At just before 4 PM on an improbable sky-blue Kodachrome afternoon, I slung my bike onto Bronx River Parkway speeding south with the reckless abandon of Johnny Strable in The Wild One.
Yeah, for a few precious minutes, I was a dark, brooding Marlon Brando and the lightly-used black HONDA CB300F I’d gotten from Kalidou — an undocumented peddler of counterfeit Louis Vuitton bags, who had crossed the Sahara desert in the bed of a Hilux pick-up truck, the Mediterranean from Sabratha in Libya (where he was ransomed and tortured by his traffickers) to Sicily where the mafia made him pay for his freedom all over again, then to Ecuador where he cleaned urinals in Quito’s enormous JW Marriott for two years to save the money to get through Mexico to the US and eventually New York City — in lieu of an overdue account, was Johnny’s Triumph Thunderbird 6T.
And Monica was Mary Murphy who was Kathie Bleeker.
She’d bought my dark, brooding bullshit hook, line and sinker and was pressed against my back gripping my thighs with hers tightly enough that it made me invincible.
And her arms were bear-hugging my chest where I supposed the fucking rock was sun-shining on her ring finger.
Which broke the spell and pissed me the fuck off — Era un pendejo!
So, I told her unreasonably and in spite: “I don’t like that people die near you and leave you stuff”
“Then, it’s good they don’t need your permission,” she bit back so close to the growth of fine vellus hair on my earlobe that it tickled everywhere. “They only need my blessing! --- Solo necesitan mi bendición!”
As we approached the East Gun Hill Road exit, a shirtless, shoeless, hopeless bronze-skinned teenage boy wearing the red-bandana of Grizzlies Bloods gang, ran along the median of the parkway towards us gushing blood from numerous holes and slashes in his chest and about his kidneys, caused by the knives, machetes and tree-trunk-spears of a hungry chasing pack of Trinitarios boyz; who might never live long enough to become men.Decked out in gang appropriate lime green bandanas and scarves that were often repurposed as belts --- flashing forearms inked "Dios, Patria, y Libertad;" the official tag of the Dominican Republic whose flag they wore on their wife-beater shirts and their top-to-tail inked skin.
The slogan translates more or less to God, Fatherland and Freedom, which translates more or less to ‘Blut und Boden’ the official tagline of Hitler’s Nationalist Socialist party, which translates more or less to Blood and Soil.
Which meant to the Nazi’s that the right to rule as ‘Supreme Beings’ or even exist is based solely on ethnicity and the territory controlled.
Which means to the Trinitarios, a murderous drug-dealing gang born out of the pressure-cooker violence of Rikers Island jail, that the right to rule as ‘Supreme Beings’ or even exist is guaranteed only by the accumulation of great wealth; which is best achieved by securing and continuously expanding the organizations’ retail territory by brutally eliminating any and all competition.
The Trinitarios cruelty goes all the way back to Columbus and his merry men who tested the sharpness of their blades by cutting their Taino Indian ancestors in quarters, beheading them, and throwing them into vats of boiling soap alive. Suckling infants were snatched from their mother’s breasts only to be pitched headfirst into large rocks for sport.
The relationship between the Supreme Being’s and Taino woman is explained by Columbus’s buddy, the Italian adventurer Michele de Cuneo like this:
“While I was in the boat, I captured a very beautiful Carib woman, whom the said Lord Admiral gave to me, and with whom, having taken her into my cabin, she being naked according to their custom, I conceived desire to take pleasure. I wanted to put my desire into execution but she did not want it and treated me with her finger nails in such a manner that I wished I had never begun. But seeing that (to tell you the end of it all), I took a rope and thrashed her well, for which she raised such unheard of screams that you would not have believed your ears. Finally we came to an agreement in such manner that I can tell you that she seemed to have been brought up in a school of harlots.”[ii]
Rule #1 in the Trinitarios membership handbook is to move in and take over the corner drug trade after exterminating or effecting a hostile take-over of the neighborhood dealers.
Rule #2 is that anyone who disrespects the Trinitarios must be swiftly, and severely, punished. The punishment typically follows a pattern: A pack of Trinitarios, armed with machetes and knives, hunt down and swarm their victims, stabbing and slashing them multiple times, as had happened with the bronze kid that was staggering up the median towards us.
So, we did the Samaritan thing and swerved up to the median, where the Trinitarios did the J. Bruce Ismay --- captain of the Titanic --- thing and scattered leaving the kid writhing on the ground that his wounds were scatter-painting blood red.
Monica took the punctured kid in her arms and kept him there until a procession of ambulances arrived with a column of cops that recognized us right away and might have asked us to pose for selfies if the kid wasn’t more than half the way dead.
The kid opened his eyes for a few moments on his short journey from Monica’s arms to a starting-five of Paramedics and ride that would save his life, smiled thinly and wrapped his lips around a consonant.
I suppose it was a T and he was trying to thank us.
Monica shushed him, but he tugged on the sleeve of the lead paramedic as if it were an emergency break and broke our hearts.
It turned out that his crime was to have broken up with his Trinitario girlfriend at the ripe old age of thirteen: “We’ve been living in a shelter since April,” he bled indifferently, like it didn’t much matter to him at all. “I split up with mi Jeva a few months before that. She is a Trinitario. I am a Blood. It wasn’t going to work!!!”
Monica acknowledged the kid with the starkest of smiles, but the little that was left of the whites of her angry dark eyes were bloodshot: “Estar bien con Dios y con el diablo,” she said to the kid but challenging me to prove that you can please both God and the Devil.
“Mami tried to move us to Brooklyn after they beat me up the first time at school, but nobody did nothing — not the NYPD, the Department of Homeless Services or the Department of Education even after they beat me. So, I stopped going to school or any of my regular places. But today they found me smoking a hookah in Bronx River Park, chased me through the woods and cornered me on the Parkway, where they stabbed me again and again and again,” he cried, thumping the stretcher with the bottom of his fist.
And then he winced.
“Kid, close your eyes and rest.” Monica proffered because we couldn’t stand his pain.
“Pretty lady my name is Little Romeo and I ain’t no kid, I’m a rapper, and when l close my eyes, I feel every stab in my body --- in and out and in and out like giant needles from a fucking zombie,” the kid rhymed to the key of life.[iii]
“Your job is to live a little longer, little warrior,” Monica blew back as the paramedics slotted Little Romeo into the back of the ambulance, “for your mami and her mami and so you can tell your kids stories with happy fucking endings --- Y así les podrás contar a tus chamacos cuentos con pinches finales felice.”[iv]
Monica waved goodbye and blew a kiss that shouted see you later.
I looked away.
I didn’t want to get too vested in the outcome:
We resumed our Diarios de Motocicleta voyage of discovery along the Bronx River Parkway, speeding through disjointed, weaving, traffic from one crime scene to another.
At East Gun Hill Road we filtered off the parkway passing a cluster of three Little League baseball fields and the huge Cube Smart Self-storage facility on Bartow Avenue, which does double duty as a warehouse for material things we don’t need (and likely never needed) that are manufactured using forced labor in China,
and stockpiled narcotics we no longer need, as addicts have increasingly swapped cocaine and heroin and cocaine? for fentanyl --- an ultra-potent synthetic opioid that is manufactured using forced labor in China.As a result, the market price for opium in Mexico’s top poppy-growing state, Guerrero, has plummeted from $1,300 a kilo to $200, and retail demand for traditional narcotics has evaporated, which brings us back to the stockpiles.
We jumped on the I-95 South at Boston Road in time to get a cat-bird seat view of Pelham Bay Park and beyond it, City Island — a 62% white working class ‘riviera’ (perhaps because it’s 62% white) that was once a fishing village having been snatched from Siwoney and Lenape Indians — from the bridge.
We entered Throggs Neck, a narrow spit of land at the southeastern tip of the Bronx, which demarcates the passage between the East River and Long Island Sound, from East Tremont Avenue.
By the time we made the right off East Tremont to slide up to the curb in front of the 45th Precinct station house at 2777 Barkley Ave, it was the short distance to the front door before 5 PM, the shadows were a little longer, and Monica was making a sweet ‘Shit, Damn, Motherfucker’ type chorus out of “puñeta, mama bicho, traga leche.”
When I cranked my head around to find out why, she was holding her phone six inches from her face swiping through five stills taken from surveillance footage of Joy’s arrest.
In the next, the Beasts and a few White Nationalists in military tin caps wearing the Star-Spangled Banner like WASPs on the Upper East Side wear Hermes scarfs around their thin necks, invaded the event throwing punches — the caption said that they were singing “This Land is Our Land” in the faces of us mere-mongrels as Supreme Beings are entitled to do.
In the third, a Supreme Being topped off by an NRA branded baseball cap was pointing an AR-15 at Joy. It was decorated in white painted letters and numbers from the Latin, Cyrillic and Georgian (Mkhedruli) alphabets and with white nationalist symbols, like the confederate flag, and slogans, like “Make America Great Again” and “14,” which refers to passage in Adolf Hitler’s autobiography Mein Kampf that has become a popular meme used by the foot soldiers of the alt-right and is close to every God-fearing Supreme Being’s heart.
"We must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children."Also, painted on the rifle in the same rough and ready letters, white letters of various sizes, was a roll-call of the Supreme Being’s heroes:
Supreme Cowards, such as:
Brenton Harrison Tarrant — the 28-year-old Australian man, white supremacist who killed 51 people and injured 49 others in two consecutive terrorist attacks at mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, during Friday Prayer on 15 March 2019.[vii]
Alexandre Bissonnette — the university student who burst into the Quebec City mosque on Jan. 29, 2017, and opened fire on the 40 men and four children who were chatting among themselves after evening prayers.
Luca Traini — an Italian extremist who targeted black migrants, injuring six in February 2018.
Josue Estebanez — Spanish neo-Nazi who fatally stabbed 16-year-old anti-fascist protester Carlos Palomino in the heart in Madrid in 2007.
And a bunch of other Kunts!
The fourth frame showed an angry white skinhead inadvertently saving Joy’s life by throwing a punch at her. As in dodging the punch as she dodges one bullet and then another.
The buffed twin brass front doors of the 45th Precinct glinted in the late afternoon sun as if to greet us and a half dozen reporters rushed to meet us as we approached the precinct, but with cops protecting our front, rear and both flanks, we ducked inside a chaotic station house untouched.
There, Joy, still cuffed, and flanked by lady-cop Michelle Dowd and man-cop Denny Tyrell was giving Diaz and new appointed precinct Commander, Captain Carlos Ghonz the gospel truth, in a euphoric impromptu accapella cover version of Mavis Staples, “Turn Me Round” accompanied by the handclaps and hallelujahs of two weathered hookers that found renewed hope in her resistance:
“I ain't gonna let injustice turn me around/Turn me around, turn me around/Ain't gonna let injustice turn me around/I'm gonna keep on a-walkin', keep on a-talkin'/Marchin' up to freedom land.
Monica let Joy finish before swiping Ghonz and Diaz through her five surveillance snaps and then she swiped back to rest her case with snap number three — the shooter on the loose. Diaz shrugged, he wasn’t going to let an inconvenient truth get in the way of his mission.
Ghonz, who was only three months on the job, having been transferred to command the 45th Precinct from the 46th Precinct, when its previous commanding officer, Deputy Inspector Danielle Raia, and executive officer, Captain David Dent were asked to resign having frequently signed in as working when they were out fishing off City Island with a local Don in his 61 ft 1989 Birchwood 61 Motor Yacht, had job security on his mind:[viii]
“Fuck it Diaz, we are way past a little light intimidation, we’ve got a fucking shooter on the loose. So, I’m gonna take off the fucking bitches cuffs and send out a fucking APB. And we’re gonna bring the shooter in before some unfortunate bastard gets hurt in the fucking crossfire, so I only hope the Mama Guevo isn’t one of yours?”
The number of reporters had multiplied by the time we got outside.
And they had pressing questions that needed to be answered.
“Joy, do you think this will affect the result of today’s primary election?”
Which Joy parried with “No, I was going to win without the martyr bonus points!”
So, “Are you going to sue the city?”
Which Joy swabbed away with: “No the city needs every penny it can get to make it livable for all of us.”
Finally, Reena Roy an Indian-American reporter on the rise at CBS News Channel 12, with hard eyes, slender lips and a gaze that made fools suffer — who had become a local celebrity when she was soaked on live TV as if in a wet t-shirt competition by kids cooling off with water guns in a Bronx playground — stepped forward and thrust her iPhone, gripped by a perfect set of blood red claws, in Joy’s face.
@therealkunt had just tweeted: “We have to prepare for civil unrest.”ix And an image of himself promoting a video game titled “OPERATION KUNT”
The next tweet was a close up of Kunt’s gun, which was the spitting image of the one used by her would-be assassin except that instead of paying homage to heroes, it was a gun-metal canvas for Kunt's pet hates and fetishes: JFK, Hillary (“Scorned Kunt”)[x], Malcolm X, John McCain, Pocahontas (Elizabeth Warren), Nicolás Maduro Moros (President of Venezuela), and Obama who “sucks.”
“Snap” said Joy to the wind that had picked up a little. And Monica hugged her, because she was afraid of what might come next.
But Joy was fearless.
She turned to the hacks with their iPhones and Nikons cocked and said quietly:
“At the time of our greatest despair, there is always hope! At the time of our greatest need I will be there to help. At the time of our greatest opportunity we will seize it together and Knock Down the House.”