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I believe I was stuck down here in the recesses of Leon’s subconscious because of the lack of oxygen we experienced at birth. I see and feel what Leon does, but I have no say or control over whatever he, or should I say, we do. Leon is not aware I am part of his psyche. My circumstance is somewhat comparable to that of a stroke victim or person in a coma, they can hear and feel everything around them, but they can’t respond and are totally helpless.

Leon and I tend to see things differently. Up is down, black is white, right is wrong; everything has always been backwards with us. This is why, to keep my sanity, I decided to call myself Noel.

It’s been a long and frustrating thirty years of never being able to relate to the outside world what I think and who I think weare or should be. There is a single process whereby Leon and I have acquired two distinct personal identities; it is how wewere singularly exposed to the norms, values, behavior, and social skills growing up, but the end result was we were socialized differently.   Unfortunately for me, my behavioral patterns have remained dormant and Leon’s have thrived. I am he, but he is not me.

Leon’s overall behavior, his educational, career and personal choices, have caused me considerable distress. For example, his interactions with people, mode of dress, and even the way and what he eats is indicative of a socially degraded, acutely primitive, and extremely brutal character. Leon has intentionally remained unacquainted with the world beyond his immediate orbit. In short, he is a troglodyte; hence so am I.

I’ve always been thankful for the fact that our parents defiantly disapprove of the course Leon has taken our life.  Their guidance, support and efforts over the years to properly bring us up to be a productive member of society has had a positive influence on me, but did little or nothing for Leon.  In times of complete exasperation with us, Dad has kiddingly asked Mom, “Are you sure Joey the Garbage Man is not Leon’s real father?”


I am captive labor and forced to continually participate in the life of this brutish, uncouth and dangerous sociopath. We get to work at approximately 9 PM at The Club Raquel.  This smoke filled and illegal drug supermarket is a magnet for all types of lowlifes.   As usual, I have no say, but the clothing selection is the uniform of the day for a beefy bouncer like us; black pants and a tightly fitting black tee-shirt accented by a gold chain. We are ready for a night of fight, ready to rumble, as weposition ourselves at the door.

I dread the redundant conversations that permeate every evening and drag into the wee hours of the morning. The usual talk commences with guys that are as sharp as a bowling ball, Vinnie, Rocco and Vito, the other bouncers. This initial banter usually pertains to the status of each individual’s conquest record with the female population that frequents The Club Raquel.

The sexual conquest discussion is usually followed by the detailed opinions on how various professional football coaches should deploy the titans of their teams. It is all quite tiresome, especially when punctuated with more meaningless talk about gyms, steroids and designer drugs.

The other major concern, I share with our parents as well is, our immediate and dangerous proximity to the outer fringes of organized crime. You’d think we were constantly under the biggest tree in town because of the shady atmosphere in which we circulate.

Between Joey Two Tone, the owner of The Club Raquel (he drives a variety of painted two tone vintage 1950’s cars) and Johnny White Boy the local drug and swag guy (a half original whose white cop father, impregnated his black mother); it’s not like we participate on the board the local ecumenical council.  I dread that it is almost impossible to continue not to engage in this web of moral and unlawful corruption.

Chuddy McVey and his partner Richie Santiago, known on the street and in the club as The Mick and The Spic enter via the front door. We know this means trouble as we pass along “the look” to the crew.  It would be easy to calculate the odds that a simple dissension will spill over into a physical confrontation within the hour.  So what else is new?

But the interracial team of wannabe wise guys just is there to deliver a message to Joey Two Tone regarding some business arrangement. They thank him for the free drinks and leave the club without incident. Now we should be relieved, but Leon is pissed that we missed a chance to fracture a skull, break an arm or bounce one of them off the sidewalk and into a dumpster.

Another long and boring night at The Club Raquel comes to an end.  We always park far away so no drunken asshole exiting his car scratches our beloved black Nissan Maxi. But before we can climb into our shiny ride with the tinted windows, the cold steel of a .22 caliber pistol meets the back of our head. An unrecognizable voice says, “Walk straight ahead and get behind the dumpster.”

Behind the dumpster there are two guys waiting for us.  One of them is the brother of some chick we banged last week in the bathroom of The Club Raquel.  I think her name was Tashinga. Leon’s always had a bad case of jungle fever and now we might have to pay for that.

The other dumpster dude was some short Asian guy.  The three of them start to beat the shit out of us.  It is 9am when we awake in the Emergency Room. The nurse says the cops want to talk to us. As usual we dummy up. Leon is already calculating revenge on his own.

This is my life, no, excuse me, this is our life.



I am a retired NYC police officer.


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