This is a quick note to tell everyone that I have a movie option for The House of the Scorpion. This is how an option works: A company pays for the right to market the book to a film company. If they are successful, the film company takes over and raises money, picks a director, screen writer and actors. It's a very complicated process involving many people, as you can see by looking at the credits at the end of a movie. Most of the time the option fails.
My book, The Ear, the Eye and the Arm, failed because no one believed that people would watch a movie about African children. I had the same trouble when I sold the book. A very highly placed editor in New York turned it down because she didn't think white kids would read about African kids. And she was convinced that African American children didn't read books. Nuts to her.
The chances for a House of the Scorpion movie seem very good to me. First, because the company really understands the book, and second because they made a beautiful presentation. The contract was far better than I expected, too. Keep your fingers crossed. It's about time Hollywood did something beside rerun old comic books and 1960's TV shows.
This morning a small, thin man came to the door asking for food. He spoke only Spanish. He was dressed in the drab brown clothes of a Mexican laborer. I know what I am supposed to do in these circumstances. The border is being overrun with drug mules and criminals. Armed guards camp out in our hills to protect the drug dealers. They radio back and forth the identity of cars passing through their territory. There aren't many cars. We are a remote and sparsely populated community. Some of these men are extremely dangerous and murders don't always make the news.
But this man was not dangerous. He was alone. He had probably missed his ride to Tucson and had been abandoned by his "coyote". There are a lot of people moving across the border now because the weather is perfect and amnesty beckons. I gave him a package of flour tortillas and a bag of shredded cheese, and Harold called the Border Patrol. They came like a shot and caught the man outside our front gate. Harold went out and told them the man had not stolen the food. We had given it to him. They said he had already told them that and he could eat it at the patrol station.
This is a situation that nobody has found a solution for. I believe in a strong border. I know that among the decent, ordinary workers there are MS-13 gang members, the most vicious gangsters out there. They have been caught near here. There are people working for the Sinaloa cartel. There are men who have crossed and recrossed the border many times, committing rape and murder. This doesn't get into the U.S. newspapers, but you can find it by going to borderlandbeat.com that covers the Mexican papers.
I know I have to report undocumented aliens, or whatever they are called now. The name keeps changing. But it isn't easy when you believe the person is innocent. This man probably paid a "coyote" a lot of money to come here and now he's lost it. Or perhaps not. I understand that the Border Patrol isn't sending people back until the amnesty battle in Congress is over. At any rate, I made the choice to enforce the law. Without law and order, societies break down. I know this, but I still feel terrible.