DiscoverMystery & Crime

Young Americans



Tommy Logan is a small-time pot dealer when his new girlfriend Sandy introduces him to Harry Burr, an ex-con who promises to show him how to make big money. Tommy, eager for the opportunity, figures he can stay one-step ahead of Harry, but can he? Confronted by a painful childhood memory, Tommy makes a rash decision that will alter his life and haunt him during his final million-dollar deal with Harry in Bogota, Columbia. Things don’t go as planned and Tommy is left to find his own way out – of Columbia and his criminal past. But it might cost him Sandy or even his life.


Bogotá, Colombia 1977

The stench of unwashed humans enveloped Tommy Logan as a thick

guard led him into La Modelo, the fortress prison in Bogotá. The

prison housed over ten thousand prisoners. Across all the concrete

walls, Viva la revolución was spray-painted in red.

Where was Sandy? How was she? Why did he bring her with him

to Colombia this time? She had insisted, but he thought it would be

dangerous. He had to get word to someone.

The charges against him were vague. For suspicion. It had something

to do with trafficking emeralds. He and Harry didn’t have any

emeralds or coke when the apartment was raided. There was a little

pot, the cash, and Harry’s diamond rings and snorter. The soldiers

found the pistols, but guns were a normal precaution in Colombia

for anyone with property.

A short solider pushed Tommy into a ten-foot-long and fourfoot-

wide cage made out of screen mesh and bars. At the end was a

tiny hatch, like a lion’s cage in the circus, so that he had to crawl to

enter and leave. Two barbers in the center of the room were giving

complimentary haircuts.

The prison officers wore black uniforms with Maltese crosses. A

dead-on Nazi design: black boots, black pants, black caps, and black


Peter S. Rush

sashes with gold insignias. Short on pay, but their uniforms were

flashy, Tommy thought.

As a short, stocky peasant guard led him from the cage after his

haircut, Tommy asked a lieutenant if he could use one of the pay

phones by the door. He had to get word to the outside. He didn’t

want to get lost among the thousands of prisoners. “After you are

processed,” was the answer.

After being fingerprinted, the peasant guard led him into the reception

area, infested with gamines. They were the street urchins of

Bogotá who ran in wild packs, growing up on the street, learning to

survive the best they could in the world. Hustling, pickpocketing,

thieving—staying alive. The Oliver Twists of Colombia.

Where was Harry? He wasn’t in the same wagon when Tommy

had arrived. Now he wasn’t in the processing area. What did they

do with him? Did they get the shipment? Was he out three hundred

thousand dollars?

When the gamines saw Tommy, a gringo, twenty of the children

descended upon him, selling cigarettes, food, and paper as little pairs of

hands were trying to go through his clothes. Tommy slapped them away

and moved to a captain standing near the door who was giving orders.

“What happened to the girls?” Tommy asked the officer, the aches

from his beating still reminding him of his stupidity. He’d fought for

Sandy, but it hadn’t been enough. Did he cause more harm? “Can

you find out?”

The officer’s eyes traced the blood on Tommy’s face and the welts

on his arms but said nothing. Now he had to get out. Could he make

it to the American Embassy? They hadn’t done anything wrong, and

he could get help for Sandy. He had five thousand pesos stuffed in

his sock.


Young Americans

“Por favor,” Tommy said to the captain, showing him some pesos.

A message? The officer looked around quickly and gave him a sheet of

paper and a pencil. Tommy quickly wrote. It simply read:

Mr. Jamison Carlton

Senior Vice President

Second National Bank of Georgia

Sandy is being held without charges by Colombian authorities. You

need a lawyer who can be trusted.

The message cost him two thousand pesos to smuggle out to the

American Embassy.

The guards began separating the prisoners.

“Patio 5 with the gringos?” the guard asked the captain as he led

Tommy by the arm. The captain looked down at the paper in front of

him and shook his head. “Nada. Peligroso,” the captain said. “Patio 4.”

Tommy remembered peligroso meant dangerous. So they weren’t

putting him with the gringos. Harry would be there. He’d find a way

to get there.

Walking along the balcony of Patio 4, Tommy saw clothes, bedding,

and underwear tied to the railings as an outdoor clothesline.

The steady noise of thousands of caged voices beat on his ears like a

tropical downpour on a tin roof. It was night by the time Tommy got

to his cell, a six-foot by eight-foot room with a toilet that didn’t work

and a concrete slab for a bed. The cell held four other prisoners. The

gamines on the cellblock lived ten or more to a cell.

The cool night air chilled Tommy. One man, with a pockmarked

face, was lying under his woolen ruana on a thin cotton mattress on

the slab. He exchanged greetings with Tommy. He said his name was

About the author

Peter S. Rush is a graduate of Brown University and masters in creative writing from University of Florida. He was a newspaper reporter, magazine editor, Peace Corps volunteer and a police office. He is the author of the awarding winning novel Wild World. Visit view profile

Published on October 05, 2020

Published by

100000 words

Contains explicit content ⚠️

Genre: Mystery & Crime

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