01 26 08 Vehicular Suicide

At the wake at De Riso's there's a backroom with three little boys doing cartwheels and two little girls running around. One is the daughter of the deceased, Jason Gonzalez or Sniper. The girl, Briana, is around ten years old. So when she was born he was 20. For many of those years he was in prison. He was good at breaking and entering. But he was especially good at stealing cars. He looked very small in the coffin although I remember him as tall. Was part of the body missing from the car accident? Or broken and put into the coffin in pieces. He died on impact driving fast on Fort Hamilton Parkway and 44th street in Sunset Park at 3 or so on the morning of January 22nd, 2008. That's almost four years to the day after DMO was stabbed and kicked to death on the Avenue around the corner from my house. He dropped dead across the street, maybe trying to get to us for help.
Jason was a suicide, suicide by autocrash. Not much more than a year ago I walked out one morning to find his face on wanted posters on every tree and post on the block and for several blocks up and down the avenue. He'd been in a car driving fast, hit a truck and Little DMO riding shotgun was maybe dead or paralyzed. His friend at the funeral was saying you couldn't tell Jason anything, to slow down or do things any other way than his. He was better at most things than anyone. In prison he'd learned botany and construction and he knew everything about cars. He did know best. No telling what he would have been, the life he might have led in a rational authentically civilized world. "If you tried to tell him anything, he'd say,I got it". He didn't have it this time. Not unless what he was aiming for was death.
The wake was very subdued. Nobody was sobbing, or wailing, or pounding the walls, or screaming out, "What kind of a fucked up world is this, when someone this brilliant, this beautiful, this full of life gets to die at 30?"
One 20 year old girl in the car died in the hospital. Another girl is still in a coma. Two others are in "stable" condition last I could find anything in the papers about this. He wasn't Heath Ledger so there haven't been ad nauseum stories about the autopsy or who made what phone call when.
He wanted to break out of oppression and there was no room for him, no movement to absorb him, his gang was his best shot but how long do gangs survive with any upward trend? I always got the sense when I saw him that he was chafing at the chains, at the constraints. He asked me to teach him a GED class. Him and RC who is now awaiting trial for murder. He shot a guy who was trying to kill him. I tried to get them to go to Fortune, to explain they'd do much better getting a GED that way than with any class I could teach. I was one more disappointment. Maybe I should have tried to teach them. One more failure.
The Jason in my mind, my imaginary Jason, was trying to get out any way he could, by drinking too much and then driving too fast. One time he came out of prison and took to hanging out on our stoop all night drinking with loud teenage girls, driving the neighbors crazy with the noise. That was when Lucas' 24/7 basement hip hop studio and after hour hangout scene in the house had escalated impossibly, the drinking and weed smoking and ins and outs of guys, the crash pad of young men in his room and in the basement, the fighting off the ones who'd use the house to sell drugs, or saw us as marks and stole our stuff, cameras, cd players, checks, was spilling out of the borders of our would be liberated territory, pissing off our neighbors. Cops turned up at our door chasing two of those guys who'd been fingered by Mexicans as having robbed their cellphones. I saw Lucas' room through their eyes: messy, weed and bottles all over, dirty mattresses, clothes, trash.
Lucas and Little Bless, brother of DMO stabbed 21 times to death, decided at one time to breed pitbulls in Lucas' room at the front of the house. Nena the bitch had a litter of eight pups, black, brindle, brown, who lived in the middle of the floor where they writhed,nursed,shit, pissed all over bloody sheets. Nobody wanted to buy those pups. Lucas friend Maxwell from North Star took one and we kept one for a little while. The puppies were getting bigger, and cuter and nowhere near housebroken. As their shit piles got bigger I ended up putting an ad in the Home Reporter and some guy came and took three of the pups in a van. A crazy drug dealing guy with a fat motor mouth mother, from the avenue, who was rumored to have watched the stabbing of DMo from his window and later supposedly turned informant and witness protected out of Sunset, took one of the black dogs. I wondered what the guy who took so many wanted them for. I didn't have the attention to ask too many questions. I coudln't bear the noise and stench and chaos. I thought he might be raising them to fight or to eat.
Alfredo was at last able to lay down some law and stop the hanging out on the stoop. But Jason would come by, often while joyriding. He liked to get very drunk and steal a car. He was with L the night the catastrophe that A thinks was a bottom for Lucas, got him to stop drinking hard liquor, or at least drink much less. Got him to stop drinking for six months I'm told by A. I didn't notice. And I wasn't told until much later that L and some others had been at a party at the apartment of some young women three doors up the block. By that time L was living in his own apartment and I didn't know he came to the block to party. Some sexualized drinking was going on and during that there came a moment when L lunged at a young woman and went for her throat. Somebody stopped him, got him into a car with Jason, took him for a drive. They were stopped, and arrested when the cops found weed on someone in the car. I don't know if it was Lucas. He spent the night in jail. Alfredo told me he asked the young man who owns the house where the young women lived to get them to move out, to keep the peace.
That's maybe the bond between Lucas and J, the coal white rage they sit on, although each extracted it a different way. For L it's patterns of berating, exploding, fisting walls, misogyny and homophobia, and the drinking he tells me he believes keeps him from killing someone. For J it was stealing cars and driving fast.
Driving fast drunk. Thelma and Louising away from the pursuers.
He wanted to smash through the portal, smash out of here.
The photograph of the mangled car was terrifying, like it had been put through a jagged crusher. They had to cut him out.
He wanted to smash through the portal and he left that mangled car, the other bodies, and his own. He looked very small in the coffin, slight. His face still beautiful even empty of intelligence and charisma, and unspeakably sad.
The widow central to the drama unfolding at DeRiso's, very calm, excellent hostess of this sad event she must have been a part of many times, not as the protagonist. The mother of T's child was there. T is dead in his own way, serving life without parole. Old school gangsters with red ribbons hanging from their pockets. The little girl sat by the coffin looking at her father often between spurts of running around. I don't know how a person that age feels or shows grief. She gave no signs I recognized. Could she tell this was all that was left of her Father? This was the last time she would see what was left of his face?
The waste of this.
I've been in a state of helpless coal white rage myself.