Wednesday, December 15, 2010

A Swing and a Miss

Anger rivaled fear for supremacy underneath Jon's carefully monitored external calm as he faced the eight gang members wanting to take over the rec center. Weapons and violence had become commonplace in his school. Jon hated it, but he was becoming less and less shocked at finding a gun on a fourteen-year-old student or breaking through a hysterical crowd to find a kid on a hallway floor spouting blood from a hole the size of a silver dollar in his chest. But it was the impertinence that galled him the most. It leered out at him through the eyes of kids like these who had no respect for authority, no real interest in education and career, and little regard for human life, particularly their own.

After a minute of practice shots, six of the gang members huddled on the court. "We need a few more players," laughed Rattler, a drunk, gaunt kid with tattoos of snakes entwining both arms. Avoiding sudden motion, Jon eased into his path. Rattler stopped three feet from Jon then swung at him, an ill-aimed but potentially vicious blow. The unsuccessful attack brought a chorus of profane cheers from the squad. Rattler charged Jon— swearing, swinging, and fuming, backing Jon closer to the kids he felt he must protect with his life. The fight was on. (To be continued)

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