Just One Shot....
...another tale from the 'hood
Frankie Firme ~ Contributing Editor
Anna Godinez was sleeping on the couch on the living room when she was awakened by the sound of a car door closing outside and a woman's laughter, followed by a man's voice asking her to "shush".
Published on LatinoLA: August 4, 2008
Too tired and in pain to get up from the couch quickly, she recognized the voices. It was the voice of Rudy, her man, and a female voice she recognized. She began to think back....
Anna and Rudy had been together since high school. He the tough, muscular lowriding cholo, and she the voluptuous and gorgeous long haired brunette chola. Together, they cut quite a picture. Two years older than she, Rudy always took control of her, and in a way she had preferred it that way...up to now.
Her father, a career U.S. Marine, was killed in Viet Nam when Anna was barely 14 in 1971, and her older brother Louie died from a drug overdose two years later. She longed for male companionship and attention.
With no other family members in California, and Anna's mother reduced to an alcoholic in perpetual mourning, Anna was pretty much left to grow up and raise herself when the family moved back to East L.A. after her father's funeral in San Diego.
Anna was a scared and lonely teenaged girl when she started Garfield High School in the fall of 1972. Always having been athletically gifted, Anna was a natural for sports and had no problems making the swimming, track, and softball squads. Sports was her way of staying active and making friends without having to go out into the streets for teen aged excitement and entertainment...but yet, the streets called out to her in a way that frightened, yet fascinated her.
East L.A. was a vibrant city of lights, music, parties, and Chicano lowriding in 1972, and she longed to be a part of the excitement of being young after dark.
Being athletic and healthy resulted in Anna developing a voluptuous and muscular woman's body by the time she started her senior year. Short, yet curvey, she fit well into all her clothes, and boys used to cut class just to watch Anna and the other girls take up swimming practice in their tight Speedo bathing suits. Anna would be embarrassed, yet complimented, whenever the boys would whistle and cheer when she climbed out of the pool.
Over the summer prior to her senior year, a couple of her older female cousins from Texas came to stay for a few months, and Anna was overjoyed to have some family, especially female, spend some time with her, as her mother was always in a drunken stupor. Never given any motherly or life advice, Anna was pretty na?»ve in the ways of a woman until Silvia and Luz came along.
They talked and joked about sex and men, taught her how to put on make up and style her hair, took her shopping for the latest clothes, taught her the latest dances, and basically gave her a crash course on how to be pretty, cute, sexy, and seductive...in short, how to be a woman.
Anna loved it, and couldn't wait for school to start so the "new Anna" would be on display for the world to see. She would plan her wardrobe five days in advance. She became an expert at putting on "catwoman" eye make up and lipstick, and her made up face and smile could melt a boy from across the street. Going to local parties in the neighborhood gave her a chance to show off her new dance skills, and the boys would line up to dance with her. Anna began to feel a sense of power like never before.
Just before they left, Silvia and Luz took her to a local mall for the "final test".
"Remember...strut your stuff, look the guys in the eye and smile like he ain't shit. If he's a boy, he'll smile back and keep on trucking. If he's a man with anything to offer, he'll come up and ask for your number", Silvia said.
"But remember...never give a guy your right number the first time you meet him," Luz laughed. "Make sure he at least has a job and a car, and isn't a bum just looking for a piece of ass...lot's of them out there, Cuz," she said.
"But how will I know?", Ana asked.
"If he's interested and if he's a man worth anything, he will look for you, ask about you, and eventually find you", Silvia said.
"And when you feel that itch & wiggle between your legs...you'll know he's the one!", Luz added, laughing.
That day, Anna gave out seven wrong numbers! Her cousins and her laughed all the way home!
Two months had passed by like a day, and soon Silvia and Luz were saying tearful goodbyes as their cab honked for them outside, waiting to take them to the airport, and back to Texas. She would miss them, and promised to return the visit after high school.
The start of the senior year was an exciting time for Anna. Shunning sports, she now focused on partying and making friends. Her new look turned heads, and got a lot of attention. She became easily popular, and was invited to all the local parties.
About this time, Anna then got another crash course in street life...her first fight.
Walking through the hallway of school with her friends one day, Anna was bumped hard in the shoulder by another girl, causing her to drop her books. When Anna bent down to pick them up, the girl shoved her to the floor, causing laughter among all the students in the immediate area, as Anna fell backwards into a sitting position with her legs wide open.
"Heard you think you're the shit," the other girl said. Anna recognized her as Abigale Hinojosa, her neighbor from up the street, and a feared chola and street scrapper.
"Shit stinks, and can easily be smeared. You see shit, take a deep sniff, and spread it, bitch!" Anna replied, as she got up and counter attacked with a brutal right hook to the girl's face which drew loud "oohs" from the crowd.
As the girls engaged in combat with fists, scratches, kicks, and pulling hair, two large male football coaches broke it up and hauled both girls to the principles office, the girls still both trying to get at each other as the crowd of students roared their approval.
As the school nurse attended to the girl's cuts and bruises, Abigale addressed Anna in Spanish. "Damn...you can throw down, girl. Where are you from? What clique do you kick it with?"
"I ain't from no gang. I'm myself, and I don't take any shit from any bitch...understand, bitch?", Anna replied in Spanish.
Laughing, Abigale replied "Sure do...bitch". A brief moment in silence, and the two girls began laughing , talking and joking like old friends. A sense of respect had developed between them, as they complimented each other's fighting skills, and they continued to jabber in Spanish.
"Now, now," the school nurse interrupted arrogantly, "We speak English here in America. Why don't you show some intelligence and integrate. What are you talking about anyway?", she demanded.
"We're talking about how people that only speak one language are so stupid...know what I mean, dear girl?", Abigale replied in a mock English accent, as both girls broke out into uncontrolled laughter.
Drawing a week's suspension from school, both girls were dismissed quickly, even though they both attempted to say they were just playing around and not actually fighting. On the way home, both girls found out they both had a lot more in common besides living on the same street.
They were both fatherless, with Abigale's father having deserted them years ago, and both their mothers showed little interest in their lives, with Abigale's mother spending much of her time at the local bars in the neighborhood. They had both had to assume control of their lives at an early age, and both were seniors in high school. Both were very attractive for their age, and both had dreams of going to college, and "makin' it".
"I ain't gonna depend on no man to take care of me. What if he just ups an splits? Or dies on me. Where am I? Hell if I'm gonna feel sorry for myself and drink myself to an early grave if that happens," Abigale said. "You only get one shot at a good lifeÔÇªand I ain't wasting mine on no man, no matter how fine he is".
"Yeah...one shot", Anna echoed, "One shot..."
The girls became close friends after that, attending all the local happenings together, cruising with Abigale's friends, and living life, having fun together..
At one of these parties, Anna met Rudy.
Rudy worked at the local tire shop. He drove a nice lowriding car, and was one of most popular boys in the neighborhood. Muscular and tanned, he spent a lot of time lifting weights, and it showed, as he enjoyed stepping out simply wearing a tank top with his shirt neatly folded over his arm as he strutted everywhere he went.
He could have any girl he wanted, and usually did, leaving a trail of young broken hearts after he took their virginity. Girls were but conquests for him. Abigale was one of them, and frequently warned Anna about Rudy.
"Would you like to dance?" Rudy said as he approached Anna from across the room. His jet black air, perfectly greased back and combed to an arch with the sweet smell of tres fores pomade, his manly cologne, his perfectly creased baggy khaki pants and his muscular build accompanied by a seductive smile was just too much for Anna to resist.
Against her better judgement and personal rule, she danced slow with Rudy, feeling his muscular shoulders & chest against her body as they swayed slowly together. Her firm body equally excited him, and Anna could feel his erection as they grinded harder and harder against each other.
Despite advice from Abigale to the contrary, Anna began dating Rudy on a regular basis, going to parties and dances together, spending forbidden nights together.
As would be expected, Anna became pregnant. Instead of being happy and overjoyed, Rudy became angry and despondent, blaming Anna for "trapping him". She refused his daily demands that she get an abortion, and her resolve to make a family with Rudy finally had him succumb to her demands that he move in with her at her mother's house.
Life then became unbearable, with Rudy beginning to drink as much as her mother. She rarely saw her friend Abigale anymore, and Anna graduated from high school scandalously plump and pregnant, with neither Rudy or her mother attending. Rudy had lost his job because of his drinking, and had resorted to crime to pay his bills. He began getting phone calls from other women. He also became verbally and physically abusive towards Anna, berating and slapping her around in regular drunken rages two to four times a week. Anna had to get a part time job during her pregnancy, and she became fearful of Rudy's violent outbursts, and resented his being gone for days on endÔÇªshe was miserable.
"You only get one shot in life", Rudy began yelling one day, as Anna began to object to him getting ready to go out without her, "And you took mine! You let me knock you up, and now think that gives you the right to keep me here like a prisoner? For what? To look at your big panza, and watch your mother drink herself to death? Not me! I'm gonna live some lifeÔÇªI got things to do".
"Please Rudy...please baby...I'm sorry you feel that way. Things will get better after the baby comes, I promise," Anna attempted to console him, hugging him and kissing is neck.
"This is how you got me in the first place! Get off me, bitch!" Rudy said, as he slapped her away. Ana fell back and hit her head, slumping to the floor. She began to cry.
Not checking to see if she was ok, Rudy left the house.
As Anna felt herself slipping off into unconsciousness, the last thing she heard was her mother screaming "Anna! Anna! What happened, mija? You're bleeding."
She woke up in the hospital 2 days later, needles & tubes in her arm, a tube up her nose, and an oxygen mask over her face. She began to squirm but found herself tied down to the bed.
Summoning the nurse, she asked "where am I?", as the nurse undid her restraints.
"You're at White Memorial Hospital in Los Angeles", the nurse replied, "Paramedics brought you in unconscious with a concussion. I'm sorryÔÇª.but you lost your baby. You became a little combative while unconscious, so we had to tie you down for your own safety. How you feeling?" she asked.
"Sick", Ana replied, "How long have I been here?" she asked.
"Two days" the nurse replied. "And nobody has come to visit you. Don't you have any family? And who beat you up? That concussion is more than two weeks old", the nurse asked.
"I'm OK. I'll be alright...", Anna said.
Coming home after two more days, she found her home empty. Her mother had left a note telling her she had left for Texas to dry out, and that the house was hers. "Maybe you and Rudy would do better without me around" the note ended.
Anna began to cry. She felt she had blown her "one shot" at life with the man of her dreams, had lost her baby, and had driven away her mother and best friend. She began to search the house for her father's pistol and found it under her mother' pillow, along with an aged and tear soaked photo of her parents on their wedding day.
Anna was surprised that she found the gun so easily. How many times had her mother contemplated what Anna was now contemplating, she wondered? What had kept her mother from doing what Ana was now thinking about doing?
Going downstairs, Anna made herself a drink and sat on the living room couch. She felt tired and sore, and had decided to end her suffering after she finished her drink, after reliving the past year in her mind...but then fell off asleep before she could do itÔÇª...
Getting up slowly to peek through the curtains, she was surprised to see her best friend and neighbor Abigale, sexily dressed and kissing Rudy passionately, wrapping her leg around his as they leaned against the car in a passionate embrace.
Her man, her best friend!Rage began to fill her heart...
She heard Rudy tell her in a low tone, "Go pack a bag, baby. It's Las Vegas here we come!", he laughed as he patted her on her ass and shooed her along.
As he walked into the house, he found Anna sitting on the living room couch.
Surprised, he said "Oh baby...you're back home...how you feeling?", he tried to sound concerned.
"I'm in pain...I'm tired...I lost our baby, Rudy. ", Anna replied, trying hard not to cry.
"Oh...yeah...I heard. Sorry to hear that. I was going to visit you when I got back", he said.
"From where?", she asked.
"Oh! Don't start that shit again Anna! I don't need to tell you every move make. We ain't married. And now with the baby gone, I don't see any reason to stay here with you no how. Let me have some money, I'll pack my bags, and I'm outta here".
"I don't have any money to give you, Rudy. You can walk for free. Get out", Anna said.
"Oh...it's like that, huh, bitch? Hand over the purse before I kick your ass again. This time, you ain' pregnant, so I don' have to be nice", he said as he slapped her and began emptying her purse on the coffee table.
"You know, Rudy, you have always said we only have one shot in life...and I'm taking mine now!", Anna said as she stood up and fired the pistol into Rudy's face, hitting him squarely in the forehead, killing him instantly.
She then put the gun to her head and pulled the trigger...
..."Damn", she said to herself as the gun failed to fire, "...only one shot!".
She laughed lightly, made herself another drink and sat back down on the couch as she waited for the inevitable...
Frankie Firme ~ Contributing Editor:
Another tale from the upcoming book "When Vatos Locos Ruled the World" by Frankie Firme
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