Prelude to Junior High and an Elk’s Run Review

Thursday, February 17, 2005

I originally saved the plug for the end but it really took away from the story. So, Ain’t It Cool News likes Elk’s Run. Ok…

I’ve been saving all my Junior High stories; don’t want to shoot my load too early. Junior High stories are sweeps material and I don’t have the viewer ship to compete in sweeps just yet (otherwise known as the Arrested Development clause). But I think I might give a little taste of Junior High, you know, to add to the suspense. I don’t think I want to drop this name – yet – those who know him will know who I’m talking about. Let’s just call him B, and this story is about him.

B lived across the street from my Grandma, he was my age and I knew him for as long as I can remember. We were never great friends but he was a friend of the family and we would play games together, hang out occasionally. This was all deep in Red Hook.

I was always in sort of a weird state. My block really didn’t belong to a neighborhood. Red Hook was south of the battery tunnel and Columbia Street. Carroll Gardens was north of Hicks Street. I grew up on Woodhull St, firmly situated north of Columbia Street and South of Hicks Street. Woodhull was part of a one block wide, mile long stretch that didn’t technically belong to a neighborhood. Carroll Gardens was all white Italian. Red Hook was all Latino and black. Both sides hated the other. My mother was Italian, my father Puerto Rican. My last name is Rodriguez but I’m as white as my momma’s ass. I was a completely neutral kid in a completely neutral neighborhood. However, Carroll Gardens and Red Hook both went to JHS 142 and I was a white Puerto Rican that was smart to boot and hung out with the smart crowd. I was so fucked from day one.

B was my link, my glimmer of hope. I grew up with the kid. I remember talking to him the weekend before we started at 142. We were playing basketball; my cousin RJ (who occasionally posts on this board) was there as well as was my cousin Luis. I was asking him about 142, if he’s nervous about going, stuff like that. He told me he wasn’t; he knew a lot of people there already. We talked about different things, the rumors around the first day and what they do to freshman, classes and teachers…just shit kids talk about. As I was leaving I told him I would look for him, he said the same.

The first day of school and we’re all in the schoolyard. I find my friends and hang with them. We’re the weak ones, the sickly sheep. We feel the eyes on us. “Don’t worry,” I say to myself, “I know people. I’ll be fine.”

We line up to go inside. It’s like prison; the older kids gather around, throw shit and chant as we walk by. Eyes wide, smiles obnoxious…they tower over us because we’re all slouching so much. Inside is worse, the stairwells have these fences spanning them, so hard to explain what they look like, but as we go up the stairs there’s a general pushing and rapid movement, a bunch of older kids are on the other side of the stairwell fence, banging on it like prison bars, telling us they’re going to fuck us up.

And then I trip. They all start laughing. My friends keep going, survival mode in full effect. I come down hard on the stairs, momentarily dazed. Look behind me and I see B, starring at me, almost asking for forgiveness in his eyes. He pulled my foot out. His friends he is with is laughing, the older kids are laughing. At that moment I know the next two years of my life are going to be hell.

“What are you looking at?” was all he said. I honestly saw the regret but it didn’t help my situation. He made his name and in doing so made mine as well.

I had several encounters with B throughout Junior High, each one as bad as the one before it. I honestly can’t say I even hate the kid. I don’t hate any of the people from my Junior High days. The whole thing is just fucked; it’s just a bad deal. It was a recession, no-one had money, and everyone was poor and miserable. All we wanted was to improve our lot in life. Guys like my friends and I, we had shit going for us and we knew it. Everyone knew it. Guys like B, they had nothing going for them and they knew it. Everyone knew it. Junior High was all they had. It was their moment to be someone, and when that’s all you’re going to have, being someone really only means trying to hold someone else back. That’s your only real influence you can muster up when you know you’re going nowhere.

I hated them back then, but I took it and came out ahead. I pity them now. I know where most of them are. Most of them didn’t make it through High School. A lot of them are in jail. Some of them are dead. Junior High School really was all they had. I might be more reflective now but it was bad at the time…and those are all stories for sweeps.

read a book, fanboy: V.

turn off the metallica, fanboy: Beneath the Surface


posted by Jason at 4 Comments


Blogger Jorge Vega said...

It was their moment to be someone, and when that’s all you’re going to have, being someone really only means trying to hold someone else back.That line is great, Jason.

Sad. True. But, great.

7:22 AM  
Blogger Jay said...

Jesus, dude, if HBO ever started doing After-School Specials, they could just jack into your cerebral cortex and start filming.

But before they do, let's hear the stories here.

9:35 PM  
Blogger Jason said...

After school special? Maybe that should be my niche. Some people write westersn, some write sc-fi.

I'll write after school specials. Start an anthology.

11:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dont worry man, that dudes doing dick.

7:44 PM  

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