4 March 05
Observations from the Rec Field
It’s 5pm and I’m sat at a picnic table on the rec field.
“We gotta lotta shit to do.”
“What shit we gotta do?”
“Wide pushups, pullups, dips.”
Nearby, two stocky Chicanos are working out. One of them, Mooga, will be released later this year. The other, Horns, is serving a life sentence. They look like mini-Arnold Schwarzeneggers, but with beer bellies. They are topless, clad in knee-length orange sports shorts, toting Sony cassette players on their hips. Their Blues Brothers-style sunglasses make them appear comical and dangerous. They are taking turns suspending themselves by their toes from a picnic table and performing downward-sloping pushups. As their muscles ripple the turquoise tattoos on their coffee-coloured skin come to life.
“One more set.”
“How many are we doin’?”
“We’ve already done five!”
“Then let’s do another five.”
“Ah, fuck no!”
They are departing, strutting their pumped-up physiques with arms akimbo. They resemble gunslingers ready to draw their Walkmans. Shrinking in size as they swagger into the distance, they now look like little birds stretching their wings.
Being outdoors is soothing - if you don't pay attention to the architecture of oppression: the endless razor wire, and battleship-grey buildings.
Lamps, on steel poles, seem to be hovering in the sky. They look like the UFOs described by H.G. Wells in War of the Worlds.
Practising a variety of basketball shots, is Speedy, a youngster. Speedy falls. “Damn!”
Stretching his lower limbs he assessess the damage.
Mooga and Horns are approaching, their bickering is growing louder.
“Before we do da dips, lets do dat one over dere.”
“You’re fuckin’ gay, man!”
“You talk alotta shit every day, man. Lets go”
“You go homes!”
“I already did my set, man”
“Okay. Here I go”
“Dis man, Mooga, can work out, talk a lotta shit, and smoke at the same time.”
“Tu tambien.” (You also.)
In a voice like Johnny Rotten’s, Mooga is singing, “Insane in the membrane! Insane in the brain! You’re insane, got no brain!”
By placing his knees over one dip bar, Horns is suspended upside down, he is using the other dip bar to do pullups.
Wheelo, a thinner Chicano joins them.
“Don’t fuck with Wheelo. That’s the Godfather right there,” Mooga says and helps himself to one of Wheelo’s cigarettes.
Horns shoulderbarges Wheelo.
“What’d I tell you! Don’t fuck wiv Wheelo!”
The Chicanos are getting smaller again as they head for the outdoor urinal.
The sun is trying to hide behind the Administration Building. Its rays are causing Speedy’s sweaty chest to glisten.
The Chicanos are back.
Looking directly at me Mooga yells,“You, come here!”
“You come here,” I say.
“No you come here!”
“Estoy ocupado ahorita.” (I’m busy right now.)
“Don’t gimme that shit. I want to show you somethin’.”
Undoubtably, Mooga wants to show me something I don't want to see, so I change the subject.
“How would you describe yourself, Mooga?”
“Vindictive, out of control, wild.”
The Chicanos are on the move again. Mooga is yelling obscenities and throwing gravel at Wheelo.
The sun is almost out of sight. The rain clouds have wandered west and a pink tinge is making them look more cheerful. The wind is carrying the smell of manure.
“Rec is terminated! Rec is terminated!”
Email Jon at email@example.com