Chapter 22

Surviving meant High School diversifying. I had to immerse myself within various cliques. The preps, the skaters, even the rednecks. If I learned anything in High School, it’s how to get along with different people. That’s the only thing I learned.

Speaking of different people; DJ was my locker mate every year. He couldn’t have been more opposite. Picture an Abercrombie mannequin come to life.

We were walking back from lunch when I felt a push from behind. PTSD from fighting in grade school must’ve kicked in. I turned around with my fists raised.

When I saw who pushed me, I instantly regretted it. It was Craig, the kid who already hated me for my failed attempts with his girlfriend. Apparently he was just messing with me, but when he saw my fists raised, he took it as an immediate affront.

“Oh so you wanna fight now? I was only playing with your bitch ass”.

I was paralyzed. I couldn’t put my hands down but couldn’t swing either.

I had protection provided by Seven, but Craig was entrenched with the “The Crew” too. The Crew was like a high school Mafia. You had to be “Made” to get away with certain things. Seven and Craig were both made, but at this point I was only affiliated. This meant certain protections, but only from those who weren’t made.

The fight with Craig seemed imminent. I looked to DJ. He wasn’t even affiliated yet. There was nothing he could do.

By now a circle of white kids had formed around the two black kids staring each other down. The crowd wanted a Mandingo fight. Craig was happy to oblige them. He hit me twice and I just took it, too afraid to fight back. Craig’s reputation had preceded him as one of the toughest kids in school. I of course was the opposite.

Me and DJ walked to our lockers in awkward silence.

When we got back, DJ finally spoke. “I thought you guys were friends”.

My feud with Craig was threatening my acceptence into the Crew. If the Crew was forced to pick sides, they wouldn’t choose mine.

This Craig thing was a problem. I had to find some way of dealing with him.