Monday, July 26, 2004

The Gang at Carmelo (Teenage Madness II)

Eva's daughter's best friend had told Eva not to worry, that her father would go with Eva to check the suspicious girl's parents.

For most of you El Carmelo doesn't mean anything. But in Barcelona this hood, on a mountain, above Park G├╝ell, is some sort of a ghetto, with tough guys, skinheads, low-cultured and fight-prone middle-aged people, and gypsies. And to a high extent, this is true.  You can live there for 10, 15 years but not be considered 'del barrio', you are an outsider. As in Eva's case, to many people. As in other people I've known who spent some part of their life there.

So Eva was not too happy at the idea of having to play the Tough Guy shit, and was glad one of the real Carmelo guys was going to help her.

'Till she saw this little, big bellied, nervious guy turn up with his daughter, asking 'Well, what are we supposed to do now then?'

First thing we did was burst out in laughter. Second was recompose ourselves, and I promised Eva in a whisper I'd go with her, seeing the tough guy she'd found!!! We had forgotten how kids see their parents, specially their dads, as some sort of superheroes... as neither Eva's nor my kid have a superhero around!

Fortunately, Agnes turned up too -the really street-wise, hardened and mad person we needed, all packed up in a usually perky, yet today furious 1.60m! So there we went, Agnes, Eva, me, the scared dad, and 4 or 5 kids involved with the party -Eva's daughter, Agnes' son, the man's daughter, and a couple of other guys, future tough Carmelo guys and already a bit on the street-wise side.  We were doing our impressive bit, walking along the middle of the road, making ourselves noticed, so people came up to see what was going on -yes, they are used to fist fights around there, so seeing us all with our stern faces and marching in a mob, people hung around to find out what it was all about.

We got to this girl's flat, and a huge woman with a bull-dog face opened the door. Obviously, she said her daughter had been at home with her all night, since eleven p.m. Eva's daughter went mad at this, saying how the hell can she say that, but we calmed her down and made her see it was just what we expected to hear from the parents.

We managed to talk it over and make the bulld... the mother see we were not directly acusing her daughter, but wanted to ask her who the guys she'd brought with her were, and how to find them. So the bulld... lady phoned her daughter and told her in a sharp bark to come on home roght now, some people are waiting for you. She apologized saying her daughter had got into trouble recently due to bad companies, and she never did anything but kept getting involved because of her friends. Almost felt like patting her head, now she was cooperating.

Well, her puppy came and said she knew nothing of the stolen goods, but Agnes and I kept asking her names and phone numbers of these guys she had brought along with her and who'd been seen doing suspicious things, she obviously didn't know where they lived but did come up with some names we were writing down as we kept asking for more info.

As we left, we told her to contact us if she could think of anything else to help find the stuff, and so avoid any further hassle. Outside, in the street, Agnes and I -who'd been left on our own interrogating the girl, after trooping up to her flat initially- found a crowd of people, some more teenagers who'd been at the party, and started counter-checking information: names, phone numbers, where do the guys hang out and who else could be involved. I mean, they are from the hood, so they know who the bad guys are!!!

We finally decided to get back home, after trying to scare the shit out of some of these kids with our tough talk, so they'd get talking. I kept going on about how at least the junkies and pickpockets downtown, where I live, respect their neighbours and how it has always been a non-written law to avoid stealing in your own hood. Kept repeating also 'if you do have to steal anything, of course'. And kept saying how mad I was about the petty, stupid way it had been pulled. How who ever it had been deserved a kick in the butt for the way they had gone against their own neighbours, and shall cause trouble in the hood 'cause we'd be working on it until we found out who it was.

Then, when Agnes, her son, Eva, her daughter, me and two other teens were finally sitting and talking it all over at home, the bell started ringing.

It had worked: kids started turning up, to tell us stuff away from the public eye, so no-one else knew they'd been talking to us. Always kept promisisng this would be between us, and we wouldn't say who'd given us the names.  The names that were mentioned were always the same ones, and we shortly ahd quite a group of teens at Eva's again, much to our amusement... and amazement at all we were hearing!!! 

   By 10:30 p.m. I left, still amid teens and explanations and reasons why it couldn't have been so-and-so, why it must have been so-and-so, etc.

Still not finished. But think I deserved my little prize   Sushi 



O.k.,o.k.! said...

Guess who has been seen with the stolen mobiles???!!!

Bulldog's daughter, first guess right!!!!!!!

Eva & some others went back to challenge her, but got nothing out of it yet.

As to the money, word has been going round it was a certain guy, everyone points at the same one. The one Eva took Arnau's watch off his wrist!!!!