I always knew of gangs but I for the most part, they always left me alone because I was not worth having me in them. That changed after word got around what I did to those three boys. There were three small gangs that lived in the area and when one wanted me they all did. When I turned them all down it was an insult and they wanted to fight me.
The first gang fight came the Monday after my fight in the hall. I was introduced to weapons, a knife. I liked this weapon. Even though it was meant for me, the person holding it had no clue what they were doing and cut themselves. From that day forward I carried my personal weapon of choice, a bo staff.
While I was in California, after reading the Code of Bushido, I took up the only weapon I could make myself, a bo staff. I always had a bow and arrow set that I had to make myself so making my own weapon was not a stretch. My mother would never allow me to have one otherwise.
I use to sweep the back yard driveway with a push broom once I discovered it unscrewed and doubles as a bo. Every day when I stacked up my 2x4s I use to include the bo in my daily routine. I would practice for hours and hours, hitting myself, dropping it, gaining cuts and bruises until I was able to command it with ease.
The walk from my house to the school was 1.3 miles. There were many routes I could take once I left my home and I took them all, changing up whenever I could. I carried a bo with me each way. Even the police who patrolled the neighborhood regularly over time came to know me as the kid in all black who walked with a stick.
The other kids always tried to find where I hid my bo as I went into the school with it and walked out of the school with it. They never found it. The main reason was that I knew how to get into all of the janitor’s closets and would trade out a different bo each time. I used the school’s push brooms.
I was a nerd who always read books and kept to myself but when I got angry I tried to control the monster within, when the darkness was unleashed it hungered for blood and would not stop until it got it. My demons three loved it.
It only took two fights for the kids to learn to leave me alone. I wielded the bo with ease and with no regret. It became known that if you attacked me I would show you no mercy. The rest of the school year passed with ease.
As summer came I was given more freedom, to an extent. I was allowed to go to AstroWorld, the Six Flags amusement park in Houston, on my own. My mother would drop me and my brother off or just me and off we would go, to be picked up later. I was also allowed to take the city bus downtown to the main library downtown. Sadly neither one of these allowed me to carry my bo.
I had to adapt. I start carrying my favorite weapon of all, a knife. Living in Texas, no one gave it a second thought to see anyone carrying around a pocket knife of any kind. A crazy monkey like myself, I never let my knife show. It’s called a pocket knife for a reason right, it stayed in my pocket.
I butted heads with my brother from time to time but that’s what siblings did. Fortunately for me the summer went by without incident. I was either in church, at the library, or in some type of game room, playing arcade games. On days I couldn’t go out for one reason or another I stayed home and play Nintendo.
Soon I became a freshman. Being the oldest in the house I was once again on my own. A new grade in a new school, with no one to look to for advice on how to survive. I was thrown in the deep end and had to learn how to stay afloat quickly.
My new school was big. My middle school was tall, three floors, but nothing like this, big. The school was only two floors, but it was spread out. The halls were much more crowded and sometimes I would have to run to get from class, to locker, to class.
Everyone at this school was supposed to be smart because you had to take a test to get in, no one was zoned to this school because of the uniqueness of it. It was a magnet school where you could learn a professional trade before you graduated.
My demons three had been silent and I was beginning to think that they had gone away. I had been afraid to allow myself to like someone else, after what had happened on my birthday in California, and being a loner made that easy. High school was about to change all of that.
The other new in my life were new kids. Up until this point I had went to school with the same kids since the first grade. We all lived close to each other so we saw each other all the time. This school bussed in kids from all over the city so I was able to start over.
None of my old bullies were at this new school. I was able to truly enjoy school for the first time in my life. I was allowed to work in the library during my lunch. I was happy. I also let my guard down. That’s when she came into my life.
Over the course of the Fall Semester I fell in love. Really, truly, head over heels in love. Farm boy, fetch me that pitch, as you wish in love. I was a dork kid who had no experience with girls and what I thought was love was one sided and crushed me. My demons three returned, roaring with laughter.
After we got back from Christmas vacation it had been over a year since I had a single fight, but with the return of my demons three, that changed. I was wrong about only smart people attending this school and I was paired up with one of these dumb people. I refused to do all the work and we both got an F. Her boyfriend didn’t like that.
In the middle of this huge school was a wide balcony. There had been rumors that when the school was first built a student was thrown off of the second floor balcony. It was a myth that the staff kept alive and would never confirm to keep the students from trying anything. Her boyfriend and his three friends decided that I should make this myth true.
I had left the cafeteria and was on my way to the library. As I got to the top of the stairs the attack happened. Her boyfriend grabbed me and started lifting me up off my feet. I began kicking and yelling to put me down and his friends tried to grab my feet, all the while this bitch watching with a smile on her face. That’s when the darkness took over.
I pulled my knife out and stabbed his hand. He dropped me, screaming out in pain. I hit the edge of the balcony and fell on the floor. My knife found his leg and as I pulled out I twisted. His friends ran down the stairs and out the front door. As I stood up he was now on the floor.
By this point both librarians had come out to see who was screaming and then called over the radio for the police officer to come quickly. The boy was arrested, he and his friends didn’t even attend that school, and I was given detention for defending myself.
The rest of the Spring Semester was long and dark. I didn’t care about anything anymore and my grades suffered for it. My music, my clothes, my attitude reflected my darkness. I failed the 9th grade but I wasn’t kicked out of the school, I had just barely passed the test to say in.
The summer started and it was more of the same as the one before. The only difference is my demons three were not silent. They were not going to let me forget what started this war. I had gone to visit my little angel a lot, sitting for hours on end at her tombstone, just crying in my solitude.
I had decided that seppuku has the only way to end this pain. I had thought about where and how I was going to do it. A few yards away from her tombstone was a small man made brook with a stone bridge over it. On the other side looked like a Japanese stone garden and this, in my mind, was the perfect place.
The morning I had picked to perform my seppuku my mother told me that I had to go with my little brother and his friend to AstroWorld because they had no one to watch over them. I was mad, and it showed everywhere we went. I spent most of the morning in the arcade, ignoring their pleas to go on rides. I was winning my game and I was not about to just abandon it just for them. Then I heard it.
The Dance by Garth Brooks.
Up until this point in my life I could not stand country music so I had never even heard of Garth Brooks. The words didn’t just hit my ears, it hit my soul. The darkness slammed into a brick wall of light and stopped everything around me. I let go of my controls and lost my game instantly.
I walked over to the jukebox and just had a blank look on my face. The song was ending and I put in quarter after quarter so I could play the song again and again. My soul turned upside down on itself, darkness gave way to the light. In that single moment I had won my second war. My demons three were thrust out by the clarity of the words of The Dance.