Barrio — that once-prosperous and happy kingdom called Spanish Harlem —
has become a forest of sadness and misery. Every home, every shop — even
the local constables and peace officers known as the Police Precinct — are
gripped in the evil hands of the notorious slumlord and despicable ogre
Honest John. (It All Belongs To Honest
Honest John holds everything in his grip — the apartments
and the alleyways, the bodegas and botanicas, the delis and
the discount stores. Prices are out of sight, and so is John, safe from
the angry rabble in his fortified stone high-rise palace.
Nothing can be done. Honest John has
stolen the riches and goods of the people, and there is no returning the
wealth of the land to its rightful owners.
Then one day, a young newcomer arrives in El Barrio, a
stranger from a far-off land called Puerto Rico. His name is Pepe, and he
brings with him his hard-earned savings and a plan to buy a
Cuchifrito Restaurant. But his feet have barely touched the pavement when his money
is in the hands of Honest John. And instead of a restaurant he ends up
with a broken-down pushcart.
He confers with some other young
knights in the neighborhood. They decide to form a band, raid the
environs of Honest John, and return to the neighbors what was stolen from
But it doesn't go well.
Then a storefront gypsy lady sells Pepe a pair of magic
sneakers. These Shoes, she promises, will give courage and great
physical abilities to the wearer. Price: "Five bucks."
Pepe empties his pockets and purchases the sneakers. Sure
enough — they work!! He is suddenly endowed with great strength and the
ability to leap great distances and run faster than lightning. His courage
grows and his merry band succeeds.
He becomes known as
(the brave one)!
But Pepe still doesn't have a restaurant, and his true
love, Mariana, is still in Puerto Rico suspecting the worst. Honest John
devises an elaborate plan to capture El Bravo and celebrates his own evil
In the tale that ensues, Mariana arrives. Suspecting
that Pepe has not been true to her, she disguises herself as a Mexican
movie star - Chiquita Bonita. Pepe,
bedazzled by her glamour, falls in love with her. Chiquita, however, falls
in love with the masked El Bravo.
Mariana, convinced that Pepe is a two-timer, vows to go
back to Puerto Rico and marry the boy next store. Pepe is heartbroken.
Believing that Mariana knows El Bravo, Honest John
captures her and keeps her in his basement dungeon until she reveals the
identity of the masked hero.
Pepe plans a rescue, but just at the crucial moment, his
sneaker batteries go dead. The magical shoes lose their power. He'll
never save his true love now!
But he tries anyway, finding that he still has the same
powers in spite of the dead batteries.
Well, suffice it to say that
courage, belief in yourself, and true love win out in the end. The ogre is
conquered for good, and the Barrio and all its good people live happily