David Soto Writes

I think I figured out what I want to be when I grow up.

Tag: cholo

Maria’s First Dance Part 2 – Post 18

Knowing that the dance was over at 10:00, Hector arrived at the Kims’s at 10:15. He anticipated that he would have to wait five minutes or so, but after 20 minutes had gone by, he began to worry. By 10:45 he was knocking on the Kims’s door trying to communicate with Mr. Kim about the whereabouts of their daughters, but he had no luck. Mr. Kim spoke neither Spanish nor English. By 10:55 Hector had said “Fuck This” and drove off looking for his daughter.

There was not much to Hector Rodriguez. He was of below average height and below average build, but years of manual labor yielded him above average strength. He was quite the athlete too. He played minor league baseball for one season but gave it all up when Espi became pregnant with their first born. He would have liked to continue playing baseball, but his mother told him his decision to stop having fun and go to work was made as soon as he put his “pito” into Espi.

Hector settled for beer league softball for the rest of his days. His years as a landscaper built and strengthen his legs and lower back. His short stature made it easy for him to get down to the ground. He was a hell of an infielder. Nothing could get past him. He loved playing shortstop or even third base, but because he was the only member of the senior league team who could still squat, the team usually posted him behind the plate.

Hector drove the route he anticipated the girls would take to walk home. There was no sign of them. When he got to the high school, he saw that it was dark and empty, except for one car. From a distance, it seemed that there were some people there hanging out, so he pulled into the parking lot to ask them if they had seen the two girls. When he got closer to the car, he could see that the people hanging out were actually a couple that appeared to be fighting. Oh great, he thought, this is the last thing I need. He thought about just driving off but then he thought what if the woman was in trouble. He thought at least the approach of his car would interrupt the conflict, but it didn’t. The cholo was too high to hear or see the approaching vehicle.

“Son of a bitch!” Hector said aloud when he realized he found his daughter.

Hector reached back behind the front seat looking for anything he could use as a weapon as he got closer and closer to the Caprice Classic. He fumbled through the dirty t-shirts, change of shoes, and empty bottles of Mexican Coca-Cola until his hand felt something familiar, his $200 32oz aluminum Louisville Slugger.

As Hector approached the cholo on foot, he thought a little about how hard to swing. At the moment, murder was not something he wanted to have on his conscious. When he swung, it wasn’t with everything he had, but it was enough. The cholo never knew what hit him.

“Daddy!”

“Did he violate you?”

“Daddy, Kim is in the car!”

“Did he violate you?” Hector stood there panting, both hands at the bottom of the bat’s handle, pointing it at the knocked out cholo. He wasn’t even looking at Maria. At this moment, Hector was no longer a rational man thinking of avoiding a murder charge. He was one word away from bashing in the skull of Flaco.

“No, daddy. He didn’t!”

Maria’s words snapped Hector out of his trance. “Get in the Tahoe, Mija.” He let Flaco be and reached over to open the back door to the Caprice Classic. In it, he found Little Joker having his way with a crying Kim Kim. “Hey!” Hector said. “Get the hell off of her.”

“What the fuck?” the large cholo said as he withdrew from Kim as well as the back seat of the car.

Maria hadn’t listened to her father. While he was distracting Little Whatever, she was on the opposite side of the car helping Kim regain her composure and get to safety. When she got a chance to look over at her father, she couldn’t see him. The cholo was so big that he concealed Hector from her just by standing between the two of them. Maria thought there was no way her father could win in a fight between him and Little Joe.

From the front seat of the Tahoe, Maria could see the big cholo swing his boulder of a fist toward Hector’s head. “Daddy!” she screamed. Maria didn’t have to be concerned very long. Within seconds cholo number two was on the ground, and she saw her dad standing there raising his bat over his head to let it come down across the back of Little Shorty for good measure.

*

When the cholo began his swing, without thinking, Hector dropped into a squat as if he was going to pull weeds or catch a pitch. Little Joker completely missed, and when the coast was clear, Hector stood up with all the force of his cocked legs and caught the cholo right on the chin with the very top of his bat. As bad and tough as he was, the big cholo found out that night that he had a glass jaw.

While digging through Flaco’s back pocket, Hector addressed little Joker or Shorty or whatever the hell his name was. He was down but still conscious. “I’m taking your drivers license. I know who you are and I know where you live. Either of you two fuckers ever touch my daughter again, and I’ll send my son after you, and he is not as nice as I am.”

The big cholo placed his palm on the ground as if he was going to begin to get up, but Hector gave him another whack across the back and then dug out his wallet.

Years later, while telling the story of this very night at a family holiday party, Maria would ask her dad what made him take the cholo’s drivers licenses. “I don’t know,” Hector said, “Saw it in a movie, Fight Club!”

Maria’s First Dance Part 1 – Post 17

In 9th grade, Maria was finally allowed to go to a school dance. It wasn’t a formal one. It was one of those that took place on a school night. Still, Maria was excited to finally go to a dance.

Even though he gave his blessing, Maria’s Father, Hector, was still a little leery. He knew the day would eventually come that he was going to have to let his little girl go out at night unchaperoned, but he thought the event would be filled with clergy and maybe even God himself supervising.

Maria’s longtime friend Kim invited to the dance. Kim’s first name and last name were both Kim. Maria met her in elementary school. Kim Kim wasn’t known as Kim Kim then. Back then, she was Mi Na Kim. Mi Na’s parents had immigrated to the states before Mi Na was born. After years of complaining, the Kims decided to let their kids change their names to something “more American-sounding.” Mi Na’s older brother, Sun, picked the name, John. Mi Na picked, Kim. Assuming she would one day be married and that her last name would change, Kim’s mom didn’t see and issue with it. Of course, it never ocurred to her that Kim could marry another Korean with the last name of Kim.

Kim and Maria were schoolmates from kindergarten until the Kims decided that paying for high school was out of the out of the question. So while Maria got dropped off for her first day of high school at Junípero Serra High School, Kim walked several blocks to her first day of school at Gardena High. This is why Hector had a problem with Maria going to the dance; because it was at the public school.

Statistics aside, Hector assumed that everything about public school was sinful. Public school kids did drugs and had sex. Catholic school kids did too, but Hector was blind to this fact. Never mind that he met his wife, Espi, when she was attending a Catholic high school, and they did drugs and had sex then.

Where Hector did have cause for worry was the violence. Gardena High had its share of gang activity and, as a result, there were at least two on duty Gardena PD posted there during school hours.

The plan was for Hector to drop off Maria at the Kims’s. Maria and Kim would walk the few blocks to the dance and return as soon as it ended at ten o’clock. Maria and Kim would then walk back to Kim’s house where Hector would be waiting to take Maria home.

*

It turns out Kim was having the secret relationship with a junior named, Antony. He went by Tony. There were two reasons why this relationship was kept a secret from Kim’s parents. One, he was older and two, he was black. To the Kims, open minded was allowing Kim to date other Asians, not specifically Koreans. But they were heavily partial to her dating other Koreans.

Maria spent most of the dance sitting alone, while Kim and Tony rubbed their groins together rhythmically on the dance floor.  She couldn’t wait for it to be over. She was grateful when the lights came on, and it was time to leave, but Kim was in no hurry to leave.

Outside of the gym Kim told Maria, “Wait here a minute, ok?” Just before she disappeared into a dark corner with Tony.

“Oh my god, Kim, hurry. My dad is gonna be waiting for me.” Maria,  patiently waited for her friend to finish whatever it was she was doing. She stood there in the cool night air watching the gymnasium empty until finally, the last person walked out. This person kicked up the door stop allowing the door to close, and automatically lock itself when it latched shut.

With the parking lot nearly empty and no foot traffic, the ambient noise level dropped enough that Maria could hear the faint sound of moans coming from the dark corner to where Kim. Maria was still unsure of exactly what was going on over there in the darkness, but in the back of her mind, the sounds were familiar. As if she had heard them before one night in bed when she couldn’t sleep, coming down the hall from her parent’s bedroom.

“Kim, let’s go!” It had been 10 minutes since that the doors of the gym were closed. No response. While pacing around a bit to help the time pass by, she got a glimpse of the parking lot. There were only two cars still parked there. One of them must have been Tony’s, she assumed. Maybe he could give us a ride, she thought.

Five more minutes had passed when she heard a woman’s voice shout, “Antony.” Right away, Maria knew it was not Kim who yelled his name. One- it was not Kim’s voice. Two- Kim called him Tony. And three- It was coming from a dark figure walking up from the parking lot towards Maria. “Antony!”

She was a tall, lanky woman. She wore pajama bottoms, house slippers, an oversized t-shirt, and a scarf wrapped around her head. Her breast visibly swung underneath her t-shirt like a grandfather clock that had two pendulums, if one were to exist. She pronounced his name Ant-nee as if there was not an “o” in it at all. Despite the woman’s youthful face, Maria knew the look of a mother. And this one was Tony’s.

“Hello, young lady,” said Tony’s mother. “Have you seen a tall, skinny, light skinned black boy around here?” Before Maria could respond, Tony’ walked out from the dark corner.

“Mama?”

“Boy, what the hell is wrong with you? Got me waiting in the car like a got damn chauffeur?” She didn’t wait for a response. “Let’s go!”

Right then, Tony’s mom was startled by a little Korean girl who appeared from same dark corner Tony had just come out of, still primping herself as not to look like she had just been violated. Without a word, Tony’s mom’s eyes went from Kim to Tony, her jaw dropping in the process.

The change of his name to Tony, the strut in his walk, the shit talking, the bad ass attitude, everything, everything he had done to establish himself as a thug was rendered null and void as Tony got his ass beat by his mama all the way to the car.

*

“There goes our ride,” Maria said.

“Huh?” inquired Kim.

“I thought that one of the cars down there was his and that he could give us a ride. But apparently, that was his mom’s car.”

“Yeah. That’s kind of disappointing,” Kim said. “But now it makes sense that he wanted to do it behind the gym and not in his car.”

“You guys did it,” Maria asked.

“Uhh yeah. We’re freshmen; we’re supposed to be doing it by now. It just…”

“Just what?” Maria asked hoping for to hear some form of regret from her friend for becoming sexually active so early.

“I thought I was doing it with a guy who drove.”

Maria couldn’t understand how her friend was so nonchalant about sex. The church had her believing that it was strictly for her future husband and that only sinners and harlots, had sex before marriage. Eventually, though, Maria would convince herself that sex with someone you love was equally as virtuous.

“We have to go,” Maria said. “I am going to be in so much trouble. My dad is going to be fuming by the time we get to your house.”

“There is still a car in the parking lot. Maybe it’s someone I know. I have a lot of friends here,” Kim said.

Guy friends? Maria thought.

The parking lot was in the direction they had to walk anyway, so Maria saw no harm in seeing if the driver was someone Kim knew. It wasn’t.

*

Thick plumes of smoke and the music of Brenton Wood rolled out from the cracked window of the Caprice Classic. In it were two Cholos sitting in the from seat getting higher with every inhalation. Though not related, they looked like twins. Same shaved head, same khaki Dickies, same black Nikes. Their only differences were their stature and choice in t-shirts. The taller one with the muscles, who was probably called “Little” something (Joe, Shorty, Joker, whatever), wore a white wife beater. The skinny one, probably called “Flaco,” wore a plain, white, crisply pressed t-shirt. Flaco was behind the wheel, and Little Joe was in the passenger seat.

Technically Flaco was a student at Gardena High though he never went. His truancy was why he was on his second attempt at the 12th grade. Little Shorty had dropped out the year before to work and party. He was Flaco’s guest to the dance. They had hopped on picking up some girls but weren’t having any luck. They left the dance for the parking lot to get high and never went back.

For over 90 minutes Flaco had been rambling on about girls, drugs, cars, and money. Not once did he notice that Little Joker hadn’t said a word. As Maria and Kim approached the car Little Whatever finally spoke, “Oye, güey. Mira la Chinita!”

Kim was, of course, Korean, but to cholos, it was just easier to classify all Asians as Chinese.

When Maria got close enough to the Caprice Classic, she knew that they weren’t getting a ride. She didn’t recognize the car in particular but she recognized the type. Thanks to her older brother, she was well educated in the ways of the cholo. “We’re walking home,” She told Kim. “Trust me. You do not want to get in that car.”

“Let’s go, Homes,” Flaco said to Little Joe as he patted him on the side of his leg with the back of his hand while he opened the driver’s side door. “You can have the Chinita. I’ll take the shorty.”

Although she didn’t want to, it was easy to get Kim into the backseat of the Cholo’s car. Maria was resisting but not too much. Flaco had already grabbed her by the wrist when she stared backing away as he approached her and it hurt. She knew not to get in the car but she also knew she didn’t want to resist to harshly. She was afraid of provoking a violent response from the cholo.

Maria realized that she was in a predicament, unaware of how she was going to get out of it. At least she wasn’t in the situation her long time friend was in. For the second time that night Kim found her skirt raised up over her ass. Little Shorty was working on getting an erection. Though Kim had said no repeatedly, he was not convinced. He mistook Tony’s secretions for Kim’s and thought for sure she wanted him. If he had only known what it was that was on his fingers, his attempt to rape Kim Kim would have ended right then and there.

Flaco was now kissing Maria on her neck. He had gone for her mouth but she turned her head in disgust. Tears silently rolled down Maria’s face. She thought herself helpless as she felt Flaco’s hand begin it’s decent into her panties. She tried to push him away but he had her firmly pinned between the car and himself. His fingers were past her waistband and now working their way through her pubic hair. Maria started pounding on him with the side of her fist on her one free hand but it was useless. Flaco’s fingers were now past her clitoris and poised to enter her forcefully. Maria braced herself and closed her eyes. She prepared to feel something, for the first time in her life, enter her vagina. That’s when she heard the thunk of something metal and hollow. When she opened her eyes, Flaco was out cold on the ground, his hand no longer down her panties, and standing there with an aluminum baseball bat in his hand, was Hector.

I am excited to post this. I worked for over a month on this chapter and its continuation. I can usually write a chapter in one sitting but that was not the case for this one. I hope the reason for telling this story of Maria in high school will be understood later in the book.

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