Growing Up in SoCal: A working title

I just wanted to push out the first chapter of a book I’ve been “writing”. It has been about four months and I barely have two chapters going for it. But, I love the story-line I have been going with and I am just hoping that I procure a little more motivation to continue instead of allowing myself to stay in this stagnant state. Anywho, enjoy!

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No time for drawn out introductions, I’m on the lam! My name is Geronimo Sinclair-Salvatorre. It’s nearly midnight on the fourth of July, 1999 in Los Angeles, California, and the supply for fireworks has been nothing short of spectacular. Some friends of mine –well I may reconsider the manner in which I address them if I get out of this ordeal unscathed– persuaded me by way of blackmail to assist in their plot for revenge on the local gang bangers around town by taking advantage of the TNT surplus this fine Holiday has brought upon us. These “gang bangers” in question, resemble a loosely formed posse at best; minus the six shooters, add a little mouth jewelry, color matched apparel, and voila, the suspects personified. I simply refer to them as Los Imbeciles.

Yeah I know, not exactly a shot to the heart, but I call them like I see them; a bunch of knuckle dragging mouth breathers, forcing Ebonics derivatives into the English language: who prey on the weak to feed their lust for emotional destruction. AKA “Bullies” for those less informed on the urban equivalent. Personally, I never give much of a crap what these guys do. I just leave them alone, and they have done the same for me. Although I fear this betrayal of our unspoken agreement is opening up a new can of worms in my life.

I’m not sure why I got the short end of the stick, but these heathens insisted on tracing my every step instead of treading after one of my soon-to-be ex-friends. Lucky for me, these oafs hadn’t the foresight to wear a belt (Some unfortunate fashion trend that must be).  Each grasping their crotch, attempting to prevent their pants from making a catastrophic fall to fumbling ankles. This ultimately slowed their traverse allowing me the opportunity for a short breather at an intersection as I contemplated the best evasive maneuver.

As I look around for a glimmer of hope, I spot the red, white and blue pole outside of Johnny’s barber shop “Bingo” I thought. He’s got a package delivery chute that my skinny ass can still fit through. I’ve used it once or twice in similar situations. The downside, he sometimes remembers to lock it before he leaves work just in case some crack-head tries to set up shop inside. The streets of LA, my friend, they harbor some of the grade-A ingrates this country has to offer. I blame it on the heat. Too much sun can drive any person mad.

Now I am left thinking “Should I bolt through Johnny’s shop and take the back door to an alley that intersects with my home street? Or take the long way without risking the possibility of Johnny’s chute being locked?” Then as if my manhood took a shot of adrenaline, I bolted for the shop door. But taking my time to think things over really let the scumbags close in on me, the chute became my only hope.

My hand grabbed for the handle as soon as my cross-trainers touched the sidewalk but my heart fell into my stomach once the flesh of my fingertips touched the cold metal handle. “Johnny locked up for the 4th of July” I thought. I sat for a moment, staring into his shop reliving the “wonder years” when my mom would give me ten bucks before school so that I could run down to Johnny’s for a quick trim after class. Now I am on the other side of the firing line, looking at the red vinyl and polished steel structure of the barber’s chair I had filled when I first stumbled into his shop with my parents. Now I was simply a terminal victim, waiting in the gallows for my executioner. Soon enough I felt hot breath down my back as several pissed off faces, scorched from a firework prank gone awry, stared me down in a way that could peel the paint off of a car.

The leader of the group, Brandon Rowins, -AKA B-Rizzle- one of the better read fellows forming Los Imbeciles, addressed me ” A Little late for kids to be playing with fire, EH? CHIEF!” .

He knew my nickname? What the hell. And look at that carbonized pompous prick. Only he could pull off an expression of content at capturing his prey with half of his shirt still smoldering as if he had just snuffed the last of our freedom fireworks with cyclopean claws he calls “hands”. (Isn’t alliteration fun?) After letting out a sigh, I thought to myself “crap, if only I could stay inside of my mind during the impending beating I am about to take.”

Still, he asked a question. So I answered with a question that had been burrowing in the back of my mind since the chase began

“What’s your end game here, BRANDON? I wanted nothing to do with this fiasco in the first place”

Apparently he only heard the mispronunciation of his name and a well placed left hook struck my lower jaw. After which he corrected me.

“The name’s B-Rizzle, Bitch!”

“Oh, so you finally added a last name,’Bitch’, not bad. It suits you well B-Rizzle. Or is that just what the ‘B’ really stands for?” I said after recovering from the stars floating around my head. I’m not sure what came over me, but I figured if I am going to die tonight, I sure as hell wasn’t going to do it on my knees. I’m starting High School in a few months for Christ sake, I need to take a stand once and for all!

He scoffs “Big mouth for such a little shit, heh. I have half a mind to stomp your ass out right now. Hmph, the fearless leader or should I say ‘Chief’ of your bitch-ass crew. Did you think setting our campsite on fire with your amateur firework display, would teach us a lesson?”

To which I made an ill-advised snarky remark “I was hoping you all would take a lesson on fire safety. As you can see, it’s not something to…”

Before I could finish, he crushed his boot into my ribcage, expelling every atom of oxygen my lungs once contained. Brandon, annoyed by my insubordinate tough guy act shouted, “Can it, wise guy! You were walking a fine line before we caught your ass. Now it has all but dissolved under your feet. If I wasn’t such a nice guy, I’d let my ol’ pal, Casper, here have his way with you. But tonight, I’m feeling slightly charitable. I’m going to let you go as an example to your comrades. Show them what happens when you mess with the OC KINGS (Their posse’s chosen name)”

“The hell with that, B! Let’s throw this clown off the fucking pier! Look at my face! The cock-squeeze burnt off my hair, half my clothes, and all the damn chronic we had is fuckin’ TOAST YO! I ain’t ’bout to let this kid walk away, B” said, Casper, presumably because he is almost as white as the light you see before death. But he is better known as Ruxton Feinstein. A troubled Jewish youth who insists he was black in a previous life. Admittedly, Ruxton’s, call for my untimely death sent a chill down my spine. He’s always struck me as a sort of sociopath. But I dare not admit this assumption in his presence.

I was almost sure they wouldn’t consider a death sentence, but like I said, Casper, sort of has his own agenda. And why the hell does he think I am the leader? If I remember correctly, I got dragged into this disaster! Luckily, or so I thought, Brandon, cut back in “This panty waste isn’t worth the trouble, Cas. I’ve got something better up my sleeve. A ‘Classic’ so-to-speak”. Brandon lands one more well placed blow, his bare knuckles finding the soft spot near my right temple. All I remember from that moment on was falling to the ground, catching a glimpse of Casper’s freckled grin as he watched my skull crash into the sidewalk…

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