Chapter 3 Zhane joins a gang.
It was the end of 4th period, and everyone was going to lunch. Zhane was putting his stuff in his locker when his friend Tommy showed up.
"Z Man", greeted Tommy.
"Tommy", said Zhane.
"So, how's 7th grade working out for you so far", Tommy asked.
"Gotta say its smooth for the most part. Our science teacher Mr. Hawkins is a stickler for class work, and this girl Gabriel is a little annoying, but other than that I like it", said Zhane.
"Sounds like you have everything clear this year. I'm still getting my classrooms mixed up".
"Oh, you'll get used to it bud. I also promised Alyssa, I'll help her with the Fall Formal decorations."
"So, are you hoping she asks you to the dance? Remember its girl's choice", asked Tommy.
"I know that I just have to play it cool and not seem anxious that's all", said Zhane.
"Well, let me hear that charm when asks you".
Zhane cleared his throat.
"Well Alyssa I'd be happy to accompany you to this glorious event, and I hope we have a wonderful--".
"Yawn. Happy to accompany you? Dude you sound like the Queen of England. That's not gonna sound co--".
The two saw Alyssa approaching them.
"Hey Alyssa", Tommy said awkwardly.
"Hey guys, guess what, Ms. Charlotte said we can put up the decorations for the Fall Formal early this year!
"Awesome. Hey I gotta go eat. I'll catch you guys later."
Tommy walked away with a hopeful smile.
"Where were you this morning Zhane? We need to talk about the preparations for the dance. Plus, I need your advice," said Alyssa.
"Oh really?", he replied.
"Yeah, you know Jaylen the Quarterback, I heard he doesn't have a date to the dance. Then there's this boy Bobby in math class who's been eyeing at me, and then Megan gave Daniel Walters from the track team my phone number. Isn't it a wild I'm juggling three hotties; I don't know who to choose", Alyssa said excitedly.
"Well Alyssa those guys are no slouches. In some cases, knowledge in history and witty charm still count for a lot. There's a certain guy who wouldn't mind accompanying--."
"Hey Alyssa, looking good!"
Alyssa and Zhane turned around to see Trayquel Thomas, who approached them and shoved Zhane out of the way.
"Anything you want ask me shorty?"
Alyssa scornfully glared at Trayquel, then Zhane got up and tapped him on the shoulder.
"Body language 101 Bull, hers says never gonna happen", Zhane said smugly.
Trayquel grabbed Zhane by his shirt and rammed him into the lockers.
"Looks like you forgot what happened at the park chump. Sign language 101, my fist gives you a bloody nose!"
Then a big 8th grader named Roman grabbed Trayquel's wrist and slung him into the ground.
"Yo, I know you ain't sweating my homeboy Zhane, Trayquel", asked Roman.
"Nah Rome, we were just playing".
Alyssa comforted Zhane as Trayquel got up and eyed down the three kids.
"Catch you later Zhane", he said snidely.
As Trayquel left, Zhane walked up to Roman.
"Don't mention it, everybody gets one."
Roman walked away leaving Zhane, Alyssa and other students wondering what he meant by that statement.
Later that day Zhane, Michael, Jose and Tommy decided to walk home together instead of taking the bus. Vitani was bringing her friends over and he didn't want to hear their giggling and gossiping during the way home.
"Tangling with Bull!? Are you crazy? That guy makes Bobby Lashley look like Kevin Hart", said Tommy.
"Tell me something I don't know, but he was messing with Alyssa, and I couldn't just stand there and let him do that," said Zhane.
"If you keep crossing him, you're not gonna make it to 8th grade", said Michael.
"Remember the old saying amigo, you mess with the bull, you get the horns. It's ironic his nickname is Bull too", said Jose.
"Do you wanna know what else is ironic? I'm a Taurus, that makes me more bull than Trayquel. But if it wasn't for Roman, I'd be looking for a good plastic surgeon right now."
"Yeah, no kidding", said Michael
The four friends walked to the intersection; Zhane's house was in the opposite direction of the three other boys, so they went their separate ways.
"Hey Zhane if any more heat breaks out between you and Bull, we got your back", said Tommy.
"Bet on it", said both Michael and Jose.
"I appreciate that guys, see ya", said Zhane.
As the three walked away Zhane mumbled to himself.
"If only they were the power rangers".
Zhane strolled down the sidewalk in deep thought until he heard a voice yell out to him.
"I thought those three punks would never leave!"
Zhane looked up and saw Trayquel leaning on a light post who started to stomp towards him. He tried run away but two of Bull's goons stood in the opposite direction to block his path.
Without any hesitation Zhane ran through an alley and hopped over the fence while Bull and his gang chased after him like wolves.
Before he could make it through the opening, a heavyset guy jumped in front of him that knocked Zhane to the ground, as two gang bangers grabbed him.
"I'm picking up where I left off pussy", said Trayquel.
Bull approached Zhane and glared at him as he struggled to break free.
"Come on guys shouldn't a beatdown happen during school? It has better lighting than an alley", said Zhane.
"Zhane the comedian. See if you can make jokes out of this smart ahh."
Bull cracked his knuckles and threw hard punches into Zhane's stomach and jaw.
One of the goons who was keeping watch saw Roman and his friend walking down the sidewalk.
"Yo Bull! Rome and his homie are coming our way!"
Bull who was enjoying his assault gave one last kick to the gut before reluctantly running away with his gang who dropped Zhane on the ground.
"You'll be seeing me alot Z, believe that", Trayquel taunted.
Zhane laid on the ground for a couple seconds and when he regained senses, he looked up saw Roman and his friend Leo staring at him.
"Roman. It's all good I had them right where I wanted them dude."
"Meet me at the old Marathon station in a half hour, we need to talk", said Roman.
"A half hour? But I gotta get home for dinner in a half hour".
"In a half", Roman said coldly.
Zhane nervously gave the two a thumbs up.
The hurt and confused boy strolled down the hill, talking to himself, as he was approaching the abandoned gas station.
"Say, son where have you been all day? Well Mom the nice gang bangers invited me for ice cream. Zhane don't know you hanging around thugs will lead you down a dark path. With all due respect Mom; duh", Zhane thought out loud.
Zhane made it to the marathon station to see a big guy in a bandana guarding the entrance.
"Um, I'm here to see Roman", Zhane said nervously.
The big guy grabbed Zhane's shirt and pushed him inside to see Roman and his gang playing cards.
"Ah Zhane, welcome to our crib and you're here on time. I like that", said Roman.
"Hey, it's beautiful sunset outside, it's a shame to be indoors", said Zhane.
"(Humph), I like you Zhane, you're funny and smart. But keeping Trayquel of your back is taking way too much of my time."
"No offense, but I didn't ask for your help Roman".
Roman's crew gasped and griped in shock.
"Say what?", said Leo
"Dissing Rome?", said the girl thug.
"Look that sorry punk Trayquel is trying to play bigshot, and since you got on his bad side, he's not gonna let up.
"So, what are you getting at Rome", asked Zhane.
"I want you to roll with my crew."
"Me? For real? Look at me, I'm too scrawny to be a banger. I wouldn't be any good", Zhane pleaded.
"You got potential. This is Miami young brother, one day I won't be around to stop Bull from whooping your butt, and who knows what else he will do. However, you can get guaranteed insurance if you join us.
"Tempting, but if my mom finds out I joined a gang she'll lose it, and a 12-year-old can't be homeless."
"This is a one-time only offer Z and your mom can't beat up Trayquel for you. I always said you were smart, don't prove me wrong. So, think about."
Zhane left Roman's hangout with the gang leader's words echoing in his head, as he hurried home before nighttime.