How a Box of Rogaine Almost Got Me Raped at Shank-point in Dutch Military Prison

I was flying back from Colombia after visiting for my sister's 16th birthday, enjoying what was at first a visit that revolved around my hair and how luscious it was since I last visited three years ago. 

When I visited in 2014, the top of my hair was already thinning and I had to shave every three days so the sides would not look comically overgrown in comparison to the top. The stress of working in a high-testosterone environment here in the Netherlands was not solely responsible for my hair loss, and in fact I have family members who were shining like Professor X at age 25.

I was the butt of jokes, and it affected my self-esteem: I knew I would have to start using Rogaine, also known as Alopexy, to maintain my luscious Latin curls. 

After 6 months of bi-daily use, results were already wildly noticeable, and last years I felt confident enough to start taking my hat off on sunny days. It seemed like Rogaine brought nothing but joy into my life; that is until I decided to sit for a sandwich at Schiphol Airport train station after landing from Cali, when a small, irate Egyptian guy walks up to me mid-sandwich and tells me that my backpack has to be checked because it was unattended.

I tried telling the guy that I had never left the restaurant, but he just couldn't understand that I was glancing at it with the same paranoia he probably learned growing up under authoritarian rule in Egypt, something which apparently he seems to think applies in Europe. 

But the guy was relentless and next thing I know there's a team of machine-gun wielding members of the Marechaussee, the military police unit empowered by monarchic decree to detain individuals at-will and even deny them a phone call or access to the their ambassador. 

After forcing me to leave the backpack where I was and to walk to a dark interrogation and inspection room in the edges of the train station, they began to rummage through my belongings with ruthless impunity, finding my box of Rogaine/Alopexy. 

Could get you shanked in Amsterdam.
The German version of Rogaine I was carrying brings with it a little measuring stick that resembles a syringe, and it immediately sent a bald member of the Marechaussee into a frenzy. 

He walked over wearing anal cavity gloves, holding the stick with two fingers while bluntly asking, "What is this?"

Despite the fact that the stick has the word "Alopexy" on it and no needle, the Marechaussee bag-ruffller became visibly irate when I told him it was for hair loss. 

Next thing I know I'm in a dark room sleeping on a wooden plank for hours. 

After finally protesting over the intercom that I wanted my ambassador or a lawyer, two Marechaussee agents come over and tell me that the Assistant Prosecutor says it's "too late" to call consular services, despite the fact that it's a 24-hour hotline.

At some point later I find myself in a van being taken to a prison facility. Once inside I'm subjected to another patdown, and the Marechaussee guard of Surinamese descent then again asks me very bluntly, "so that hair spray, do you inject it into your head?"

By that point it was already evidently clear that these tolerant Marechaussee guys were gonna put my life at risk because they couldn't care to do a simple Google search and were only paying attention to my Colombian face. 

They lock me in a cell where I have my own toilet, a TV bolted onto the wall, and a leather mat to throw myself on. Of course you have to sit to watch TV, the glare is too strong if you're lying down, and you have to get up to change the channel since the remote is glued to the wall. There's no soap, so the whole place is just smeared with the feces of previous inmates who touched things everywhere. I watched the Discovery Channel surrounded by shit-stained walls all night, unable to sleep.

Half a day later the sun starts to rise and they let me out for breakfast and a smoke. They provide me with a blue toothbrush that has the toothpaste fused into the fibers of the brush. There's almost no bubbles coming out when I brush, I immediately had a bad opinion of it. 

Little did I know that my opinion of that darn toothbrush would change even more in just a short time. 

The guards knock on the door to my cell, sliding a glass window to make sure I wasn't there waiting to jump them, and then they open it and tell me to put some pants on, that I could have a smoking break, they kindly provided the cigarette. 

In the yard one thing led to another and this Venezuelan guy pulls a shank on me, the blue toothbrush sharpened somehow, threatening that he's gonna ram it up my ass . I pull out the Colombian in me and tell him that if he lounges at me with that shank, I'm gonna bite his nose off. We stare at each other and then we hear the guards start to open the doors to the glorified cage with a metal sunroof. 

Things calm down and I go back to the leather mattress in my room as the Learning Channel blares in the background, unable to believe that a liquid measuring stick almost got me raped at shank-point by a Venezuelan in the Netherlands when all I wanted was to eat a sandwich.

By: D. Abreu Matos

*Elements of story have been changed to protect Mr. Abreu Matos