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One day, my mother asked Rano and me to go to the grocery store. We decided to go across the railroad tracks into South Gate... Like Lynnwood or Huntington Park, it was forbidden territory for the people of Watts.
We each walked out with a bag filled with food. We barely got a few feet, though, when five teenagers on bikes approached...I watched the others take turns on my brother, this terror of a brother, and he doubled over, had blood and spew on his shirt, and tears down his face
They threw us back over the tracks...I suppose I did promise. It was his one last thing to hold onto, his rep as someone who could take a belt whipping, who could take a beating in the neighborhood and still go back risking more—it was this pathetic plea from the pavement I remember. I must have promised.
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