Friday, October 28, 2005

Jorge's Revenge

I grew up on the North Shore of Long Island. We lived in a relatively affluent town, however my neighborhood was textbook blue-collar. None of us were what you would call poor. Our parents drove used cars, shopped at Sears, and only ate at restaurants on extra-special occasions. Pizza on a Friday night was a real treat.

Summer of 1970. I was 13 years old. My neighborhood was all white. Catholics, Protestants and a couple of Jewish families. Sometime in June of that year, a family of Columbian immigrants moved in. They had been in the country for about 5 years, so all of the children spoke perfect English. They were a big family, perhaps 7 or 8 kids. Carlos was in my grade, and his brother Jorge was two years behind us. They were good kids. Carlos was big for his age, dark skin and black hair, handsome and confident. He didn’t have to fight to prove himself; we knew he could easily kick any of our asses if he wanted to. He didn’t want to. He was a cool kid and wanted to be friends.

One of the boys on the block, Gary, was a real bully and a bit of a delinquent. One time he drove his mother’s car to Delaware. He had switched license plates with one of the neighbor’s cars as a ploy to evade the police. He rolled the car into the street in the middle of the night so his mother wouldn’t hear it start and he was off. The police didn’t catch him. He was low on gas and had spent what little money he had on food. He had to call his mother collect. She took a bus to Delaware and drove him home. He ended up being grounded for about 3 months for that stunt, but it made him a legend in the neighborhood. He was all of 12.

Gary played rough, and we were afraid of him. He could beat the crap out of two of us at a time. Not that we ever tried; we just knew. By the time I’d hit 13, I’d learned to avoid out-and-out fights with him. He had beaten me up in the past more times than I cared to admit. You never knew when he was going to strike. If you wanted to hang out with the boys in my neighborhood, Gary came with the territory and you accepted it.

When Carlos and Jorge entered the picture, Gary was smart enough to know that Carlos wouldn’t take any crap from him, and it was assumed by all that he would protect his brother Jorge, so those two were apparently immune to his tricks. By that summer, I had made friends with kids that I met in school from the next neighborhood over, so I was a part-timer. My new friends were into sports and academics, and I felt more comfortable with them. When I had nothing else to do I would still hang with the local boys. This meant that I didn’t always know what was going on. One, night, what was going on, was that Gary decided that it would be great fun to out of the blue, without any warning, punch one of us in the balls! Since I hadn’t been around, I had no idea when I sat down on the curb with my legs spread that I was about to experience excruciating pain.

Pow! I was in agony and I felt like I might puke. I was doubled-over and gasping for air. Eventually I got up and limped home with tears in my eyes and the sound of Gary's evil laughter fading into the night. I took a hot bath and was little sore but otherwise fine by the next day.

What I didn’t know was that he had gotten Jorge earlier that same day when I was off playing softball with my school-friends. I learned later that Carlos was smiling and did nothing as Jorge silently walked home. No one saw Jorge for the rest of that day, so he wasn’t even there when it was my turn. The following night I was back again, and like the rest of the boys, except for Carlos, Jorge and Gary, I sat there with my legs crossed and on guard. Jorge was standing up. We weren’t paying a whole lot of attention to him. Not only was he younger than us, he was also small even for his age, and he never said too much. Gary wasn’t paying attention to him either; why should he?

Jorge was small, but he was an extremely good athlete, and had been playing soccer since he could walk. He was fast on his feet, and quick-witted as well. He casually moved himself closer and closer toward Gary, who was sitting there with his legs wide open, not a care in the world. Jorge had long pants on, which wasn’t out of the ordinary for a summer night in our neighborhood. He also had on his boots, which had gone unnoticed by all of us except for Carlos, who must have had a bit of a secret grin on his face.

I will never forget what happened next. I can’t remember why, but we were all laughing about something, and Gary was leaning back with his hands behind his him. In a flash, Jorge soccer-kicked Gary right square in the balls. Really, really, hard. The look of shock, pain, and disbelief on Gary’s face, which had turned blue, was absolutely priceless and is engraved forever in my memory. “Finally,” I thought, “he got his!” Gary started to sputter and cough as he regained his wind, and then he began to cry. The rest of us were stunned into silence, except for Carlos, who was laughing quite heartily. When he stopped laughing, I think he said something like, “I told you not to mess with Jorge, but you didn't listen.” Gary rolled a few feet, and then got up and hobbled his way home. We didn’t see him again until two days later. I’m not sure, but I think this was a turning point in his “bullying” career.

What I am sure of is this: small as he was, no one in our neighborhood ever again "messed" with Jorge, especially not Gary.


Anonymous daveminnj said...

that was great!
funny thing is, i thought i had clicked on firedoglake,which is
right below yours on my favorite sites. i'm halfway through and
still thinking this is a scooterlibby-karlrove allegory.
who knows, maybe it was!

3:52 PM  
Blogger Kevin Wolf said...

Excellent. Sometimes things do work out.

5:36 PM  
Blogger cali said...

Everyone loves a story where the bad guy finaaly gets what' he's been dishing out. Good one.

5:43 PM  
Blogger The Heretik said...

Bully for you! Nice work, Glen Cove.

5:44 PM  
Blogger XTCfan said...

The Karmic Wheel does our way ... sometimes we just have to give it a little push. Or kick-start.

agkpndxj (whew)

2:08 PM  
Blogger Soundsurfr said...

Cool story. I remember that ass hole.

12:30 PM  
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