j. l. navarro


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It seems a tragedy that he died the way he did.
The Pachuco, I mean. You must have known him. He used to come around a lot. His name was Tito--that's all.
Just Tito. Big, brawny, and always raising hell.


He had a way of walking, too; swaggering down the block like a strident bull. Every one moved for Tito. Never much cared for anything, that dude. He knew he lived for something, but he never knew what for. He only reasoned to a limit. He didn't care for more.
He had it good, that guy. T-Bird wine and H, and all that kind of thing. There was always a broad standing by. Pussy wasn't a must for him. Always a Chola ready to let him in.
Talking his tongue to others, not knowing his way of life, was like listening to another language: "Orale,ese, no se aguite. Te wacho tonight when the rucas come down with their comadres hanging down to here." And then he'd grab his balls.


Good old Tito. He used to say to us, in speaking of his escapades: "Last night I geezed a good one, ese. And the coloradas were all right. I dug the bennies, too, carnal. Everything was firme, ese." He was a vet from long ago: khaki pants and Sir Guy shirts.

He never had a care, that guy. Balling and cruising and making love. That was the trip with Tito. On the corner he'd come around and say to us, "Me gusta la mota cuando traigo una buena ruca." Or: "La Valley y la Clover are getting along, ese." And things like: "I kicked that motherfucker's ass at Bertha's gig the other night." His eyes were hard and cool with lashes long and curling; and for a crown he had rich black hair that shimmered with Three Roses. His appearance said Chicano all the way, and if you didn't like it he'd be bound to say, "Up yours, puto, do something about it."
It's a shame the way he died.

But while he lived he stood tall and proud, bowed
his head to no man at all. He'd cruise and caravan the streets with the other veteranos from the Neighborhood.
He'd drive around in his lowriding short, digging
the sounds and downing Ripple.


And then one night the Man flashed his lights;
and there they stood in the early morning, staring at each other with vindictive looks.
At last the cop said, "What are you doing out so late at night, punk?"
Tito stared back with an abject hate and said "Fuck you, sissy!"
And then they fought, and in a flash the .38 was out, cocked and ready...

I say, carnal, it's a shame the way he died.





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