• I'm sitting by myself. I'm at the bus stop beside city hall. My friends will show up soon. i look up. no one yet. I sit and listen to Heavy metal on my mp3 player.
    'I love this song' I think to myself.
    I look up again. Ah, there they are! I see a mass of hoodies pulled tight against the chilly Massachusetts air. One in particular catches my eye. A bright red one. My classmate, Justin.
    They arent really my friends. All my friends are goth or punk. these guys are, i suppose, 'gangsta', but i like them, they are a cool little bunch of kids to hang with.
    I stand as they approach the bus stop. i hold out my hand to give 'daps' to my closer 'friends'.
    "Hey guys. What's up?"
    "Hey..." "Wuss goodie.." " 'Sup," they all mumble sleepily.
    They all stand around me, in a semi-circle. We stand like this every morning at 6:30-7:30 AM, waiting for our bus into our special school. we were all expelled, you see, from the Worcester Public Schools, so we attend Woodward Day High School. Basically regular school, except we must wear a plain gray shirt, and there are maybe 30 of us in the entire school. about 15 take the bus in the morning.
    "Pff, is that nail polish you're wearing?" one kid, Ruben, asks.
    I don't like ruben much.
    "yeah," I respond, revealing my black nails. I'm not sure why i painted them, I just felt like it...
    "wow, that's gay.." I see Ruben is argumentative this morning.
    my retort is cut off by Greg.
    "Wow, let him be, man, why you care what he wears?" Greg is a cool guy. Keeps us all in agreeable moods.
    "whatever..." Ruben responds, effectively ending this argument.
    "Wow, watch when you keep grillin' him for his nails, he's gonna go crazy one of these days," Rogierre comments. He adds jokingly,
    "Remember man, I was on your side."
    I laugh. Rogierre is always good for a few good jokes to help Greg lighten the mood.
    "Nah," I respond, "I'm not all into fighting, That was last year."
    "oh yeah," says Rogierre " Didn't that chinease-looking kid say you grabbed his throat or somethin'?"
    "yeah, but that is all last year," i say.
    "You fight good?" questions my friend Ahmed.
    "Well, i know some martial arts," i say with a sheepish grin.
    "oh, s**t," Ahmed backs away jokingly.
    "remember, I'm your friend too," Ahmed says, miming Rogierre's smile.
    a few kids make skeptical noises. I don't care. I'm not there to impress them.
    "Could you bang on this kid?" Kadeem motions to Justin. Justin glances up,
    "Yeah, i probibally can, " i say.
    "pff! yeah, alriight kid," justin mutters. He is unsure of himself, i can tell. he sizes me up, notices I've grown since last year.
    "Yeah, I can"
    We continue in this vein for some time. I'm noy liking where this is going...
    "What kind of martial arts," Ahmed interjects.
    "Krav Maga. Official martial art of the Israeli army."
    "damn," "shoot" "hmm" They all say something, either surprised,
    i pull out a picture of my girlfriend and stare absently at it.
    "wow." justin comments "she looks like some devil freak."
    i freeze. i look up.
    "say again?"
    "you heard me."
    "Amma F**KING kill you."
    "okay, over behind city hall. in the grass, you ywo fight, right now..." kadeem motions to the muddy, grassy patchy land behind the large, ornate building.
    "Fine by me. You guys make sure he don't run."
    we reach the mud. i look up. Justin is removing his red hoodie. I take off my black one, and my spiked wrist bands. I don't cheat.
    I can't wait to hit him. I can't wait...
    Justin squares up, raises his hands, stands up taller.
    I on the other hand, sink low. my hands are loose, but protectively placed in front of me. I can't remember the names of all these moves. but i know them.
    "What are you, some chinease s**t?"
    "no. I'm white, and this is israeli-"
    i get that far. the first punch hits. I don't feel it. The second lands. I still can't feel them. Time to act. I throw one punch. I mis-aimed, it glances off his skull. It was too high! I'm wide open! Antoher hit. three to the face npw, but I can't feel them...why...?
    I see blackness. Damn, i think hazily. I've lost. He knocked me out. How? I'm the best in my Krav Maga class....do moves matter? do I need more nerve? All these thoughts are drifting hazily across my mind.
    Things come back into my view. Focusing, I don't see what i expect to. not the sky. not mud. I see Justin. His face is red. Two large lumps are already forming under his eyes. his Eyes themselves are bloodshot. Both are very shiny. tears? wait...Wasn't i losing? His lower lip is trembling, and his angry expression dissapears. what is this new one? fear? yes... He wants this to stop, i can see this. I want it ended too. But what is ending? I'm still not sure...
    Noises return. I hear all the kids. Yelling uninteligably... I glance away to them. A few have taken out cell phoines to film. good. when it ends, i can see what has happened... I look back to Justin.
    "you want it end," I mutter stupidly. He nods once, and there is desperation in the movement. This must be bad.
    "ok" i reach out a hand. ?He takes it into daps.
    the other guys and girls rush towards us. Most are around me.
    "Damn, yo, he got banged the f**k out! nice man, That's respect!"
    "yo, you WASTED him!"
    I see smiles. I see grins. What happened?
    "hey man," I say to Jonathan, "you got that on film?"
    "HELL yeah, man!" he proffers the phone to me. i take it. I see the freeze frame of when i went into my stance. I press the button to play the video.
    Not pretty. I see two glancing blows hit me, then my misjudged, clumsy swing. no form. no balance. i paniked. WHAT my master would say if he saw this...
    But it continues. after the third hit, there is a change. My stance goes streighter, It's perfect. I'm twisting, turning, kicking, punching, striking mercilessly...My god, after two hits, he puts his hands up, in surrender. Of course, I do not see this at the time. I just keep going. I watch in horror as hit after hit collides with him.
    Wham. Wham. Wham.
    He falls. gets up, starts to skirt around me. My god, he is just trying to get away! 'Let him go!' i scream to my past self in my mind, 'It's over!"
    but it keeps going. he falls, gets up, attempts to gwt away, i strike, he falls...
    I see the point where it ends. After two more crushing blows, one to each eye, i freeze. I've come to. We Slap hands, and then the video goes black.
    I look around. I spot Justin, about 15 yards away. he is pulling his hoodie back on, swaying back and forth slightly. I'm surprised he is still standing. then, all of a sudden, He isnt.
    He falls to the ground. I laugh. Now i have my wits back. Now i remember what he said about Faith.
    "watch your words, justin. Especially about Faith."
    "i was just...joking.." he mutters, "i didnt know you'd go flip s**t, jeez"
    "Now you know."
    We climb onto the bus.