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  • Writer's pictureCindy Marabito

Damn the torpedoes ... it's Little Mexico

Big suggestion. Don't ever google 'little Mexico' and 'the dicks' if you don't want to see pages and pages of a ton of hairy circumcised penises. That's the mistake I made when I was searching for a memory of Little Mexico online. Little Mexico is where Glen, Santiago, Buxf, Chuck and Manolo Lopez lived. You might even call Little Mexico that old school version of what you google now. That house down on 2417 Rio Grande saw more than its share of circumcised dicks. So what better practice space for the soon to be hardcore punk band, the Dicks?

My sister Martha and I lived right down the road at Mr. Johnny's in a tiny apartment at 2298 Rio Grande. We worked a half block away at Matt's El Rancho #3 and wore socks and sandals to work with long ass vintage dresses. That was the thing back then, the tail end of the 70's in Austin. One afternoon in between shifts, we headed down to Guadalupe a couple blocks over. The drag. We were walking down 24th Street around the corner from Cain and Abel's. Back then, the place had turntables up on shelves above the bar and played albums. Cain and Abel's is where I first heard Tom Petty. They were playing the album and I'd been knocking 'em back with my good friend to this day, Michael Crockett. I hollered out, "Man, Bob Dylan really sounds good!" Michael had to tell me laughing, "Cindy, I think this is Tom Petty." Michael was a real smart guy who'd graduated from Rice and was working on his master's at UT, but he was a food expediter at Matt's El Rancho for no money. Like I said before, Austin was a whole different animal back then. Nobody wanted to leave here and would work all these awful jobs for nothing. And the bosses took cruel to a new level.

We passed by Les Amis and our favorite record store, Inner Sanctum where everybody went to hang out and listen to music in the middle of the day. Then, right there in the middle of the road we saw them for the first time in our lives. It was the opening scene right out of The Wild Bunch. Since Sam Peckinpah is and was my favorite director of all time, these guys caught my eye. And Martha's, too .

What we saw was this group of high testosterone dudes walking down the road. We found out later they'd all just gotten out of jail. It was as memory serves, Chuck and Manolo, Glen and Santiago. Maybe Buxf, but not sure. They were all wearing ripped-up tee shirts and tight jeans with boots. Manolo had a pair of pleather-type pants with duct tape over the holes. He had on his famous Stephen King 'Walking Man' boots with extreme pointed toes that almost curled at the tip like genie out of a bottle.

We had never seen them before and likewise, but we were instantly drawn to them and struck up a conversation like we'd known each other all our lives. We were instant best friends. Even more when we found out they were also friends with Gary and were in the process of forming the Dicks.

From that moment on, we became fixtures at Little Mexico, Martha and I. As were Do, Roxanne and Byrd, the Torn Panties. But, back to Little Mexico. It was condemned at the time, so they were living there rent frrent-freeee. Chuck had previously been living at the Next House further down on 24th which comes with an upcoming Kung Fu story in a later chapter. We began hanging out at Little Mexico for the Dicks practices. We got to hear all those songs firsthand. They really were like the hardcore Austin Beatles and wrote most of the music in like five minutes. Martha and I couldn't believe how scary great they were. Gary's voice was incredibly melodic and soulful for a punk singer. They'd hired Pat 'Dick' Deason as the drummer and were off and running.

Many crazy stories and fun times sprang from Little Mexico. Like all the beer that got stolen, and I mean cases and cases per night. The people at the Minit Mart never said a thing, ever. Around this time, the Iran hostage thing happened, so we began having hostage parties. Day 79 hostage party. Day 102. Day 198. And so on, like we needed an excuse to drink. One afternoon, they'd gotten ahold of the new Selector album and were playing "On my Radio" over and over on the outside patio slab. It was just a square piece of concrete where we'd all stand around and drink when it got too hot inside. That was most of the time.

One night, I wandered over next door to this big brick two-story house. It's still there, by the way. I was about half-looped and met the three guys that lived there. Bob, Bob and Pat. They had a bunch of cocaine and I got to imbibing with them. A couple of the other girls came over to party with us, no names mentioned. But, two things. The cocaine got the better of me and I ended up screwing all three of those guys. The second thing was most likely a coke lie. Bob and Bob informed me they were Hollywood stunt men and they'd actually performed the cliff jump scene from "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid." I believed that for a long time, but recently looked up the stunt jumpers on IMDB and none of 'em were named Bob and Bob.

I'd brought over my brand new Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers Damn the Torpedoes album and neglected to bring it home. I really love Tom Petty and it took all I had to drag my ass back over there the next day to get my record back. Whatever. I love Tom Petty. And, the Dicks.

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