When the test for narcotics eventually returns positive, however, it proves too much: the guise of professionalism slips, and he giggles delightedly - 'that's what we were hoping for! Only a bit quicker and a bit more! She, for her part, merely looks stunned, as though she can't quite believe in the series of events which have led her to this. It is a scene played out with depressing monotony in airports across the world.
In the versions screened on TV, the suspect's face is usually pixelated in order to protect their anonymity, and so what the viewer sees is no more than an oxymoron - a faceless face; a blurred visage which belongs to no-one in particular. And the obliteration of identity is something which undergirds this type of programme more generally, for we are never given any information about the lives of the drug smugglers themselves; we are never told what forces and pressures have conspired or contributed to the desperate and often extremely dangerous bid to pirate these illegal substances across the border.
The concrete circumstances of these 'drug mules' remain pixelated, rendered invisible by the self-righteousness of those who have grasped that Drugs Are Bad Things and furthermore that They Are Against The Law. Nevertheless, the individual 'mules' do have backgrounds and circumstances and stories, and it is important we flesh these out.
Sikey & Speedwagon - Nothing To Declare by Celsius Recordings | Free Listening on SoundCloud
They all seem to share a common thread; that is, one of extreme poverty, and a high number of drug mules are single mothers. Overwhelmingly the women in question are from poorer countries like Jamaica and Nigeria, and the economic desperation which they experience is often adulterated by the threats and coercions of the powerful drug barons who find it profitable and expedient to prey on them. In recent times, films like Maria Llena de Gracia Maria Full of Grace have helped transform the popular image of sinister and mercenary couriers into people who are victimised in a twofold way; first by the barons who pay them very little in order to take such exceptional risks, and then by the efficiency and callousness of the state machine that locks them up.
For some of the people who patrol our borders empathy becomes nothing more than unnecessary emotional surplus, for they already have the stock-in-trade required - the rules and regulations which have been laid out neatly in advance, and which mean you don't have to think a great deal. Such people rarely bother to put themselves in the shoes of those they are so keen to castigate.
He goes off to investigate, led by his little blinking flashlight, while I cover Anela with my jacket. My heart is seized by something frigid, and I recognize the cold fingers of fear.
Nothing To Declare
His dirty and trembling body seems twice as old as its eight years. I barely manage to pry the words from his lips, which are rigid with terror. Her little face with its absent expression is fading into the darkness.
Let them send me back to Io or some other extraction colony. I just want to save my sister. To save us all. Soulness lets out a moan and I snarl back at him. I grab him by his collar still wet with his own bile, and my fingers get caught in his long hair.
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A chunk of it falls out in my hand like a strand of shadow. I have to go find help. I race through corridors barely lit by the reflection of some hidden source against the synth-metal that converts the darkness to shadows. I go back for Anela and Soulness. They, like us, would never know whether Earth is as blue as people say. Anela and Soulness are still conscious.
- NOTHING TO DECLARE, EPISODES 1-20!
- Rapporti patrimoniali e famiglia (Italian Edition).
- ODD TALES.
Anela looks at me with eyes like lunar eclipses and stretches out her arms. I help Soulness to his feet and support his trembling body against my shoulder.
Nothing to Declare - Nothing to Lose
Soulness murmurs something about finding help. Soulness barely manages to force his purple lips into a smile.
Anela has fallen asleep again, maybe for the last time. At the helm, I help Soulness into a seat. I sit beside him, with Anela in my arms, and hold his icy hand. Maybe this is where the commander used to sit, back when this freighter brought life to Earth. I want to see Earth. By arrangement with the author. All rights reserved. Fiction by Guillermo Fadanelli. Like what you read? Help WWB bring you the best new writing from around the world.