December 30, 2005

New Year’s Eve

When you’re young and stupid, choices you make really could mean your life

By Marcelo Xavier Trillo

I remember the days when we would ride in the Regal and create evil amongst the people. I love the days that ended in fights to start the nights, and people shifted from a smirk to a grin, popped mini thins and surprised the police with devilish grins.

Remember the time I got stuck on the train on new years eve and had to call LT to come pick me up three counties away? Yeah, I would do anything back in the day to get away from the cops’ itch ta spray my life away.

You know the time when you’re a teenager. The period when some kids are experimenting with drugs, finding out about sex, and trying hard not to be labeled as an outcast from their peers. Well I was one of those kids once and remember the time when I almost lost my life on New Year’s Eve.

I was celebrating the end of 1996; I was eighteen years old and was at a party with a lot of people, the kind of teenagers that parents wouldn’t allow in their homes or around their kids. These guys were my friends. I had a special bond with each and every one of them.

Some of them were just misunderstood, maybe because one kid could not read, or one kid had no father, or even lost both parents in a fire like my friend John. We all hung out and protected each other from people that might be a danger. Sometimes it was not other kids that were a threat. Sometimes it was a man beating on someone’s mom, or some other group of people terrorizing another group.

Just to make things short, I was at a New Year’s Eve party and a guy came over that was not invited and told me that he got someone that I loved hooked on crank (it’s a powder drug).

He also started disrespecting other people at the party. This was our party and I kind of led the gang of people there so I had a couple of people come up to me asking me if they could fight him. I told them to hold off and let stuff cool down because I was having fun.

I figured that I was going to give the person a chance to leave the party of his own free will. So I went up to the guy and told him that he was out of line and should not have said that stuff or did that to the person I cared about and he did not have my protection at the party and that he should probably leave.

I could tell that the guy thought about it. He was pacing back and forth for a while like a caged rat. All of the sudden he went up to a guy and asked him for a cigarette and it was one of the guys that came up to me with the request to fight.

Well I knew it was over then because the guy told him that he was not going to give him a cigarette. By then I started to laugh because I knew it was going to start over a cigarette and everybody that heard about the fight would say that these two guys fought over a cigarette.

Well the guy ended up saying, “Well f**k you then” and pushed my friend. My guy looked at me and I nodded. Then my boy picked the guy up and slammed him against the wall and a bunch of our friends started punching and kicking the guy.

Then I ran up to pull the other guys off and guy getting the beating spit blood on my face. I got mad and threw him down and kicked him in the head a couple of times and then picked him up and tossed him outside on the corner of the yard where we usually place all of our trash to be picked up.

After that, we started partying and every once in a while we would look out for cops and then they came. They came strong this time ‘cause the whole house was lit up. I had a tank top on and it was full of blood.

I didn’t have time to get a jacket so I just ran out the back door. I knew they were going to be back there because usually, when the police raid a party, they go to the back because they know that everyone is going to go through the back.

I ran past two officers and headed for the train tracks. A train had already started to leave and I was trying to catch it because it was speeding up. I could hear the officer still running after me and I saw his flashlight whiz past my head.

I know he was mad because I made him run but I was not going to let him catch me. The rocks hurt my feet and the coldness was getting to me, because it was about forty degrees. I finally got a good grip on the train and pulled myself up.

The cop was cussing big time then. I started to laugh, and then the train gave a good jolt of acceleration. I knew it was going to be a rough ride. It felt like I was trying to hold onto a huge metal bull—I got banged up just trying to hold on to that ladder.

I knew that I was going to be in trouble because I had no coat and it was freezing out. I was there thinking, trying to tell my body that I could hold on. It worked for a while until my body started to uncontrollably shake from the cold. Then I started to panic and noticed that I only had one shoe.

I remember passing by a car waiting for the train to go by. I wonder if they saw me, yelling at them. I don’t believe in God and I have been close to death many times but this time I tried to pray. Before, I did not pray, but this time was different.

I could feel my death calling me, looking me in the eye and smiling and saying, “It’s time. Let go.” I was just about to let go—not by will, but by my shaking, I had already held it from the rest of my body but then all of a sudden it just started. Not at first with my hands; they were last. It started with my legs, then my shoulders, and my teeth.

My hands started to shake and all of a sudden the train started to slow down. It was too late though, because I had already lost it. I figured that I would use my last ounce of strength to jump because I heard that some people got sucked under trains and I didn’t want that to happen.

So I jumped and stunt-rolled down a bunch of rocks. The train had only slowed down to idle speed so I rolled pretty far from the tracks. So, I was lying there looking at the sky thinking about my situation.

I didn’t know where I was, I had one shoe, I was covered in blood, it was extremely cold and I didn’t know whether I should try to walk back or go the way I was going because there was no light anywhere. I decided that I was going to try to walk the way that I was going because I didn’t see light for the longest time and I knew that there were other towns ahead.

So I started off to try and get some kind of help. At that point I did not know if I needed more medical help rather that just getting a ride because my body was so cold. My fingers were numb so I put them in my pockets.

My shoeless foot was bleeding I think that was from running on those rocks even after my shoe flew off. It was hard to think about what I should do because the sharpening chill overwhelmed my thinking process. All I could do was keep walking.

It was easier to walk on the train tracks then the rocks, because in the dark I could at least somewhat know that I was walking on a flat surface. I knew that the wind was too strong for me to hear if a train was coming from behind. So I had to walk on the rocks and the pain from the stones made me forget about how cold it was, until the devilish wind slapped me again.

I looked up and it was a miracle! I saw some light ahead. At that time a train whistled by and I was on the side of the tracks. I noticed that the conductor did not sound the horn.

But I did not need it because that loud train threw a burst of wind that felt like a line of fire all the way to my spine. The chill that I got could never be matched. First it was so cold it knocked me down to my knees.

The pain was so excruciating, like an electric shock but I managed to catch myself with my hands. Then I felt warmth.

I don’t know what it was from; but I saw it as a sign to get up and try hard to get to that light. I finally got there and was filled with disappointment. It looked like an abandoned refinery.

I decided that I was just going to find a place to sleep. I was getting tired and my body hurt from the trip. Now warmth was my mission, so I was on the lookout for any sign of heat.

All of a sudden, lights were in my face and I could not see. A man came up to me and said, “Are you all right?” I tried to respond, but confusion clouded my head and my hands could not stop shaking.

The man put me in a truck and drove me to an office. On the way there, he had the heat on, and I could feel the blood in my veins defrost. We entered the office and a guy brought me a blanket and a cup of hot coffee. I said, “Thank you.”

The guy that picked me up asked me why I had all that blood all over me. I didn’t want to lie to the guys that were helping me but I still didn’t want to get into trouble. So I told them that my friends got jumped and I tried to help, but then they started to jump on me.

Then I told them that I started to run and jumped on the train. The guy let me use the phone and I called my cousin Lenny. He was sleeping at his girl’s house and he came to pick me up in his low-rider.

Later, I found out that train took me 27 miles away. The more I thought about it I could have just gone with the police and spared myself almost getting killed. When you’re young and stupid, choices you make really could mean your life, some maybe not immediately, but in the long run they always catch up to you. I’m still waiting...

Reprinted from LationLA.com

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