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Chapter Seven: The Homecoming Fiasco
The maxim insists that no honor exists among thieves. But St. Bart’s High School was deep into the litmus attempting to prove that whoever began that thought process had never besmirched a thief’s significant other. And so Cholo Rodriguez engaged an investigation that involved consulting a number of surprisingly cooperative South Siders. As luck would have it for Rodriguez, spreading such slander was widely viewed as over appropriateness’ edge. And so, after the probing and back at school Rodriguez approached the South Side corner of the cafeteria and a smirking Mikey Johnderson.
“Wipe that stupid grin, bro!” he demanded as a circle of mostly Caucasian though urban-clad students surrounded their brother in arms.
“I’m not smiling, dude,” Johnderson shrugged, “Cuz I’m cryin’ inside. You know? I think I’m the only one who didn’t get none from that-,” he couldn’t finish his taunt as Rodriguez quickly knocked him back with a sharp jab to the jaw. Both assailants were similar in size and build. Despite the direct hit, Johnderson was able to absorb it and came back with a multi-hand combination that stunned Rodriguez. As a last resort and before his legs buckled from a similar onslaught Rodriguez lunged into Johnderson, wrapped his arms under Mikey’s waste and dragged him to the ground. A stalemate ensued where neither was able to land any leveraged blows as they inched around the circle of humanity that had assembled to watch the scrum.
Though relatively uneventful, this fight was greeted with a top billing. The rapid escalation would have been enough to quickly draw a crowd. But Cholo Rodriguez was something of an authority figure for the West Side, and Mikey Johnderson was his counterpart from the South Side. Many of their brethren had rushed to demonstrate loyalty as they recognized their captain in need. By the time Mikey was struck, no fewer than 50 people from both gangs rushed one another to observe the fight. But, on the convergence, much contact between rivals was made and the spectating quickly travelled to a brawl’s threshold. Few went so far as to actually punch, hit or fight. Pushing was plentiful, though, and some shoves went up toward the face. It looked worse than it was, but the numbers involved in the action provided the appearance of general and violent mayhem.
The record would subsequently show that by striking Johnderson, Rodriguez had incited a cafeteria brawl. Perhaps the record is correct. But had the assembled mob merely let the two continue their scuffle, the record would have read much differently. Rather, another individual saw an opportunity for personal advance amongst his comrades. And when the two rolled near his foot while all around him pushed, shoved and threatened, he reached back and wailed a mighty kick into the side of Rodriguez’s head. Despite the melee, the cheap shot was recognized by all in attendance, and the one-on-one fight grew from a massive shoving match to fist throwing riot that required ten minutes, every security guard and a police presence to terminate.
What was quickly understood as the bodies were dissembled from the others was that the football team was going to have a bit of a problem. Many of the participants were privileged players and were due to suit up for the now 7-1 and state-ranked St. Bart’s football team. The Bears were finishing the year with two home games sandwiching a road trip and it all began with the Homecoming game on Friday. But rather than excitement surrounding the season’s potential, the day of the fight the conversation shifted to how much of the roster would be forced to miss at least one game as the magnitude of the fight was becoming more understood. Technically the fight lasted only a few minutes before any authority figure made it to stop them, but so great was the mass of tangled flesh it required an additional five minutes to finally clear out the remaining scrappers.
The rest of the day was marked by Dotter frantically pacing across one hall and down the next corridor. He decided that an example would be made of the participants. They would be suspended from school for the next five days and over that period they would be forbidden from participating in any school sponsored activities. This included voting for Homecoming royalty. And this included Friday night’s football game…
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