IntroductionA Chapter by Aleekae
I looked down at the small child, a condescending attitude protruding from my actions and stance. I stood balanced on my heels, crouched down to eye-level of the child on the corner of Frank and Tumult. The streetlight hit the features of the child perfectly, a beautiful red head from the up-end town of La Grange. She seemed frightened, scared to the point of tears as my comrade invaded her small Barbie backpack for signs of cash. I gave the girl an apologetic smile, knowing full well that through her tears; she could care less whether or not the boys mugging her felt sorry about it.
“Nothin’ in here, Devon,” Marcelo reported, placing the monopoly money and stuffed animals back into the Barbie backpack. He handed the bag to me. I studied it for a moment; thinking back to my childhood days. Only instead of Barbie, the character on the front was a man dressed in a spider outfit.
I handed the pink bag to the young child. “You best be getting home to yer rich parents, kid. We ain’t the worst group out here.” Marcelo said, for he was always my translator when I had nothing to say. The small child was out of sight before Marcelo could tell her the safest route to La Grange, as was the plan.
“Dang, third time ‘dis week we got ripped off.” Marcelo helped me regain my footing as he remarked on our unsuccessfulness. I nodded, wiping the dirt from the street off my kicks. We’d been running this street since two weeks ago, when we first discovered that upper class kids took this route up to the La Grange bus service. Marcelo liked to mug the little ones, since they couldn’t fight back, and for the fact that he knew I wasn’t much of a fighter.
I tapped my cheap, five dollar watch to show him what time it was. My brothers would be home any minute, and it was my time to cook the instant ramen.
“Yeh, yeh, I know yer schedule.” Marcelo’s been with me since grade school, and he knew me pretty well. For instance, I like to be five minutes early to everything, even to bed and afternoon classes at the high school. I was stretching it by having only three minutes to get home, so that I can be five minutes early to start dinner.
I picked up my boring gray backpack, and examined our rewards for the day: fifty cents and two suckers. I handed a sucker to Marcelo, and was about to unwrap the head of mine until I spotted a small figure walking towards us.
I soon realized that instead of walking, the figure was skipping, and instead of a figure, the body belonged to a young girl. She looked about our age, besides being slender and short. She sported a double-breasted white raincoat, and black rain boots to correspond, and atop her shoulders bounced angel-like blonde hair. I was about to nudge Marcelo, a signal that meant a mugging was about to be had, until I noticed that she had no backpack; not even a purse. This was an unusual sight on the streets of a Chicago city, since she had no means of protection against violent gang members and, in addition, wore flashy clothes that suggested her family was wealthy.
Marcelo and I stood there, dumbfounded. She approached us as a young girl would, skipping to the melody of her own humming and taking on an innocent curiosity of the two boys that stood in front of her. She stopped her skipping and stood in front of us, and the tilted her head as a dog would when it was curious. I noticed her clear, ocean-like blue eyes, which were staring at Marcelo at the moment.
“Hey,” I said, softly, for I hadn’t talked in quite awhile. Marcelo jumped, surprised at the sound of my own voice, for even he, my closest friend, doesn’t hear it often. The girl looked at me, her blue eyes studying my facial features, and I suppose, judging my worthiness of her attention. I turned to Marcelo, who stared at me in amazement, “The word would be gallant, right?”
The girl seemed confused, however Marcelo was used to these random questions. Although normally this conversation took place on paper, he nodded and responded, “Wouldn’t the word ‘gallant’ be used fer a prince? Nah, I’d say ‘brave’ would be more… umm… suitable.”
Brave and gallant were both applicable for this blue-eyed, blonde girl. However, I shrugged and focused my attention on the girl, who was eyeing my unwrapped sucker. I held out my hand, where the sucker was placed, “It’s not good to be brave on these streets,” I said, as I watched the girl gratefully take the candy and pop it into her mouth, “what is your business with us?”
“Jeez, always bein’ formal, Devon. What da ya want, girl?” Marcelo translated, throwing his own finished sucker (now a paper spitball) into the nearby bushes.
The brave girl removed the sucker, and after several moments turned to me, “You’re Devon James, right? Son of Adam James?” Her voice was sweet; however the contents of her speech awakened an anger inside of me I hadn’t felt in years. How did this girl know of my father, the man who’d left me to my brothers, who had left everything for a life in the suburbs?
“Ya better break yer habit now, cuz we just broke the five minute rule.” Marcelo interrupted, on purpose, of course. I looked down at my watch, momentarily breaking off my glare that was directed at the girl, and noticed, to my dismay, that fifteen minutes had passed by.
“Moo,” The girl said in an upsetting tone, apparently a habit of hers, “I hoped that I would’ve had time to talk more with you, Devon. My name’s Veronica. However, I hate that name, so I’d like to be called Ronnie.” She immediately controlled the conversation, an aspect that hadn’t been noticed earlier when all she could do was stare. “I live in Iowa, which is far away from here, in case you guys failed your geography classes. I’ll be here a couple days, so I’d like it if you guys would leave this street alone while I’m here. Your violent acts of mugging have affected my routine walks around the block.”
“Who’re you to tell us what to do?” Marcelo stepped in, most likely just for the purpose of defending his pride, not because he cares about this street. There were plenty of other good sites, and we would be kicked out by a gang sooner or later.
“Hey, Marcelo, pride isn’t everything.” I said, even softer now, so as not to embarrass Marcelo more than he already had, “Ronnie,” I turned toward the girl, feeling it appropriate to address her casually, “I’ll be driven to the point of madness if you won’t tell me why you know my father, but as of right now, I need to be home. Can we talk tomorrow?”
She seemed a bit taken aback, as if stunned by my courteous behavior, however regained her composure as the ruler of this conversation, “I was going to suggest that anyway. Good day, lads.” She popped that sucker back into her mouth, began the melodic humming, and skipped to whence she came, almost as if she had disappeared.
© 2010 Aleekae
Added on February 17, 2010
Last Updated on February 17, 2010