The Things I Didn’t Say

(Names have been changed.)

“I’d never go back to Cuba,” Gerry went on. “Lousy place. Except for this one incident. Two hundred and fifty Russians came to the resort we were staying with. Terrible people, those Russians. Anyway. Seven of them decided to get drunk. They got loud, started fighting with one another.

“The Gestapo showed up. They escorted those seven people back to their rooms. They had ’em pack up their stuff. They escorted them to the plane. Deported. Immediately. Never allowed back in the country.

“That was fantastic. That’s what we oughta do. Best idea ever.”

Fred nodded his agreement. “Yep. Someone comes to this country, they should get exactly zero chances.”

“Right,” Gerry agreed. “Those kids in the lower mainland, street racing, somebody ends up killed, nothin’ happens to ’em. Should deport ’em right now. No questions asked.”

Fred was still nodding. “Yep! No trial. No lawyer. Just back on the boat. And not just for big stuff. I’m talking a parking ticket. Jaywalking. Anything.”

I caught my brother’s eye. He looked acutely uncomfortable, and said nothing.

I took a sip of coffee, and asked, not looking at anybody in particular, “No lawyer, eh? What if he didn’t do it? Innocent … they got the wrong guy.”

“Ha!” Fred retorted. “They should be lucky we don’t send ’em back with a bullet.” Gerry smiled in agreement.

I took another sip of coffee, trying to stay calm. “What if he was born here?”

Gerry sneered. “Ninety-five percent of them weren’t.”

I thought for a moment, and began to speak.
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