My Buddy Muammar GaddafiMonday, February 28, 2011
|Felipe alias Muammar Gaddafi|
I met the Acapulco Chief of Police, before he was so, 1971. We were neighbours in a suburb of Mexico City called Arboledas. Our houses had no fences but he built a high one (called a barda which Mexicans borrowed from the Spaniards who in turn borrowed the concept of privacy from the moors) with a strong gate and an interphone. I would listen to him shouting through the interphone asking for his wife. The loud man was 6ft tall. When we met he said, “Soy Felipe alias Muammar Gaddafi." I knew who Gadaffi was as there had been a coup in Libya. Felipe was his spitting image!
Felipe was our star volley ball player in our street team. We had painted a court on the concrete street and installed removable steel poles to hold the net. We played every Sunday.
Felipe liked to drink rum cokes (cuba libres) and he liked to gesticulate with his fists in imitation of his Libyan idol (let’s not forget that the original Captain Gaddafi, not quite a colonel yet, modeled himself after Che Guevara). In Mexico we liked Gaddafi because he was against the US.
Felipe and I became friends but I was a bit afraid of his wife. She carried a gun in her purse and her job was to protect higher up wives of Mexican politicians. Her husband was a lawyer who eventually became a new breed of competent policemen in Mexico who had a law background.
While in Arboledas he had a bright red Jaguar saloon that was almost always on blocks. FFGJ (his name is much too long so henceforth it will be his initials) said it was “Mi auto de antojo.” “It is my car of impulse. I bought it on impulse and I have lived to regret it.” FFGJ was very pro British and he often spoke of his love for Her Majesty Elizabeth the Queen of England. He would speak about her in his terrible and terribly accented English.
Before I moved to Vancouver in 1975 Rosemary and I went to Veracruz and we visited him there. He was not yet in the police department but had a very good job as a lawyer within the Mexican Social Security Department.
One evening he told me, “Alex I must take you to a house of ill repute so you will see what you will miss by going to that frigid country up north.” We went but I imposed the condition that we would only go as visual shoppers. This we did and we sat down in a a very small place that had a dance floor. I spotted a beautiful young woman dancing with a nasty looking man. Felipe whispered in my ear, “Don’t even look in his direction, he's the chief of police of Veracruz."
In 1989 I found out the FFGJ was Chief of the Federal Police in Acapulco. I convinced Malcolm Parry, editor of Vancouver Magazine that I should go to Acapulco and write a story. Mac gave me the green light and I had an interesting time in Acapulco. I wrote about it here.
About three years ago, knowing I had lost touch with FFGJ I decided to look for him. Through serpentine methods and various search engines I found him in Houston. FFGJ was a couple of years older that I am and on Skype he told me that he had emphysema. He told me had a couple of transparent plastic tubes connected to his nose. His voice sounded like a combination of Marlon Brando and Richard Widmark. His English was no better than I remembered.
FFGJ told me that he drove around Houston in a Korean automobile that had GPS in Spanish. He could ask for, “¿En donde puedo encontrar una buena pizza?” and received efficient directions and instant satisfaction.
I thought this all very funny as I remember the fit man in Acapulco who would weekly practice with his 9mm Smith & Wesson and a cuerno de chivo (AK-47). I could not imagine without laughing this tall man inside a Korean sardine can navigating Houston with a couple of transparent plastic tubes up his nose!
FFGJ would send me tons and tons of slide shows. They were sent to me and to the many other friends he had. I did not know how to tell him that I did not want any of that stuff but just wanted to know that he was well.
About a year ago his stuff stopped coming and I left it at that. Then when I changed to a new computer a month ago I lost all contact with FFGJ. He is no longer listed on the Houston White Pages. I feel the worst. But I have contacted a granddaughter and perhaps soon I will know that FFGJ alias Muammar Gaddafi is alive and well.