“He needs a hospital.”
“Ain’t nobody got no money for a hospital. I’ll sew him up,” Aunt Claudia says, “He’ll be right as rain. Ain’t that the saying. Right as rain?”
I give her a look, “I dunno what the fuck the saying is.”
I grunt a little bit. Aunt Claudia likes to pretend like everything is OK at times. Tone had an issue. He had a clear fucking issue. I called my Aunts to come to deal with this shit. Tonetta is standing over her son clearly embarrassed while Claudia is the only one who is really doing anything. Aunt Priscilla is clearly freaked out by the blood and keeps bringing towels over to make sure that none of Tone’s blood is going to make its way onto her furniture. I can tell she would prefer for him to bleed somewhere else but she isn’t going to say it because I think she’s scared Tonetta would slap her in her mouth if she did.
“What’s your problem?” Aunt Tonetta asks.
“Did all of you know?” I ask.
They give me blank stares. All three Aunts stare at me like I am some idiot who doesn’t know up from down. It makes me ashamed to say that I’m related to them.
“Know Tone was my fuckin brother.”
They knew. They all fucking knew. I watch Priscilla start playing with her hair. Claudia seems to take this opportunity to start stitching up Tone who is so high off whatever drugs his mother brought him that he doesn’t know where he’s at. Then there is Tonetta. She stares at me. She stares at me almost challenging me to say it.
“Don’t nobody got something to say?” I ask.
Finally, Claudia whispers almost as gentle as a mouse, “Desta just leave it alone sweetie. This is grown folks business.”
I could almost laugh at the stupidity of the comment.
“Grown folks business? Grown folks. When I was 14 I knew how to shoot. My father had me robbing convenience stores and the Papi bodegas. When have I not been in grown folks business?”
And she knew it. She fucking knew it. I wasn’t concerned about Claudia’s perception. That isn’t what concerned me. What concerned me is my Aunt Tonetta.
She finally addresses it, “It’s not what you think.”
“How could it not be?” I ask, “This one over here is fuckin my dad too. What—did ya’ll just take turns?”
“Wait what?” Tonetta asks.
Claudia turns to Priscilla, “Priscilla…please tell me you aren’t…”
“Bonnie didn’t want that man when she was alive…” Aunt Priscilla starts.
WHAM! The slap across Aunt Priscilla’s face from Aunt Tonetta shakes me to my core. Aunt Priscilla knew better than to hit Aunt Tonetta back. We all did. That was one thing that Tone had inherited from his mother. Aunt Tonetta heavy hand strains on Aunt Priscilla and almost immediately my Aunt Priscilla is crying. Tears streaming down her eyes. There is so much heaviness in the way that she is tearing up. I almost feel bad for her.
“I’m going to drag your ass outside and whoop your ass,” Aunt Tonetta states.
She grabs Aunt Priscilla by the hair like some woman scorned over her man sleeping with her sister. I can’t help but break it up. I push Aunt Tonetta off of her. The loud catty women are getting on my nerves. I can’t believe Aunt Priscilla has the nerve to hide behind me, tears streaming down her face and panicking.
“He loves me!” Aunt Priscilla is tearing up.
I can’t believe her. I can’t believe any of this but I knew that if I wasn’t standing here now Aunt Tonetta would probably beat Aunt Priscilla unrecognizable. Priscilla grasps at my arm desperate to keep her away.
I look over at Claudia, “You aren’t going to help me with this.”
“Priscilla gets what she deserves. Sooner or later she’s going to have to stop being so dick hungry.”
“Let me at her,” Tonetta charges.
I block Tonetta again.
“You got some nerve. You were wrong too. You had a love child on my mother! My mother loved my father at one point. You think it’s OK to FUCK her husband?”
“It’s not what you think,” she repeats.
“What is it?” I ask, “All of you are fuckin hoes sharing the same man.”
I don’t regret saying it. It sounds wild but this was a wildlife I lived and it wasn’t my fault. Sooner or later I had to say it. Sooner or later I had to call my Aunts hoes.
“HE TOOK ME!” Tonetta states, “Your father took me. They called it some gang rites of passage. I had to sit there and get fucked by a bunch of them. Your father, he was last. He was supposed to wear a condom but he kept going. He kept fucking going. You think I had a fuckin choice in this shit. This is the world we live in.”
I get quiet. Real Quiet.
Tonetta collapses onto the sofa. All the anger that she had towards my Aunt Priscilla, I can tell right now has converted into sadness.
“I didn’t know,” I state, “I just assumed because Priscilla was…I’m sorry, I’m…”
I can’t finish.
The thought is too heavy. We looked at Tonetta like she was untouchable. I guess they found a way to touch her. Knowing that this happened to my aunt, even if it happened all those years ago was ridiculous.
Tonetta shakes her head, “I ain’t even mad. Not at the rape. Not at what Priscilla is doing now. This is just the life we’ve lived.”
That’s when Claudia speaks, “We’ve allowed this man…this one man to come into our family and disrespect it time and time again. He’s disrespected our brother. He’s disrespected our sisters. He’s disrespected our children. He’s dug a hold onto us now. He’s our blood now. And we can’t let go.”
Priscilla looks over at us, “I don’t know what the fuck you bitches are talking about. He loves me…”
“Bitch shut up,” Tonetta states.
“Get the fuck out of my house, you hateful jealous bitch.”
Tonetta doesn’t move. Priscilla is still upset about the slap. I watch as the tears pour down her face. They ignore her until she storms into the kitchen to put an icepack on her face.
I look over at Priscilla. I kind of see what Tonetta was saying about her. Whooping Priscilla’s ass wasn’t really going to get her out of this mindstate. He’s sunk his claws in her so deep that Priscilla doesn’t even know it. But it wasn’t just Priscilla. One way or another he’d managed to get a hold of this family. Hell. My father WAS this family at this point.
I just sit on the couch.
I feel weak. I feel hopeless.
“Stairs. That’s what we are,” Claudia states out of nowhere, “Sometimes going up. Sometimes going down. But always going in the same direction. Now we’re taking children with us.”
Sometimes Claudia was bad with her words, but other times she was a goddam scholar. It was like she was in my head right now finding the words I needed to hear. They don’t make me feel better. That’s not the point of expressing what we were going through. It was never about making anyone feel better. We spoke because at times that’s the only thing we had left. That’s the only thing that couldn’t be taken from us. Our words. Our thoughts. Claudia was wishy-washy as fuck but when she was on, she was on.
Right now she was on.
“I’ve decided…I’m going back to school,” I state.
“He’s not going to like that,” I hear Aunt Priscilla say from the kitchen.
She says it as though my father is the end all and be all. Maybe he is. Maybe that was the problem. For too long he’d been the Patriarch of this family.
All that was going to end.
“I know he’s not going to like it. I’m going anyway,” I announce, “Maybe he should spend more time worrying about what his other son is doing.”
I’ve made up my mind. The next day school is weird, to say the least. They let me off because of some sort of grievance clause or something but as I walk through the hallways you would think I was the one that had died and not my mother. People were staring. They stared before but usually when they stared it was a stare of fear. I was that nigga they didn’t wanna mess with. Now it was different. They stared at me like I was some detached toy, tied together by Elmer’s glue and hope. I hated it. I sit away from my usual team. Prince, Dmitry, Royce, and hell…even Prissy. I stay away from all of them.
It isn’t until lunchtime as I get my tray of food that I feel Prince finally approach me after staring bullet holes through me every chance he gets. He grabs me up, seeming not to care this was in the most open area in the school. The way he does it is almost like some disgruntled boyfriend or something. He’s grabbing me how I’d seen him grab one of his girls. His Thursday bitch, Amiyah is standing off to the side clearly irritated she isn’t getting his attention.
“We need to talk,” he states.
“Prince you wanna go sit with me?” Amiyah interrupts.
She’s all big butt and cleavage as she approaches him. Prince doesn’t even let his eyes flicker away from me, not even for a second as he waves her off with a quick, harsh, “Fuck off yo.”
Then he looks at me again, “We need to talk.”
Amiyah gives me a dirty look. She wasn’t the first one of his girls to do it. If this was Game of Thrones, one of those hoes would have been poisoned my food or something. I don’t know if they suspect Prince and I are messing around, or if they are just jealous of our natural closeness. I don’t think it matters after a point. Attention was attention regardless of how it came. Right now she’s looking at me like I’m her biggest enemy and right now I don’t need the extra drama of ghetto girls being jealous.
“Don’t you got hoes you got to entertain?”
“You come first,” he whispers.
I raise an eyebrow. It was more sensitive then Prince ever usually was. Way too personal. Way too intimate.
“Family comes first. The gang comes first,” he corrects himself.
“Sounds more like you,” I grunt, “So wassup. What we need to talk about?”
“I’m gonna start a war,” he says, “Shawnna tells me that it was M83 that shot up your Mom. We going to take them, niggas, out.”
It was just a matter of time. I look over at Prince’s table. Gangsters were sitting there perched up. Most of them rarely came to school anymore. Among the fold was Tone. He has a bandaged up forehead. He hasn’t even seen me as of yet. He’s slap boxing some nigga by the entrance to the basketball courts. It was only one reason all of Suwoo was coming to school. Shit was about to go down. Revenge was about to go down.
As I’m looking around I don’t know why my eyes wander to the other side of the cafeteria. The blacks slowly merge into the Dominicans. Heavy Spanish, loud reggaetón blasting from mobile speakers. Some poor lunch attendant trying his best to translate “turn it down” in Spanish only to get smoke blown in his face. Someone’s definitely lit up a blunt over there right in the cafeteria. I notice how they have on shades. Almost all of them. They don’t want people to know where they are looking. They don’t want the other side to see where they are plotting.
This was some serious gang shit.
“I ain’t come back for this shit,” I admit.
Prince raises an eyebrow clearly confused, “This your mom we talkin’ about.”
It was like Suwoo had been waiting for me. They’d been waiting for me to return and rain hell on M83. A part of me felt like if I ever came to back to school it would be a war too. But instead of fighting right then and there I turn and see another table. A table off to the side.
I don’t give Prince a chance to return. I leave him. I think he’s staring at me as I walk away. I’m sure of it, even though I don’t turn to look back. I couldn’t possibly. I wonder what’s going through Prince’s head. Did he think I was weak? Did he think I was turning on him? Was he understanding? I’m not sure of any of that. Right now I have to worry about me.
So I go and stand over a table. The table where Santana is.
“This seat taken?”
Katrina and Portia fall out to the floor. They can’t keep up with Ana. Little Tip Toe is improvising now, doing his own thing. Then out of nowhere someone leaps into the air, higher than I’d seen anyone leap before. Higher than I’d seen Ana leap. That was saying something too.
“That’s what I’m talking about, Desta,” I find myself whispering.
I don’t realize I’m actually saying the words. In my mind, I’m thinking it and in my mind, I’m not cheering this guy on like some fucking cheerleader. Then I realize the look I get to my right. It’s Prince. Prince is looking at me in the weirdest way. I’m immediately embarrassed.
We both watch from the sidelines. Today is Desta’s first day and it’s really an audition to see if he could keep up with Ana and the group. Prince and I didn’t dance at all. I don’t think Prince wants to dance in front of Desta and I’m not sure I want to either. Desta being in here really changes the dynamics of this group and I’m not sure I’ve found out where I fit in this dynamic. Prince immediately retreating to the wall and starting to ‘act cool’ again like he hadn’t been killing these dances completely throws me off. I know I’m an idiot when I start doing the same thing but I mean Desta was here now. I didn’t even put on the fucking tights. How corny would that look in front of him?
Desta has on tights right now though and his booty is…popping…
“Feel the music!” Ana barks out.
Katrina and Portia tired themselves out. Tip Top might as well have. The only one that was up there now with Desta is Rosa. Rosa isn’t the type of girl to give up. She pushes herself. She pushes herself hard.
“Grand Jete!” Ana called out raising her hand elegantly.
I lean off the wall watching Rosa and Desta. I’m not the only one. Prince may be acting all cool right now but he’s just as interested in seeing who would be able to land this. We both watch Desta and Rosa jump into the air. The Grand Jete was one of the most challenging jumps in ballet.
Rosa lands it but Desta…kills it. He jumps high into the air, higher than I’d ever seen anyone jump before and goes into a full split while in midair. He lands though being held up by wings or something. His ankles don’t even buckle. Not even a little bit.
Almost immediately I start clapping like a fucking idiot.
It isn’t until the music stops that I realize I’m the only one in here fucking clapping. Prince looks over at me again but this time I don’t fucking care.
We all turn to Ana to see if she approves. Of course, Cornelius if off stage but he’s just eyes right now. Right now it’s Ana who would make the qualifying decision, “You’re in.”
Others finally join in to start clapping. That’s when I see the smile on Desta’s face. It’s strange because all this time I’ve never really seen him smile the way he smiles right now. He has this amazing smile too. His teeth are all white. The others are walking over to him to congratulate him but somehow I manage to make it there first.
“Man you killed it,” I tell Desta.
I want to be the first one. I take a few steps closer to him but fuckin’ Prince is there before I get to him. Prince does the oddest thing then. He slaps Desta on the butt, “Good shit Desta.”
At first, I think it is one of those pats on butts you give another guy during a ball game when he manages to score from the free-throw line or some shit. Then I actually look down and see how he does it. Don’t ask me why I’m paying so close attention. He leans in and the kid PALMS Desta’s ass. I’m talking about he grabs a handful of his ass. His middle finger lands right by the crack of it. I’m pretty sure there is a gripping squeeze.
Almost like…I don’t know…almost like he was claiming that.
Then Prince gives me a look, before quickly throwing his arm over Desta’s shoulders and leading him away from me.
They don’t get far. Ana calls out, “Everyone gather around.”
I’m looking at how Prince is grasping onto Desta. Was I tripping? I mean, I knew they were close but that thing he had done with Desta’s ass was…serious. I had to be tripping. I shake away the thought and put my hand over Rosa. I pull her close. The weird thing is why was I holding my girl the same way Prince was embracing Desta right now?
“You paying attention Santana?” Ana asks me.
Just the usual Ana being tough on me and giving me a weird look like I was the only fuck up on the whole dance team. This time she had a point though. I couldn’t help myself from looking over at Prince and Desta wondering what the fuck was going on. When she calls me out, everyone turns to literally catch me staring over at them. This includes Prince and Desta.
“Yeah, my fault,” I state.
“We need to start rehearsing for the upcoming performance,” Ana states, “Rosa will have a solo. The rest of you will need to pair up to do a dance routine.”
“I told ya’ll I wasn’t doing no ballet in front of the school,” Prince states.
“I heard you,” Cornelius joins the group at that moment rolling his wheelchair closer, “That’s why we’re changing the routine. Everyone participates. We’re going to mix ballet with hip-hop.”
Ana gives Cornelius a look, “Why? I thought we were having these kids focus on more elegant dances.”
Cornelius shakes his head, “It’s a new day. The audience is going to want to see hip-hop. Maybe if we slowly introduce people in the school to ballet through hip-hop dancing that’ll work.”
“No tights?” I ask.
Cornelius laughs, “No tights. You guys choose what you want to wear.”
Ana doesn’t look like she agrees but everyone else is cheering in a matter of seconds. She’s clearly a stickler for tradition. I can see that by the way, she’s looking right now. I don’t think any of us wanted to be in front of the school performing ballet.
“Yo—me and Desta bout to kill this shit,” Prince states.
I watch as they do some old school handshake like Kid N’ Play or something at that moment causing the girls in the class to giggle like idiots who are excited there is another attractive guy on the dance team for them to watch.
“Actually Prince I want you to choreograph a mixed routine with Tip Toe,” Cornelius states.
“What?” Prince asks, “Nah yo…I ain’t dancing on stage with no fuckin’ nerd. I got a rep to maintain.”
“You really cool ain’t you?” Cornelius asks.
“Then shouldn’t you be really cool no matter who you dance with. If you were that cool kid I thought you were, you’d make Tip Toe look like the coolest motherfucker on the planet. But then again, maybe you didn’t have the swag I thought you had.”
OOs break out in the room. I knew what Cornelius was doing. He was playing to Prince’s ego and Prince clearly had an ego for days. I was known to be quite confident my damn self, but the difference between me and Prince is I can see a mind game a mile away. Prince clearly takes this as some sort of challenge and he walks over to Tip Toe.
“I got swag FOR DAYS,” Prince promises, ruffling Tip Toe’s head, “When I’m done with this kid, bitches will be throwing their panties on the stage for us.”
Cornelius laughs, “Good. So Katrina and Portia already have interesting chemistry dancing together so you can be a pair. I’d also like to see what Desta and Santana come up with.”
“Wait what?” I spurt out.
“You heard me. You and Desta are dancing together.”
I look over at Desta. Fuck. I mean I was happy for him and all but how would it look like to the school if I was dancing with Desta. I look over at Desta and his face says the same thing.
“Santana has a lot of swag too,” he states, “Maybe he should swap with Prince.”
“Nah,” Cornelius says, “I’m interested to see what you guys will come up with…together.”
Cornelius stresses the word together. Desta and I look at one another. There is a heavy awkwardness. Real fucking heavy. This isn’t what I had in mind when I wanted Desta to join the group. I liked being around him. I liked hanging around him. But dancing with him… in front of other people? That was something entirely different. That was something that I didn’t think any of us wanted to go ahead and do.
The next day I’m at my locker. I turn and see M83 on the other end of the hallway. There were a lot of them. They were gathering. I could tell.
“Something’s going down,” I state.
“What?” Rosa asks.
I’m with Rosa, as usual. She stares down the hallway.
“There are more of them,” I state, “More M83 members. You ever saw some of these guys?”
I wasn’t tripping. I was new here but there were people who were in these hallways that looked like they didn’t even go here. Hell, for all I knew they were from out of town. This school was so fucking ghetto that the teachers weren’t even asking questions. I knew M83. They had M83 back home. Most of the Dominicans back home ran with it. When you see a bunch of strange motherfuckers showing up in some shit, you knew what it was. It was war.
Rosa shakes her head, “I know what you’re really worried about.”
“He’s a good dancer, I don’t know why you’re tripping.”
She knows what’s going on with me not wanting to dance with Desta. Rosa is the only person I’ve been able to really talk to lately.
“You don’t get it.”
“You’re worried M83 is going to be in the audience. You’re worried Chico or one of them will see you dancing with a member of the Suwoo gang and feel like you switched up. You’re scared of what might happen.”
“Damn you a mind reader or some shit.”
Rosa smiles. She is so warm when she smiles, “I just know you.”
“It’s more than that though.”
“You’re scared it’ll look gay.”
At this point, I was just sure Rosa knew a way to enter my fucking mind and was literally invading it. This was some Inception type shit at this point. I don’t even know how to respond when she asks that. I just look at her. I’m pressed up against my locker and my eyes just sort of give it away.
“You don’t think?” I ask.
Rosa laughs, “Yeah, it’ll be gay man.”
Rosa punches me, “I’m just fucking with you. You guys don’t have to touch each other. Prince and Tip Toe are dancing together. I saw them already rehearsing a whole break dance routine. We not doing fucking ballroom romance here. He’s a good dancer, Santana. And maybe what you needed was someone to pull the Sandman out of you. I’ve seen your videos on youtube. I want to see that guy come back. And who cares if you look gay doing it?”
I look over at her. Damn, I was falling for this girl. I was falling for her hard.
“How come I’m so lucky to have you?” I ask her.
Rosa smiles, “You just lucked out being a sexy, smart, caring, non-gay man.”
With that, she leans over and kisses me. It’s a wet kiss. A deep kiss. We get a little far into it as I turn her around and press her up against my locker. I’m grinding my thighs up in between her inner thighs. If she ever doubted I was attracted to her, I was definitely showing it as my dick hardens. If we weren’t in between classes in a crowded hallway, I would give her this long dick the right way here and now. We’re so deep into the kiss that neither of us notices the locker next to mine open and Desta standing next to it.
I stop, all of a sudden, getting uncomfortable. Desta and I hadn’t talked since we’d been paired together.
“My bad,” he says, “I’ll just be a minute.”
He’s putting his books away and his open locker is right in Rosa’s face. Rosa isn’t the type to get annoyed though. She’s way too sweet. She just moves away a little bit and gives Desta a smile. Rosa has that kind of warmness that you can’t help but feel warm to her back. Maybe that’s why I’m surprised when Desta doesn’t even crack the slightest bit of ice looking back at her. He’s just cold. It’s written all over his face.
“Just the boy I was looking for,” she states, “We were just talking about you.”
Desta looks over at me. He raises an eyebrow at me. Fuck I’m embarrassed again. What is it about Desta that immediately gets me blushing? Why the fuck is it that my girlfriend was telling him that we were just talking about him?
“You were?” Desta asks.
He turns to me when he says it. I turn away. What the FUCK was Rosa doing?
“I’m going to walk away. I’m going to leave you guys here,” Rosa states, “My boyfriend is then going to coordinate with you so that you too can have a routine for the showcase. Is that clear, San?”
“Yes,” I whisper, almost out of my breath.
With that Rosa gives me another kiss and walks away. As soon as she leaves Desta and I are just standing there looking at anything but each other for the first few seconds. It’s kind of awkward, to say the least.
“You’re girl run you all the time?” he asks.
“Yo—she doesn’t run me.”
“Relax. I’m just fuckin with you. She’s a cool person,” he states.
Didn’t seem like he thought that by how he was looking at her. A part of me wants to bring it up but then I realize that maybe it’s not best to beef with someone I’m supposed to be working with. Besides I didn’t think Rosa took any offense to the way that Desta was looking at her. So instead of catching an attitude, I dig in my pocket and pull out my phone.
I hand it to him.
“Put your number in there, I’ll text you the address.”
“You know why,” he states.
He looks down the hall. Chico was down there. He was with a bunch of his other friends. Sure enough, they had noticed me and Desta talking right now. Chico’s eyes dart on mine.
“Yeah I mean sure that’s a Dominican gang dead set on murder and mayhem, but yeah, I’m still more concerned ‘bout pissing off Rosa.”
This causes him to laugh. Both of us laugh actually. It breaks the ice between us. I find myself looking at the way he laughs. Fuck he has some nice teeth. Fuck his breath smells so good. We were kind of close in this hallway. I should take a step back but I don’t. Even after he puts his number in my phone and I have an excuse to walk away, I don’t leave. I stay there. He stays there too. We’re just smiling still on some type of high from my half-assed joke. It’s as though we both wanted a reason not to feel awkward around each other and now that we had that reason, neither of us wanted to just walk away.
“You love her?”
It’s a random question.
“I mean I ain’t never been in love. Just curious, what that’s like. She’s a good girl. So do you love her?”
I shrug, “I’ve been in love before. Let’s just say I don’t think I look forward to doing that shit again.”
“I can tell.”
I squint a little, “You can tell what?”
He shrugs, “That you been in love before and you got your heart broken. I can tell.”
I don’t know why I’m a little offended by that. I’m trying hard not to go hard on this guy. I take a deep breath but my mind is spinning wondering what the fuck he means by this.
Sooner or later I just out and say it, “What do you know?”
“You got your guard up man,” he states, “The girl is beautiful, she clearly is in your sideline. She clearly seems to be all about you, but for some reason, you don’t look at her the same way she looks at you.”
“Yo, you don’t know shit.”
“So you do love her?”
Why the fuck was he getting in my personal business like this? This shit was uncomfortable. I want to tell him to go fuck off or something but instead of doing that I’m just standing there looking fucking dumb. I just feel so fucking stupid.
“I’m getting there. Since you clearly want to know, yeah. I did get hurt. It was…painful.”
“Must have been one hell of a girl,” he says.
I almost admit right then that it wasn’t a girl. Matais. The thought of him sends shivers up my spine even till this day. I can’t believe I was betrayed by the love of my life.
“You give someone your heart and they dig their claws in it. They ravage it. It feels like the world is ending. So yeah. When the world has already ended, it’s hard thinking you would give someone else another chance.”
“I ain’t never been in love before,” Desta tells me, “But I don’t care about the world ending. The world has ended for me time and time again, but each day I wake up and it starts all over again.”
When he speaks to me I just listen. I just take it in. I want to talk to him forever but I notice danger lurking close to us.
“Que lo que!” the voice says.
It’s abrupt. It’s cold. It’s harsh. The fact they crossed over to where Desta was, meant these motherfuckers were getting bold. Sure enough Desta and I are surrounded by Chico and M83. The bell has just rung. A lot of people are either in class or doing something else. I hadn’t realized it was so late. It was my fault for getting stuck up talking to Desta. Whenever I was with him it seemed like I lost track of time.
“Que Paso?” I answer back.
I’m not nearly as loud or abrasive. My voice is calm and steady.
“What’s going on here?” Chico asks.
“Just talking to Desta man,” I state, “He was just leaving…”
“Leaving?” Chico asks, “Why don’t you introduce us to your friend, Santana?”
At that point, I just want to get Desta out of there. I don’t know why I think he needs protection though. I don’t know why I think he even wants it. Before I can respond in an attempt to get Desta out of here, he steps forward. He is in Chico’s face. It’s crazy really. He’s surrounded but you wouldn’t know it by how he stares them down. The kids had some balls. Big ones, but that wouldn’t make any of this less awkward.
“You know who I am Chico,” Desta states, “No introductions necessary.”
Chico smiles. His homeboys laugh. Spanish follows. I know Desta doesn’t know it but if he did know he would be on edge. The boys are telling Chico to deal with Desta right here and now. They are urging him on. I look over at Chico’s waistband and see a handle. It could be a knife. Hell knowing how M83 did, it could be a fucking machete. They were looking for a reason.
“Your people been moving into our territory,” Chico states.
“Someone killed my mom. They are probably trying to find out who.”
“We don’t know shit about that.”
I look over at Desta. I already admitted to him that I was in the car when it all went down. He could rat me out right here and confront them if he wanted to. Luckily Desta wasn’t that unpredictable. He just leans over to me and gives me a nod.
“Then we don’t got shit to talk about right? Santana, I’ll see you later…”
I think they are going to attack Desta. I almost see one of them about to do it, but they don’t. Something holds them back. I realize someone says something in Spanish in the group that causes them to not to do it. Desta walks out of the group untouched and goes to his next class. As I’m standing there I can feel the harsh stares from the M83 group.
“That’s who you ride wit now?”
“I don’t ride wit anyone?”
“He was at your lunch table. People talk about ya niggas in some type of dance group. Tell me that shit ain’t true.”
“Chico, no offense man. But I don’t owe you no explanation. I rode with ya’ll once, but that’s not my thing. I don’t want to be involved. Excuse me.”
I try to walk away. Me talking to Desta must really have pissed them off or something. They are taking it personally because as I try to walk away I see someone make move towards me. It’s a quick move. It’s really quick. I put my fists up ready to swing and just the thought it pulls him away. Soon another one fakes at me again and another one. It’s clear they were trying to do something at this point.
“You pushin it…” Chico tells me, “You pushing it…you pushing it Sandman.”
With that, he pushes me. He pushes me hard in my chest. I push him back twice as hard. He busts his ass on the ground. I am about to go after him and beat his fuckin ass but a couple of them hold me down. They pin me down so that Chico can get up and punch me in my face.
“No one on one?”
“One of one? Fuck out of here,” he says, “You gonna learn what it means to leave M83.”
At that moment I think I’m not going to come out of here alive when he reaches out and pulls out what is clearly a knife. Just at that moment though I hear whistling. Whistling. It’s a familiar whistling.
“He’s not leaving M83…” a voice says, “It’s all a misunderstanding.”
Just as the person says that I turn my head.
No. It can’t be.
How is he here? How the fuck did he find me?
“My fault boss,” Chico says.
I turn and notice the person who is walking over to us. The M83 Boss walks right up to me and gives me a nod.
“Nice seeing you again,” he says.