Was out doing my thing last night–drinking and laughing with the bartender at a local spot–when I spotted two girls staring in my direction. I waved them over and said ‘hola!’
They were real Mexican natives, looking very zapotec, and didn’t speak any English. They wanted to take my picture. I obliged, made them pose, had them both kiss my cheeks, picked them up in the air…it was fun.
The guy who was djing behind the bar came up to me, put his hand on my shoulder, and said “Hey man, be careful” and pointed to two dudes who were watching.
One of the guys looked like a cholo, gold teeth, slicked hair, shiny clothes, scar on his face. I went over to him and said “hey man, are those girls with you?” He said “yeah, sort of” and I replied “well, they act a lot like American girls, chicks are in love with cameras” and he started laughing. He asked where I was from and we started to chat.
He had just been deported from the states after he was arrested in Los Angeles and found to be illegal. His plan was to sneak back over the border in the next few weeks and go back to L.A.
He was in a gang there and told me about gang-life. I live in a neighborhood in New York that is home to a lot of Latin Kings and Bloods. We spoke a bit about that, how there is a shooting every week, usually between gang members, rarely involving anyone outside. I told him about the time I was coming home and came across a guy who had just been shot in the leg, and another time I saw I guy get pistol whipped. He started to go into more detail about his initiation, responsibilities, and duties as a member of the Surenos.
All of the violence is contained between rivals. There are frequent wars with other gangs that could start over turf, old beef, disrespect, anything.
He started to describe one situation with particular energy. His eyes got bright and his voice became more commanding. He started putting his arm around me and squeezing my shoulder to let me know he was serious. I sat there fascinated.
There was a war between his people and a gang of blacks. He said that one night he was out to ‘milk’ or draw blood from one of the other gang members. He was driving around town with four of his guys at night, smoking meth, hunting–they were in a van. One of his guys recognized a black girl walking down the street–she was the girlfriend of one of the rival members.
They stopped, jumped out and drug the girl into the van, kidnapping her. They drove down an alley and each one of the guys took turns raping her. Sometimes in the ass while the other members held her down. They yelled “make sure you tell your man what happened!”
After, they just dropped her into the streets and drove off to report back.
He told me this as I listened, dumbfounded. I don’t think I have ever met a rapist before, but they are out there, and this shit was as real as it gets. Not something some frazzled feminist would yell, but real, bloody, violent rape.
The guy was on the verge of tears as he told me, I listened intently and through my eyes I encouraged him to keep talking. I have been told many times that people find it easy to open up around me, and I do enjoy listening to deeply personal, emotional stories. This was almost too much.
After the story, we spoke about lighter things and his plan to sneak across the border with a ‘coyote’–a guy who is paid to smuggle. As we parted I gave the guy a firm handshake and he pulled me in for a big hug. I said right in his ear “Now stop fucking raping people, and stay the fuck out of jail!” He started to laugh and said he didn’t give a fuck about jail.
Then I went out, danced hard with 6 girls, and banged to get the demons out of my system.
**I expound on the events leading to and following this encounter in my book Go Forth, check it out here.