Pink Robes & Uzis

I can think of no better time to share this story than now. I’m sure you’ve been wondering why this blog is named Pink Robes & Uzis, well today you get to find out.

 

We must set the stage correctly: if you haven’t read any of the stories about my dad, then it’s probably a good idea to start there first and then come back to this one. I’m not sure I have a better one in the arsenal!

 

As you remember, my dad was larger than life. Towering at 6’4 and weighing in at 350lbs……he was a mountain. He had a temper to match and only his generosity exceed his rage. As I’ve shared with you, my father was a completely self-made man and his relationship to power and money were constant inescapable forces in his life (and therefore also mine).

 

The year is 1980ish, and I’m about four years old. My parents had bought a lovely home in Las Aguilas, a lovely neighborhood of Mexico City. Our house was at the edge of a huge ravine that created a dramatic and beautiful backdrop to the urban chaos of the city.

 

By this point in our lives, my dad was making large sums of money and my family’s situation sky rocketed. Always a man with extraordinary taste (I mean it, he literally had incredible taste) the house was decorated with luxury and elegance in a very traditional style. .

 

Our house was located at the end of a horseshoe cul-de-sac off of a larger avenue. As result of increasing traffic, the neighbors got together and decided to have the street closed off to public traffic and to install a security gate with personal at the top of the street.

 

Although each of my parents had their own driver/guarura (hired body guards), my father never needed that extra muscle. My dad’s man was a big muscled driver named Juan. My father grew up in military schools and in the Israeli army, so firearms were always a part of our landscape. He usually had a gun in the car and was more intimidating than an ICE agent at a quinceanera!

 

My dad had just purchased a beautiful new Bentley and my “uncle” Hector and his friend were coming over to check it out. So, on this Saturday afternoon, my uncle Hector arrived to go take the car out with my Dad. Juan, pulled the car out for my dad, the three men got into the car and headed up the street towards the street gate. Juan stayed behind to close the garage.

 

Accompanied by my brother and myself, my mom waved goodbye. She noticed that there was some sort of interaction between a group of guaruras and the car. Since the Bentley drove off without incident, my mom thought nothing of it.

 

My dad and his friends went out for a nice afternoon drive in the neighborhood. As my dad was coming back home, he goes through the street gate and begins to drive down our street towards our house. Standing outside one of the houses are three young men, drunk and ready to brawl. Cocky and full of liquid courage, they start yelling insults at my dad, and one of them goes as far as to kick the bumper of the new car.

“What the fuck are you doing? What’s your fucking problem?!” my dad yells at the two drunkards in front of the car with the window rolled down.

“You piece of shit! Fuck your mother,” responds the third member just outside his window.

Not missing a beat, my dad grabs the man’s shirt through his window, he pulls him inside of the car face-first and proceeds to punch his face until it was a bloody pulp. My dad then kicks his door open to propel the man away from his car and dashes out.

The other two assailants move to take down my dad. Hector and his friend, desperate to calm the situation, exit the car and move to stop the fight.

 

Our driver Juan, from the bottom of the street, sees that my dad is getting attacked and runs to his aid and jump into the fight. As Juan comes to the rescue, “Senor Luna!!!”, my Dad pushes him off, turns and says,

 

“These three are mine!!!”

He elbows the guy behind him in the face, punches the guy in front of him repeatedly until he falls down and kicks the guy on the ground moaning. All three beaten and bloody and utterly defeated.

 

“Get in the car!” my dad instructs Hector and his friend. Juan walks to the house and my dad pulls his car into the drive and closes the doors.

 

My dad and his visitors say their goodbyes. My dad’s friends clearly visibly shaken. My dad explains to my mom what happened, and stating he had been clearly insulted and provoked! Thinking it’s time to just settle down, my parents send Juan home and my dad decides to take a shower before dinner.

 

My mom put my brother and I down for the night. Our rooms were very close to each other and at the furthest end of the house from the street. With my dad in the shower, my mom goes to the front door when she hears the doorbell ring.

 

The layout of our house was such that there was a front rod iron gate, then an alcove, then a huge front door (the main entrance to the house) a foyer and then a hallway that led you forward or to the left (it split the flow into an L shape). So when my mom opened the front door, she was safe behind the front rod iron gate. The alcove had a space of about 8 feet.

 

About a dozen armed men were standing on the other side of the gate.

“Yes? What do you want?” my mom commands.

Two of the bloodied men reply, “We are here to see the man of the house!”

“Just a moment,” my mom closes the door and hurries to get my father.

 

My dad is just getting out of the shower, dripping wet. Rather than drying off, he had the habit of putting on his pepto-pink terrycloth gigantic robe. The image of my dad in his pink robe is a quintessential memory of my childhood. Never was there a better paradox, than the macho, misogynist, violent, enormous, rich, bigot, Mexican loving his oversized pepto-pink terrycloth bathrobe. And the cherry on top, the ugliest Swedish sandals to cap the look off perfectly.

 

So….. My dad is just getting out of the shower, dripping wet. Rather than drying off, he had the habit of putting on his pepto-pink terrycloth gigantic robe on, puts his feet in his sandals, throws another towel around his neck.

“Alejandro, there are about a dozen men outside. I think it’s the men you beat and their hired guns” my mom alerts my dad.

“Get me the Uzzi from the closet,” he orders my mom. In times of crisis, my dad never waivered. My mom would always say his blood would go ice cold and he would have frightening focus.

 

Having always had a lot of firearms in the house, we were all accustomed to weapon areas in the house. My mom doesn’t bat an eye, procures the weapon and hands it to my dad. “These sons of bitches think they are going to come here?! To my house?! Who the fuck do they think they are?!” he protests furiously.

“You said there’s a dozen of them, we will need another gun…….Get the Walter PPK.”

My mom goes to the armory closet and gets the next weapon without hesitation.

 

Still dripping wet, in his pink robe, my dad takes the uzi machine gun, cuts the clip and loads the chamber. He takes the Walter PPK from my mom and does the same. Both guns are loaded, safeties are off and ready to fire.

 

“Lock the boys in their room and come with me, he instructs my mom.” Having bolted our bedroom door, she meets my father by the front entrance.

 

“Susana, I will meet them face on,” he says ice cold, “but if a single one of them gets in this house, you stand behind this wall and pick them off one at a time. This foyer, is a bottleneck, and if you stand here, you will be sheltered and can get them before they make it inside.” He checks her gun and gives it back to her.

 

He pats his hair dry with the towel around his neck. He holds the uzi in his right hand, folds his arm across his chest and covers it with his left arm. To a direct on-looker, it would look like he had his arms crossed over his torso; it was only if you looked down his left side that you would see the machine gun.

 

I always pictured this next part like a scene out of a western……the huge front door swings open in slow motion. In coordinated and synchronized alchemy, my father, dripping wet and covered in his pepto pink robe glides through the doorway into the alcove. My mom lying on the floor, her gun aimed like a sniper, waiting for her target. Through the alcove the rod iron gate stood a dozen armed men, the tree beaten bastards front and center.

 

And as my dad glides forward into the alcove, you can hear all the guns: safeties removed and loading the chambers. CLICK CLICK CLICK CLICK CLICK CLICK CLICK CLICK CLICK.

 

In one swift movement, my dad drops his left arm and takes the uzi into both hands aimed directly at his attackers. A deep and frightening silence drops like a load of bricks. The armed men instantly recognizing the enormity of their mistake.

 

“What the fuck do you son’s of bitches want? Who the fuck do you think you are to come to my house, MY fucking house, and threaten me or my family?!” he yells.

 

Petrified, the three original perpetrators, blather out, “ No man!!!! Calm Down!!, We just came to talk and you attack….”

 

“You didn’t fucking come to talk,” my dad cuts them off, “You show up at my house, with your hired thugs, you insult me, you hit my car! Do You know who the fuck I am?!”

 

“And I’m sure I’m going to die, but on my way out, I’m going to take out almost all of you motherfuckers! How many of you do you think I can get?! And you fucking idiots better believe I’m going to get the three of you first!” he holds the uzi ready to fire.

 

“NO NO NO NO!! WAIT MAN!! WAIT WAIT WAIT, There’s no need for this,” the three beaten idiots stammer. “Calm down, it doesn’t have to go this way, we can work this out.”

 

“Oh you fucking want to talk now?! Well then send all of these motherfuckers away and the four of us can talk. Otherwise, I’m ready to go! Are you pussies ready?!”

 

“Ok Ok, OK,” they concede to my father. “Well then I’m going to keep my gun pointed at you three until they are all gone.”

 

The three beaten broken men mutter to their guaruras, and they all begin to back away. You could hear every step each one took. My mom lying on the floor listening to the sound of fear and panic in the air. The hired guns, move further and further away until they are at the other end of the street. My dad looks back at my mom, from the corner of his eye. The message is clear, keep your gun ready just in case.

 

“Ok now if you want to talk, we can talk,” my dad proclaims.

 

“Look man, we are so sorry!! We went out last night and we got wasted. We didn’t mean to insult you or,”

 

“But you did!” my father cuts them off, “And then after getting the beating that you deserved you come threaten me in my home, my family?”

 

“Look man, again, we are so sorry. Things just went too far! It is our mistake, please let’s just let this go. We can all move past this. I’ll go back to our house, my dad is the Governor of Tamaulipas, we can fix this.”

 

“I understand about going out and having fun. You will never come to my home, you will never bother me or my family again. And to prove to you all that I am a man of my word, I’m putting my gun down.” He lowers the gun. “ Let us be good neighbors.”

 

“Yes exactly!! You are a good man, you understand this is nothing! We will be the best of neighbors you will see.”

 

“Very well then, why don’t you three come in for a drink and we will seal this relationship so that there are no mistakes moving forward.”

 

“Ahhhhhh well,” they begin to decline, but with the look in my father’s eyes they change their tune. “Yes of course, this will be a new beginning.”

 

My dad waves to my mom with one hand behind his back for her to leave her spot and go to the back of the house. In military compliance, she finds another vantage point closest to our bedroom in order to keep us safe.

 

My dad invites the men in and offers them a cognac. He pours them something excellent into three crystal cut snifters. Their hands shake as they try to drink and steady their nerves. They make small talk for only a few minutes. No doubt my father laying the final laws of his superiority and at the same time creating a connection to make them feel grateful. The three men make their excuses and leave the house. Walking beaten and bloody back to their own home just a few blocks away.

 

My mom comes from the back of the house and sets the gun down. They meet in the den where my dad has sat on the couch and laid the uzi on the floor.

 

“Holy shit!!” he looks at my mom. “All I can tell you is that those three fuckers shit their pants!! It wasn’t just the beating that they took that made them walk funny!!”

 

Without saying another work, my mom and dad began to laugh. A complete release of stress, panic, fear, shock they laughed until they cried.

 

“I’m going to take another shower, B/c I’m not sure I didn’t shit my pants either” my dad says as he takes the guns and leaves the room.

“I”ll make us some dinner so we can relax and let this whole thing go,” my mom laughs out of the room.

 

This story, which is all real, and has a million more details is a great vignette into my childhood. The strength of both my parents, the insanity of personality, the absurdity of the experience.

 

 

Your musical selection for today is My Name is Trouble by Karen Ann

 

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