ISBN-10:
1556525532
ISBN-13:
9781556525537
Pub. Date:
10/01/2004
Publisher:
Chicago Review Press, Incorporated
Once a King, Always a King: The Unmaking of a Latin King

Once a King, Always a King: The Unmaking of a Latin King

by Reymundo Sanchez
Current price is , Original price is $16.95. You

Temporarily Out of Stock Online

Please check back later for updated availability.

Overview


This riveting sequel to My Bloody Life traces Reymundo Sanchez’s struggle to create a “normal” life outside the Latin Kings, one of the nation's most notorious street gangs, and to move beyond his past. Sanchez illustrates how the Latin King motto “once a king, always a king” rings true and details the difficulty and danger of leaving that life behind. Filled with heartpounding scenes of his backslide into drugs, sex, and violence, Once a King, Always a King recounts how Sanchez wound up in prison and provides an engrossing firsthand account of how the Latin Kings are run from inside the prison system. Harrowing testaments to Sanchez’s determination to rebuild his life include his efforts to separate his family from gang life and his struggle to adapt to marriage and the corporate world. Despite temptations, nightmares, regressions into violence, and his own internal demons, Sanchez makes an uneasy peace with his new life. This raw, powerful, and brutally honest memoir traces the transformation of an accomplished gangbanger into a responsible citizen.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781556525537
Publisher: Chicago Review Press, Incorporated
Publication date: 10/01/2004
Pages: 304
Sales rank: 74,600
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.67(d)
Age Range: 15 - 18 Years

About the Author


Reymundo Sanchez is the pseudonym of a former Latin King who no longer lives in Chicago. He is the author of My Bloody Life.

Read an Excerpt

Once a King, Always a King

The Unmaking of a Latin King


By Reymundo Sanchez

Chicago Review Press Incorporated

Copyright © 2003 Reymundo Sanchez
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-56976-235-6



CHAPTER 1

Once a King, Always a King


It was prophetic that, on the day I freed myself from being a menace to the Latino community in Chicago by leaving the Latin King nation, I would walk away drenched in the blood of an innocent person.

To leave the Latin King nation I endured a brutal three-minute beating called a violation. This alone should have made me want to get as far away as I could and not turn back, but I was unknowingly still shackled to the lifestyle and to the Latin Kings. A hatred for those who called themselves King killers still burned within me. Even knowing that the main source of danger to the Latin Kings was the Kings themselves, the only evidence I looked at to fuel that fire was the event that had occurred just moments ago.

After my violation I was walking through the park on my way toward the bus stop. I didn't have to take this route, but I wanted to see how it felt to walk through the park in the Humboldt Park neighborhood with the knowledge that I was no longer a Latin King. I saw my old friend and ex- lover Loca, with her kids in tow, dealing cocaine. Also present was King Spanky, who, in a wheelchair after being shot by the Latin Kings, was dealing cocaine for the Nation. Spanky called out "once a King, always a King" as I walked past. Seconds later, shots rang out. I couldn't tell which direction they were coming from or headed. The drive-by shooter hit one of Loca's two kids. I ran to him and cradled him in my arms, but he was already dead. The cops arrived and questioned me. Then I headed for the bus.

I sat on the bus and stared out the window at Humboldt Park. The place I once thought was heaven had become a hell for many who lived in its surroundings. My clothes were drenched in blood, yet nobody seemed to notice. I cried rivers of tears, but nobody cared. Not one person on that bus looked my way, sympathetically or otherwise. No one bothered to ask about the blood on my clothes, but I did hear comments on how I should just shut up and stop crying already.

The loss of an innocent life had become too common an occurrence for anyone to react emotionally unless they were somehow tied to the victim. The death of a young Latino was seen as one less criminal to worry about instead of a horrifying reality. From my viewpoint there was nothing I could say about that careless attitude because I felt the same way.

As the bus passed by an area where Cobras and Disciples, rival gangs of the Latin Kings, hung out, I began to feel nervous and afraid. It was then that I understood what Spanky meant when he said "once a King, always a King," as I was walking away from the park. But I was determined to make my life different, to grow outside of the 'hood.

I was leaving a life filled with violence at home and on the streets. I had endured rapes, abandonment, being shot, and beatings that left me gasping for my own life. I had witnessed and/or been a part of more criminal activities in my still-short life than most people hear or read about in a lifetime.

From the time I had moved to Chicago at the age of five, the life I knew consisted of survival in gang-infested neighborhoods. The only example of life I had seen that didn't include drug use, violence, and extreme child abuse was from television. As far as I knew, everyone wore certain color clothing to represent one gang or another. I was certain that everyone used drugs.

These experiences and memories had made me the person I was. But as much as these experiences had scared me, they also forced me to try hard to survive in a peaceful world. I was trying to integrate myself into a world of hard workers, students, and peaches and cream. So much in my life had begun to change that I accepted the invitation of a gay coworker and friend to be his roommate. For a person who grew up in a gang- centered family, this was the ultimate sin. It was hard for me to accept this invitation, but as I'd made many decisions before, I accepted it as a matter of survival. I did wonder what others would think about me and the possibility that my friend might eventually want more than just friendship, but I decided to cross that bridge when I came to it. I took this as an opportunity to have shelter away from the 'hood.

My friend's name was Phillip. He was a white boy slightly taller than I was, with dirty blond hair and blue eyes. Phillip had been disowned by his middle-class parents because of his sexuality, and had only recently been accepted back into their lives and home. Phillip was a college graduate who was openly gay. He kept to himself and had obvious feminine traits. He was a sharp dresser and had a tendency to be flamboyant.

Even with the mixed feelings I had, I continued to live with Phillip. I felt comfortable with him. Living there offered me a chance to stay out of trouble as those who lived nearby assumed I was gay, too. I continued to grow into a hardworking member of society, working as a data entry clerk at the University of Chicago while attending classes. Suddenly everyone in my circle of friends was a coworker or university student. I was slowly but surely making myself a distant memory to those involved in gangs. I still, however, had nightmares, which were so horrible and vivid that I became afraid to fall asleep. All the bloodshed I had witnessed or caused awaited me every night for days and sometimes weeks at a time. I began having moments of terror during the day, too. I would drift away into a daydream and see the bloody souls of my past and begin to sweat, shake, or both. At these times many people asked what was wrong, but I couldn't answer. I didn't think anyone in my new circle would understand if they found out that I was having flashbacks of bullets entering and exiting bodies.

Phillip became a constant comfort when I awoke screaming in the middle of the night. He'd come from his room to my bedside and shake me gently until I awoke if I hadn't already. Often Phillip would bring me a glass of water. He was always compassionate about my ordeal and never seemed bothered that I woke him in the middle of the night. I'd share the details of my nightmares and he'd listen, which would allow me to fall asleep peacefully, at least momentarily.

I knew he was gay and I also knew that he was very aware of my heterosexuality. The respect that we had for each other's way of life allowed us to function well in spite of social taboos. Eventually, however, he started to interpret the emotions created by my nightmares as weakness, as an indication of desire for him. He crossed the line. One night as Phillip held me to comfort me and assure me that everything would be OK, he attempted to kiss me. When I rejected him, he left the room angrily. The next day he told me that we would no longer be able to be roommates. I could have tried to talk it out — a move that could have saved our friendship — but my manhood seemed more important to me at that moment. Instead of trying to talk about the misunderstanding, I told him that I would kill him if I ever saw him again. I was on my way to being homeless yet again. With nowhere else to go, I returned to Humboldt Park.

There's something about that park, that neighborhood, that tugged on me and never completely let me get away — something there that made those I tried to get away from, those I needed to get away from, the only ones I felt I could could really count on. I showed up at Humboldt Park on a Wednesday afternoon five months after Loca's son was killed. There I found Spanky, still selling cocaine as if the tragedy had never taken place.

Spanky had become one of the main dealers in the area. He no longer made the exchanges of drugs for money with customers himself; many others did that for him. He couldn't, however, get over his desire to be present in the middle of Humboldt Park's gang society. It was by all accounts one of the hardest habits to break. Thirteen- and fourteen-year- old kids who lived on the streets were among Spanky's dealers. I looked at them and saw another lost generation of kids just like me. I didn't agree with him using the kids in this way, but I learned to live with it. Spanky offered me a new place to live. Speaking up against his juvenile workforce would certainly ruin that.

I moved into the basement apartment of Spanky's house that weekend. The house was located on the corner of Cortez Street and Kedzie Avenue, across from the westernmost edge of Humboldt Park. In essence, I was back home.


I continued to work at the university, but I started to shy away from the friends I had made there. I lived in constant fear of anyone I met at the university finding out about my past and, even worse, about my present. Eventually, I thought, someone would offer me a ride home or want to come by and visit. I didn't want to risk my new friends being robbed or shot because of their friendship with me. I don't know what they thought about me once I began to distance myself, but it was obvious that they got the message.


Living at Spanky's made old problems resurface. Every so often, rival gangs of the Latin Kings would chase me as I got off the bus at North Avenue and Kedzie. I hadn't been away from the 'hood very long, and I was still recognized. Of course, the Kings would come out of the park and out of the side street along Kedzie Avenue and retaliate by throwing bricks, bottles, and any other objects they could get their hands on. And there would always be someone with a gun.

Although I was no longer officially a Latin King, and I was no longer called Lil Loco (my old nickname), I was still targeted by the Cobras, Disciples, and Gangsters. Once a King, always a King.

The feeling of sanctuary that going to work had once offered me started to disappear. On several occasions, carloads of Cobras would wait at the exit of the Damen and North Avenue station, knowing I would be getting off the train there. I again began to fear leaving the area where the Latin Kings protected me. I felt safest when secluded in the eight or so square blocks that made up the Humboldt Park section of the Latin Kings' territory. Four months after I moved into Spanky's basement, I quit my job at the University of Chicago and once again became a regular in Humboldt Park gang society. Becoming an elite member, however, was not so easy the second time around.

My integration back into the 'hood happened practically overnight. I hated it there, but at least I felt equal to everyone around me. My past was known, my intentions — good or bad — expected and accepted. It was the one place in the world where I didn't feel inferior due to my limited vocabulary and education. Gang society required absolute ignorance, a violent nature, and ruthlessness. I was known to have all of these qualities.

CHAPTER 2

Career Change


My basement apartment at Spanky's became a Latin King hangout. The only part of that apartment that remained truly mine was the bedroom. The Kings often held their meetings there, which meant that I had to vacate the apartment since I was no longer a Latin King. The new generation of Latin Kings knew me as Rey Rey. I became close to Spanky's new wife, Imelda. She was a small, fragile twenty-five-year-old Puerto Rican woman with no education at all. She seemed like everyone else in the neighborhood — very street smart but with no skills to survive outside Humboldt Park.

Imelda introduced me to her sister Josefina; we called her Josie. Josie looked like a carbon copy of Imelda, but she was three years younger and a member of the Latin Queens. Josie had a reputation for being a party animal with an itchy trigger finger. Most of the Kings thought I was crazy when I started dating her. She had shot her last boyfriend one day when he tried to stop her from drinking more than she had already consumed.

My relationship with Josie started four days after I met her. She showed up at the apartment high as a kite, drunk, and reeking of stale cigarette smoke. She flirted with me, then got physical, and finally insisted that we have sex. She was beautiful, and I had not had sex for a while, but I wanted her to take a shower first. Josie was persistent. She said she was horny and wanted to have sex first and shower later. I tried to lead her toward the bathroom and she began stripping her clothes off as I did so. Once she was naked I forgot all about the shower and her bad smell.

The next day and from there after, Josie called herself my girlfriend. She practically lived with me. Josie did all her drugging and drinking at my apartment with the Latin Kings, and — just like that — I went back to my party animal ways.

I began helping Spanky with his cocaine business. I'd cut, weigh, and bag the product for him in return for free rent and five hundred dollars a week. Often I did these things on my own. Known as Lil Loco when I was a hardcore gangbanger, I would get high on a daily basis to cover up my true feelings. I reestablished these old habits. Unlike the old Lil Loco, however, I no longer sought out violent confrontations or felt the need to prove myself to anyone. In this sense, at least, I had grown.

The new Rey Rey became sort of a sex freak when under the influence of drugs and alcohol. Once I got high, I became obsessed with sex. Luckily, Josie was always ready and willing to please me. When she wasn't around I would masturbate, since other girls in the neighborhood were afraid of Josie — all of them except for Spanky's wife, Imelda.

Spanky was paralyzed from the waist down, which left him sexually dysfunctional. He was in a wheelchair because, years earlier, the Latin Kings had suspected him of ratting me out to the law. They called a meeting with the intention of talking to him but shot him in a drive-by instead. They planned to kill him as a means of discipline by setting an example to others, but he didn't die, and he didn't even quit the Latin Kings, even though he knew they were the ones who'd shot him. Spanky could only sexually please Imelda orally or with his hands. She secretly desired more. Imelda came looking for me one evening so I could help her count out the money to purchase two kilos of cocaine. It was one of the very few days that I was alone in my apartment. She walked into my bedroom to find me lying on my bed, naked, in my own sexual world, masturbating. I don't even know how she came to be in my room. I heard her voice saying something, but I didn't acknowledge it. Then the voice got louder. "Espera que llegue Josie (Wait until Josie arrives)," the voice said. I opened my eyes, startled, and stared at her as she looked at me with a devilish grin on her face. Imelda did not take her eyes off me for one minute. Her reaction to my nakedness and self-pleasure turned my initial embarrassment into excitement. I got up, grabbed her by the back of the neck, and gently pulled her toward me to kiss her. Imelda turned her face so I wouldn't kiss her and said, "no puedo (I can't)." "Si puedes (You can)," I whispered in her ear. I placed my hands on her waist and spun her body so her back faced the bed as I kissed her ear and neck. I laid her gently on the bed and after a few more weak "I can'ts," Imelda became my willing partner. That was the start of our affair.

My sexual involvement with Imelda became both a blessing and a curse. Imelda began to look forward to our sexual encounters, and she got upset with the lack of opportunity, due to Latin Kings hanging around in my apartment all the time and Josie's presence. Imelda grew jealous because Josie was spending nights with me, but she was only getting quickies here and there that, more often than not, left her with the desire for more. Her frustration led her to have Spanky ban the Latin Kings from using any part of the house as a hangout. I was happy that she had talked him into taking that action. I finally had some privacy within my own apartment, and Imelda and I enjoyed extended sex time. Suddenly it was I who wished it were Imelda spending nights with me instead of Josie. Imelda didn't get high, she drank very little, and she always smelled so good and clean, while Josie was always under the influence of drugs and alcohol and reeked of cigarette smoke even after having freshly showered. I wanted Imelda for myself.

My desire for Imelda got me closer to Spanky. I grew more involved in his drug business. I advised him on purchases and got him involved in the growing heroin business. Spanky's profits doubled. My knowledge of the drug business from my former time as a dealer in the Latin Kings, and my reputation for loyalty when I was a King, were the only reasons Spanky kept me around. I knew this, and I also knew that it was just a matter of time before I would no longer be needed, and therefore dispensable, but I didn't care. As long as I was a commodity, I was going to get all I could and then some.

I was now driving a beautiful Pontiac Bonneville and attracting the attention of the opposite sex. Even with Josie's reputation for violence, girls were now willing to get involved with me. My money seemed to remove all fear. The new generation of Latin Kings, however, was not impressed. Most of them felt as if I were raining on their parade. My presence kept them from getting closer to Spanky, and therefore considering themselves second, or third, in command and so forth. Because of that, they routinely requested that I prove myself worthy. My Lil Loco reputation did not carry me with this crowd. According to them I was just Rey Rey — unproven, untested, and not a Latin King. My return back to my violent ways became more and more inevitable.


(Continues...)

Excerpted from Once a King, Always a King by Reymundo Sanchez. Copyright © 2003 Reymundo Sanchez. Excerpted by permission of Chicago Review Press Incorporated.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Contents

Introduction,
1 Once a King, Always a King,
2 Career Change,
3 Josie's Way,
4 Fear,
5 Cocaine Again,
6 The First Blessing,
7 Doing Time,
8 Almost Free,
9 Work Release,
10 New Beginning,
11 A Different Kind of Girl,
12 There Is Such a Thing as Friendship,
13 Lovers,
14 A New Plan,
15 Welcome to Dallas,
16 Is This Love?,
17 Maybe We Can Try Again,
18 Release of Pain,
19 Changes,
20 Here and Now,
For Those at Risk,

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews

Once a King, Always a King 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 58 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I LOVED THIS BOOK!! IT HLPED ME HEAL WHAT I WENT THROUGH WITH MY EX BOYFRIEND OF 5 YEARS, ALMOST MARRIED HIM. LIKE MARILYN I AM EDUCATED. I NEVER LOOKED DOWN ON HIM BECAUSE HE WAS A MEMBER OF A GANG MOST OF HIS LIFE. HE HAD A TRAMATIC CHILDHOOD JUST LIKE LIL LOCO, I CAN ONLY HOPE THAT HE WILL READ THIS BOOK AND USE REYMENDO SANCHEZ AS A ROLE MODEL. I BELIEVE WHAT SANCHEZ STATES IN HIS FORWARD THAT PEOPLE WITH ' ISSUES' IN THIS CASE CHILDHOOD ONES SHOULD SEEK PROFESSIONAL HELP OR EVEN WRITE YOUR FEELINGS DOWN. We all have memories that we want to forget I hope this book can help another like it did for me.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I love this book it hit a spot it brought back memories i tried to forget..i think my past helped me with my life today..i actually had a friend that told me to change my life so i did..his words changed my life but when i read this book..i had guilt for what i did..all the secrets..but i can do anything with my past.. now i am trying to make a successful life for my hijo.. that is all that is on my mind.. but i will always remember the pain from the past..this book i believe will change people lives.. i wish the best for Reymundo Sanchez.. god bless u
Guest More than 1 year ago
reading this book brought back major memories i had long forgotten.being an ex lady gangbanger from the near west side reading this book reminded me of the horrors i went through much like lil loco.but you can escape I DID!!! and i broke the chain of violence my children are my life i would die for them AND ONLY THEM they are my familia.
C.Vick on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Not nearly as good or as engaging as My Bloody Life, Once a King, Always a King, tells the story of Reymundo Sanchez after he is "violated out" of the Latin Kings.The first part of the book comes across as nothing more than Sanchez's braggadocio vis a vis how many women he can screw, often in more-erotic-than necessary-detail. It's hard to feel like he regrets it when he describes it with such relish. The book picks up when Rey lands in prison on drug charges, giving sparse but interesting information about what jail life is for gang members. Not to mention demonstrating how prison is a breeding ground for gangs. However, the book soon hits a lull in again in describing Sanchez's relationship with a college graduate in excruciating detail. His attempt to build a new life with her is interesting, to be sure, but their overall relationship? Not so much. Nor are his endless struggles to come to terms with his feelings for his mother.While the language and sentence structure in this book is just as juvenile as it is in the first book, for some reason it grates more here. Perhaps it's because the concepts being described in My Bloody Life matched the linguistic skills, while Sanchez is struggling for higher expression here. Not a waste of time if you read and enjoyed the first book -- after all, you are probably as curious as I was to see how it all turns out -- but not a stellar read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I think that book is really good because I love to read about the gang life and how they were formed and what they do in the gang life. I have read my bloody lifr the making of a latin king and I have read once a king always a king and I have also read Lady Q. these books are about gang life and where they were represented from. the book in about gangs in Chicago. I'm proud to read these books and what their about.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Heck yeah go Reymundo;)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Gangland and true stories are my favorite genres. This book covers both with a very real and helpful insight into the journey of a bad guy becoming good.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Grammared More than 1 year ago
I had no idea. Reymundo Sanchez¿s sequel is probably the most inspiring and personal book I have ever picked up. At first I thought it was going to be a mediocre book because his syntax was poor and I didn¿t see his personality right away. As Sanchez started to reveal himself, his past woes and hardships, the syntax didn't matter anymore. The book transformed itself from an interesting, casual read into an insightful outlook on the world; the story of a life. I went through his emotions at the same time he was describing his thoughts. His syntax, then, allowed him to easily transpose his thoughts onto the paper and made it clear for every reader to be able to understand. It also led me into a different part of Chicago that I don¿t really think about. To someone who has never experienced any of his problems, Once a King, Always a King is a real eye-opener; Sanchez describes the unaccented parts of gang life with perfect amounts of detail. I enjoyed his conclusions about education, the realizations of gang life and how to seek help, society, and the aggressive, boastful thought processes that turn someone into a thug. His morals made me realize how opportunistic life can really be. However, I would not recommend the book, however enlightening, to children under fifteen years old due to the excessive use of swear words, detailing of sexual encounters, and heavy drug usage as well as the violence Sanchez endures.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
uu More than 1 year ago
I loved this book!!! it was very very goood an insiprational.Reymunodo does a very good job on telling his story. he basically tells his story about his life and how hard it was struggling to despretly get out a gang and all the abuse he went through sexaully, mentally,and emotionally. this book shows you that it is possible to get out of that lifestyle and change your whole life completey. Anyone that reads this will feel like he is th one in REymundos life thats exactly how i felt when i was reading this book. he was very detailed and explained everything very very well. the most realistic thing about this book is that reyumndo is a fromer gang member and he is the one that wrote this whole book. i reccomend this book to anyone that just wants to read it to understand the struggles of being a gang member to someone acataully in a gang that needs some inspiration to change there life around. this book really shows how anything can happen and its really all on you if you want to change your life around for the better. everyone has really hard times in there life and this book really will help you get through some of this issues you have a lot of the things Reymundo does really all goes back to his childhood. wich really effected him in everyway you can imagine. he shows how he gets through those times and what he does to get through them and how. it wasnt easy for him but he managed to fight it and fight all the temptations. its a really deep book and had a whole another level of understanding. this book is a very very good book and i reccomend it to anyone make sure you read the first book to get a better understanding i twill keep you reading and you will get hooked. i didnt want to put this book down.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This Book was very good...When i read it, it felt like if i was the one living this guy's story..
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago