Thomas and I sat on the concrete bench outside the Amsterdam Eurolines station unwrapping the foil from the space cakes.
“You have to eat the whole brownie before we get on the bus,” Thomas says. “I’m not transporting drugs across the border.”
Halfway through our semester abroad in Amsterdam, Thomas and I had decided to take a weekend trip to Prague. The cheapest option was to take an overnight bus, but the 14-hour journey sounded a little rough. Thomas suggested we eat some of Amsterdam’s notorious pot brownies before we go, “to help us sleep.”
Thirty minutes after boarding the bus, Thomas was softly snoring next to me and I was trying hard to fall asleep, but every bump in the road made me open my eyes and see the red numbers of the clock slowly change, one minute, two minutes. My body was buzzing and I could feel my pulse in my fingers and toes. The swaying of the bus felt like I was on a waterbed, and I closed my eyes and drifted off into a drug-induced state somewhere between asleep and awake.
I didn’t feel asleep when the bus stopped moving, but the taunting red clock said several hours had passed since I last looked. It was completely dark on the bus as well as outside, but through the window I could see yellow lights illuminating a small concrete building. It looked as though we were parked at a rest stop or a campground, and the concrete building must be the restrooms. I thought it was strange that we were stopping to use the restrooms in the middle of the woods, but whatever, I didn’t have to pee.
“PASSPORTS!” a man screamed in a German accent as he boarded the bus. “PASSPORTS NOW!”
Oh fuck oh fuck oh fuck, I thought. Do they know I’m high? Where’s my passport? They totally know I’m high.
I reached into my bag to find my passport and the pocket was empty. “Thomas, I can’t find my passport!” I whispered.
“Find it!” he said.
I’m going to be arrested in Germany, I thought. I am an illegal immigrant transporting drugs across the border in my stomach. They definitely know I’m high.
I searched all over the seat while the German policeman inched his way back, collecting the passports of all the passengers in front of us. Finally, my fingers grazed the pages of my passport, which had fallen out of my bag and under the seat in front of me. I handed it to the policeman as he came down the aisle just as he reached my seat. After he had collected all of the passengers’ passports, he got off the bus. As we sat there in the dark silence, I thought it was such a bad idea to give my passport away in the middle of the night. What if that guy just stole everyone’s passports? What if we are being held hostage on this bus? What if they know I’m high?
“Thomas…” I began, but he had already fallen back asleep. Okay, be cool, I thought.
Twenty minutes passed before the policemen boarded the bus again. They marched to the back and started yelling at an African man sitting a few seats behind me.
“It’s foodstuffs!” he kept yelling. “Not drugs, foodstuffs!”
Oh my god they know I have drugs in my belly. Should I discreetly try to throw up the brownie? I wondered. Should I just confess? This is exactly like Brokedown Palace! I’m totally fucked.
Just as tears came to my eyes at the thought of my life sentence served in a German prison cell, the policeman handed back my passport and we were free to continue on to Prague. I think I slept the rest of the bus trip, but I didn’t feel rested when we arrived. I had learned my lessons, though: No more overnight bus trips, and no more transporting drugs across international borders.