Chapter 1 Summer Ends
The final days of summer vacation shrouded the atmosphere of Miami, Florida. The jaded kids in the area were not looking forward to another year of school and mountains of homework. But over on 235 Lomaky Drive, there were two 12-year-old twins clashing for the controller to their Xbox One.
"Knock it off Vitani, Super Mario Universe is single player only and I grabbed the controller first!"
"In case you forgot, you spilled iced tea on the other controller playing Fortnite! Besides I was born first", said Vitani snidely.
"Only by 8 minutes and remember I'm taller and stronger!" yelled Zhane, as he began to overpower his cheeky sister.
Vitani kept pulling, but then she paused to think for a minute. "Oh, hey Michael", she said looking over brother's left shoulder.
Zhane slightly loosened his grip on the controller and turned around to see his best friend, only for no one to be there. Then Vitani snatched the controller out of his hands.
"Gotcha little bro," Vitani gloated.
"Hey that's not fair you tricked me!" protested Zhane. "Girls can't be gamers anyway-and don't call me little."
"Too bad, so sad. Now beat it I'm playing on the Xbox now!" demand Vitani, as made a fist at her brother's face.
Then the bickering brother and sister's mom, Jasmine Archer, walked into the den to break up the two.
"Vee, Zhane, both of you stop before I slap black off both of y'all!" yelled Ms. Archer.
The two closed their mouths and glared at each other as they knew their mother was not one to make idle threats.
"Lord, y'all need to learn how to stop fighting so much. I'm doing all I can to provide a nice for us, so I expect it to be peaceful," said Ms. Archer.
Ms. Archer being a single black mother of two strong willed twins, as well as being an English professor at the University Miami-had to be just as tough and focused to keep both her kids and students in line.
"But Mom I had the controller first and Vee just walked up and tried to take it from me," said Zhane.
"Only because you got to play the Xbox all day yesterday and-".
"Enough! Both of you! I can't wait till school starts in 4 days, so I don't have to hear this bullcrap!" exclaimed Ms. Archer. "Now Zhane you did spill tea on the second controller and made it short circuit, as well as played all day. So, find something to do outside like boys are supposed to."
"Ah what?", said Zhane.
"Don't make me ask again", said Ms. Archer firmly.
Zhane reluctantly headed out the front door and turned around to see his sister taunt him by blowing a raspberry.
"I'll get you later Vitani", whispered Zhane as he bitterly went outside.
Zhane got his bike and mumbled to himself. "Vitani isn't even a hardcore gamer and I'm the one who bought Super Mario Galaxy".
Zhane looked back to his friend Michael approaching on his bike.
"Oh, hey Mike."
"Uh-oh I know that tone. What went down between you and Vitani this time?" asked Michael.
"Vee tricked me thinking you showed up and snatched the controller out of my hand, and my mom let her play the video game I bought, when she's not even a gamer. I was gonna livestream Super Mario Universe on my YouTube Channel Dragon Fire Network," said Zhane.
"Wow, you really let a girl play you like that?" replied Michael.
"You see right about now I'd slap you in your head, but you're my bro so I'm gonna let it slide", said Zhane.
The two made their way to the local park only to see their Hispanic friend Jose, being harassed by the neighborhood bully Trayquel Thomas whose nickname was Bull and his gang, who were playing keep away with his basketball.
"Come on guys knock it off! Give me back my basketball, por favor!", pleaded Jose.
"We no speak spanish here ese. It's monkey in the middle bruh, you gotta try and catch it." Trayquel mocked.
"Do...you... understand...what..we...are...saying?" said Rontravious. The boy in the Miami Heat jersey.
"Old Eddie Guerrero looking ahh", said Kentrez.
"I think he's getting mad guys we should.... Not!", said Austin.
Zhane and Michael made their way to the basketball court to help their friend, only to see Jose yell at his tormentors in frustration.
"All of you are a bunch Cabeza de pingas!"
The four bullies stood in silence as they glared at Jose, who was shocked he said that out loud.
"What did you call us?" demanded Trayquel.
He grabbed Jose by his throat and started to choke him. Trayquel was a hostile but rather dimwitted boy who was 15 years old but was still in middle school.
"Quit it Trayquel!" shouted Zhane.
Trayquel threw Jose to the ground as he and his gang focused their attention Zhane and Michael.
Michael helped Jose up and checked on him.
"Are you okay", asked Michael
"Yeah, but they still have my basketball", Jose replied.
"What chou want Zhane!?" yelled Trayquel.
"Look Trayquel I don't wanna start anything just give Jose his basketball". said Kyle.
Trayquel gave the ball to one of his friends and got in Zhane's face.
"Who this little jit think he's talking too?", said Trayquel. "Ya'll are a bunch losers."
"Get outta my face dude". "Besides you shouldn't call anyone losers since you're 15 and still in 8th grade." said Zhane boldly.
Suddenly Trayquel slapped Zhane in the face with his gang jeering him on along with Michael and Jose staring in shock.
"Ooooh snap!", screamed Trayquel's gang.
"Stop, you can have the basketball just leave us be!", begged Jose.
Kentrell ignored him began to mock Zhane.
"You think cause you make honor roll and wrote books, you think you better than me?"
Zhane retaliated by shoving Trayquel who almost lost his balance but being a bigger boy, he caught himself.
"I don't think I know I'm better than you!" exclaimed Zhane. "Smell better too."
Trayquel then tackled Zhane to the ground and unleashed a fury of punches to his face. Zhane did his best to fight off the older boy but was out sized and overpowered. While Michael and Jose were aggressively restrained by Bull's gang who themselves began to scuffle with. The Trayquel waved a knife in Zhane's face and threatened him.
"I oughta stab yo ahh like Chucky. But let this be a warning to ya-don't ever screw with me again and it's Bull to you. Take their bikes!"
Bull's gang grabbed Zhane and Michael's bikes with Rontravious (his main follower) handing the ringleader Zhane's beautiful emerald, green bike. Before they left Bull did a swift cut to Zhane's right knee as he and his gang leave with one final taunt.
"Ahh"! Zhane screamed in pain
Michael and Jose ignored their items being stolen and rushed to pick up their dazed and hurt friend who had a bruise under his right eye, a bump on forehead and a light gash on his left knee.
"Don't worry Zhane, we'll get you home", said Michael.
"Hang tight amigo", said Jose.
"Cough, cough, thanks guys.
The trio gingerly walked the street and arrived at Zhane's house with the banged-up boy's his mother and sister in complete shocked.
"What the heck happened to you?!" yelled Vitani.
"He got in a fight with Trayquel Thomas", said Michael.
"Michael!", yelled Zhane.
"What! Oh no not my baby. I'm a about raise sand!" yelled Mom.
"Mom don't! I already made that psycho's list. I don't need the situation to be even worse", protested Zhane.
"You let that illiterate punk beat you up?" asked Vitani.
"Hey, watch it Vitani, him and Michael were just trying get my basketball back from Trayquel. The dude is grande y loco (big and crazy)", said Jose.
"Well, something's gotta be done, because what he did was assault!", said Mom.
Zhane thought to himself. He was too ashamed to tell his mom and sister the details of the incident, but if he did and Trayquel found out action would be done to him; his whole gang would beat him down.
"Just drop it, let's some get some peroxide on these wounds, and a hot bath going so I can heal up before school."
Ms. Archer sighed in frustration and disappointment.
"Alright son, but here me out if something like this happens again, that Traymel or whatever his ghetto name is, he will have to fight me! As God as my witness!"
Zhane sat on the couch in silence because he knew his mom didn't play around and was all action.
Michael and Jose brought him his food while Vitani got the first aid kit and treated his bruises and the cut on his knee.
"Ahh that burns! I can't stand that!", hollered Zhane.
"Oh, quit whining, it's the only way to keep the scars from scabbing!", said Vitani.
"This wouldn't have happened if you had just let me stream my game."
"Hey, I have a YouTube Channel too! It was my turn to play the Xbox we had an agreement!"
Michael and Jose stood and watched the two argue.
"I know there this is going, it's getting late so we better go", said Jose.
"Are you kidding? I love it when these to go at it," replied Michael.
Jose sighed. "Vamanos (let's go) and thanks for backing me up guys even I feel lame for needing it."
"Don't sweat amigo (friend)," replied Michael
"Trayquel will get what's coming to him--OW!", said Zhane.
"Ugh, all you men with such fragile egos," mocked Vitani.
Michael rolled his eyes. "Anyway, see you soon bud"
"Adios", said Jose.
The two walked out Zhane's house with the sound of him screaming in agony from the peroxide sponge his sister gleefully applied to him.
"See ya-aaah! You're enjoying this aren't you?"
"A little", Vitani said smugly.
As he ate his Spaghetti, Zhane began to think hard on how he was going to handle his situation with Bull when school starts.