A FIRE THAT CAN NEVER BE CONTAINED. IT WAS TO BURN EVER-LASTING FOR 25 YEARS OF MY LIFE.
My name is Leroy Perez. I was born in Weslaco, Texas. In the year of 1980. I’m currently incarcerated in the State of Washington at a facility known as Twin Rivers. The story I’m about to tell and expres are all true based on the pain and struggles thats led me to a path that only God himself has imprinted on me.
I remember growing up in Texas. I was 6 years old. School was different back then in the south. We were given the opportunity learning how to read and write in English and Spanish. I was in all the Spanish classes. The year was 1986. School was always hard for me. I was struggling in every aspect that was put in front of me. No matter how much I tried to pay attention I just couldn’t comprehend anything. Every day after school I would catch the bus anxious to go home and play with my primos. It would never turn out that way, I would always go home and see my hefita “My Mother” worn down and beat down by my father. I would see it in her eyes: locked within her own house with sadness and fear. She would always tell me to go to my room with my two baby sisters before my hefito sees me “My Father”. It wouldn’t do me no good. He would get out of the room all high and drunk He’d take me outside with his brothers and homeboys and have me fight either my primos or local kids around the neighborhood. At a young age I had to learn how to show no fear or emotion, because if I did my father would recognize it and get his point across by toughing me up by his own fists. There would be times where I would go play outside an dsoe of the local kids would pick a fight with me, take me for my bike and leave me beat down. I would go home crying, my mother would embrace me with love and comfort but my father was different. He would grab me by the ears and make me pinpoint the kid out who took my bike and beat me down. Worse of it, my father would tell the kid that he could keep my bike as long as he would fight me one on one and if he kicked my ass the bike was his. I remember that day like no other. My father grabbed me by the shoulders and told me if I lost, expect “una chinga bien dada”, an ass whoopin’ like no other. So I fought like no other, no sorrow, no remorse. I won that fight and grabbed my bike. I turned around hoping that my hefito would grab me and be proud of me but instead he just turned around and told me to hurry up and go home. I always wanted to make that man proud but no matter how hard I tried it was never good enough for him.
Whatever time my hefita had away from my father when he was out in the paranda for days, we would go see my grandparents in Donna, Texas. Jose and Eloisa Lozano, man, I loved my grandparents. They were the rock and soul en me vida. There I would meet up with my primo hermanos, Juan, Julian, Killy, Roxanne, LInda and Little Jessie. My tios always liked to tease me and give me tough times because I was such a runt skinny ass-hell with long, curly hair but they loved me. My primos and I would show off to our tios and grandpa. We would put on some boxing gloves and shine so bright like the stars in the sky. Dear God, if only we knew what road layed in our future to come. My grandparents house was my hefitas get-away from my father when ever he would give her black eyes or a busted face. My mother would grab us in the middle of the night when my father was passed out drunk, My father would never dare go to my grandparents house because he was afraid of my grandpa or afraid that my tios would beat his ass. But in the end my mother still loved my father enough to back to him.
My parents always made it so difficult for me and my sisters to make friends or stay close to our family. We were always traveling from state to state to make meets-end. We were migrant workers. If I wasn’t in school I would be in the fields working with my parents. In North Carolina we would work in the tobacco fields, in Florida we would be in the orange fields, in Georgia we would be picking grapefruits By the time I was 8 years old in the year of 1986 I was back in North Carolina, At that year my sister Yesenia was born. So now I had 3 sisters. Things got worse for me there, My father would beat my mother on a day to day basis as my father’s brothers would watch and do nothing about it. No matter how hard I tryed to help my mother, my father would beat me down and give my mother the worse of it. My tears turned to hate that day. That day I saw my mother so beat and worn down ½ way naked laying on the floor with barely enough energy to let her tears go. So I cryed for her holding her so tight covering her with my baby sisters blanket. That same very night my father got drunk and passed out. I remember I woke up hearing loud noises downstairs so I went to go scope things out only to see my mother with a gas can full of karoseen poring it on my father She was gonna light him
up but she just didn’t have the guts for it. That night my father put my my mother in the hospital.
3 weeks later my mother had enough, my father was in a cast breaking his leg fighting with his brothers. My father had no choice but watch my mother pack light and leave. I had a back pack. My mother had 2 suitcases in her hands as I pushed my 3 sisters in a red Red Fligher wagon. We walked 5 miles in the middle of nothing but country and tobacco fields. We walked to my moms bosses house. She pled her case and asked for help. They bought us Greyhound tickets and drove us to Greensborough North Carolina to catch the bus. My father showed up, tried to convince my mother to stay. That was the very and only time I ever saw my father break down and cry in front of us but my mother didn’t buy into it as usual. That was the last time I saw my father in a long, long time. It took us a whole week to travel from east to west coast to the great state of Washington surviving off of potted meat sandwiches and water.
Upon arrival my tia Irma and my primo Genaro picked us up. My mom was quick to get on her feet and got her own apartment. I was put into school right away, It took me a while to get adjusted to this new school. It was hard at first to make friends because I was keeping myself distant from companionship. Bat at home it was different. I started reuniting with my primos whom I was growing up with in Texas, now we were all here together in Washington. In y eyes I never saw them as primo Hermanos “1st cousins”, I saw them as my brothers, ya we were young. We fought with each other over the dumbest things because we carry that family blood line, that thing that they call pride, the machismo way and too much pride we did have but we always looked after each other and that’s the way we kept if for a long, long time. Summers would pass. We weren’t wrestling with each other pretending to be famous WWE characters anymore, We were starting to look past the toys and started to look into girls. By the year of ‘91 I was 11 years old and I started doing my own thing like make my own friends. Started to get into sports alot but as usual my hefita was always too busy working trying to do her best to provide for us so she was never there like everyone else’s parents during baseball, basketball and football games. So I left the sports and started doing things that I picked up from my father
like steal things from my mothers purse such as food stamps or $5 bills. She would question me about it but I would lie to her about it.
By the year of ‘92 I was already in Jr, High and thats where my young life started to unfold and become someone I never though to imagine “A Cholo” in the middle of the school year. My mother showed up distressed, talking to the principle, talking a whole bunch of gibberish about my father, I had no idea what she was talking about. We went home and in the front yard I saw my hefito with my mom’s brother Julian and my two dawgs, my primos Juan and Julian. I got to kick it with my hefe for 2 days and that's the last time I saw him again before I became of age. My tio Julian whom I admire gave no fucks. He would let my primos do whatever they wanted such as smoke weed, smoke cigarettes. “Man”, in my eyes they were hella kool but my hefita and tias always seen them as bed influences to me and the rest of our primos but regardless of the situation they were still familia so my tias still showed them love. I remember one day I went to a soccer tournament. I was in and we won. I had my coach drop me off at my tias trailer formally known as the Dilinger camp, a campo for migrant workers. I wanted to show off my trophy but instead I ran into my primo Luis formally known as Candy Man. He lectured me a good 15 minutes and told me it was tiempo and I said time for what? “Boy” did he give me a fucken chinga. I had no idea why he was hitting and kicking me so hard. He would let me get back up and tell me to fight back so I did as best as I could only to end back on the floor with a busted lip and bloody nose. I admit I was scared. Why my older primo was beating on me the only thing that came to my mind was what did I do wrong. Flashbacks of my hefito started racing threw my mind, memories of him giving me his usual chingas, When it was over he picked me up hugged me and told me welcome to the clicka. “A new beginning” he said that day he showed me how to throw up the hood formally known as Florencia 13. Within a week my other primo hermanos joined along. Ese dia we formed a bond that no one would ever dare take from us not even our own madres “mothers”. I started changing my appearance puro dickies, ben-davis’s, and muscle T’s. At Jr. High I started getting more attention from the lady’s. They seen us as the kool kids. I started smoking weed and smoking cigarettes. I would get invited to the ritch kids partys.
By the year of ‘92 I lost my virginity and started becoming a mujeriego. I wouldn’t give 2 cents about a chick I would let them kick it for a while, then move on. By this time my mother couldn’t even tell em what to do. She started seeing my father in me. At that time I wasn’t to out there or out on the streets. Even though my mother couldn’t tell me what to do, I still had enough respect for her. Besides I graduated from the belt to the extension cord and that's one chinga that I dared not to mess with. At 12 years old I would work as a migrant worker with my mom and my tias and older primos, Luis, Genaro, Sonia, Lelo, Veronica and my younger prima and primo, Roxanne and Killy. We would work our little asses off. Ya we would work in the fields but most of the time we work in the warehouse. I didn’t want to grow up like my parents always struggling, living paycheck to paycheck. When we would leave work during the summer years, I perty much fucken hated my lifestyle. I would see my neighborhood kids going camping, coming back from a cool-ass vacation. While they were having the time of there lives I was waisting mine so I thought. There would be times were my white rich neighbors would invite me
to go camping for 3 days. I wouldn’t even tell my hefita because I already knew what she would say “No, you have to go to work”. I would sneak home and get a blanket and pillow and extra clothes and go camping anyways. I already knew what to expect when I got home, that I was to expect the extension cord. But it was well worth it for me. Ese dia mi hefita didn’t even hit me, nor did she even acknowledge me. She was there with some other vato a compleate stranger to me. Besides my neighbors wife had already talked to my mother about my ware-abouts and that I was safe. My mom tryed to introduce me Anastacio Nowa but I just ran off, pissed off that my hefita was talking to some other vato that wasn’t my dad. For weeks it went on like this, he would come over every day. At first he was nice to me and my carnalitas. A could of weeks later he moved in with my hefita. I’m not gonna lie I was mad and jealous. After all he wasn’t my hefito. He was some random wet-back that I cared less about. I would start to pick up a bad habit, such as talk back to the vato, steal from the vato and steal from my hefita. I started to let my anger and emotions get the best of me. One day I came back from the Dillinger camp with my primo Killy. He was to spend the night with me so we could go to football practice the next morning. That night my moms boyfriend was drining with his brothers and my mom. After my mom left my dad she picked up a very bad habit such as smoking cigarettes and drinking. That was my moms way of copeing with things. So anyways ese dia I cought my moms boyfriend touching my little sisters in a fucked up way. I started getting dissrespectful to the vato, instead of my hefita backing my ass up she backed up her boyfriend. Instead of punnishing or dissaplining me she hit me with a beer bottle over the head. I was shocked and went outside with my primo Killy. In my head everything was racing threw my mind a thousand times an hour. After all the chingas my dad gave my mom I was always there for her “always”. I lost my best friend, my hefita, to a compleat stranger. Most of all the ahte that I carried inside of me burned like a living inferno, a fire that can never be contained and it was to burn ever-lasting for 25 years of my life. Don’t get me wrong the love I have for mi madre is always unconditional pero ese dia. I felt betrayed, abandoned. My primo Killy came up with an idea, “Let’s run away”. Simon I thought, even though we were from the hood, “Florencia 13 Los Malos”. We didn’t know shit about the streets, we were still guppys in the ocean swimming with sharks, fuck we were still mamma’s boys.
To be continued...