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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Rolando: Puerto Rican TV Star

July 15th, 2017

It was Spring 1996 and I was sitting on a coach bus with twenty other kids in front of Newberry Math and Science Academy, ready to start our eighth grade class trip to Washington DC.

I was out of my mind. I was about to go on my first cross country trip without parents.

There were other firsts that trip, too, things that had a profound impact on me.

Like when my buddy, and bus mate, Pete, introduced me to the late great Cuban bassist, Israel “Cachao” Lopez. I listened to him on repeat all through Ohio. And that record shop in DC where, for the first time, I found and listened to a copy of Dizzy Gillespie’s, “Night in Tunisia” and my teacher had to physically pull me out of the shop because I was so entranced and delaying the tour.

And of course the experience of being in DC and seeing all the monuments and just being in a city I had never been to before–all memorable experiences.

Then there was, well, let’s just call her Nancy for the sake of anonymity.

On that trip, amongst the many other firsts that I experienced, at the wise and ripened old age of 13, Nancy became the “woman” that I was going to marry. My true and eternal love.

We had so much in common–so my 13 year old mind reasoned. Nancy is Puerto Rican. am Puerto Rican. Nancy is cute as hell. am sexy as hell. Nancy is on this trip. am on this trip, too!

That’s all I based the idea of our impending marriage on.

The problem was, Nancy and I were always friendly, but she never paid much attention to me beyond a “hello”  back in Chicago. And there was also that I was a chicken shit, too afraid to say anything to her.

One day about three days into the trip my bus mate sat down next to me and said, “Dude, dude, Nancy is back there with Gina and Lisa talking about how cute your are.”

“What?” I said. “Stop playing, bro.”

“I’m serious, bro. I went to the bathroom and could hear them.”

“Tell me exactly what she said.”

“I heard Lisa tell Nancy, “Don’t you think Ro cute?”And then Nancy said, “He is.” Then she said, “He reminds me of Eddie, right? With his hair.” And then they all laughed.”

“Eddie? I remind her of Eddie, with my hair? And why did they laugh?”

“That’s what she said, bro.”

I sat with that for a few hours as we travelled. ‘Eddie with my hair? Who is Eddie?’ 

Then it hit me. Eddie Torres the Puerto Rican detective in the TV show New York Undercover.

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Eddie Torres–originator of the Puerto Rican Duck Lips.

“Yo, she thinks I look like Eddie Torres, bro. The cop on that TV show.”

“Oh, shit, bro…. Wait, you look nothing like that dude. I mean, you’re both Puerto Rican, but that’s it.”

“Nah, that’s it bro. She likes me cause I got that star quality about me.”

The rest of the trip goes by and I don’t say a word to her. I’m just content that she thinks I’m cute, and that I remind her of a Puerto Rican TV star.

Finally, at a truck stop on the way home, I built up enough courage to talk to her.

I approached Nancy, who happened to be with Lisa.

“Hey, Nancy, you have a good trip?”

“Yeah, Ro. You?”

“Yeah. A real good trip.”

“That’s cool.”

“Yeah it is. Listen, I know you think I’m cute and all, and that I remind you of Eddie Torres from that TV show, I just wanted to tell you I think you’re cute too.”

“Oh, I….”

“What?”

“Who told you that?”

“Nah, I just know things and that’s cool that you feel that way. I mean he kind of does look like me, only a lot older.”

Then came another first, happily and at the same time cruelly  provided by Lisa.

“Boy, she don’t think you look like no Eddie Torres from the TV show, that man is fine,  you look like Eddie Munster with your Widow’s Peak.”

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“Eddie… with his hair”

‘Oh no. My Widow’s Peak. I’m not a sexy Puerto Rican TV star, I’m a Puerto Rican version of a black and white freak from a 60’s sitcom about monsters,’ I think as I try to figure  a way out.  

The best I could do was, “Well you’re both stupid. And prevalence of the Widow’s Peak in the male population in this country is less then 3%. So that’s makes me pretty unique, ok?”

Needless to say we never got married.

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Rolando: Bus Stop Chatter

July 8th, 2017

“We’ve been waiting for for forty minutes for this god damn bus, I’m freezing my ass off.”

“Calm the hell down, it’s only been fifteen.”

“Fifteen minutes my ass. We’ve been out here so long I can’t feel my damn ears or my fingers.”

“Well who told your dumb ass to leave the crib without your hat and gloves?”

“I thought we were driving to the party. You told me we were going to ‘roll up to the party’–your words. I didn’t know that rolling up meant on the damn bus.”

“Well my sister needed to borrow my car for work. She’s working the night shift tonight and I didn’t want her to walk home in the morning.”

“Your sister could have taken her ass on the bus. It’s just work. How are we going to look? I’ll tell you, like two assholes rolling up to a party trying to snag some ladies with a couple of bus passes. How do you think that’s going to work out for us?”

“We’ll be just fine.”

“I’m not trying to be just fine. I’m trying to be just getting some.”

“What’s stopping you?”

“My frostbitten balls–fuck it’s cold out here.”

“Here, take a swig off this pint, It’ll warm you up.”

“It’s about time. That’s the first descent thing you’ve done all night. Pass that shit.”

“Man, I hope that red head is there tonight.”

“Which one?”

“The short one, with the blue eyes and the sexy ass legs. You know, the one that can dance her ass off.”

“Oh, that one. That girl is fine as hell.”

“Man I’ve been wanting to get with that so bad, but I never have the balls to talk to her.”

“Why? I’m sure she wants you.”

“You think so?”

“Hell yeah. I can tell.”

“How?”

“By the way she looks at you. The shit is so obvious.”

“Really?”

“Yeah, man. Don’t be a fool. Step to her tonight and just talk to her.”

“You think I should? I don’t know, I get nervous around her.”

“Just walk up to her, introduce yourself and talk to her, and if that fails, show her your fucking bus pass and see what that does for you chances.”

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Rolando: The Red One

July 1st, 2017

We were all down in Mexico a few weeks back for our wedding shindig. All our friends and family, all of us having a good time and enjoying the tropical weather and change of scenery.

There were about 50 of us down at this resort in Cancun and everyday, groups of us would set up at the various spots in the resort and shuffle back and forth between each hang out spot through out the day.

Every evening, we’d meet for dinner at one of the restaurants, or for drinks at the bar and continue the hang out from earlier that day.

Now it was a mid-sized resort, so it didn’t take more than a day for most of us to be come familiar–at least by sight–with the other guests and staff at the resort.

It was kind of inevitable. Also, not a big deal or anything worth discussing. Tourists on vacation, nothing to talk about.

Except for this one guy.

By the end of day one, this guy had emerged as sort of a mythical figure that everyone in our group talked about. And almost everyone had some variation of the same response when they first talked about  him: ‘You see that red dude? What the fuck?’

The guy was this five foot five,  200-pound body builder dude that walked around with a NYPD hat and a tank top and shorts. He never smiled, he always could be seen in the same crew that include one other  guy and girl, and he always looked like he had somewhere to be, even when he was lying on the beach.

And by the time the first members of our group had arrived at the resort, and spotted him, he had already probably spent a few hours too many in the sun.

Better put, he was burned as shit.

And what made him a mythical figure, someone that caused us to speak in hush tones as he passed us on the beach or in the hotel lobby, was not the simple fact that he had a bad sun burn. It’s an all-inclusive resort in Mexico with a bunch of tourists over indulging in food, booze and beach activities, sunbathing included.

No, what made this guy stand out is that despite his already bright red burnt skin, he continued to sunbath–and, by some unexplained phenomenon, continue to get redder.

So much so, that we began referring to him only as, “The Red One.” And our conversations went from curiosity on why he felt the need to be out in the sun for so long to speculation on how he could survive it, to an overall concern for his well being.

Conversations would go like this:

“You see The Red One out on the beach this morning doing body weight squats?”

“Yeah, man, dude had a spaghetti strap tank top on, out there sweating his ass off.”

“You think he realizes how burned as shit he is?”

“I’m sure he doesn’t think he’s tanned at all. Why else would he be out there 10 hours a day in that Mexican sun?”

“Some one needs to tell him to cover up.

“At least he had some sunblock lotion on his nose.”

Or: “You see The Red One at the buffet this morning?

“Yeah, he likes his omelettes, huh?”

“Son of a bitch had three of them.”

“Eggs got vitamin d in ’em, right? That’s good for your skin. Maybe that’s why he can stay out in the sun so long.”

Or: “The Red One is purple now.”

“I hate to say it, but I’m pretty sure he’s going to die of sun poisoning.”

“There’s no way he doesn’t.”

“At least he went out having a good time.”

The rest of the trip went on pretty much the same. Hanging out on the beach or at the pool, meeting for dinner or drinks at night and a little The Red One talk spread throughout.

In the end, we all left and flew back to our respective homes. No one actually knows what became of The Red One, where he’s from, why he continued to sunbath, or if he ever made it out of Mexico alive.

I’m pretty sure once we all left Mexico, no one even cared.

But in my mind, though, I picture him still out on the beach walking around in all his burned and muscled glory, crushing omelettes and not giving a fuck about skin cancer. Long live The Red One.

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Rolando: To Hell With Wendy

June 24th, 2017

Last week I was riding home on my bike after hanging out at a friend’s house when I decided to stop over at a Wendy’s for a little late night snack.

I had a little to drink at my buddies, so the thought of munching on a juicy double stack burger and a junior bacon cheeseburger sounded just right.

I rolled onto the sidewalk and locked up my bike against a poll out in front of the Wendy’s.

I tried to open the door, but it was locked. I looked at my phone and it was 11:30 p.m. The restaurant was closed, but, lucky for me, the drive-thru was still open.

So, I unlocked my bike, hopped on, and rode up to the speaker and waited for them to take my order.

Five minutes went by and nothing….

“Hello,” I said into the speaker. “I’m trying to order some food.”

Still nothing….

Two cars pulled up behind me, waiting to place an order.

“Hey, you’re holding up traffic here. I”m ready to order.”

Still no response. So I decided to ride up to the first window and place my order there.

When I got to the first window, there was a short Mexican kid at the register.

“Hey, bro, I think your speaker system isn’t working,” I said. “Can I get a double stack and a junior….”

“I can’t serve you, sir,” the little bastard interrupted. “You’re not in a car.”

“What?”

“I’m sorry, that’s our policy.”

“That’s bullshit,” I said. “Money is money. Just get me a double stack and….”

“Sir, I can’t serve you if you’re not in a car.”

“Listen, man, just take my order and I’ll get my food and be out of here; There are people waiting behind me.”

All I wanted was a double stack….

He disappeared for a few seconds and returned with an even shorter Mexican lady who turned out to be the night shift supervisor.

“Sirrr, I’m ehsorry, but we cannot serve ju if ju are not een a carrr,” she said in a heavy Spanish accent.

“Lady, that doesn’t even make sense, you mean to tell me Wendy’s is willing to turn down money just because I’m in your drive-thru on a bicycle?”

“Jes.”

“Hey, I want a double stack and I’m not moving until you take my order,” I snapped. “All these people behind me are going to wait.”

Now, that was a bad move on several different levels.

First, let’s say some how by brute stubborn force, I had convinced them to actually serve me, it’s almost a sure bet that they would have done unspeakable things to my burgers before serving them to me.

Second,  they could have decided to just call the cops to get my stubborn, slightly more-than-buzzed ass out of there, which the little Mexican lady threatened to do.

She reached for a phone and said: “I’m going to call the policia pendejo.”

To which I responded as I pedaled away: “I just wanted a fucking double stack pendeja.”

I rode to the end of the block and stopped. I looked back at the Wendy’s sign, with that little red-headed, pig-tailed, freckled-face asshole smiling down at me.

That damn asshole was taunting me….

‘To hell with you Wendy,’ I thought. ‘You bastard.’

Damn, I wanted a double stack so badly, though.

Then I had a thought. I could roll up to the speaker again, hide in the bushes and ask the next car that rolled up to place an order for me and give them the money to pay for it.

It was a brilliant idea.

Luckily I was sober enough to give it a second thought, upon which I realized that a big, bald, brown man hiding in the bushes, asking for a favor, might be the type of situation that could get me arrested.

Left with a bitter taste in my mouth, I abandoned my hopes of eating a juicy double stack and rode home.

I made myself a plain ham sandwich and fell asleep with bitterness in my heart.

To hell with Wendy’s.

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