Back 2 school: Monday soon awoke without thought or promise. Rolling out of bed all’s I wanted was a bowl of Fruity Pebbles and a Swedish fish containing the vile #5 red die I’d been banned via Pink Milk in C house drinking on school grounds via old notes via a long ago hospital's liner notes on "the dream." The longest weekend in history was finally over. I had crawled back in bed after the mornings first reel of reminding thoughts, “I don’t give a fuck” it’s the only thing as usual that I can say. The sun was shining brightly through my bedrooms window. It was obvious today's forecast broke winters stubborn last bones, finally. “Breakfest is ready with your cranberry, orange juice, water, coffee, two egg's, toast and the sports section.” “Comen!” I hated coffee and for the life of me couldn’t figure out what the conspiracy (adults) saw in it. Magic’s horn in the driveway had alerted my mother to begin her day's closing statements, "stay calm Carl please." "I got you." And what a good example or lift I had walking out of the house always aware that my mothers back story next to mine was the difference between real and not. Seeing Mike, thinking of adults, questions and traveling to a school that no longer had Santo in it, that good feeling was wrangled out of me in an instant. Opening Magic’s shotgun door, I plucked down exhaling deeply,
“what up” “good morning” “good morning to you” “School will be a joke ” “Mike, I just got in this car so my mother won’t worry, I’m not going to class, fuck school. I want to find Monster, I want to get high.” Monster the inadvertent catalyst last year in the demise of my short lived marijuana peddling. Monster, the lovable weed head had illicted some enterprising thoughts, I figured it would work, it didn't. Monster, a self proclaimed "social butterfly" smoked what was suppossed to be dealt resulting in loss, my loss. Selling weed was too risky, margins too thin, it wasn't for me. I'd teamed with my boy C to make markets in sports however in the wake of Santo's passing my last, inexorable, mental defense mechanism, designed to prevent exorbiant use of drugs had been expelled. I'd give in. I wasn't special nor different. "Fuck school Mike." Calling Magic, "Mike" was serious business from me.
“Agreed but 1st of all we’re already late, secondly we have Math together with Gralla, you realize it’s ten AM.” Silence persisted what was a very quick ride to high school. And as we took the turn into our student parking lot the massive field house was always the first thing to catch your eye. Today we were doubly “aware” as our spray paint had more than tripled in size in the Asian trading hours or overnight. Crew after crew old and present had dipped to pay their respects after our lead. It was in a word, glorious. “Holy shit.” Magic “Dude.” The one word in white vernacular that always explained anything and everything. We parked. I opened the door, stepping out of Magic's moms whip. We took one look into our respective classes and headed straight towards the SAC. Class was not happening, I couldn’t. “Gentlemen welcome.” “Mr. Robinson I’ll gorilla snap if I have to sit in class.” “ Your early Mr. Easton, come in Mike, sit down gentlemen I’m about to make class optional for everyone in school over the next two days. You have to stay on school grounds unless you have open campus, which you Carl don’t” “I know” “so don’t leave school grounds, I’m so sorry guys, we’ll be here if you ever need us, “Carl, just go through the motions, have you seen the Big Guy yet?” “nah” “No, well go see him, just stay calm.” “I will” “OK well I’ll see you around, if I see your sister I’ll tell her your OK.” “Thanks, let’s go Mike.” “bet” Walking out I ponder that both my mother and now Mr. Savage told me to jus “go through the motions.” I never thought I’d hear that. Quickly finding Mr. Fullerton and Monster we get in the car and eject ourselves off campus. Dejected we drove around until Mcdonald’s was open for lunch. “One of life’s last remaining pleasure” echoed the Monster. “Pass the joint pal.”
Finally arriving back to school it was hot. I sat transfixed watching the twelve foot high snow bunker gradually melt. It was our first gorgeous day in six months but none of us commented on it. What seemed like the entire school filled out the graphite of our student parking lot, kids shouldn’t even have cars. And under the graffiti laced tribute of the field house we sat in the student parking lot mourning in the burning sun. There wasn’t any real noise just soft exchange. I sat on the curb next to a few of my top dawgs, I couldn’t even tell you who they were except Magic and Monster. I helicoptered my white T-shirt around my head. It was tranquil and I closed my sober eyes, faded away finding in the finally bright sun, solace in the calmness of my own breath and thoughts of basketball, Santo, best teammate, so much to claw back on. My pinch became a twine, mood lightning struck, a manic minute I was now pondering the unfairness of it all. The stone cold reality of it all, this was really happening, I remember always having to remind myself of that in the early days. The sun having finally emerged from a long new England hibernation warmed my face. I’d again found a momentary solace. It didn’t last. My mother had assured me for us it never ever would. And silence once golden was broekn, the air had been contaminated. I heard an all too familar rattling voice, then voices, louder, buzzing, true teenage fervor meant something was about to jump off in seconds. Disgruntled not surprised I saw Skeetah, one of my own, fuck me
"You know who your fucking with kid!" Here we go. This couldn’t happen. His track record, his, his, shrieking tone along with a complete lack of awareness meant I’d police the shit. We grew up together. He knew Santo. Skeetah used to be a Young Gun. I watched Hank slip, and they expelled my ACE 1, 2 Black Knight. Leaving Magic and Monster after I heard Monster of all people chime, "Just leave it alone dude, he's an idiot." I couldn't. I was watching Skeetah, all dysfunction and no bite play out the saddest of complexities at our worst hour. “No fucking way.” I got up possessed and walked the ten yards required to be in the center of this pile of shit. Already heads had turned. Skeetah carried an array of complexes and my immunity vanished watching him air out his dirty laundry that afternoon. “Kid you have no idea what I'll do kid, to you and your house, and your family dude. Say something, I’ll fucken KO your ass right now kid.” I was enraged. I needn't not the slightest details in this latest skirmish to understand the reciever of his hallowed, hallow and at times hilarious gangster claims did nothing wrong at all. I saw Skeetah. I knew why he felt strong. I didn’t like his back. And I'd never forgive his timing. His "back" a recent transplant, drug dealer in the ACE program from a neighboring city kids called "Paps." He had a scarred, mangled face that looked like a rat, splinter. He’d been dating Natasha, the female me, my truest friend since the third grade, she just didn't play basketball. I was none to pleased. Skeetha was doing it to get under my skin. Santo had been dead a weekend. “Skeetah!” He heard my voice and went after the younger chap. Now thrust into intervention I grabbed Skeetah as he begun screaming a tether ball of shallow threats and guarantees of what would have just happened if I wasn’t there. Now diffusing the situation our action fell into the traditional suburban holy rite of “hold me back kid!” Like anythihng would happen, Pap's presented a reality that it just might.
“Skeetah!” Whispering and trying to play it cool was not going to work in this situation. Skeetah annoyed was trying to fidget slap me, “Ya!” I pushed him back growing increasingly hostile. I saw Skeetah make the face of all faces to his new best friend. I felt nauseated. “Yo Carl" The inevitable was rolling. Pap's called me out. "Step back, this don’t concern you kid.” he was clam in his direction, unfluttered he flickered his wrist, “Step.” In some ways he'd been the scariest kid at our high school over the past year. I was from Madison and he was from Watershed, it was that simple, reputations didn't factor into it. Skeetah gravitated to anything new especially drug dealers in the “life.” Skeetah's latest ally thought I was a fraud. I thought he was peaking. Both Natasha and Skeetah rejoiced regailing stories of his mob ties and minor league herion trafficking. "Dude his stories kill yours." Skeetah had a knack for constantly sharing this thought. Paps relationship with Natasha was painful. Paps presence represented a real hooligan connected to killers in a life of hard narcotics. And so we just kind of silently did our thing judging silently until today. I took great offense to the notion that this "don't concern you." Skeetah sensing complete combustion back peddled. “Yo but C this kid is a fucking punk dude!” The squeal of a lifetime Skeetah screams over my shoulder, “he’s out of line and he has been for a while! Your dead fool dead!” I’d seen enough. Not today. I was crazy too.
“Skeet back the fuck up, stop it, just stop it.” I said defusing the stupidity besides the fact I knew Andy a year younger was a great kid and would straight up whoop Skeetah’s scrony ass in the rarely held, fair fight. And then it came again, Paps. “Yo Carl, I said step back kid this don’t concern you. LET THAT GO, STEP ASIDE.” “Chill out pal.” Bart Eyes delivered as my heart rate sky rocketed. Turning my parental attention to one of my own, Skeetah there it was all on the line. “Skeetah are you serious? Look at me are you serious?” “you don’t fucking talk to him like that kid fucken be careful kid.” He pushed my buttons. This a kid I’d backed up my whole life. “You need to get off that guys nuts first of all.” And Skeetah started laughing ala Casino, Ginger to her husband thinking she had protection. “Dude you can't talk to me like that with him right there kid, you better be careful C." I’m not going to tell you again, don’t talk any shit about him kid.” I’d never been angrier. Skeetah a tired attempt of what had now amounted to a threat towards me. “STOP RIGHT THERE.” Paps wanted the floor. Heads had swollen in numbers added ambitiously. Paps aware maybe for a moment backs off slightly in rhetoric realizing what’s at stake, he’s drunk and we’re both on probation. “Yo, I think you need to chill out my man and recognize who your talking too, walk the fuck back.” Nope. This was our day after all. “fuck that.” Shaking my head. As I finish my last quote I peer around and suddenly realize there are more than a few people observing our exchange, the crowd, the stage, the pride and now silence galvanized every student out in our parking lot that April afternoon.
“What are you all jacked about? Dude, I've had friends die, people die, you fucking get over it. It happens you get over it.” “What? (accosting) what the fuck did you just say to me?” “You heard me.” “This is my school. kid.” I exaggerrted my last word knowing that was his favorite thing to say. It felt like kickoff. No pads or scoreboards. Within seconds we’re toe to toe and raised our fists as he spat on the ground. A true setting for a high school fight formed as a gigantic student body encircled us. Silence was the only thing audible. Usually people are loud and rowdy during school ground fights, but not today. You could hear a pin drop. We circled each other with impetuous eyes casing one another, I wanted to box. My scrap was about to get tested. I jumped on my heels. My anger quickly becomes sadness and fear needing Santo back, but that couldn’t happen. A true setting for a classic high school fight. Finally we engaged out of the restlessness anticipation a crowd of high school spectators eagerly invigorates.
Pap came out swinging I jerked my head and was hit but barely another swing, I’m ready, I ducked, he missed my face. He put his shoulder into his waist in attempts of tackling him to the ground like Dick Butkus. As I try to violently snap him on his back he catches himself with his hand on the concrete and twirls his way out of my hold and lands his first head shot. I’d felt little. We both regain our balance. I wanted to box. I shook my head. I bouned on the balls on my feet raising my fists. I couldn't go to the ground. Paps swung for the fences. I instinctively ducked and if touched by an angel a landed a punishing right hook squarely in his nose. He went down. Nasal vessels popped, blood spurged. and he was out. My one Tyson moment he was KO’d in the student parking lot. Enormous “ooohhs” and the gentle sigh of a hundred nervous breaths exhaled in the breeze. He was hurt and bloody and I was now filled with a dark energy about to experience an episode. I became disgusted that one of ours, Skeetah, fuck. In one false sweep eagling my Edisons across the lot of asphalt I hated everything I saw. I hated after school specials. I hated that kids had a right to feel however they wanted to. I hated white people. I hated pictures. I hated curtains. I hated god. I hated glass mansions. And so begin a very public relapse into dysfunction. I jumped on the trunk of a parked Nissan after pushing away a girlfriend of my sisters to the ground. There was silence. It was a stage all my own. A chance to express everything I ever wanted to say to my entire student body. How stupid we all were. How guaranteed there lives were. How much I’d lost. How fake I’d found their sentiments. A forum to express everything I ever wanted to say beyond what peple heard and chose to see. “Faggots! That fucken kid was like a brother to me! Fuck all of you!" And down hand crafted sullenly streams I jumped off the car and began smashing car windshields with my fist, one touch. My scar troughed right arm was again bleeding. I loved blood and at that moment wanted more of it to be shed. All of a sudden my boy C and Scully try to scurry me off school grounds because they know it’s just a matter of time before authorities arrive. A hundred people just saw me smash the back windshield of an innocent person’s car. Attention had been on fire for a minute, teachers, toy cops were crossing outer peripherals. It was time to break.
Trying to make our way through the crowd when suddenly a tempered and suddenly alive Pap was back. He couldn’t go out like that. “Ok, OK you got me the first time let’s go.” My boy C had grabbed coach Sullivan out of the field house. Before another rumble in the jungle is set off Coach shoved Paps to the ground grabbed me and says, “OK pick a friend and let’s go.” Coach Sullivan scurrying me bleeding down the main hall en route to the nurse’s office. I cued my rock. Jesus if you remember my best friend died on Saturday night. If you forgot this then send me your address and I can overnight you some quick release Ritalin , help Coach Sullivan was money in the clutch. He’d been rushed out of his mid-day hoop’s workout to once again try and get me out of a huge mess. I’m dead and he knew it. Santo was gone and he’s never coming back to our script, painful reality. Hobbling towards the nurse’s office Coach looks down at my re opened scar. I was bleeding profusely, I’m having a hard time breathing this was a true breakdown. Coach evaluates my condition, looks down at the mangled condition of my war tired right arm and says, “We’ll be OK, so come on, settle down and lets get out of here back way.”
The drive was silent, fucken Santo dumb ass not fair. Coach Sullivan had known Santo as long as I had. As we approach Nevaton High there are still fresh tears bubbling in my eye’s corners. Coach finally breaks the silence “I’m canceling my freshmen baseball practice today, it will probably take five minutes.” “You coach freshmen baseball?” “No Cahl, I’m just saying it to confuse you.” My eyes look at each other, “Hey, yes, coach freshmen, two grand, it’s OK.” “Look I have to leave you guys in the gym, can you handle that?” Paul intercedes “we’re straight.” Coach commands us to sit down as he’ll be right back. My heart was still racing Kentucky Derby. “What’s up with that fucking kid to tell me to get over it? What the fuck?” “Dude our Skeetah was retarded too.” Suddenly a heavy trough of Needham football players strolled into the gym with a couple of girls which caused an instinctive smile. The football player asked us a question or my boy C all charged up from my knockout popped up and agitated. “Just keep walken pal. Nothing to see.” I was bloodied and the whole thing looked shady. It wasn’t our high school. And C’s lobbying fell on deaf ears as another mob of kids approached us inside their after school home basketball gym. My boy C threw the first punch, all hell broke loose and I was getting pummeled. “Hey!!” Coach finally rips me from the floor and is angry. “Can’t you do anything right?” The tirade quickly runs its course. Coach looks into my eyes and remembers. He loved Santo too, since he was a small boy, just like all of us Young Guns. Coach helped in the development of his hoops game since he was in the fifth grade. Ten minutes later we leave bloodied but not beaten. I look good, rugged and swollen. As I’m helped to the car the cute blonde that had originally encouraged me to hit that fool due to the stunning cuteness of her face was still standing by the door alone and appeared worried. I smiled at her exposing both of my bright dimples. She runs up to Coach, “Coach Sullivan! Coach is he OK, can I help?” “Felicia, no, thanks just, just, can you just leave.” He saw the confusion in her eyes.
“Look I’m sorry, I’ll explain all of this to you some other time. I’m sure these guys appreciate your concern but he’s going to need allot more than that..” As I’m placed in the car I make sure only I stay locked on that Felecia, “jeez how nice” I’d think to myself like how the Big Guy would say it. Both major papers in Boston that frightful school morning had published articles in the Sports sections about Matt’s fatal car accident. Once we’re back inside the car everything seemed to be spinning. I couldn’t put my finger on it but for some reason it was this moment that scared me to know end. It was clear Coach Sullivan had come to my rescue. “I don’t give a fuck.” I whispered to Paul he loved all of today’s fist fight’s and outcomes.
My shirt had been ripped again and my sagging jeans were drooling down my hardened thighs. The car stopped in front of an empty basketball court. It’s four o’clock in the afternoon. Coach gets out of the car pops the trunk and says, “get out.” No one has spoken since we left that “other” high school. It’s hot the climate like everything else in life had flipped when once again I was home, I was on an empty basketball court with a ball Coach and my Boy C. Paul and I had shorts on underneath our baggy jeans. Coach Sullivan had been in shorts all day. You never knew when a game would break out and besides I’d been playing this game every single day for my entire life. I now had a focus, Coach Sullivan was hungry, eager to get me on the court, break me down and toss me around and most importantly win the game of “New York” 21 that was about to drop. Coach Sullivan was the best player I’d ever played against, he was my barometer, I knew since a young age if I could take him, even be as good as the legend and last player to win a MVP of the state title in Astori, then I did it. But fleeting was the thought, my only focus was Stan (the rim) and my beloved Rollie (basketball), and like a curtain call he was rolled on the defrosted asphalt.
This game that we played would become my single greatest therapy session in a life of them. And not a word was said. Finally with the sun all but set, and the overall series score knotted at two a piece between me and Coach Sullivan, it ended. My boy C had destroyed what would become a very swollen ankle. He was down for the count but tough about it, reckless abandonment of athletic décor typically left some one hurt, ands that’s how games in YG world typically ended. I went home exhausted, my fear was tempered, and I was much more ready for tomorrow than I’d have been if the latter was a remnant of my wild imagination that had never occurred. A quiet yet triumphant victory, coming home my mother informed me warmly that Coach Farias had called. The story went instant viral my mother said he was proud that I had prevailed in the fistfight. The Big Guy, a minority and city guy in breed just wanted the kids from Madison to be tough. And word was out, revenge and retaliation. The Big Guy having been responsible for Pap in ACE knew that he was capable of all sorts of things.
“Big Guy thinks it would be better if you stayed with him tonight, just for the night in case, they come to get you.” It made my mother feel so good that he had called, “It’s OK, we’ll be OK.” Constructive channels for energy to flow are one of life’s most important rivers. A white boy speaks of rivers imagine that? (Langston Hughes) On the way home I I’d felt better, the poison in my mind had been extracted. And coach Sullivan wasn’t a paid therapist. He was a basketball player, a coach, and he’d accomplished what so many now and through the years failed to accomplish, prevent disaster. Sure I always got away but there was a reason I was conned into therapy in the third grade. I just didn’t buy it. The usual therapists were such a joke to me. The books, the questions the long recorded meltdown of failing to make a connection. ACE therapy we all might have been better off just wrestling for the hour. I’d tell them in our post session faculty - follow up that the Big Guy allowed me to sit on. “OK well, Chris, I think we’ve learned again that you should refrain from asking Cuzzerrie any questions ever again.” I’d eye the Big Guy, flip my paws up in line with my eyebrows and flutter words directly to the Big Guy at the head of our long lunch table, “it’s inappropriate, no need to repeat it or give him the opportunity to ask a question coming from a therapist. It’ll go a long way.” “OK, so don’t ask Cuzzerrie any questions, what else we got.” I personally loved the idea the pro bono shrinks had about the follow up meeting each week. Besides ACE, the Big Guy loved a good re cap. And now I did too. “Cahl’s going to be sitting in with us.” And that was it. I missed the first one but the Big Guy had heard in the inaugural re cap that I’d grabbed the rutter and de fused the awkward silence when Cuzzirrie asked the first question of the season. It was his turn in the announce yourself day 1 of group therapy your name where you from and if they, the therapist got lucky, you’d even throw in a hobby. A wet dream would be what “we” were hoping to “accomplish” in ACE therapy. Once a week, Tuesday at ten, I got out of main-stream math, I felt blessed and per custom thanked Jesus. And as Steve’s turn rotated to his lap, he asked in his burly, blue collared life and Boston accent, “Yeah forget about my name for a second pal we all know each other around here” He was hyper now, foot tapping with a grand fat smile “I a got a question for you. Do you have a hard time concealing the fact you’re a fag? What’s up with the earring in the right lob gay lawd.” He laughed, the comedian, we all lost it with him. You just couldn’t help it, it was, too, good.
I remember thinking to myself as soon as Cuzzierre started speaking, this therapist has no idea this kid is in here for blowing up a car, his science teachers. No more mainstream for my man. Now be slick, be smart and set the bar low, now instead of chemistry you had ACE therapy with me. One of my same grade hero’s we were binded only through detention, benches and now ACE. And I was a homy first. I watched the degree get in the way during ACE therapy, every week every Tuesday. I constantly bailed out the pro bono PHD’s that graced us from my sisters and my biggest fear, one day I’d be filed simply under crazy and sent there. “I’d die first.” “I know C.” And this was before Point Break. But our therapists came from Mcclean hospital. Girl Interuppted. The real deal coo coo’s nest. Nothing terrified me more than a straight jacket being drugged locked in a hospital. I’d done my time there and never ever wanted to go back. I never thought about it repression is underrated, my sister and I would explain when asked the secret to it all.
Forget ACE, my sister, Brooke knew kids in her grade, her close friends, two words you never want to hear, black or white jail or rehab, “ sent away. ” Rich kids, drugs, molestation, unfounded mania, Mcclean’s hospital, that’s what the loon meant to my sister and I. Those were the facts. And Madison high school had a little bit of everything. It’s lax regulation of white high school students dressed preppy, my ultimate cover + booming teenage economy guaranteed extreme antics. White and black kids, blue and white collar, the crimes, consent and cement that kept you above it all. It was a true picture of America. Be careful what you wish for. I was built for it. And I was in shock, again. I’d been bloodied and spotlighted, the one, one lesson the Big Guy had begun hammering into me after his delight over my role in the follow up therapy sessions. I was his boy, a favorite I’d take the perks. I was chasing legendary status. But for me, now crashed with the loss of a loved one, it was to this day the nicest thing anyone has ever done for me. Coach Sullivan. We just played basketball J #teachers. Back to school the next day, and I was still alive, I awoke in bed and could feel the cold face of an old rusted switch blade that I had retrieved (that I kept in Porsche’s and Mercedes barn yard which was of course my washed up after hours brother club sugar rays.) just in case. The phone hadn’t rung, and there had been no attack as of yet to myself nor on our abode.