Lou Diamond

My name is Luis O Pichardo. I was born in the small town of El Capotillo on August 11th, 1978 in Santo Domingo, the capital of the Dominican Republic. Since the day I was born, I knew that I was gifted; I was different from everyone else. This gift has attracted many different obstacles in my life, but it has also allowed me to grow into the person that I am today. Before you dive into this incredible fiction novel, Washington Heights – The Murder Mamis, let's go back in time. I’m going to tell you a little bit about my life story. I want you to understand the type of individual that I am and why I conduct myself in certain ways. I was raised by my grandmother, Lorenza Martinez, who I loved dearly. Unfortunately, she died while I was doing time; I never had the opportunity to say goodbye. She never knew I was incarcerated nor that I made many wrong decisions in my life. She thought I was away at boarding school getting an education; it was so important to her. She always believed I was a good person. Her last words to me were "Come to Santo Domingo, my son, I want to see you before I die." I always made up excuses for why I couldn’t come, rather than being straight forward and telling her that I was locked up in jail. What breaks my heart til’ this day is that I never had the opportunity to see her again. It was impossible for me to pay my respect to her. To tell her how much I loved her. But I know deep down inside that she is watching over me and protecting me. My grandmother was the most amazing woman in the world. Since I was a young boy, hustling and making money was my thing. The streets gave me that, not some dumb ass school that had me sitting in a wooden chair doing tedious work for eight hours not learning anything. The streets raised me. That’s where I made my money, not in school. I remembered using that money to buy myself kites and anything I wanted to get, since my grandma could not afford it. The pay and power from manhandling others pleased me, and I was damn good at it too. In the late eighties, my biological mother, Zoila Damaris Jaime, may her soul continue to rest in peace, sent to get me. I was eight years old at the time; I cannot recall if that made me happy or sad. I was leaving my beautiful country. I did not have a say being so young, I had no choice but to follow instructions and listen to my mother. Upon arriving in New York City at the John F Kennedy International Airport, my mother took me straight to the Bronx, to 170th Street and Jerome Avenue to be exact. At the time people recognized this area as Prostitute Central. I did not speak English, nor did I understand the language, everything around me was so complicated. I could not comprehend how people behaved so poorly and looked so miserable. I did not like anything about it at all. You see coming from a tropical island, where regardless of the fact that people were poor, they managed to always stay happy. I was living in one of the worst neighborhoods in my country, El Capotillo, but I was happy and free to do as I pleased. I was able to be in the streets all day without worries. To come to a strange place to be locked in a small one-bedroom apartment, on the fifth floor with no elevators, in the cold ass winter, was extremely hard for me to transition to. I was traumatized by everything, especially my surroundings. I could not take it. I was miserable, I wanted to go back home. At the time, I was frustrated and something needed to change fast. That is when everything in my life blew out of proportion. I felt like a lion in a small cage, stuck inside an apartment without being able to breathe. As if I was suffocating, unable to move or do anything. Until destiny brought me together with one of my cousins, Sandy Martinez a.k.a Ras. He introduced me to the Washington Heights area, Dominican Ville. I was so happy to finally be around my people. I quickly saw how the money was flowing there and immediately wanted to be a part of that environment. The hustling game had my mind on getting some new Jordan’s and the latest beepers, not concentrating on some dumb school. My mother wanted a better future for me. She wanted me to do everything she never had the opportunity of doing, like getting an education. She was constantly registering me to different schools so I could become someone, but I always managed to get kicked out. At IS 232 Alexander Macomb School, trouble always followed me; mostly because of my unique personality and interest in girls. At Mott Hall School, I was registered but never attended; I always cut class. There were many more schools but I honesty cannot remember the names. I was always at each for less than a week. I always got into trouble quickly or never went to class so I’d be dropped immediately. But at George Washington High, I managed to stay for a couple of months. But even then, I wasn’t there to learn. I was the pack leader of my crew. I remember walking through the hallways, gathering my people from different classrooms and collecting the funds for the smoke and the munchies of the day. I also remember one time at that school where I was fighting with someone near a window. I pushed him through the window to get him off me. But the best memory from there was when my beeper went off in one of my classes. The stupid teacher heard it and took it away from me then gave it to the school principal. I was so mad! I acted on impulse and all hell broke loose. I went outside of the school and got a four by four wooden stick and I went to the principal's office. I broke his door and grabbed my beeper from his desk. Once I recovered it, I threw the stick and walked off as if nothing ever happened, checking if I had any missed calls or messages. The joke was on me though. As I walked out of the building, there were three police cars waiting to arrest me. My actions got me into a lot of trouble. Without knowing how to read or speak English, my mother unknowingly signed some documents; she was under the impression it authorized them to send me to a boarding school in Albany, New York, for my bad behavior. When in reality she gave them permission to take me to Tryon, the most infamous juvenile prison in the state of New York. My experience there was awful. I was locked in a very tiny room where I was constantly abused by officers for no reason whatsoever. There I lasted one year. Upon my release, I came back more rebellious than ever from all of the agony and grief that I encountered while in there. After that incident, no other schools wanted to accept me because I had a criminal record which stated that I was a violent person. I did not care at the time, if anything, I was happy because that meant I didn’t have to waste my time going to school. I was able to focus on the drug selling hustle in the streets of Washington Heights. The money was flowing well. I was making that bread and living my life to the fullest. I was even getting along with my mother. In my eyes, she was the best and coolest mother in the entire world. I remember we used to smoke weed together all the time. She was so awesome for getting high with me. I was so happy with everything going on in my life. I was on top of the world or at least I thought I was. Unfortunately, I was not introduced to the weed hustle but to the heroin one. Where many of the people who bought and consumed my product would overdose and die. When this would happen, I used to drag their bodies down the stairs to the basement to get them out of the way so other buyers would not get scared. I didn’t want it to stop them from buying from me. Now that I think about it, I do not understand how I was so stupid. I was selling heroin to those people without considering any consequences. So many people died consuming my product. I did not care; I was only interested in making a lot of money and fast. Until one day, being too ambitious, I made a wrong move. I got caught red-handed selling heroin to an undercover cop. Big mistake. I got sent to a co-ed juvenile jail, the Spofford Correctional Facility, in the Bronx. They housed some of the worst criminals and murderers in the tri-state area. In there, I met two individuals that I would never be able to forget. One was a girl who they called “Chop-Chop”; she had chopped up her mother and her boyfriend because she found them fucking in her bed one day. The other was a girl that was in there because she placed her baby in the microwave, just to watch the baby burn to death. You would think that being exposed to all those horrible people with no souls would traumatize me and change me. Nope. Not at all. I might not agree with what they did, but I had decided to partake in the life of crime, so I had no right judging. Even though I knew deep down inside, I was nothing like the people in my surroundings. When I turned sixteen years old, I graduated to Rikers Island. In there I could not stand the abuse that my Dominican brothers were receiving. The other inmates were assholes. They used to throw the food on the floor for us and tell us we could eat it if we were hungry. All because they could not understand our language or our culture. The guards noticed the abuse and never did anything to any of them. They allowed them to continue tormenting us as if it were their right, as if it was ok.

Book(s) By Lou Diamond

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