Papi's Secret

#2 Papi’s Secret

It’s January 31st, 2017 and I just got off the phone with my friend, Emma. She read my first post based on the series of conversations we’ve had about her relationship with her stepfather.

The first post began with the man who would almost become her father in law. I changed all the names of those involved and made sure no one would find out, but Emma seems to be having second thoughts. She thinks someone close to her will read this. I had to explain that no one reads my blog. I explained I changed the names to fictional characters from an old French novel. I don’t know if I helped my case. She is not sure she wants to me to continue to post about this. Emma said that if she continues to feel anxious whenever she thinks about this blog then she’ll have me delete all these posts. I did not argue with her.

Today, I thought it important to continue to talk about Big Lenny.

Emma tells me, Big Lenny only did time once. He was arrested during a drought, when there was no heroin or cocaine, the year Mayor Giuliani was elected. According to the streets in that era police officers had the right to shoot without warning and plant drugs on black and brown people. She says Big Lenny was a stick-up kid. As a stick-up kid he would break into trap-houses and pistol whip the workers, men, women, and if present, kids. 

One time in the summer of 1996, he ran up in an apartment on his own, with no mask, a gun in hand and a gun in his waist and robbed the suckers in a townhouse in Washington Heights. Except the shit he robbed was what Dominicans in the hood call “na con na” or “nothing with nothing.” Big Lenny thought he robbed two bricks of cocaine, but instead robbed a mixture of baby formula or laxative. So when the police grabbed him they found him with fake drugs and no guns as he hid guns in a basement. So the decades he would’ve gotten for having been caught with a real brick and two guns became two years. Emma doesn’t know what he was charged with. The details of Big Lenny’s arrest could be a myth, but we know for sure that he did go to jail for two years. 

Fortunately for Lenny he had a pregnant Elena to run shit in the hood while he was behind bars. Charlie was still in the womb when his father was in jail.

This is the part where the story gets messy or interesting depending on your view. Emma tells me everything she knows about Big Lenny came from his son Charlie, including Big Lenny’s experiences in jail.

Emma tells me that Big Lenny became “close” with his cellmate. Initially, I didn’t believe Emma because even though I didn’t know Big Lenny personally, my mother knew him, and older people around the way knew him, and he didn’t seem like the type.

Charlie, Big Lenny’s son, told all this to Emma. Charlie told her that when his father saw him giggling too much, playing with barbie dolls or sucking on a lollipop he would explode. It was like he got flashbacks from those two years in jail, causing him to whip Charlie with his belt or beat him with whatever object was nearby.

Charlie says he never understood why, except sometimes during these beatings, he could hear his father mumble words like “faggot, maricon and mujersita.” So even though a seven year old Charlie didn’t know the meaning of these words, he knew it was related to him not being man enough.

Emma says it was like Big Lenny was trying to beat the gay out of his son, but it didn’t work. Emma thinks even though Charlie is bisexual, even though he would never admit it because he’s so ashamed, and added that his bisexuality is the result of his father’s homophobia.

Flaco Ali 3


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