“Hey let me see that thing?” the big kid named Digga asks Will. “I was thinking about gettin’ one a ‘dem. I want to see how it goes.”
Will looks over at me, with his new crew cut he looks so young and innocent, like a lamb I think, you know – a sheep – I know it sounds kind of weird but it’s what I think for some reason. I know that doesn’t make any sense.
I shake my head, no. It’s a bullshit question. A fake question. Digga just wants to grab the skateboard.
“We gotta get going. We’re late,” I say to him. Answering on Will’s behalf.
I knew it was a bad idea to be skating over here by the gym. It’s pretty clear this is these townie kids’ territory, judging by the number of Southie types that are hanging around. Fuck, what were we thinking? We’re new at this school so I don’t entirely know the lay of the land yet, but I heard about these kids. They call them Point kids because they live in housing projects over in a neighborhood called the point. They are like a tamer version of Southie kids.
It’s a weird thing being bullied by white kids. I’m used to being fucked with by black kids. And when I say “fucked with” I mean “beaten up.” At my old school in the South End it wasn’t unusual to have to sprint home to avoid being tackled for my bike. I’ve been beaned in the head with rocks thrown at me by black kids. All sorts of shit like that. The thing is, I kind of understand it. If I was a black kid living in Boston I’d be pissed off too and maybe even throw rocks at somebody like me – a white kid. These point kids? They have even less right to fuck with me than a Southie kid. This is fucking Brookline for god’s sake! It’s like paradise here.
At least the white kids in Southie live in projects! It’s a weird legacy for this city. My city. That white people – Irish people – can represent an underclass. I don’t get it but we are living with its residual effects of a different age. These kids see themselves as different, as somehow underprivileged, but they look totally normal. Get over your damn selves is what I think.
With these kids it’s a class thing, or maybe that’s thinking it too far forward. Maybe they are just assholes. In any case they think of themselves as different and they don’t like “freaks, weirdos” or “fags” – the words they use for us punk, new wave and skater kids.
“We gotta go.” Will says and puts his foot on his new board to skate away, but Digga puts his hand across his chest to stop him.
“Seriously. It will only take a second. I just wanna see.” He more or less shoves Will – who is about half his size, literally – off the board and skates all of 5 feet before stumbling off of it. No way can this fat fuck skate. The board shoots out in front of him where one of Digga’s buddies stops it with his foot and immediately goes skating off down the sidewalk. This kid isn’t a good skater but he can ride without falling off.
“Hey, get back here!” I shout and start skating after him. “Fuck you, motherfucker!” he shouts. I can hear him laughing as he gets up speed. He’s wearing the trademark low cut white Reeboks that Irish kids seem to favor. They are the fucking worst looking shoes. I never understood why they like them. He’s got his pants pegged at the ankles too. Funny. New wave kids and Irish kids are the only ones that peg their pants that way. I hope mine look better than this guys’.
“C’mon man, he just got that board. Give it back!” I’m skating after him but he’s pulling out ahead of me.
“Suck my dick!” he turns and shouts at me, still laughing. I decide that chasing this tard isn’t going to work and Will is too small to stick up for himself. I guess I’m gonna have to play big brother.
I stop chasing the little guy and turn around to head back towards Will and Digga. As I approach there are maybe 4 or 5 other Point kids in the vicinity. They don’t appear to be paying attention. I am gonna have to go big here if there’s any chance of getting Will back his skateboard.
As I approach them, Will is just kind of standing there uselessly. I can’t really blame him. He’s tiny compared to Digga. Actually I am too.
With the small amount of distance remaining I get up some more speed and skate right up to the little crowd. I flip my board up into my hands at about 5 feet away and use the momentum to tackle Digga, holding my skate like a battering ram at chest height. He’s not expecting it. He shouts. “Hey!” as he goes over onto his back and into the shrub that’s behind him. I’ve got all my weight behind me and I land on top of him, straddling him, pushing down on my board. “What the fuck man! What’re you doing?” he howls.
“Get that fucking pinhead back here with my brother’s board or I’m gonna bash your fucking head in!” My blood is pumping now. This is getting fun. Digga’s face is twisted in fear. I caught him totally unawares. He’s not used to somebody fighting back like this. I punch him – in the face – to make sure he knows I mean it. “I’ll fucking kill you, you fat fuck! Fuck with MY little brother!”
“Hey, quit it! OKAY! Stop!” he shouts. A couple of his friends are up and coming over. They are hesitant, not sure how to respond. I put my hand on Digga’s throat and scream at him. “Get that motherfucking kid back here with the skate or I’m going to wreck this fat fuck’s face! Tell ‘em!” A weird thing happens. The adrenaline pumping through me makes me feel like I’m watching myself. It’s been so long since I’ve let myself go like this. I’m fucking unhinged!
“Gary!” Digga shouts. “Tell Richie to bring that kids skateboard back here.” I like the panicked look in his eyes.
“Hey you, git tha’ fuck off a him!” Gary shouts at me. Gary sees Will standing to the side and makes a run for him, but Will is way too fast for him. Gary isn’t invested. Will comes and stands over Digga.
“Do what he says!” I shout. I turn around to look at him, but he’s too far behind me – I can’t see him. I punch Digga in the face again.
“Argh! Stop! Gary get Richie back here! Do it!” Digga screams.
“Richie! Come heeah!” Gary waves his arms at him. Richie is way down at the other end of the street. He stopped riding away when I turned around but is watching from a distance. Gary is wearing a navy-blue Baracuda jacket. He’s got a crew cut. He’s the clean-cut type, which probably means he’s a ladies man and won’t want to fight if he doesn’t have to. I’ll bet not very many of these kids will be ready to go the distance for a fat asshole like Digga.
Richie yells back at us. “No way! This thing is mine!” He’s gotta be fifty or more yards away.
“I’m gonna break his face if he doesn’t get back here.” I take the skateboard and hold it over my head like I’m gonna bash his head in.
Digga howls. “Nooo!” I can feel him heave underneath me. He’s fucking big. I realize that he could push me off of himself easily enough if I give him the opportunity. I’m not ready to follow through with bashing him in the face with the skateboard yet so I drop it flat on his chest again and punch him instead.
“Ow, fuck!” Digga shouts.
“Get him back here.” I scream. “I’m not fucking around and I’m losing my patience.”
“Gary! Fucking get him back here!” Digga screams. I twist around. I see Richie has come a bit closer.
“Richie, seriously give it back. Digga’s gonna get his nose broke or some shit.” Gary shouts at Richie.
I turn again and Richie throws the skateboard into the playing field in front of the school. He throws it a good 30 feet. I look up at Will. “Go get it, man!”
I hear Digga panting underneath me and there’s kind of a nervous pause. The fight seems to be gone from him. I keep my arm raised just in case. He turns and looks at me. “You’re fuckin’ dead.”
“You started this shit.” I say.
I see Will pick up the skateboard from the grass. “Who’s gonna fucking kill me? You?” I punch him one more time and get off him. He just kind of takes it. He doesn’t howl or anything. Just absorbs the punch.
“Watch your back asshole.” He says getting up on one elbow. I’m gonna be watching for you. Gary paces around and helps Digga up and I walk slowly away backwards. “I didn’t want any trouble. Just leave me and my brother alone.”
When I reach the sidewalk I just skate off, trying to let some of this adrenalin wear off before my next class. The cool air feels good.