Rolando: Well, Hello

September 9th, 2017

“How’s it going, Ro?”

“I’m good.”

“You sure? You seem a little off.”

“No, I’m good, Stevie.”

“Alright. How was the ride in?”

“It was fine. Took the redline in. It’s Saturday night, so you already know it was packed with assholes.”

“Dude, I like not having to pay for parking when I take the train, but sometimes it’s worth paying the extra cash to avoid mixing in with the riff raff.”

“You’re right. I shouldn’t have been such a cheap ass and paid for parking tonight. So Stupid.”

“Dude, you sure you’re ok?”

“Listen, I’m going to tell you something.”

“Alright.”

“But you can’t tell anyone else.”

“Alright.”

“You just can’t…”

“…Jesus, dude, alright. Out with it already.”

“I’m pretty sure I got sexually assaulted on my way out of the subway station just now.”

“What do you mean by ‘sexually assaulted’ and by who?”

“I mean I got off the escalator at Chicago and State and started walking to work and got sexually assaulted.”

“What? Like someone attacked you on the street? Sexually assaulted how?”

“Stevie, I’m walking up Chicago towards Michigan Ave and someone grabs my ass.”

“Well, first, that’s not really a sexual assault. That’s some dude grabbing your ass as you walk by him…”

“…Whoa, who said it was a dude?”

“It wasn’t?”

“No, it was a girl.”

“You sure about that? That sounds like a perv dude thing to do.”

“I’m positive, I turned around and there was a group of girls walking past. Not a dude in sight.”

“You freakin’ kidding me? Was she hot?”

“I don’t know, I only saw her back. She had one of those long North Face coats girls wear and some knee-high boots on.”

“So let me get this straight, you’re walking to work and a girl, who may or may not have been hot–but probably was hot–grabbed your ass and you’re all bent out of shape about it? Get over it, already.”

“Stevie, it was an unwanted advance. I’m a gentleman. You can’t just go around grabbing my ass. And besides, I have a girlfriend. I’m sure she wouldn’t appreciate some random chic fondling me on the street.”

“Well did you tell her about it?”

“Yeah.”

“What’d she say?”

“She made some jokes about it and said, ‘You do have a nice butt.'”

“Ha! You see, even your girlfriend can see the humor in it.”

“Whatever, man. It’s creepy. And a double standard. And not funny.”

“Sensitive Nancy over here… I wish girls would grab my ass. I’d take it as a compliment.”

“Well I should’ve chased her down and slapped her on the ass.”

“Whoa, whoa, man. You can’t be doing that.”

“What? Why the hell not?”

“Cause that’s just creepy, and wrong and not funny at all. She’s a lady. You can’t be slapping a random lady’s ass.”

“You’re an asshole.”R

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Rolando: One Eyebrow Short

September 2nd, 2017

Last week I had this weird experience where a childhood memory just popped into my head.

Now I’m not talking about when something triggers a childhood memory and you relive the experience–no, not one of those experiences.

I’m saying the damn thing just appeared out of no where. I must’ve suppressed that childhood memory because I had no recollection of it prior to that moment, but it all came flooding back in a flash.

And with it came a tide of  shame and embarrassment, followed by confusion and  a whole lot of unanswered questions.

‘Oh, shit,’ I thought when the memory first popped into my head, ‘I shaved one of my eyebrows off when I was a kid. Why the hell did I shave my eyebrow off?’

I don’t remember all the details of the incident, but I had to be around six or seven-years-old and was taking a bath when I somehow got a hold of my dad’s razor.

I don’t remember actually shaving my eyebrow entirely off, either. I just remember walking into my parents’ room after I got out of the bathtub and the horrified look on my mom’s face.

“Oh my God, what did you do to your face?” she screamed, with a look of complete horror on her face as she gasped.

Instantly I knew I had done something wrong. I played dumb and tried to defuse the situation: “What? What are you talking about?”

“What happened to your eyebrow?” she screamed. “It’s gone.”

A feeling of panic cut through my body as I tried to find an explanation that made sense. Whatever reason I originally had to shave off my own eyebrow wasn’t going to cut it.

I came up with the best excuse my young mind could find: “It just happened. I didn’t do anything.”

That pissed my mom off even more.

“Your eyebrow didn’t fall off your face, Rolandito,” she snapped. “Were you playing with your father’s razor?”

“No.”

“Don’t lie to me, boy.”

“No, mommy.”

“I’m calling your father. Rolando come see what Rolandito did.”

I heard some foot steps from down the hall and then my dad was in the room looking down at me, trying to figure out what it was my mom was all upset about.

“What happened to your eyebrow?” he asked, more confused than angry.

“He shaved it off,” my mom said before I could answer.

“No I didn’t, it just happened,” I said,  still playing dumb.

“Boy, eyebrows just don’t fall off faces,” my dad said. “Were you playing with my razor?”

“No,” I said on the verge of tears. “It just happened.”

“Rolandito, don’t lie to me again,” my dad said, his face as serious as could be.

I knew I was busted, so I came clean.

“Yeah,” I said as I stared at the floor, ashamed that I was caught in a lie.

“Why in the world would you shave your eyebrow off, Rolandito?” my mom asked, her tone changing from anger to flat out confusion.

I didn’t have an excuse, or at least I don’t remember what the original reason why I decided to shave one of my eyebrows off.

All I remember was that a few minutes after admitting that I had played with my dad’s razor, and cut of an eyebrow in the process, something strange and confusing happened.

Both my parents started laughing, I mean, doubled-over with tears in their eyes, they were laughing so hard.

And looking back I can see why. There was their little boy, their first born, wrapped in a bath towel, sopping wet and scared, with one eyebrow.

They laughed for a long time before they were able to settle down and be serious enough to scold me for my actions.

In the end I was relieved that all I got was a scolding. I guess they figured that walking around with one eyebrow for the week or so it would take for the other one to grow back was punishement enough.

But part of me wonders if they didn’t give me a spanking because they felt sorry for me. I mean, shaving off my own eyebrow? Maybe they felt like it was a sign that I was a little touched, that I had special needs.

You know, one eyebrow short….

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Rolando: No Man (Or Woman) Left Behind

August 19th, 2017

We had just finished hiking up a mountain, and were feeling pretty good about ourselves.

We had spent about an hour on the mountain’s peak, taking in the breath-taking views, drinking the celebratory bottle of wine we brought along and generally feeling good about the day’s accomplishments.

After, the group of us, which included a close friend and his girlfriend, began to make the hike back down the mountain.

Fifteen minutes into our descent, we ran into a couple of hikers who were making their way up the mountain.

We exchanged a few words and wished each other well and continued on our way.

We got about hundred feet away from them when one of the hikers called out to us from up the trail: “At the fork in the road at the end of the trail, take a right. The left side has a bunch of houses with crazy dogs.”

“Thanks,” I yelled back as we continued on our way.

We kept on and a couple hours later, we reached the fork in the road. The hiker had said to take the right, but it was more of the same, rocky trail that continued to wind down the mountain. The left side was a paved road lined by very large, expensive-looking houses.

“I say we go left, guys,” I said. “We’ve been hiking half the day on this mountain and still have another hour to go. A paved road will be a lot easier on the body.”

“What about the dogs?” my friend’s girlfriend asked. “The guy said go right.”

“Look at those huge-ass houses. There aren’t going to be any rabid dogs roaming around on the road trying to eat us,” I said. “I’m tired, let’s go left.”

We were all tired, so nobody put up much of a fight.

We made our way down the paved road and past the houses. Some of them had locked steel gates with dogs behind them.

The dogs barked as we passed by, it was a little nerve wrecking at first, but we didn’t seem to be in any real danger.

“You see,” I said, confident that the hiker who warned us had overreacted. “The dogs are locked up and are probably used to protect the houses from burglars.”

We kept on down the road. The dogs kept barking, but none of them posed a threat. After 30 minutes of this, we became fairly confident that we weren’t going to be killed by crazy dogs.

We got about 20 minutes away from the end of our hike when we came across a house with this janky-looking gate that had this huge German Shepard. The damn thing was going ape shit. I mean, really trying to get at us.

He kept slamming against the gate. It was loosely held together by a chain that allowed his head to stick out between the gates all the way to his neck, as he tried to get free.

All the confidence we had built up over our last 40 minutes of hiking drained from our bodies.

“Shit, bro,” my friend said as he moved away from the dog to the far-side of the road, dragging his girlfriend with him. “That dog is trying to get at us like he hasn’t had anything to eat in a long time.”

“Man that’s a damn beast of a dog,” I said. “Let’s get the hell out of here before that fucker gets free.”

We moved ahead, my friend and his girlfriend trailing just behind me, when all of a sudden, the prankster in me struck.

I looked back at my friend and his girlfriend, they looked terrified as the dog continued to slam against the gate, but they kept moving, not turning to look at the dog, but choosing to move as quickly as possible away from the thing.

I waited for the dog to slam against the gate again and then I turned and screamed: “Oh shit the fucking dog is loose. Run!”

I turned and started sprinting down the road while screaming: “Oh, fuck. Oh, fuck. That fucker is coming.”

After about 30 feet, I stopped and turned to see if it had worked.

And damn did it work. Both my friend and his girlfriend were sprinting down the road with looks of complete horror on their faces. I’m talking, ‘Oh my god I’m going to die’ looks.

But that wasn’t the best part. The best part was the move my friend pulled on his girlfriend.

They were side-by-side for most of the sprint, until my friend pulled what is called a swim move.

It’s a move defensive lineman use to get past an offensive lineman.

In a swooping motion, he swung his right hand across her chest and swept her back, creating about two feet of separation between them, and kept on running.

It wasn’t until he ran past me that he realized what was going on.

“You motha fucka,” he screamed as he struggled to catch his breath. “You think that’s funny?”

“What, man?” I said, doubled over with laughter. “It was just a joke. Nothing bad happened.”

“You’re an asshole,” he said as a slight grin appeared on his face, which promptly disappeared when his girlfriend caught up.

“I can’t believe you,” she roared. “You pushed me behind so you could get away.”

“Babe, but the dog wasn’t even chasing us. Rolando was just fucking around.”

“You didn’t know that until after you left me behind for dog bait….”

They argued the rest of the way down the mountain.

It was a bit of a dick move, I admit that, but it was funny as hell.

And they ended up getting over it, anyway.

So it all ended well.

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Rolando: Early Noon Riser

August 12th, 2017

I got a call from my cousin, Theo, the other day. He wanted to get together and hangout.

“Let’s go chill tomorrow,” he said.

“Alright,” I said. “What time?”

“Meet me at my crib at noon. I don’t like to get up too early.”

So the next day I headed over to his place. But when I got there, his wife told me he was still sleeping.

“Well wake that punk up,” I said as I plopped myself down on his sofa.

As I waited, I turned on the TV and began flipping through the channels.

Then I heard my cousin’s wife let out a scream.

“Theo, don’t go out there like that!”

I didn’t flinch. I figured he was coming out of his room in his underwear or something. Theo likes to walk around his house in his draws no matter who’s visiting. I was used to it.

I kept flipping through the channels, trying to find something to watch.

Out of the corner of my eye, I could see a tall, dark figure emerging from the bedroom. It was Theo, I could tell.

I kept flipping through the channels, not even looking in his direction.

“What’s up, bro?” he asked as he continued to approach.

“Chilling, bro. What’s up with you?”

“Shit, bro. Just woke up.”

I kept flipping through the channels.

“That’s cool,” I said.

He stopped about a foot away and I looked up at him. He had a huge grin on his face.

“What?” I asked. “What the hell you smiling about?”

His smile got bigger and he began to laugh. He put both his hands on his hips and gestured downward with his eyes.

As I looked down, I nearly dropped the remote. Of course, he was in his underwear, but he also had a raging boner.

“Bro! Why the hell do you have a freaking boner? You damn animal.”

“What, bro? It’s morning wood. You don’t get morning wood?”

“I don’t want to see that shit. It’s 12:30, it’s not even morning anymore.”

“What? We’re family. It’s ok.”

“Being family doesn’t make this ok, Theo.”

“Come on, bro. Don’t be like that. It’s natural. Every man gets it.”

He began to laugh again as he started thrusting  his pelvis like a Chip N Dale dancer.

“Ahh, come on, man.”

As he pumped he kept repeating: “Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.”

“Get the hell out of here with that shit, man. Go somewhere and take care of that situation.”

Suddenly his smile disappeared and he stopped pumping. He turned around and casually walked away.

“Fine,” he said as he walked toward the bathroom. “I’ll be back.”

A few minutes later he emerged from the bathroom, boner under control.

“You see. All I needed to do was take a pee and it’s gone.”

“You’re sick.”

“You’re so dramatic. It was morning wood,” he said as he plopped down directly next to me on the sofa. “A man can’t walk around his own damn house with morning wood? I gotta lay in bed till that shit goes away so poor little Rolando won’t get offended?”

“I’m just saying, Theo. No one wants to see that shit.”

“Well that life, bro. Sometimes you get morning wood and you can’t stay in bed, afraid of life, till it goes away. No, you have to get up and face the day.”

“Whatever, bro.”

“Now, what are we going to do?”

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Rolando: Red Line Hook UP

August 5th, 2017

-Where you headed?

–I finna go over by Mike’s and them house over there right off the Jarvis stop.

-What you gonna do over there?

–Shit….

-Can I come with?

–You know damn well Mike and them don’t fuck with yo dumb ass.

-Well fuck ‘em anyway. I’m on my own shit.

–Yeah? What you finna do?

-I got me this here pint of Cognac and a fresh pack of Newports. I’m going to the crib and get it right tonight, baby.

–You got you some Newports and some yak?

-Best believe I do, baby.

–Can I get a square off you then?

-Nope, can’t even do it. But I’ll sell you one for 75 cent.

–See, that’s why nobody wanna fuck with yo ass. You too god damn cheap.

-I tell you what. Why don’t you come over the crib and you can get more than a square. You can get some of this bottle and a little bit of some break you off right delight.

–Fool, you done lost your damn mind? Ain’t all the Newports or yak in the world gonna make me go home with you.

-I’ll treat you right, baby.

–You’ll treat me dead. I’d have to kill myself if I ever laid down with yo scrawny, dirty, no front teeth having, ass.

-It’s all the same to me, baby. I’mma get mines with or with out you. This my stop. See ya later, baby.

–Damned fool.

– Last chance, baby. We can… Turn off the lights, and light a candle. Tonight I’m in a romantic mood….

–Boy, take yo dumb ass on.

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Rolando: Manly Man

July 29th, 2017

I consider myself to be a pretty tough guy. I mean, I’m not wrestling gators for fun or any shit like that but I think I can hold my own. I like to consider myself a man’s man; I do my work, accept full responsibility for the good and the bad things that I do and try not to complain much.

Having put that out there, I recently had a couple of experiences that have called my toughness into question.

The first happened about two weeks ago.

I’m walking home down Thorndale after a long day at work. I have my earbuds in and I’m jamming to something intense, completely zoned out.

Now mind you, the stretch between Broadway and Clark on Thorndale is dark as shit. There are old trees that line both sides of the street, blocking out the street lamps. So I can’t see shit.

I’m marching along past one of the larger apartment buildings when I hit the corner and run into a little white woman about half my size.

“Oh, shit,” she screams as she damn near falls to the ground, absolutely paralyzed with fear. Her fear was almost immediately replaced with embarrassment for her reaction at the unexpected sight of a big, bald brown man harmlessly walking home.

My response? I was a bit startled.

Actually, if I’m being absolutely honest with the readers of this fine and reputable website, I let out a squeal like a little school girl at a haunted house.

Well, shit…. She scared me. It was late and I was zoned out jamming to my music and mentally on another planet. I didn’t expect to bump into anyone.

You might as well try to wake me from a nightmare or trance or whatever dream-like states you’re not supposed to wake folks from.

Whatever…. I punked out at the unexpected sight of a little white woman. Who cares?

The second event happened a week later. I’m walking to work and I stop at a light where I see a couple fire rigs rolling by that belong to the town I work in.

I was curious because three of our ER boys had recently made the cut and were in training.

As I look into one of the rigs, I see one of our guys sitting to the left , which made me happy.

Those boys worked their asses off to get on the department and it brought a genuine sense of joy to see one of them living out their dream.

So naturally, and enthusiastically,  I smile and wave. Only, the fire rigs are moving so fast that our guy catches a brief glimpse of me and the guy seated on the right–who I didn’t know and had caught a full glimpse of my goofy ass smiling and waving–was left to wonder why a fully grown man was smiling and waving like a five year old boy who’s dreaming of being a firefighter one day as fire trucks steamed by.

All that was missingwas for me to scream out while jumping up and down: “Yeeeeeaaaahhhhh!!!!!! Fire trucks!!!!Awesome!!!!!”

Anyway…. Just two of the many of my not so proudest moments as a man’s man.

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Rolando: Sunday Morning Torture

July 22nd, 2017

I grew up in a fairly conservative Christian home. And part of growing up that way, included  two, three hour-church services on Sundays, a two-hour service on Tuesday nights and the occasional all night prayer vigil at the church on a Friday.

I know what you may be thinking, that’s a whole lot of Jesus.

It was.

But as a kid, it wasn’t too bad. All my childhood friends went to my church. So we always had a chance to hang out. In between Sunday services, my dad almost always took us out to our favorite Mexican restaurant or our favorite pizza joint.

The church services were long, and as a kid, I almost never had the attention span to pay attention to an hour-long sermon–never mind that it was mostly in Spanish.

There was also the confusion caused by not being able to take part in most of the activities my friends out side of our church took part in.

And the nagging fear of potentially coming home one day and my entire family having been lifted up to heaven in the rapture and me being left behind in the apocalypse because of my sins–heavy shit to wrap my head around as an 11 year old.

No, that wasn’t too bad to deal with.

What really did me in, the thing that made me question the meaning of life, the thing that had the longest lasting psychologically damaging effect was our Sunday morning wake up call.

Every Sunday morning, I’d be deep asleep, dreaming the dreams that sweet, innocent, Puerto  Rican children dream, when the door to my bedroom would burst open–Boom!!!– and standing at the door way was my dad.

“Time for church, boy. Get up.”

“Huh?” I’d ask, still half asleep. “Ok, pa.”

My dad would disappear and, inevitably, I’d fall back asleep.

Few minutes later–Boom!!!

“Huh, huh, I’m up.”

“It’s Sunday, that means it’s God’s day. Get up.”

“I’m up. It’s God’s day, I’m up.”

My dad would leave and once again, I’d go back to sleep.

Now the first two rude awakenings were bad enough, but this last and final move my dad would make, was torture.

Again, the door would blast open, and again my dad would be standing in the door way, but this time he’d have Christian contemporary music blasting from the stereo in the living room, and he’d be singing–scream singing, really–“RISE AND SHINE AND GIVE GOD THE GLORY, GLORY. RISE AND SHINE AND GIVE GOD THE GLORY, GLORY. RISE AND SHINE AND, GIVE GOD THE GLORY, GLORY. CHILDREN OF THE LORD.”

He’d do it over and over until I finally jumped out of bed and stomped my way to the shower to get ready for the day, all the while muttering, “I’m up, It’s God’s day, I’m up.”

Until this day I cringe when I think about those Sunday mornings. And every once in a while on a Sunday morning, even if I don’t have to be up for anything, I’ll wake up in a cold sweat, and mutter, “I’m up. It’s God’s day, I’m up.”

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