Licking Blood

For those of you who don’t know me personally (i.e. all of you in blog land), I like to volunteer. That’s right! I like to get my hands dirty every now and then to give back to communities I feel have enriched my life. BUT this is not a post about me trying to be Mother Theresa. Oh no. This is a post about two teenage boys getting in a fight, and the interesting people I saw today. Hazzah for character exploration!

This fight story will have the following elements: 

1.) The initiator
2.) The victim/retaliator
3.) The young girl who eggs on the innitiator
4.) The instigator who screams BE A MAN! (towards the victim/retaliator)
5.) The elder
6.) The fuzz
7.) The “innocent” bystanders
8.) The vet

So here I goes…

* * * * *

I was in the park doing some new age bonding exercises and stuff. Things like the human knot, and the ninja-rock-paper-scissors game with some friends when all of the sudden a sound from the opposite side of the park invaded my ears. Actually, it invaded all of us in the group. A sound I am all too familiar with because I come from Callao–a ghetto part of Peru. It was the sound of a scuffle, and then it was confirmed by the stranger to my right who yelled, “FIGHT!”

We turned around and huddled (we, the group of easy going people), wondering what to do. I’m not going to lie, part of me wanted to take some bets, the little one seemed like he knew what he was doing. Then I realized this was for real, so I began to act like I normally do when I get mesmerized by the intricacies of human nature. I zoned out. I became a fly on the wall who thought, I’m invisible! No, not really the crowd of teenage instigators said with their fast moving feet. I thought the fight might end soon, it does not.

The initiator comes to the victim and pushes his shoulders. A young girl bursts through the crowd and yells “Ari***a where are you?! I’m calling you out. I’m going to kick you a*s” and on and on she went calling out this girl, who obviously was not present to hear the challenge.

Naturally girl returned to her friend, the initiator, and egged him on to keep pursuing the victim, who by this time had began to retaliate, thus becoming the retaliator.

Fists flew right, left, upper cut, round about, chicken in the house, Baby Ruth through the back, swing dancing with a kick, dog choking on a chicken bone, all these interesting moves….get the picture? They were all over the place. Pscht! High school kids.

I had zoned out for too long. I was standing by a trash can without knowing how I got there, a couple of feet away from the rumble. They moved closer towards me, but I swerved my way back to the grassy safe zone where the easy going people were. All of us staring.

And it was a sight. There we were, the peaceful bunch just finished playing our human knot game…and there they were, the high school rebels swinging away at anger, displacement, disagreement, rumors, and all those things that add up to MISCOMMUNICATION. In my experience, this is usually why conflict arises most of the time.

The initiator falls on the floor and gets up. His mouth is bleeds pretty bad, and he licks his lips, painting the pale flesh a crimson color that is both menacing and grotesque. The retaliator gets punched in the nose. More blood. The initiator licks his lips again. More blood. This time he lets his right palm slowly scrape over his exposed tongue and smears it with blood. He smiles as if enjoying the taste of his own blood. Then he collects the pouring slime towards the front of his mouth and spits at the retaliator. The red slime lands on the retaliators ears and crawls its way down to his shoulders in an almost slow motion fashion. Blood everywhere.

Finally, an elder comes from out of the library and breaks up the fight.  They split.  “Young man, now stop that. Stop that!” He pulls the retaliator back, telling him to stop, telling him it’s a trap, warning him that he’s going to be stuck…again and again and again. The initiator taunts him from a distance, beckoning him to come — winking at the retaliator, flirting to persuade him back into the unfinished quarrel.

The retaliator pulls away from the elder with one tug, and another boy comes to him, the instigator. “Come on,” he says, “you have to finish this. Be a man!” And he takes the retaliator towards the other end of the park. The elder lowers his head and walks away.

Me and the other “innocent” bystanders watch in amazement (actually we were stupefied and we didn’t know what to do). It was not the end. Not yet.

I have yet to mention that this whole time we were literally on the same block as the Police Station (facing the park). It was surreal.

Finally the sirens blasted through the block. One, two, ten cop cars arrive. It was a bit much, but I’m sure they have their reasons. We let a few minutes go by before deciding to walk by the cop cars. We peaked through the crowd, just in time to hear a veteran yell, “Damn cops taking forever! These kids could have been dead. That’s why I’m starting an organization called the VET…” he trailed off. Injustice in his voice. Tired marches in his voice. Dried throat in his voice. Busted bones in his voice. He looked like a white version of Mr. T. with golden shades an all.

Reality, Reader, can sometimes be stranger than fiction. We kept walking, my friend and I until we saw him.

The retaliator, who my young friend tells me was a trouble maker at school, sat handcuffed in the back seat of a cop car. I thought to myself, for all the bad things this kid must do at school, this was unfair. He was just chilling with some friends, sitting on a bench earlier that day. He probably watched us do our human knot and thought we looked ridiculous. He probably looked at my young friend, recognized her from school and thought — someday I’ll ask her out. He probably talked about video games, porn, or ditching class…but now he was in the back seat of a cop car. He sat taking in all the gazes from the sidewalk. Fellow classmates, traitors, and so called friends. While the initiator was nowhere in sight.

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