All my life I have lived in low-income, Latin neighborhoods ruled by street gangs. It’s never been an issue for me. In fact, I have gotten very used to it. I have never been harassed, mugged, shot or robbed. The gang members have always kept to themselves and left me alone. This all changed, however, when I moved to East L.A.
At least once a month for the past three years, I have had my tires slashed, my apartment windows were broken out, and eggs whipped at my head. I have been called a variety of names, many of which I don’t understand because I have a very limited knowledge of Spanish. I know what they are saying is threatening because they usually glare, spit, and then speak in a very aggressive tone. One individual named Jorge – who I suspect to be the gang leader – always grabs his crotch, licks his lips and speaks in a tone I have never heard one man use towards another. The only words I understand are, Verga, which means penis, and boca, meaning mouth. The worst offense these gang bangers have committed against me was stripping me naked, tying me to a tree, and then charging the local children ten cents to throw water balloons at me. Though I was humiliated and distraught, I must admit I felt a sense of pride bringing smiles to the faces of these poverty-stricken youths.
One evening I was lying on my kitchen floor – avoiding a rainstorm of bullets that were pouring through my living room window – when a thought popped into my head, “If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.” With that I got up, walked out my door, confidently strolled right up to the gang members, and said, “Hey, guys, how’s it hanging? I figure we have been living side by side now for three years, so maybe it’s about time we became friends. In fact, I’d like to be a Thirteenth Street Diamond.” They roared with laughter. They laughed so hard and for so long it started to feel as though I was in some weird Fellini sequence. Then I felt a sharp pain to the side of my head. I had been dry gulched with a Mickey’s big mouth. Another gang member was about to stick me in the abdomen with a shank when Jorge intervened.
"Wait!” he said. “Let’s give this loco white boy a shot.” All the gang members looked at him with bewilderment. “Come back here Wednesday night, whitey. If you can pass the initiation, you will be a Thirteenth Street Diamond. If you fail, well, I’d hate to be you.”
I couldn’t believe my excitement. It seemed an eternity until Wednesday night. Every day I’d try on different bandanas, sneakers, and tight-fitting tank tops. I even bought some Cypress Hill CDs. I figured that if I was going to be in a Latin street gang I ought to enjoy their music. I must have listened to “Insane in the Membrane” a million times. I would still be listening to it this day, if it weren’t for that gang member who kicked in my door and destroyed my stereo with a baseball bat.
Finally, Wednesday night arrived. The Thirteenth Street Diamond headquarters was buzzing with excitement. I discovered I wasn’t the only one being initiated that evening. In addition to me, there was Juan, a very young but tough-looking Mexican fellow, and Mary, a very beautiful yet harsh-looking woman. I wondered to myself, “What is the initiation? Eating a hundred live goldfish? Maybe doing a bunch of tequila shots and then streaking through the Rampart Police parking lot?”
Jorge stepped forward to start the ceremony. “Welcome my fellow Cholo locos. Let’s not fuck around and get this party started. Juan, you will be first. You have the choice between two tasks: one, going to Hollywood and killing three random people, or two, getting beat in. Which will it be?” With a very intense look in his eye, Juan responded, “Beat in.” And without a second passing, the gang members jumped on him and started punching the living day lights out of him. They were merciless. This boy was losing teeth and having ribs cracked. At one point I thought he was about to fall over and die, but he hung in there. After about thirty minutes of fifty men pummeling him, it ended, and Juan was declared an official member of the Thirteenth Street Diamonds. His parents, who were in attendance, wept with pride and, to be honest, I wept, too.
Next, it was Mary’s turn. Jorge turned to her and said, “Mary, you have two choices. You can get fucked in …” Jorge took a long pause as he looked around the room, “or you can get fucked in.” The room erupted with laughter. Then Jorge said, “I will be the first.” He led Mary to a back room, and the fellow members lined up outside the door awaiting their turn. I couldn’t help but think how it was unfair that I got to watch Juan get beaten in but I couldn’t watch Mary get fucked in.
After a couple hours, Mary returned from the back room staggering, worn, and wearing a smile filled with pride.
Suddenly, all eyes turned toward me. Jorge smirked and said, “Okay pinche stupido. It is your turn. What will it be? Kill three people or get beat in. Oh, and if you fail at either, we kill you.” My heart started pounding. I had no fucking idea this is how it was going to be. I thought to myself, “I can’t kill another human being, let alone three. I will go crazy or worse.” I looked over at Juan and thought about my insanely low tolerance for pain. Two punches and I would be crying like a baby. If I cry, they will kill me. I’m doomed. I’m done. “I want to be fucked in,” I blurted out. Everyone in the room broke out laughing. They thought I was kidding which, sadly, I wasn’t. It was simply the only alternative I could think of that wouldn’t get me killed. I figured that by getting fucked in I could mask my groans of pain as moans of pleasure. I also figured that my tears of humiliation would blend in with the perspiration on my face. It truly was the only way out.
All the gang members laughed but Jorge. He just looked me up and down with the expression he had when he’d cuss at me on the street. He raised his arm and, with much authority proclaimed, “We fuck him in. I will go last.”
I hate to admit it, but the thought of being fucked by fifty Mexican gang bangers brought me a great deal of relief.
One of the Diamonds stood up and said, “Hey man, I ain’t fucking no dude. You are fucking whack, yo!” Jorge grabbed his pistol, crammed it into the man's mouth, and fired the gun, killing him instantly. “Anyone else who doesn’t want to fuck this white boy is going to get some of the same.”
No one argued so off to the back room I went, where I was instructed to pull my trousers down and bend over an old work table. An anonymous hand slapped my bare ass with some forty weight motor oil, and the first of a long line of many Thirteenth Street Diamond members worked his way into my precious, untapped orifice of pleasure.
I cannot begin to tell you the montage of emotions and thoughts that ran through my head as that first cholo broke my man hymen. At first, I felt great humiliation. I thought to myself, “I will never be a whole man again. I am damaged for life.” And then I realized that I chose this instead of murdering three random people and that this, in some way, made me a hero. With that thought, all fears and pain was released from me and the grunts and sounds of these men’s flesh slapping against me became a symbolic song of life.
Finally came Jorge’s turn. He entered the room, dimmed the lights, lit some candles, and said, “Shhhhhh, my bonita senorita. I want you to lie on your back. I want to look into your eyes as I make the sweet love to you.” I instantly felt ill. “I’m fine like this,” I said, “let’s get it over with. I’m only one humping away from being a Diamond, and I’m really looking forward to it.” To which he replied, “I have been looking forward to this for three long years.” He then put his pistol to my head and whispered in a hushed tone, “Roll over.” I complied with his demand. Jorge licked my face, crawled on top of me, grabbed my face, forcing me to look him in the eye, and then he penetrated me. In between grunts and groans he’d whisper, “I love you. You will be my Thirteen Street Diamond bride.” I was horrified. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. Not only am I soon to be a member of a violent, drug-dealing street gang, but I will also be the bride-slash-fuck-bitch to its leader. My head was reeling.
Jorge climaxed, collapsing on top of me as he said, “Welcome to the gang, honey.” I held back my tears of anguish and said, “Thank you.” I pulled up my pants and wearily walked out into the main room. All the Diamonds greeted me with cheers as they poured forties over my head, and we all proceeded to party until the wee hours of the morn.
As I feared, I was forced into being Jorge’s Diamond Street bride. At first it was a world of mad torture, forcing myself to enjoy sex with not only a man but a notorious killer. However, to my surprise, over time I have found myself having fond feelings towards him and sometimes I even catch my heart jumping when I hear him coming home after a night of drug dealing and drive-bys.
It’s not the life I ever envisioned for myself, but I must admit I have a better life than most people in this world. I have a man who loves me, who showers me with gifts, and who has carved my name into his arm. I even feel a great deal of pride when I walk down the street. All the Latina girls glare at me with jealousy because they all wanted this coveted role, but I am the only one who gets to be Jorge’s Thirteenth Street Diamond Bride.