Longform

Risky Business

Page 6 of 6

"Honestly, the little backyard house shit is dead," a woman named Cathy wrote December 8 on Pak's Web site. "The bomb-ass parties I go to are in mansions, warehouses, etcetera, but everyone is not qualified to go. That shit is tight -- many different contests from girls competing, bare-fist fighting, huge prizes. Just fun meeting peoples and dancing, strong security. NO DRAMA. Just fun, but it's hard to get into."

But those teenagers seemingly unfettered by parental supervision need someplace cool to hang. With that in mind, a guy named Big Ray recently issued what he called a "blueprint" for throwing a successful and safe party.

It included cogent advice on location, music, drinks and -- most important -- security.

"Safety is a big issue," Big Ray wrote. "You wanna have fun, don't you? Don't feel like dying that night? Have someone in front patting everyone down, even if they have already paid and got patted. If they want to come back they better get patted again or else it defies the whole point."


A few weeks ago, Jose Renteria's immediate family drove after nightfall to the site of his October murder, which now seems to have happened so long ago.

Jose's mother, siblings and other family members return there almost daily, to attend to the array of votive candles and flowers on the side of the road, and to say their prayers.

"We have to keep candles lit for him," says his sister Marianna, "keep the light shining on him, keep him in the light."

Andrea Renteria says she and Marianna haven't attended any party crew bashes since Jose's murder. "It's too weird, too many things to think about," she says.

The man who owns the home in front of which Jose was shot has allowed the Renterias to place a small wooden cross on the front edge of his property.

They brought the cross back from Mexico after Jose's funeral. It has Jose's name burnished into it. In front of the cross sits a framed photograph of the young man, taken shortly before his death.

Jose's mother, Maria, sprinkles holy water from a small bottle on the spot where her firstborn son fell. She whispers incantations in Spanish as she weeps softly, her tears cascading off her cheeks to join the drops of holy water already on the pavement.

A young cousin of Jose's, no older than 5 or 6, keeps touching the cross with her right index finger. The girl is talking to herself, or to someone else no one can see.

"She's speaking with my brother," Marianna Renteria says. "She wants to tell him everything is okay."

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Paul Rubin
Contact: Paul Rubin