The tunnel was covered in white porcelain tile reminiscent of New York City’s older subway stations. On our right it was red with taillights. On our left it was white with headlights. The low roar of engines reverberated between the glowing walls, creating an audiovisual phantasmagoria that overwhelmed me, and the next thing I knew we were driving between two giant snakes with neon scales. We had to drive as quietly as we could so that we didn’t disturb them, but the red one was closer to us and it started glowing brighter. It was waking up, which was code for us getting arrested at the border, so I did what I had to do: I reached down and squeezed my testicles as hard as I could. It sounds weird, but the singular pain of this neutralized my panic attacks. It also delayed orgasms, when orgasms needed delaying.
We rounded a corner, came back up to sea level, and with my testicles throbbing we arrived at the border of the USA. There were two gates open. I chose the one on the left because it had more cars in its queue, which meant more time for small preparations like getting my registration and insurance documents out of the glove compartment.
“They won’t ask for that. They’re not traffic cops. All you need is your passport,” said Rocky as he noticed the documents shaking wildly in my hand. “Are you gonna be able to hold it together? Ambrose’s place is only minutes away.”
“It might as well be years away.”
“Just keep your cool. The bank robbery doesn’t exist yet, I’m the sick kid who’s dying wish is to see their baseball team play, and last but not least, we’re both white.”
“Yeah, sure. I’m white—a white junkie.”
“It doesn’t matter. You’re white and privileged, and in situations like this you benefit from it.”
“Oh, okay. So maybe we should just be honest…I’ll tell them I’m a junkie and you tell them you’re a bank robber and they’ll look at our skin and smile and let us right through!”
“I’ve got proof that I’m dying,” he said, while patting his satchel. “It’s a printout of my official diagnosis, signed by my doctor, if that helps.”
I took a deep breath and looked over at him, hoping that he was right about the power of the dying-kid-at-his-first-and-last-major-league-baseball-game trope. Americans loved their baseball, and they especially loved a redemptive ending.