Warm Bleach and Iced Tea

With all the technological advances in bullying, there are still some tried and true defenses in the Gutter.

And scar tissue and tenacity (and a little psycho) still go a long, long way.

Warm Bleach and Iced Tea by Ezra Letra

“Just open your mouth, bitch.”

I lay on the ground of the park surrounded by these dickheads.

“Maybe we shouldn’t do this, Carlos,” said Gustavo, a kid I knew from the neighborhood.

Carlos was the leader of the crew and the other four his dogs. He has soft eyes, the kind that collapse if they encounter bravery. His braids were clean and sparkly, and his eyebrows are fixed up to be outlined perfectly, like a fucking faggot. His Jordans match perfectly with his Washington Wizards fitted cap.

The ground is cold. The bird chirps sound like chipmunk giggles. My lower back is burning from the snow against my bare flesh after I was slammed on to it. The group doesn’t allow the sun to touch me. Carlos is deciding whether he wants to piss in my mouth or spit in it. Whatever happened to just getting the shit beaten out of you? Here I am with my mouth open getting kicked in the ribs.


It tastes like warm bleach and iced tea. Carlos only gets a couple of drops in my mouth, the rest baptizes my face. My eyes connect with each one of them. I smile. From all my experience of being picked on, smiling always throws them off. They can humiliate me, but they won’t see me cry.   

“Can I go now?”

They take a step back in unison. They must do this all the time.

“Get the fuck outta here, bitch. This our park.”


I follow Carlos for two weeks without him noticing me. Guys like him only notice themselves on any surface that reflects. He lives on 58th Street near Roosevelt Avenue. It takes him roughly six minutes to get home after getting off the 7-train. His mother’s name is Magdalena Ruiz. She works nights at the Laundry Mat a block away from her house. I’ve started doing my laundry there. She calls me Corazon. He has $48.24 in his bank account. His girlfriend’s name is Vanessa Luna. She treats everybody like shit, too. They’re perfect for each other. Last night, I climbed the fire escape to see into his room and saw them fucking. She looked good naked. Her tits were like the ones I jerk off to online. I sprayed a smiley face on his window when they went to sleep. That’s what I did to Gustavo the night before I pushed him off the platform while he waited for the train.

Ezra Letra is a man with many muses: a rapper, a photographer, a writer, a director, a graphic designer, a producer, and proud father. He is a founding member of The Last Ancients and a member of the Low Writers and The Southern Collective Experience. Ezra Letra was born in Queens, NY, and currently resides in Phoenix, Arizona. For more information go to www.ezraletra.com.