Thursday, October 21, 2010

P4E.187 The Poor Boys and the Plunge

I'm 7 years old. I live in a suburb of Los Angeles where the Poor Boys are the Mexican gang that rule the streets. I'm just old enough to be aware of them, but I'm young enough that they don't pay any attention to me. One night, I wake up and I can see blue and red police lights dancing through the darkness across the walls and ceiling of my room. I'm too scared to get up. The next day, I find out that someone had been stabbed on our front lawn.

In the summer, my younger brother and I go to the public pool. For a dollar we get a locker and use of the pool. I climb out of the pool, dripping and shivering and run to the spot where we've thrown our towels. The lifeguard yells at me not to run. I lie face down on the wet, warm concrete with my arms to my side and lay my cheek on the concrete. I adjust the giant diaper pin that holds my locker key. I press my whole body down against the warmth of the concrete. The breeze blows over me as I lay there trembling. My eyes are closed and the sun shows bright red through my eyelids. I smell the chlorine of the pool water as it evaporates off the hot pool deck. I hear the water churning as the other children play. The lifeguard's whistle blows, followed by his yells. Kids are laughing. Wet feet run by. I feel the wet warmth under me and the gritty concrete under my cheek. My sinuses ache from water having been up my nose. My right ear suddenly turns warm and tickles and I can suddenly hear better as the water drains out of it. The sun warms my backside and it feels good.

My friend Ricardo comes and asks if I've heard. No. What? Julian is dead. What? His older brother, Sammy, wouldn't join the Poor Boys. He didn't want to be in the gang. So they killed Julian to teach him a lesson. Nah ahhh. It's true! How did they kill him? They ran him over in their car when he was crossing Figueroa. Ohhh. You lie! I jump back in the pool...

This was re-posted on 11.01.10 at LL Barkat's Seedlings in Stone, In On and Around Mondays


  1. How achingly devastating, Kim. Is this really you? Seven years old? How my heart hurts for that little boy. I see that you are a man of passion and deep conviction now. What a story you must have to tell.

  2. Thanks for stopping by, Laura. Yes, it was really me! I have been a shallow man with little moral fiber. I'm working on it...

  3. And yes, the story is unfolding!