Creature from the Blog Lagoon 8: Straight Shooter

Back in February, before the world was fully turned on its head, I made my first trip into Mexico in about 30 years. Over those three decades I went from being a carefree lad to a cautious geezer, unsure exactly how safe Mexico was because of the dark news coming from the country. I made this first trip a fairly tame one, visiting Playas de Tijuana, the beach area right at the border wall.

As I was making photos of people enjoying their leisure time, a man came up to me - David Gutierrez. He was dressed in a trench coat and ball cap, and was carrying a guitar case. He asked me in English, with the barest hint of a Mexican accent, something like “Hey, do you want to see my weapon?”

David Gutierrez, above.

I agreed, thinking he’d pull out his guitar and make some oblique reference to Woody Guthrie killing fascists.

Fascist killer Woody Guthrie, above.

I was wrong.

Yes, he had a guitar, but he also had a rifle.

It looked to be nothing more than a .22 caliber pipsqueak of a rifle (but still capable of killing someone). My first thought was “I don’t want to spend the rest of my possibly abbreviated life in a Mexican prison,” so I calmly asked him to put it away and to pretend I didn’t see it. I wish now I’d had the presence of mind to   ̶s̶h̶o̶o̶t̶ make at least one photo of it but again, the geezer in me took charge: “I don’t want to spend the rest of my possibly abbreviated life in a Mexican prison.”

Apparently he’d spent most of his (non-abbreviated) life living in the United States illegally and was finally caught and deported, which is why he had no significant accent. He was drinking some sort of ultra-cheap Mexican liquor, something I’d never heard of - but something I wished I’d had at the time.

After a few minutes of conversation he wandered off, throwing some serious karate moves as he went. (Seriously, it looked like he knew what he was doing.)

Sensei David Gutierrez, martial arts master, above.


Not long after rifleman David Gutierrez left a Tijuana police officer wandered by.

Geezer Dave’s subconscious: “I really, really don’t want to spend the rest of my possibly abbreviated life in a Mexican prison. What the hell do I do now?”

Fess up. Stammer. Quickly count the pesos in my wallet. Grovel if necessary.

“Some guy left here a little while ago and he had a rifle.”

The police officer just kind of looked at me like I was an oddball, or possibly a confused geezer who didn’t want to spend the rest of his possibly abbreviated life in a Mexican prison. He wandered off - maybe he was more afraid of me than I was of him.

If I ever see David Gutierrez again I’ll be sure to get a photo of whatever weapon he happens to be toting.

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