A Toast to a ‘Crazy’

Erasmo Calzadilla

Photo: Caridad

HAVANA TIMES — I spent the day with a nagging sense of emptiness, as if I were falling. What happened was that last night they stabbed and killed a ‘madman’.

For starters, he wasn’t really crazy, he just didn’t think straight. He had an old-fashioned name: Lorenzo, but he hadn’t seen more than 23 springs, some of those in prison for assault and robbery.

I saw him born and raised in the ambience of the “deep” neighborhoods of Havana, where guys compete against each other to see who can be the toughest – and this nutcase had been leading the pack. He didn’t respect the barriers that restricted his teachers, so he earned the nickname “loco” that followed him from early on.

In fact, it’s not the first time that I’ve mentioned him here in my blogs. My father and grandfather planted a stony plot of land, and from time to time this basket case would pull up the fruits sowed by the old men.

Viewed from the moral standard of the neighborhood, he not only robbed but also humiliated the family dignity; particularly mine – since being about his same age it was on me to confront him.

I chose to talk with him, but the outcome was questionable at best. Another person who was humiliated by Lorenzo preferred a less sophisticated approach: He drove a bayonet into his lung.

It all happened just a few yards from the health clinic, but being so cocky and ignoring the seriousness of his wound, Lorenzo ran the other way, going to his home in search of a weapon. When he realized Lorenzo’s intention, the murderer shouted a few calm but disquieting words: “Don’t run, you’re not going to get very far.”

Lorenzo hit the ground, throwing up blood at the foot of the grandmother who raised him and in the building where he grew up. It was Saturday night, June 16, on the eve of Father’s Day.

Many young Cubans lose their lives in disputes related to disrespect and their self-esteem.


Pretending not to be sensationalist, the press maintains absolute silence about bloodshed in general, but especially with regard to these crazies who kill or die daily under the dictates of savage and murderous morals.

This nut won’t be screwing around with anyone anymore, but I suspect that his untimely and violent death won’t be so easy to erase from the neighborhood’s memory.

Hopefully he will serve as a negative example to the kids around here, though most likely one of them has already learned how to stab more effectively and what treatment is deserved by someone who humiliates them.

One thought on “A Toast to a ‘Crazy’

  • Mr. Calzadilla, I m saving this piece, since I am able to print from this computer that I use, today. I have no knowledge of sentences for violent crimes in your homeland and, in general, reporting about violent crime is rare, so I value what you have written. I often write about movies and television and do think about ‘crazy’ characters that I have seen, either on a large or small screen, but I also think about the people who do violent things in New York City which is my usual frame of reference (I’ve been here since 1979). I hope nothing bad happens to you. My best wishes to you.

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