The first time I was invited to make Cocaine.
Hello my friends,
So first of all let me give you a little bit of my background, I am a 28 year old Biomedical Scientist from Brazil, I have two specializations, molecular biology and clinical analysis.
I also took three semesters in a Chemistry Major at another university, and the following took place during my second semester in that particular university, which is one of best in Brazil, but it also happens to be a public university, therefore it does not have a tuition fee, you just have to take a test if you pass you can take the entire course pro bono.
I was already a little bit further into my Biomedical Sciences back than, 2011, so I was taking classes in two majors, in two different institutions, that took about 10 to 14 hours of each day, five to six days a week.
One day after I just left inorganic chem I, I joined my colleagues and friends on our DA (academic directory, a small room with couches, water fountains, a pool table, some study tables and so on) for our hour-long lunch break.
Most of my mate went to a restaurant that day so I was alone with a girl that was studying in a table about six meters or so away from me, and I was eating a sandwich. Back than I used to carry a balisong knife with me to train tricks while I had spare time and didn't have anything else to do, so I took the knife out and I was training aerial tricks while trying not to impale my hand.
A few minutes into this a Shady Guy (from now on known as SG) approached me, he was about 30ish, tall, fairly thin and had a head of blonde hair with brown eyes, the conversation that follows sounded more or less like this:
SG: Nice knife! What type of knife is that?
Me: Thanks! It is called a balisong, also known as a butterfly knife.
SG: Beautiful, how much did you pay for that?
Me: About 40 brl.
BRL is the national currency of Brazil, the Brazilian real, one USD is worth about 3.12 brl.
SG: Wanna sell it?
Me: No, sorry, really like this particular knife.
SG: It is ok, are you a student here?
Me: Yes, second semester Chem student.
SG: Really? Did you take Biochemistry and Inorgarnic Chemistry II yet?
Me: Yes, but not in this university, I am also taking Biomedical Sciences in another college.
SG: That is really good! Must be tiresome though.
Me: Oh, yes... it is. I am taking 12 courses at the moment, don't have any time.
At that point in my life I was thinking about quitting Chemistry, because I had more interest in Toxicology, I was planning on going the CSI path with my Biomedical Sciences degree when I graduated.
Me: I will probably take some time off from this Major and finish my other one before I come back to this one soon.
Which I did, just one semester after this happened.
SG: Oh, sorry to hear that, money issues?
Me: Yeah, I can't work while taking both courses, one of the professors actually offered me a scholarship in Crystallography but I have not started it yet, so no cash.
SG: Are you going to take it?
Me: I am not sure I will have the time, plus I know nothing about the subject. It is interesting, but it really isn't what I am really interested in.
SG: What are you interested in than? - By now he was smoking a long cigarette, from a brand I did not know, but that was not surprising since I am not a smoker.
Me: Well, I would really like to be a Crime Scene Investigator, that is why I am taking Biomedical Sciences. I have a deep interest in toxicology to be more specific.
SG: Really, like drug toxicology or what?
Me: Yeah, that too, I already took a few classes in drug production (pharmaceuticals), also illegal drug detection, blood and urine exams for cocaine, and THC lipid detection. I work very closely to my toxicology professor in the other college.
SG: That sounds really interesting!
Me: It is.
By that moment I was starting to wonder where this subject was going to go. I was very young and very stupid, too outgoing back than, so I just wanted to have a conversation. We already about 15 min or so into the conversation.
SG: Want one?
He offers me a cigarette.
Me: No, thanks, not a smoker.
SG: So, do you like traveling?
That caught me off guard, completely different subject.
Me: Yes, who doesn't?
SG: I am running a small project that you might be interested in, me and a few associates are funding students that want to follow the sciences, more specifically chemistry and biochemistry and you seem to fit what we are looking for. Are you looking for a job?
Me: I would love to have a good source of income, what subject are you guys researching?
SG: Mostly botany, the day to day uses of some plants, but we need some people with a good understanding of chemistry to work with the extracts.
Me: That sounds really interesting! How long is the project, and what is the pay?
SG: At least three years, no less than that, and you are paid a fixed value plus a % of what you produce.
Me: I see. Well, I am guessing you would like to talk to other people besides me, since I am new to the area.
SG: Well, are you interested? - He ignored my comment.
Me: I will have to talk to some people and I need more information about the place the project is running and the pay.
SG: Sure, can I talk to you tomorrow? I have an appointment.
Me: Sounds good, I will be here.
After that the guy left and entered a car that was parked not 20 meters away.
Over the next few days I saw him again a few times talking mostly to post-grad and doctorate students, he did not approach me.
After that I never saw him again.
The next semester I was talking to a friend of mine who was in a few of my classes and told him the story, and how strange it was.
He laughed and explained to me that one of these guys pops up every couple semesters or so and make a similar offer to several of the students, they offer a very decent paycheck and do not explain a lot about what is going on, but one of the students that took the offer told him that he was shipped to Bolivia to produce and refine cocaine.
That they paid 25000 BRL (about 8000 USD) a month plus 1.5% of all that you produced plus they gave you several 'toys', cars, phones, computers and so on. And plenty of women were available for those who wanted.
The guy who took the offer was never heard from again, either he was killed or he still works for those guys.
To this day I am still not sure if it was legit, but everything points to that, and to this day I am thankful I did not take the offer.
Since than I was invited one more time to refine cocaine, four times to cook meth and two to make steroids.
I will write about the other stories if there is demand for it.
Thank you very much for reading, and I hope this was entertaining.