to the nearest exit, and immediately jumped in a taxi that could take me to my next destination. I had no plan for my stay, other than arriving at the hostel I was planning on staying at. As I looked out the cab window on my way from the airport, I wondered what kind of trouble I could get myself into in this new city. All I knew was my immediate plan of action was unpacking my suitcase and going to sleep.
The next morning I woke up to the annoying sound of roosters crowing from the rooftops, and children gleefully dashing in the alley beneath my window. I was finally inclined to get out of bed and explore the city. I had never been anywhere with so much culture, and I wanted to absorb the localness while I had the chance. My first stop was the bar across from the hostel, upon my arrival I took several shots of Mezcao before knocking back a couple beers. At this point I realized I was too drunk to speak spanish, which impaired my hope of exploring, so I headed back up to my room and passed out. Jetlag caught up with me and I slept through the day, waking up around 10pm. The guilt of this unproductive nap motivated me to go back out and salvage what was left of my first night.
I walked out of my building to find the streets quiet and undisturbed. The eery feeling of desolation sunk in, with only the sounds of dogs barking and car alarms in the distance accompanying my walk. I ducked into a nearby bar to escape the isolated feeling, and found myself surrounded by older men drinking at the bar. As I sat down at the bar, all eyes shifted towards me, I felt my presence interrupt the atmosphere. Soon after drinking a few beers, I was approached my by a shady looking man wearing an old white Nike hat and golden chains around his neck. He started speaking to me in spanish, but soonafter switched to english realizing I was not fluent. He asked if I was interested in something that would make my night better, and I was intrigued and followed him out of the bar. When we got outside I found myself surrounded by four latino men all which had the same tattoo signifying they were a part of the Latin Kings Gang. After realizing this my fight or flight instinct kicked in but before being able to act the younger gang member thrust a rough burlap sack over my head and heaved me into a car.
Time seemed to drag on endlessly. After what could've been 30 minutes or a few hours the car finally came to a halt. I heard the men pile out and start shouting in spanish. After, the door opened and a man removed the burlap sack that had been obscuring my vision. I peered around frantically hoping to recognize any familiar landmarks but gave up quickly knowing I’d never been anywhere out of the states. I was soon dragged into an abandoned warehouse and forced to sit on a wooden stool. A larger chulo guy with tattoos covering his knuckles and wearing a wife beater approached me waving a glock in my face and told me to say my last prayers. I felt the weight of my last moments alive pushing down on me, and my heart beating for the last time. I couldn’t imagine how or why I was in this situation, then I heard pop of the gun and smelt the residue of gunpowder, everything went black.