You Were Born Of… – Part Two
Well, by the end of the next year, all that Robert Burns, my boyfriend, my rebel stuff had ended.
It had all backfired on me.
But I’ll get to that later.
It was the day after that eye punch and I was busy whining to my girlfriends about what the brothers did to me and why, when someone, I think it was Lightboy, came up to the stoop with the
most unexpected report.
Excitedly, he said that some guys from the Pink Houses had jumped Mickey and broke his jaw.
What? Did you say, “Somebody jumped Mickey and punched him in the face?
Broke his jaw? What? How can a person’s jaw break?”
Having never heard of such a thing before, we stared at Lightboy and then at each other.
All the girls spoke as one, “Say what?
Did we hear you right?
Some boys punched Mickey in the mouth and broke his jaw?” with those questions finished all the mouths on the stoop fell
silent waiting for some answer which
never came at least not from Duane who
we called Lightboy because his mother, mother had been white Spanish from South America somewhere and his father, father was a colour dude from the South.
They had lived together but never married as it was against the law back
then for whites and negros to marry.
My family, my brothers ruled the streets in our area.
It had been so for many years passed.
Even I didn’t who first established that my people owned the streets from Linden Blvd to Saratoga Ave from Rockaway to Livonia Ave.
Everybody knew that.
I had heard stories but everything was hush, hush whenever I entered the room.
But one thing I knew for sure that payback would be hard and swift.
No one had ever assaulted one of our people.
Who was stupid enough to try these coiled strings?
No one I knew would ever dare to offend the community rules.
But that day, someone dared to change our world.
Mickey was of us, from the roots of the same tree.
We all grew up together, our parents, parents were friends.
We either knew or was related to everyone in the area.
It was mind blowing, the thought that something unheard of had happened.
Things were getting hot and a little frightening.
Plus, Mickey was not even a fighter.
He was more of a cling-on.
Why beat him up when there were bigger, badder, better fighters?
Nothing made sense about this puzzle but I knew one thing
whoever touched him knew what was about to happen.
We jumped down from the stoop and ran after Lightboy, the messenger, the six blocks to the Pink Houses a.k.a the projects.
We stopped about a half a block from 1211 Sutter Ave, where Lightboy had said that the problem had happened.
It seemed that the whole world was
there, the teenager world that is.
Funny how the word got out about Mickey, just like it was carried on the wind.
Teens and a good fight was always on our menu and welcomed by most bored
Not one adult was there in the crowd that day.
They were just standing around waiting for something to happen.
It must have been a weekday because now that I look back and search as I
might, I cannot remember any adult intervention until it was way too late.
As I reflect in the events of that day, I remember that as I stepped down from the stoop, I hesitated with thoughts of my mom’s face.
I almost turned around to tell her that something bad had happened but I was with my friends and afraid of
looking like I didn’t know or was unsure
so I pressed down on my inner snooze alarm and the feeling went away.
Running towards the Pink Houses, I thought I heard the popping sound of firecrackers ahead.
Normally, I loved to see fireworks in the sky.
My brothers always had firecrackers to shoot off even after one exploded in Guy’s hand and took off a piece of his pinky, they continued to play with them.
But this time, the firecrackers sounded different and a chill gripped me in the sweltering, summer heat.
previous: You Were Born Of… – Part One
more by DEBRA BISHOP
photograph by Christina Sicoli
Hire An Editor