“Alternate Perspective” by Willard Phillips

Note: the author wrote this piece from the point of view of a drug runner that his ship was pursuing.

Am I crazy?!! Is my life really this bad?!!! Is being cold, miserable and seasick really the best way for me to make a living?

How did I get to this point where I am transiting the eastern Pacific in a speed boat smuggling drugs?  Because if something happens to this boat no one would ever find me.  I am sure someone would look for the drugs, but let’s face it: this boat is a speck in the middle of ocean and a rescue crew would never find us. I also don’t know, or trust, any of these guys.  To me this crew seems reckless and they do not understand that drug dealers do not play around when you don’t deliver the goods.

I don’t know why, but I have a bad feeling about this mission because this boat’s engine sounds different.  Before we left Ecuador, the mechanics said the engine was fine, but I don’t think so.  Maybe I worry too much, but I have a bad feeling about this trip.  According to the navigation plan we will rendezvous with four different motherships on our journey to Nicaragua and if the weather reports are correct, the trip should take about five days.

OK, we safely completed the first leg of the transit and arrived at the mothership; maybe I am worrying too much.  Although these guys are not as bad as I thought, I still do not trust them.  After we get some gas and leave I will let one of them drive in the morning because I do not trust them navigating at night. I had better get some sleep in the morning, so I will be alert during the night portion of the transit.

What the fuck is going on and why is everyone running around?  Shit, the guys are throwing drugs over the side, who is out there? Fuck, it’s a warship!  I’d better start driving; I’ve got to get this guy off the helm, because we have at least two nautical miles of separation between us and that warship and maybe, just maybe, we can out run them.

Now that we are at full speed that engine really sounds bad.  Damn it, I knew it! I told them we needed to use a different boat.  I am now in a no-win situation because in just a matter of time that warship will catch us, but even if they don’t find the cocaine we dumped over the side, when we return back to Ecuador what am I going to tell the kingpins,

“It was mistake, it won’t happen again, I promise”?  “The engine malfunctioned – I know you checked it before we left, but it really malfunctioned”?

I don’t see us gaining any sympathy from the drug lords. The engine is done. We can’t go any further. I wonder if I would be better off dying in the middle of the ocean than getting arrested.  Now the warship is pointing its guns at us, so I’d better give up and hope for the best.  When I look back at my life I wonder: did I have to be in this situation, was this just my fate, was organized crime a smart move? Could I have been a fisherman, a farmer, a soldier, or was a life of crime my destiny? I hope whatever is the case my jailers will have more mercy on me than the Latin American drug lords.

Willard Phillips served 20 years on active duty as a Surface Warfare Officer in the United States Navy.  He made multiple deployments to the Western Pacific and the Middle East in support of Operation Tomodachi, Southern Watch, Iraqi Freedom, and Enduring Freedom. He is originally from Colorado Springs, Colorado and is enrolled in the Fully Employed MBA program at UCLA’s Anderson School of Business.