Missed connections

If you know new commenter India and want to contact her, you can, um, leave a comment. Maybe that will connect you two.

Im india From East Side Primera Flats. Stuck over here in Las Vergas. Im tring to get ahold of some of my people. I just got out of prison, i did a two year rip for some bull shit and lost track of everone. orale pues i hope i here from someone, anyone.

Ceiling of Union Station east lobby

Reminds me of a time I was in Union Station last summer, enjoying some air-conditioning before re-entering the hot sun of Los Angeles. I was looking for a Metro timetable when a man, probably no older than 35, in a white shirt, blue jeans, and dark bushy mustache, asked me, “Hey, you know what bus I got to take to El Monte?”

“Naw, man, don’t know.”

“Thanks, ese. I just got out la pinta [SEM: Twin Towers?] and my homies me están esperando en El Monte. You sure you don’t know which bus I got to take to El Monte?”

I looked at his right wrist and sure enough, he had one of those plastic bracelets I’ve only seen on recently released convicts and hospital patients.

“No, no sé. I think you should ask someone over by the counter. I have some change you could use for a phone call on the pay phone. Here, take it.”

“Thanks, ese. Nos vemos.”

Off he bounced away, looking around the building and enjoying the sun filtering in through the roof, with a cholo bounce in his step (you know what I’m talking about), while I stood there, holding a timetable, astounded someone so calmly told me they had just been released from la pinta.

5 thoughts on “Missed connections

  1. I always run into people who just got out of county in downtown and they seem really kind of lost. There should be some kind of real program after people get processed through there from prison.

    I remember a guy who had just gotten out of county just sat and told me his whole life story while I was waiting for the Montebello 40. He looked so tired. It was weird, because even though he was tired he seemed to be overly positive and he was trying to convey this everything was going to work out (this time) and I was telling him, “Yeah things are going to work out for you.” But in my head I was thinking: How is this guy going to get work? Once you fall into a certain kind of lifestyle how do you get out?

    I thought maybe he would meet some nice (and little bit crazy) woman who would want to spend the time to save him, some women are into that. If you are a woman and get out of jail, probably if you found a nice woman she would save you too.

  2. Sadly, “I just got cut loose from County homes, you got any extra jando ese?”, is not that uncommon an occurence, especially downtown.
    The guy in the story sounds like so many ex Pinto’s, who have at 35 or 40 probably become institutionalized and not used to or comfortable being free.
    Many old camarada’s I grew up with ended up this way and it’s a tragedy to witness, although sometimes age will straighten them out. Case in point,
    One of my tightest homeboys from the old varrio, who was always in the joint, a three or four time loser, and I’ll never forget his statement to me once while waiting for the axe to fall in a court sentencing procedure.
    “Ese, do me a favor and collect my feria that so and so owes me and give to my jefita”. I asked him why not give it to the girlfriend that he lived with and who would be all alone with a small child once he was gone.
    He replied “Chale!, in a week or two she’ll have to hook up with someone else and that vato will probably be wearing my chonies, no, ya estufas with her homes, I’m going to do at least 36 months on this beef and that’s the way life is, tu sabes ese, I lost a beautiful wife and two son’s some other vato has raised the first time I busted, that’s just the movida, the way it goes down ese.”
    This same guy straightened his life out after getting out of prison last time, he was 45 years old and is now 65 and doing fine. He married a girl from the neighborhood that was doing time for heroin and hustling, they corresponded by mail and both got out of prison about the same time, they now live in Idaho, own a second hand store and check to loan business, have about a dozen houses they rent out.
    I laugh when homeboy recounts his last prison experience.
    “Oye’ Mano, I’m too old to do time anymore, there I was up in Q with all these youngsters looking to shank somebody, a pinchi Gladiator School, Chale vale! I just wanted to do my time pero every goddamn day seems like there was some bronca going down, and me an old veterano? A la Madre homes I had my back against the wall, asina como un pinchi mono.”

    I hope the homeboy in the story didn’t end up back in El Monte with his crime partners, I hope he got lost and started a new life.
    It happens sometimes.

  3. You’ll bump into many vatos just out of the pinta in that area near the Twin Towers.
    There’s a Taco Truck just down the street from County near the Bail Bonds where these dudes who just get out savor their “Homecoming” tacos.
    I actually always carry extra Bus Tokens in my pocket when I’m out on the streets. The least I can do is help someone out who’s trying to get somewhere. I once got asked for directions on a sidewalk in Los Feliz by a guy who said he’d been walking all the way from North Hollywood and was walking all the way down to South Gate. I gave him a token to get at least to downtown.

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