Finally able to finish something again!
“You got another detention?” One of my friends asks me.
“Yea, The Man picked me up. Said I’m doing up to three,” I respond.
“The hell did you do now?”
“Nothin’, man. Just stayin’ young, black, and free in Mr. Molina’s class,” I hesitate “and might’ve played with that stereo of his during a test,” my audience shake their heads and laugh.
“Got damnit, DJ,” they all pretty much sing this in unison, it’s a universal song by our sophomore year in high school.
A stroke of genius hit me the previous week during my Spanish II class. Mr. Molina and I happen to have the exact same type of stereo system.
It comes with a remote control.
During a particular nasty test, I decide to discreetly ease the tension by bringing my remote from home, all in order to help my brethren relax during such trying times. Everything goes well, Mr. Molina plays the CD and as we listen, I make the CD skip a few times, forcing the adversary to check it for scratches. After he replaces it in the player, I make it skip some more, then try my best to hide the remote as he seems to have caught on to my harmless prank. In the middle of moving the remote into my shorts’ leg, my hamstring betrays me and presses the radio button, turning the Spanish test into a ten-second night club with me fulfilling my name’s implication. I freak out, trying to change it, but Hawk-eye Molina spots me and the disciplinary execs decide that I have enjoyed far too many one-hour Thursday morning detentions. A three-hour Saturday morning session, they feel, is necessary to truly learn how to behave and live up to the Bishop Dunne standards they hold so dear to their hearts.
After dad gives me a long lecture detailing, his annoyance and disappointment in my actions and I kindly counter with “but dad, it was bound to happen, may as well get this out of the way, amirite?”, I venture through the opposite side of the entrance into the school cafeteria full of miscreants of all ages which makes me stop in my tracks. I recognize James the Senior (graduates that year, 2003) whom has gotten into a fight with Ryan in my grade at this huge party a few weeks prior. I have no idea why he’s in detention, the fight was off campus, but I figure it is much safer to stay ignorant, less to testify to. I see some students serving time for stealing then selling those items back to the same students they stole them from; a few are younger than I. I scan the room to see countless criminals who have committed other acts I have never thought of – nor have the guts to partake in even if I have thought of them – and my legs suddenly turn to jelly as I walk further into the cauldron and take my assigned seat, purposely placed in the middle of the dog pile. I am fully aware of how little my felony and subsequently, my imagination and willingness to punch above my weight truly is.
“Psst, what’s that yella nigga’s name? The soft one there,” I hear these whispers around me.
Some of them recognize me walking throughout the halls, others – those who live in detention – have never been allowed in the halls long enough to see the small blip on the radar.
“Oh, that’s just DJ,” someone answers.
An odd feeling of insignificance comes over me; just DJ. What the hell does that mean? I pretend to not hear their loud whispers and I close my eyes, lying my head down thinking.
“DJ, you’re not allowed to sleep. You know this,” a disgruntled teacher shouts across the room, looking up from her magazine.
“Sorry ma’am, I was praying though,” I respond as a sea of eyes burn my flesh with curiosity.
“Praying for what?” She unwittingly falls for it.
“’God helps those who help themselves’, right? We all helped get ourselves into detention, helping you earn a bonus. Maybe He will help you provide some food for us,” people laugh but our warden maintains her stoic face. “One more crack like that, Mr. Lawrence, and I’m cracking skulls,” she returns to her magazine. I shrug, feeling like I might have bought my survival and proceed to write down the next word in my dictionary.
Being bad feels pretty good.