"You cholos have great stories about climbing fences."
-- a barrio boxing coach
The Hills blistered below a haze of sun and smog. Mothers with wet strands of hair across their foreheads flung wash up to dry on weathered lines. Sweat-drenched men lay on their backs in the gravel of alleys, beneath broken-down cars propped up on cinder blocks. Charrangas and corridos splashed out of open windows.
Suddenly from over a hill, an ice cream truck raced by with packs of children running beside it. A hurried version of "Old McDonald Had A Farm" chimed through a speaker bolted on the truck's roof. The truck stopped long enough for somebody to toss out dozens of sidewalk sundaes, tootie-fruities and half- and-half bars to the children who gathered around, thrusting up small, dirt-caked hands that blossomed open as their shrieks blended with laughter.
Then the truck's transmission gears growled as it continued up the slope, whipped around a corner and passed a few of us vatos assembled on a field off Toll Drive. We looked over toward the echoes of the burdensome chimes, the slip and boom of the clutch and rasp of gears as the ice cream truck entered the dead-end streets and curves of Las Lomas.
"Orale, ése, ¿qué está pasando?" a dude named Little Man asked while passing a bottle of Tokay wine to Clavo.
"It's Toots and the gaba, you know, Axel," Clavo replied. "They just stole an ice cream truck on Portrero Grande Drive."
"¡Qué cábula!" Little Man said. "They sure is crazy."
We continued to talk and drink until the day melted into night.
Little Man and one of the López brothers, Fernie, all Tribe, were there in the field with me and my camaradas Clavo, Chicharrón, and Wilo. The four of us were so often together that