Chapter 1: Early Morning
Uptown. Harlem, New York, May 25, 1998, sleeping in a cozy apartment was DeVante, a brown-skinned African-American male and high school senior. At exactly 6:30 in the morning, 2Pac’s “I Get Around” song serenaded the bedroom waking him up. He opened his eyes and saw the sunlight streaming into his big, tidy, well-decorated white room. The sunlight seemed to give him the needed energy to get up. He had a nice view of the famous Apollo Theater and the historic Adam Clayton Powell Jr. State Office Building from his window. Sitting up in his king size bed DeVante looked at all his posters of his favorite hip-hop artists: 2Pac, Biggie, Jay-Z and Big L.
“DeVante, you better get up! You’re going to be late for school!” His mother shouted.
“I’m up.” DeVante responded softly.
“I’m up, ma!” DeVante yelled.
DeVante went to the closet to decide what to wear. He pulled out his favorite designer clothes, baseball cap, and sneakers. After that, he went to the bathroom to take a long hot shower.
While he was taking his shower, DeVante had the radio on Hot 97 playing on a medium volume. The latest tunes from Jay-Z, DMX, and Big Pun had him in high spirits, which was a great way to start his day.
Moments later, DeVante sat at the dining room table finishing his pancakes with bacon and eggs. He grabbed the remote control and put on MTV. DeVante liked to watch the hottest music videos.
“DeVante, you have a telephone call!” His mother’s voice was loud and clear.
DeVante walked into the kitchen and picked up the phone. “Hello.” It was his best friend, Jordan. “What’s up, playboy?”
“Are you going to school today?” Jordan asked.
“Yeah, I’m going.” DeVante answered. “I’m only going to my first two classes and that’s it. After that, I’m staying in the lunch room and play spades all day.”
“I’m down with that,”Jordan said. “So, I meet you in front of the school.”
“A’ight, one,” DeVante said.
“Later.” Jordan hung up.
After a few minutes of staring at himself at the mirror, his reflection impressed him. The diamond studs in his ears, the baby blue Versace button-up dress shirt, the all white fitted baseball cap, and Air Force One sneakers. He also had on his iced out cross that his girlfriend gave him for his birthday. Now it was time for him to go.
DeVante walked out of the tall brown General Ulysses S. Grant Houses feeling like a star as Ma$e’s debut LP, Harlem World, blared in his ears. DeVante loved bouncing to the music of his favorite rap stars in his CD player. He greeted a few neighborhood hustlers dressed in NBA jerseys with a pound that were standing in the front of the building talking about basketball and hip-hop. The weather was sunny and warm. Working people and school kids waiting for the cross-town M100, M101, and BX15 buses packed the streets. DeVante enjoyed the view of the half-dressed girls walking up and down 125th Street.
A few minutes later, after wading through the morning rush crowds on the sidewalks and making his way down into the 125th Street Station subway on St. Nicholas Avenue, DeVante boarded the first car of a downtown express A train, and managed to find a seat on the crowded train. The metallic doors closed and the train rolled on. DeVante was happy that he didn’t have to worry about being squeezed by people during his ride to school.
On the subway ride downtown, he took out his gold folder from his book bag and went through it to make sure he had all his homework for all his classes. He felt relieved that he did, so he sat back and got more comfortable waiting for his stop 59th Street–Columbus Circle.
About twenty minutes later, DeVante arrived in front of his school, High School for Environmental Studies, and saw his friends Jordan, Kehoe, Curley and Durant standing there talking. In the school, he and his friends were called the Goodfellas. They were young Harlemites who were the coolest, flyest, and funniest dudes in the school. They enjoyed gambling and cracking jokes on students whose clothes wasn’t up to par. What made the Goodfellas unique was the fact that they looked like blood brothers because of how strikingly they resembled each other with the brown skin and clean cut appearance. The only difference between them was that Curley and Kehoe were huskier and less flashy. It was common to see the Goodfellas clad in the latest fashion such as crisp white Nike Air Force One’s sneakers, Timberland boots, Nautica and Phat Farm. They would also already have the latest mobile phones before the release date. In all, everything they did, they did it with style!
“What’s going on, fellas?” DeVante said.
“We’re chillin’, playboy.” Kehoe said.” Your girl, Keyshia, just went in. She said second and third period she’ll be in the gym.”
“Good looking out.” DeVante said.
“You know it’s the big day, right.” Durant said.
“Today is that English exam,” Durant continued. “It’s 45% of your final grade. Are you ready for it?”
“You know I’m ready for whatever.” DeVante smiled.
“Let me guess, you have one of those cheat sheets?” Durant said.
“You know it.” DeVante laughed. “I’m the dirtiest player in the game.”
All of them started laughing.
“Yo, check it out, I want y’all to come over to my house Saturday for this spades tournament I’m having.” Curley said.
“It’s just a waste of time because everybody knows me and DeVante is going to win.” Jordan said.
“They know.” DeVante agreed.
“Here they go again with their bullshit.” Curley said in a bored voice.
“I know,” Kehoe continued. “I had to hear their mouth all last week and the week before that because they won some money from me.”
“I don’t pay them any attention.” Durant said. “I already know how they are.”
“We’re the greatest!” Jordan confessed. “You can even ask Curley, I beat him over a thousand times. I’m the greatest card player to ever touch a deck of cards. You understand?”
The school bell rang letting the students know that the school day had begun. The Goodfellas joined the crowd of students streaming into the school building still talking about spades.
When first period was over, DeVante had a big smile on his face. Not only did he know he did well on the exam, but it was the time to see his girlfriend, Keyshia. He wanted to see her pretty face and the outfit she was wearing. Keyshia had a reputation of looking good in anything she put on.
Durant walked to the back of the English class where DeVante was sitting and said, “So, how did you do on the exam?”
“I did my thing, player. I know I got an 80 or better.”
“Those two essays we had to do were hard.”
“Yeah, I know. Look, I’m going to holla at you later in the lunch room. It’s about that time for me to go and see wifey.”
“No doubt, kid.”
As DeVante was walking through the halls, he gave his homework to the friends he had classes with to give to his teachers for him. He had already made up his mind that he wasn’t going to go to all his classes. Finally, he went to the gym and saw Keyshia standing by the bleachers dressed in tight pants and a short top.
Keyshia was a sexy African-American girl with long reddish brown hair that flowed to the bottom of her back and a body that could stop traffic any day. Blessed with flawless brown skin and a baby face that made her looked very innocent, Keyshia was arguably the hottest girl in the whole school and she knew it.
Keyshia and DeVante were the hottest couple in the school. They complemented each other well and were very compatible. It did not matter where they went people could not stop staring at them. The two of them were just a perfect match.
“What’s up, handsome?” Keyshia said, as she kissed DeVante.
“You’re looking good today, boo.” DeVante smiled. “I see you sweating already.”
“I’ve been working out. I think I need to shed a few pounds so I can keep my shape.”
“I know you do love this. That is why you’re with me.”
“That’s right. Why you over there lookin’ at me while my girl standin’ here?” DeVante sang.
“You’re stupid.” Keyshia laughed. “I’m about to go and change to my gym clothes to play some basketball.”
They kissed and Keyshia went inside the locker room to change. That moment, Bishop entered the gym with so much bravado as if he was God. He was dark-skinned with braids. He was tall and weighed over two hundred pounds. Bishop was from East New York, Brooklyn. He had a reputation of not having any regards for human life. The rumor in the school was he not only that he beat a kid half to death for stepping on his sneakers, but also killed a man over a dice game. Many students in the school feared his crew, Black Mafia. They would bully and beat down students for the fun of it.
Bishop and DeVante were not friends at all. In fact, Bishop had been very jealous of DeVante since he first saw him in the school. The Black Mafia did not appreciate the Goodfellas flashing their money and girls in their faces all the time.
“That’s what I’m talking about. Every time I walk up in this school, motherfuckers know what time it is.” Bishop said loudly. “What do you know about that?”
“I don’t have to rob niggas for money, because I got my own.” DeVante responded.
“You have it because I let you, nigga. You ain’t nobody!”
“Yeah, whatever, don’t worry, I’m going to teach you about respect, nigga. And believe me, you ain’t gonna like it.”
Bishop walked off and went to the school’s weight room for gym class. It was about to get heated between the two of them and it was a good thing that Bishop decided to leave before they got into throwing up their fists. DeVante stayed in the gym for ten more minutes watching Keyshia play basketball. Then he left the gym to go downstairs and use the bathroom on the first floor, because that was the only bathroom in service due to fires that someone caused in the other bathrooms. When he finished using the bathroom, he ran into Missy.
Missy was a nice looking light-skinned girl who looked more Hispanic than African-American. She had soft full lips and a nice shape. Missy knew many boys in school wanted to get with her, but most of them feared her boyfriend, Bishop.
“What’s poppin’, baby?” Missy asked.
“I’m cool,” DeVante smiled.
“Your name’s DeVante, right?”
“Yes, that’s me, the world famous DeVante. I see you kicking it with Bishop a lot. Are you still fucking with him?”
“Yeah, but it’s nothing serious.”
“What do you mean?”
“He’s all right, but I’m feeling you.”
“I have a girl.”
“And? She can’t work you like I can.”
“Yeah, whatever, baby.”
“You shy or something? I know uptown playas aren’t scare of pussy?”
“Of course, we’re not.”
“Well, let me show you what I can do.” Missy winked at him. “You won’t be disappointed.”
DeVante was shocked at what Missy just said. Thoughts began dancing around in his head. Missy was not bad looking and the one thing DeVante never turned down was sexual advances from girls.
“Let’s go!” DeVante said.
Missy had a happy look on her face. She escorted DeVante to the third floor where there were no students or security roaming the halls. Therefore, nobody caught them sneaking in the back staircase.
“You better not be bullshitting.” DeVante said.
“Why you acting like a pussy? Are you scared of Bishop too?”
“Get the fuck out of here! That dude wishes he could be me.” DeVante answered.
“Then come on.”
Missy pushed DeVante to the corner and unbuttoned his shirt. She started kissing his torso and licking him. Then she went down and pulled his penis out. DeVante could not believe that Missy was performing fellatio on him. He was standing there grinning and thinking, Bishop’s girl is giving me head right now.
Moments later, DeVante went back to the gym to see Keyshia before the period ended. He could not believe he just gotten fellatio from Bishop’s girlfriend, Missy. DeVante was feeling like the player president, irresistible to women. In the back of his mind, he was saying, ‘I’m the man. Bishop is not on my fucking level.’
“Where were you?” Keyshia asked DeVante.
“I was using the bathroom.” DeVante explained. “I had to stay in there for a while because the principal will write you up if you don’t have a pass.”
It seemed like that was enough to make Keyshia believe him as she said, “I wanted you to be here to watch me play ball. I was doing my thing. The other team didn’t even score.”
“I taught you well, baby girl.” DeVante joked. “So what’s up, can a brother get some of your brown sugar?”
Keyshia laughed. “We could do that.”
“That’s what I’m talking about.”
Once they noticed nobody was around, they went inside the locker room used only by a visiting high school basketball team to have sex.
After that, DeVante walked inside the lunchroom and saw Jordan already sitting at the first table shuffling his deck of cards. He went over to greet him and get ready to play spades with him.
“Big DeVante!”Jordan said. “What’s the deal son?”
“I just came from the gym. I see you ready to take some money.”
“You know it, player. It’s not a game!”
“Yo, I have to put you onto something. Check this out, first your boy gets head from Missy, then Keyshia gives me some pussy.”
“Say word? That’s what I’m talking about. Putting it down like how we do in uptown.”
“You know, it’s the thug in me. I can’t front Missy’s head game is crazy.”
“Damn. I know you’re not going to leave Keyshia for her?”
“Of course not, my wife, Keyshia, is the hottest girl in the school! I’m just surprised Missy is very blunt with her shit.”
DeVante and Jordan continued to talk for a few more minutes until the rest of the Goodfellas came inside the cafeteria to start the spades game. Once Jordan and DeVante started playing, it was war on the table. It was a very intense game against Durant and Curley.
“Y’all ain’t shit!” Jordan announced. “There is no competition for me and DeVante in this school.”
“Oh nigga, please,” Curley replied.
“Don’t pay that clown any mind, playboy.” Durant chuckled.
“We’re not playing nobody.” Jordan claimed. “I’m the Michael Jordan of spades.”
Trash talking was always a part of Jordan’s game. Jordan knew how to take people out of their game with his words. DeVante was the schemer and the silent assassin of the team. He never failed to get a team stuck with the Ace of Spade or any face card. DeVante and Jordan reached 500 points, and won $50 from them. After Durant and Curley got up, another team sat at the table to challenged DeVante and Jordan. Money was on the line as usual, and DeVante and Jordan wasted no time proving how skilled they were as spades player. Their dominance continued game after game, and some students stop what they were doing to watch DeVante and Jordan play.
Winners always attract an audience, and DeVante and Jordan loved the attention. They were on a winning streak, and the money was flowing. By the sixth period, Keyshia walked inside the cafeteria and sat on DeVante’s lap. She loved watching her man win and listened to Jordan trash talking. DeVante and Jordan did not leave the cafeteria until after seventh period when it was time for them to go home. They won over $300 from gambling and made it look so effortlessly as usual.
Chapter 2: It’s On
The next day, DeVante came to school late because he stayed up all night watching WWF Monday Night Raw, WCW Monday Nitro, and other late night shows. He checked his timepiece and realized third period was about to end and English was what he had next. DeVante grabbed the Invisible Man, the book he was reading for English, and began walking down the halls.
DeVante looked back and there was Missy approaching him with a smile on her face. He pretty much didn’t have anything to say to Missy, but he wasn’t going to be rude as he stopped in his tracks.
“Missy, what’s the deal?” DeVante asked.
“You’re late again I see. You better stop staying up late before you fail all your classes.” Missy smiled.
“I love the Playboy and Spice channels.” DeVante joked.
“What do you think about yesterday?”
“It was cool; I’m not going to lie.”
“Oh yeah, well my head game might be cool, but my pussy is hot.”
“Well, look that was a one time thing. So, don’t think there’s a future between us baby girl.”
“You weren’t acting like that yesterday in the staircase. The shit I was doing; you probably do not even get it from your so-called wifey. I don’t even think Keyshia know how to handle you.”
“How do you know? You don’t have anything on my girl, Keyshia. My goddess has you beat in every category including sex.”
“Yeah, right, you all ready know what time it is.”
“I don’t have time for this right now. I’m about to go and make some money. I’ll holla at you some other time.”
Once the bell rang to end third period, they went their separate ways. DeVante came to class five minutes late. He soon discovered his teacher wasn’t in the room, so he knew a substitute teacher was going to come in. Bishop and Missy were in the back of the class having one of their arguments. DeVante sat next to Jordan and the people he was cool with it.
“Doing another porno movie I see.” Jordan said.
DeVante laughed and said, “No, I’m just chillin’ and balling out of control. What’s going on with Bishop and Missy?”
“I don’t know and who cares.” Jordan quipped.
“Those two stay arguing.” DeVante murmured.
“I don’t know what they see in each other. They both are busted.” Kehoe said.
“That’s their problem.” Jordan laughed.
Bishop and Missy started raising their voice at each other. Some students in the class were not paying them much attention, but others were laughing and making jokes, especially the area where the Goodfellas sat.
“Missy, stop playing games and give Bishop some head.” DeVante joked.
Everybody in the class started laughing loudly. Bishop definitely was not amused with that remark. All eyes were on Bishop as he was walking to DeVante’s direction. DeVante thinking that Bishop is playing around let his guards down, a fatal mistake. Bishop grabbed DeVante with such force and slammed him on the floor. The whole class was quiet and could not believe what Bishop did. DeVante felt embarrassed, as he got up off the floor and started throwing punches at Bishop. The two of them wrestled on the floor briefly before the fight was broken up. It took half of the class to keep them separated.
“You and DeVante need to settle this shit right now!” Jordan suggested.
“No, fuck that nigga, man!” DeVante said.
“You just started something that you can’t finish.” Bishop continued. “I never did like Harlem niggas like you, act so arrogant and flashy. Starting tomorrow whoever is from uptown in this school is getting beat down.”
“What?” Jordan exploded. “I’m not getting touched by anybody. I’ll slap fire out your ass!”
“We’ll see.” Bishop said, as he walked out the classroom.
“I can’t believe you disrespected me like that.” Missy said to DeVante. “If you’re my friend, you wouldn’t have said that.”
“Listen, I was playing!” DeVante expressed. “How the hell is I’m supposed to know he was serious? You don’t see me get mad when you holler silly shit about me. So fuck you and your player-hating boyfriend.”
“Fuck you.” Missy replied.
“Yeah, okay.” DeVante said. “Well, you and your boyfriend don’t even exist anymore. So don’t say shit to me for the rest of the year, boo.”
“That’s fine with me.” Missy agreed.
Two periods later, DeVante and his Goodfellas crew were hanging out in the lunchroom playing cards. Many people were coming up to DeVante asking him what happened between him and Bishop. DeVante did not give them any details as he just brushed them off. It was funny how fast that shit spread like cancer in a senior citizen’s body.
“Bishop really did play himself in class.” DeVante said. “He is always trying to show off in front of that dirty bitch Missy like a real asshole.”
“Man, fuck him!” Jordan said. If I was you, I wouldn’t even stress it.”
“On the real, Jordan, I knew eventually me and Bishop was going to clash.” DeVante continued. “Ever since Missy and I used to joke around in the classroom, she’ll go tell Bishop that I was bothering her and saying crazy shit. Then Bishop will step to me as if he is going to do something in front of his Brooklyn crew. I always knew that nigga was jealous of me from the start.”
“You can’t have niggas like that in your circle.” Durant expressed. “You know how it is once these niggas get some pussy from girls who aren’t about nothing; they don’t know how to act.”
“Whatever goes down, you know we got your back.” Kehoe told DeVante. “Black Mafia not going to do shit.”
“I’m not even thinking about those bastards.” DeVante said. “I don’t have a problem fighting Bishop or any member of Black Mafia.”
Elsewhere in the school, Bishop and his Black Mafia gang were discussing a plot to get at DeVante and students from uptown. They were going to recruit all students from Brooklyn to help them beat up the Goodfellas by saying that uptown cats think they are better than them, can take their girls anytime they want and calling them bums. They were serious about this and careless about the consequences they might endure if they succeeded. Bishop wanted this rampage to start the next day, but he remembered it was a half-day tomorrow. Not all the students from uptown would show up. Therefore, Thursday would be the day when Black Mafia would start their blitzkrieg on the Goodfellas and other uptown students.
“I can’t wait when I get that nigga, DeVante.” Bishop punched the wall. “He’s a dead man! DeVante is going to find out if heaven has a ghetto.”
“Yeah, I hate him too.” QB said.
QB was a short, caramel complexioned boy with a medium built. He was a loyal follower of Bishop, and a fellow Brooklyn native. QB often did anything Bishop tells him to do.
“Don’t worry; we’re going to get him and his punk-ass friends.” Bishop expressed. “I’m going to knock DeVante the fuck out! That nigga is soft!”
Chapter 3: Uptown and BK. What is the difference?
It was Wednesday and DeVante did not go to school because it was a half day so he went to Keyshia’s apartment on Morningside instead. It was still early in the day and the way Keyshia looked when she opened her apartment door; it was easy for him to tell she just woke up. Keyshia was still clothed in an oversized white T-shirt, and her hair looked disheveled. DeVante knew Keyshia’s mother gone to work, because he did not see her relaxing in the living room. Keyshia told DeVante to wait for her in her bedroom while she goes to the bathroom and freshen up.
DeVante sat on the bed and took off his sneakers to get more comfortable and watch some music videos on BET. The Bishop incident had been gnawing at him. It had become vexatious and DeVante wanted to establish a truce between the Goodfellas and Black Mafia, but really did not know how to go about doing it.
DeVante and Keyshia went to the famous soul food restaurant Sylvia’s on 127th and Lenox Avenue for lunch. This was one of DeVante’s favorite places to dined and chill. It never failed for DeVante to think about the times when his mother used to take him there for dinner on the weekends.
Sitting at the table, DeVante and Keyshia were enjoying the well-prepared short ribs, mac and cheese, and yams. DeVante and Keyshia always found the ambiance in Sylvia’s pleasant and soulful. They never had to worry about a hostile crowd disturbing them while they eat and talk.
“So what’s up, boo?” Keyshia asked. “Why are you so quiet?”
“I’m just thinking.” DeVante answered softly. “You know I have beef with Bishop, right?”
“No.” Keyshia was shocked.
“I forgot you weren’t in school yesterday.” DeVante continued. “We’re enemies now, and I can tell he wants me dead.”
“Don’t say that, baby.” Keyshia said. “Niggas always talking shit and never back it up. Besides, you’re on some bigger and better things.”
“It’s not a game; it’s looking real serious right now. I feel like it might get to the point where we going to take it to the guns. You know, I’m getting tired of these jealous ass Brooklyn niggas.”
“Here we go again with uptown and BK. What is the difference? They both are the hood.”
“No, it is not the same.” DeVante continued. “The personalities and hustle mentalities are different. Uptown niggas are hustlers, love to floss, all about taking care of business, making money, flashy, and get all the women. Brooklyn dudes are the opposite. They are very grimy, a bunch of thieves, rock gold teeth and don’t care about anything! The one thing we might have the same is the goal to move ahead.”
“Whatever, they both are the hood.” Keyshia said. “Well, let’s talk about us. I really love you and I think we should take our relationship to another step. I am about to start this job at Bloomingdale’s and you are always getting money. We are going to City College after we graduate this year from high school. So let’s get a place together and see where it takes us.”
“I’m with it, baby girl.” DeVante smiled. “It’s about that time for me to leave my mother’s crib anyway. Besides it will be real hot to have a place that we can say it’s ours.”
Chapter 4: What’s Beef?
When Thursday rolled in, it was clear to the whole school that there was a personal beef going on between Uptown and Brooklyn students. Spray-painted on the lockers and walls were “Fuck Brooklyn” and “Fuck Uptown”. Fights were breaking out between the students. The security guards were doing their best to stop all the fighting but it was hard when it was happening all over the school.
“Attention students,” Principal Leong announced. “I am aware of the fighting and graffiti on the walls. Any student caught doing this will face serious repercussions. The school is a learning environment not the streets. Also playing cards are prohibited in the lunch room…”
Early that afternoon, DeVante and Jordan were walking through the halls of the school on the third floor, talking about the Uptown/BK beef. They stopped by the gym to look at the pictures from last year’s prom. Big Lance, one of the coolest dudes in the school, was already standing there. He was a very tall brown-skinned dude with a shaved head, and built like a NFL player. He was from Flatbush, Brooklyn and really stayed to himself. Nobody bother Big Lance, not even Bishop.
“Big L, what’s the deal?” DeVante said, and gave him a pound.
“I’m chillin’, what’s good?” Big Lance smiled.
“What do you think about this whole uptown and BK beef that’s going around in the school?” Jordan asked.
“Look, I’m not with that Brooklyn-Uptown beef. I have love for niggas from both places and across the Tri-State. My thing is this; if you have love for me then I have love for you. That is why I can get along with you two brothers.”
“That’s what I’m talking about a nigga being real instead of a follower.” DeVante said. “I hate those player-hating Black Mafia niggas.”
“Man, forget them!” Jordan expressed. “I’m really tired of those clowns! Yo, I’m not going to lie they had some hot girls at the 1997 prom.”
“You’re a funny nigga.” Big Lance laughed.
“This year’s prom is going to be the greatest,” DeVante shouted. “The prom of 1998 is going to be the biggest event! It supposed to be at the Marriot Marquis inTimes Square. I’m going to be walking up in there as if I’m Puff Daddy with Keyshia in my arm.”
“I know; I’m really looking forward to going. I’m going to have this college girl as my date.” Jordan said. “She’s a model from John Jay. We’re going to be turning heads, playboy!”
Just when they were about to leave to hit the cafeteria, Bishop and his homeboy Ricky came around the corner and approached them. Ricky was olive-skinned with an average height. His black eyes looked as if he was addicted to marijuana. Like most followers, he loved getting into trouble and running off his mouth.
“Well, well, look at the two uptown cats that run the Goodfellas.” Bishop said with a nasty grin. “They are walking around here like two faggots. You know they don’t have any hood in them. Lance, I can’t believe you’re kicking it with these bitches.”
“I don’t have a problem with them.” Big Lance expressed. “They’re cool with me.”
“Fuck them!” Bishop was pissed. “It’s BK all day! There’s nothing hood about these uptown faggots.”
“Why don’t you find out how hood we really are?” Jordan said.
“Please, you and your man don’t want it.” Ricky chuckled. “Even y’all know that Brooklyn is the realest borough in the city.”
“Yeah, and we even know thatBrooklynis full of player haters like you.” DeVante shot back. “Don’t get mad because you can’t get no money or play the game like us.”
“We can fuck you up!” Bishop shouted.
“Whatever.” Jordan continued. “If y’all so real we can take it to the streets or the courts. It doesn’t matter.”
“Y’all don’t want to take it to the streets.” Ricky laughed. “Not only that but you said the courts?”
“That’s right.” Jordan said. “And to make it more interesting, let’s put some money up if y’all not too broke?”
“Let’s take it to the courts.” Ricky suggested. “You get your team ready and I’ll have mine. You are going to lose more than your money, pretty boy.”
“After school it is, ladies.” Bishop responded with a smile.
“Big Lance is going to hold the money during the game, because I don’t trust you broke motherfuckers.”
“Yeah, whatever bitches,” Bishop agreed.
In Math class, Keyshia was sitting near the back copying down the notes. Exactly one row behind her was Missy and a dark-skinned girl with braids talking about boys in the school. Missy gave Keyshia dirty looks and decided to mess with her.
“DeVante is fine, girl.” Missy told Keyshia. “He wants this pussy so bad.”
Keyshia sucked her teeth and said, “Whatever, bitch! He is not thinking about you. My man tells me everything.”
“Oh, really?” Keyshia giggled. “You should have seen us in the staircase.”
“Did you fuck with him, or what?” Keyshia asked.
“I could have, but I did suck his dick two days ago.”
“What you said, bitch?”
“I said I suck his dick and he ate my pussy.”
Keyshia got tired of Missy disrespecting her, so she got up and punched Missy in the eye. The impact of the blow not only made the whole class erupt with ‘ooooh, ‘ but also brought the needed energy to the boring class. All the pupils in the classroom put their pencils down and surrounded the girls. Keyshia and Missy fell to the dirty floor punching, clawing, and hair pulling. Their gray-haired math teacher named Mark Cole was trying his best to stop Keyshia and Missy from fighting, but he was having trouble pulling the girls apart.
“Stop, stop!” Mark Cole ordered. “Let her go Keyshia.”
“Get off me! Let me go!” Keyshia yelled. “I’m tired of this bitch!”
“Get this bitch off me!” Missy screamed. “I’m gonna beat her up!”
Finally, two school safety officers came in the classroom and pulled the two girls away. Both girls had scratches on their faces and blood about their clothes. Keyshia and Missy fought hard to get loose, but they couldn’t as they were carried away.
Inside the cafeteria, it was somewhat divided among the Brooklyn and Uptown students. The Goodfellas was chillin’ at their favorite table on the right hand side of the cafeteria flashing and joking around. On the opposite side of the cafeteria was the infamous Black Mafia. If the cafeteria were a correctional facility, Black Mafia would definitely be the wolves looking for their next victim to prey on. There was a whole lot of bad blood and hatred. It was so intense in the cafeteria that it was getting very hot between the students.
Approaching the table where the Goodfellas were chillin’ was Carlito, one of the coolest Hispanic boys in the school. He was short with an average built and a ponytail.
“Carlito from the Bronx, what’s poppin’?”
“I’m chillin’, my brother.” Carlito said. “What’s up with you and Bishop, I thought y’all were kinda tight?”
“No, that nigga and I were never cool!”
“This Harlem and Brooklyn thing is real serious right now. Everybody in the school is talking about it.”
“If it keeps going this way, niggas fromBrooklynare not going to be safe in the school. They just don’t know when to stop. Uptown isHarlem, and we’re not going to let Black Mafia take our shit.”
Like a flash of lightning, one of Bishop’s friends ripped the side of Carlito’s face wide open with a box cutter. The students close by gasped in shock at the sight of Carlito’s face soaked in blood. Two guards muscled down the dark-skinned attacker. DeVante made eye contact with Bishop, and Bishop had a smirk on his face. The cut on Carlito’s face was a message to the Goodfellas and anybody that hang out with them.
“We’re still playing that game.” DeVante told his boys.
“You God damn right we’re still playing that game. I dare those bitch-ass niggas to cut me.” Jordan said.
When DeVante saw Keyshia by the lockers putting on her blue denim jacket, he approached her to find out what happened. Before he could say anything, Keyshia slapped his black Chicago White Sox fitted cap off his head.
“What the fuck is wrong with you?” Keyshia shouted. “I told you about playing around with me!”
“What the fuck are you talking about?” DeVante asked, as he picked his cap up.
“Missy, nigga, what’s up with you and her? She said she sucked your dick. What do you have to say about that?”
“I didn’t touch that dirty bitch.”
“Why are you lying to me?”
“Listen, you know how these jealous chicks are. Come on now, Missy is dirty.”
“You know what, fuck you, DeVante!”
Keyshia walked out the school through the back staircase where they were not any security to stop her. DeVante was still standing by the lockers feeling guilty and stupid. He knew Missy was not worth the breakup with Keyshia. Missy was nothing but a troublemaker who loved hurting people and pissing them off. The only thing DeVante wanted to do now was embarrass Bishop on the courts and win some money.
When school ended, mostly everybody must have known a basketball game was going to happen in the courts at Harborview Terrace on 55th Street between 10th and 11th Avenues. Onlookers packed the courts curious about what was going to happen. Some were there to cheer for Black Mafia and others were there for the Goodfellas. It was like a basketball version of a subway series.
The Goodfellas stepped on the court and was ready to go to war with the Black Mafia. Mr. Woods, the slim pale-skinned art teacher, agreed to referee the basketball game. After DeVante and Ricky let Big Lance hold the $500, the two crews went out and balled. The first team to score 32 points wins the game, and they were acting as if this was an NBA game.
DeVante scored the first basket with a fadeaway jump shot, which had him feeling good. He knew it was going to be a tough game, but he was up for the challenge. DeVante and Bishop were guarding each other. Bishop had an advantage because of his size and he utilized his strength to bumped DeVante out of the way and score.
“This nigga can’t guard me!” Bishop shouted. “He’s not man enough!”
“Fuck you, fake-ass Patrick Ewing!” DeVante shot back.
There was so much trash-talking going on between the Goodfellas and Black Mafia that they did not even want to take a timeout to rest. They both wanted to win the game and money for bragging rights. Durant and Jordan were the best shooters of the Goodfellas, and they were virtually shooting the ball from every angle of the court. Curley was setting them up nicely with his fancy passes. Kehoe had a mean defensive game, and DeVante was the fastest. The Goodfellas just could not get a comfortable lead, because the Black Mafia played a rough and physical style of basketball, which was physically and mentally exhausting for the Goodfellas.
The onlookers were banging on the gate acting crazy because of the intense action both teams were displaying on the court. They were either showing love for the team they wanted to win or the individuals they knew. Black Mafia was showing the onlookers that they were bullies of the court with their hard fouls and unnecessary tactics, which almost led to fights. The Goodfellas was putting on a Rucker show with their amazing ball skills. Just when Bishop was about to make his move and score, DeVante stole the ball from him and shot a lucky three to win the game for the Goodfellas 32-29. The court erupted with excitement and frustration. DeVante jumped and punched the air like vintage Michael Jordan. He was so enthralled that the Goodfellas beat Black Mafia in front of everybody. The Goodfellas ran to DeVante and began celebrating the victory.
DeVante wasted no time taking the five hundred dollars from Big Lance and splitting it with the Goodfellas. Black Mafia could not accept the loss and was ready to fight the Goodfellas right there on the courts. Bishop pushed DeVante, and DeVante retaliated by punching Bishop in the face. Both of them started fighting, and a melee soon ensued between the two crews. Big Lance and Mr. Woods did their best pulling them away and stopping the fight.
The police were on the scene to disperse the crowd fearing that a gang war was happening. Half of the students there did not like NYPD because of the way they racially profiled them. The police officers roughed up and handcuffed some of those students that refused to leave.
“You go home.” One officer told DeVante.
“It’s not over punk! You can believe that shit.” Bishop said.
The Goodfellas walked off the courts laughing at the Black Mafia. It was funny to the Goodfellas that the Black Mafia was standing there looking like a bunch of losers with the cops keeping them in check.
“Make sure you make it home in time before your probation officer call, Bishop.” DeVante laughed. “Uptown, baby!”
After getting a meal from Popeyes, DeVante went with Jordan to his apartment in Manhattanville Projects on West 126th Street. The other members of the Goodfellas already went home after the basketball game. Jordan’s small bedroom had black and gold walls with posters of Nicky Barnes, Kirkland Pee Wee, and countless street legends on them. He had a big bed, a TV with a VCR, and speakers by the window. PlayStation with two controllers on top lay on the floor. Even DeVante was impressed with the way Jordan decorated the room.
“We bust their ass! I can’t believe those niggas thought they had a chance to beat us.” Jordan laughed. “We’re the Chicago Bulls!”
“Yeah, we took care of business. It felt good to give Bishop the dagger. Now, he knows when it comes to me, he is competing for number two. Ha!”
“Ha-Ha, I like that. We didn’t have to touch our money to buy this.”
Once DeVante consumed his food, he stared out the window. He wore a face of a troubled man searching for answers to his problems. As he watched the sun set over the hood and listened to the number Nine train roared past, he was trying to figure out how his problem with Bishop became a dangerous matter.
“Jordan, do you feel like your luck is running out?” DeVante asked.
“No, why do you say that?” Jordan was puzzled.
“Lately, I have been feeling like my luck is almost up.”
“I know you’re not thinking about Bishop and the rest of those broke niggas? Man, fuck them!”
“It’s amazing how far this Brooklyn and uptown thing is going. Doesn’t this almost reminds you of hip-hop’s East Coast/West Coast rap war, and Bishop and I are the generals?”
“It kinda does, but I don’t see this situation going to that extreme.”
“It’s funny what the spoken word can do. It really does encourage people to do positive and negative things. The spoken word is the most powerful weapon in the world.”
“Playboy, have a drink with me and forget about the nonsense in school.”
Jordan turned on his stereo system and put the volume up. Notorious B.I.G.’s Life After Death album blared from the speakers. DeVante lay back with his eyes close bouncing to “You’re Nobody Till Somebody Kills You.” It was easy for him to relate to the words especially being from the inner city.
The red gold sun just finished setting in the city and the warm night was coming in. DeVante and Jordan finally left the Manhattanville Projects and met up with the rest of the Goodfellas on West 125th Street in front of the Adam Clayton Powell Jr. State Office Building. They decided they were not going to school tomorrow and were going to stay out and enjoy the scenery. It was so energetic, and young Harlemites were acting as if the weekend was already here. Hustlers fronted in their Benzes, BMWs, and motorcycles hollering at the fast women walking past. Almost every passing car was playing a different cut from Jay-Z’s latest album, Vol. 2 … Hard Knock Life. The Goodfellas were checking out the skimpy-clad Black and Hispanic young girls. Curley and Kehoe felt like they were in paradise.
“Girls out here are looking right.” Kehoe said. “I’m definitely taking something home tonight.”
“I think I’m going to meet my future baby’s mother tonight.” Curley laughed.
“Hey girl, how are you doing?” Durant said, as he pulled a slim dark-skinned girl to the side.
“That’s right, playboy, get that.” Jordan said excitedly.
DeVante found it entertaining watching his friends spit game to the pretty girls that gave them the time. DeVante caught a few girls checking him out, but he was not in the mood to holla. He had so much on his mind that it was beginning to stress him. DeVante wanted to call Keyshia to apologize, but he knew she would not answer the phone. The thought of going home and watching Jay-Z’s musical film, Streets Is Watching until he falls asleep crossed DeVante’s mind, but he knew how much the Goodfellas enjoyed his company. One thing for sure, DeVante was definitely going to get his high on before the night ended.
Just a few moments before midnight, the Goodfellas were hanging out in Morningside Park. They just finished drinking St. Ides and smoking Phillies Blunts. Curley and Jordan were playing Cee-Lo for $50. DeVante’s eyes were red from smoking and he saw Missy walking down the stairway that leads from Morningside Drive to Manhattan Avenue. His blood began to boil; he wanted to put his hands around her neck so badly. He had to get his anger out of his system on the source of his recent problem. Like a predator in the dark, DeVante caught up to Missy. She turned around and had a little smirk on her face. Missy knew why DeVante wanted to speak to her.
“You think it’s funny to start shit, right?” DeVante asked angrily.
“Whatever,” Missy said with an attitude. “That’s your problem.”
Just like that, DeVante transformed into a lunatic and pushed her against the wall. Missy was in shock as DeVante seized her by the neck, and started pulling down his gold zipper.
“You like to get fuck, right? This is what you want?”
“Tell who, Bishop? Go right ahead. Tell that nigga how good this dick is.”
“No!” Missy tried to scream.
DeVante viciously removed Missy’s thong, and pulled out his long, hard dick. With a devilish smile, he entered her with force and started his pumping action. Missy screamed for him to stop, but he didn’t.
“Shut up, bitch! I get what I want.” DeVante shouted.
Missy was about to black out, he pulled out and ejaculated on the ground. Catching his breath, he let loose on his grip on Missy’s neck. The Goodfellas stood there looking out for the police or anybody passing by. DeVante looked at her with those blood-red eyes of his, and had a somewhat mood of satisfaction. Shockingly, the rest of the Goodfellas had a go on her as if she was a roller coaster ride at Great Adventure.
When it was all over, the Goodfellas ran out of the park and into the darkness. Missy was pulling up her pants and crying softly. She could not believe that the Goodfellas, arguably the coolest crew in the school, just raped her. Missy was too embarrassed to be seen by anybody, so she ran. The only thing on her mind was to get home. The more she thought somebody recognized her, the faster she ran. It was dark and late, but the streets of uptown were still alive. She felt eyes from all directions hitting her. Missy wanted to put her head down so bad to avoid any eye contact from the street dudes hanging out on the corners. She felt more relieved going down to the subway and hopping on the train that she almost missed.
Running back to his block, DeVante felt very bad about what he did to Missy. No matter how mad he was at Missy, he knew she did not deserve to be raped. Missy’s cries played in his head like a classic Michael Jordan highlight on ESPN. Deep down, DeVante knew now that he took this whole beef thing to a dangerous level. Even he couldn’t understand why he did something so crazy and brutal.
When he was about to walk in his building, a short dark-skinned woman dressed in dirty clothes came out. She was high and drunk, staring DeVante in his eyes as if she was reading his mind.
“Boy, if you could live pass another week, you’re gonna be blessed. All you have to do is stay home and be away from the streets.”
Then she walked off singing to herself.
The woman’s comments really stunned DeVante as he ran upstairs to his apartment. His mother was all ready in the bedroom sleeping, and her television was still on. After closing his bedroom door, DeVante stood in front of his mirror with horror in his eyes.
“Damn, what the fuck did I do? Oh, my god, I cannot believe I raped that damn girl.”
Missy entered her two-bedroom apartment in theBronx, and found it very dark and silent. Tears rolled down her face, as she wasted no time racing to the bathroom. Missy reached for a rag and washed the dried up semen and blood off her thighs. The more the rape replayed in her head, the faster her tears raced down her face. Missy cried softly so she would not wake up her mother who was sleeping in the next room. She took the opportunity to take a shower to get herself together.
After the shower, Missy wrapped herself in her yellow towel and crawled to bed. She was not in the mood to watch television or listen to any of her favorite CDs. She thought about calling the cops, but knew it was not how the ‘hood’ gets a situation handled. Moreover, a part of her still liked DeVante even though he violated her. Therefore, she picked up her cordless phone and contacted the person who hated DeVante and the other Goodfellas the most … Bishop.
“Yo, who’s this?”
“It’s me, babe.”
Bishop heard the sadness in her voice. ‘What happened to you, Missy? I called you earlier.”
“I got raped.”
“What? Say that again.”
“I got raped by the Goodfellas.”
“I’m going to kill them!” He shouted over the phone. “They’re dead! Those motherfuckers are dead! It’s going to be a ‘hell up inHarlem’ when I see them! You didn’t tell the cops, right?”
“Good, because I’m going to handle this, believe that. Those niggas are fucking DEAD!”
Early that Friday morning, Bishop came to school ready to hurt any member of the Goodfellas. He had on a black hoodie, and three of his friends with him. Most of the students that saw him immediately got out of his way to avoid any problems with him. Bishop was walking up and down the halls like a starved shark waiting for some meat to float by. He didn’t see any of the Goodfellas in the school and was really getting hot. Anybody he asked gave him the same answer, ‘I haven’t seen them.’ Finally, in the middle of fifth period he saw Keyshia come around the corner walking toward her locker. He approached her, and pushed her against the wall with such force that it shook her slim body.
“What the fuck is wrong with you? Get your hands off me!” Keyshia demanded.
“Shut up, bitch! Where’s your man?” Bishop asked.
“He’s not here.” She answered.
“Don’t lie to me, bitch! I’ll break your jaw.”
“I said he’s not here. I haven’t seen him or any of his friends.”
“Yeah, him and his pussy-ass friends like to rape girls, right?”
“Rape? What are you talking about?”
“You want to play stupid, huh? The so-called Goodfellas raped Missy last night in the park.” Bishop pulled up his shirt, and exposed his silver handgun to Keyshia. “When I see those uptown faggots, I’m going to kill them. That’s my word. You tell him that!”
He pulled the hood over his head and walked off.
Later that afternoon, the Goodfellas were playing basketball in a schoolyard on the East Side by the FDR Drive. They had been there for a few hours shooting the ball from every angle of the court, having a good time. Every time a police car or van rolled past, they usually got paranoid and nervous. They didn’t know for sure if Missy told the cops or any counselor at the school. DeVante was the main one nervous because he knew this was really his fault.
“Yo, you think Missy told 5-O about last night?” Kehoe asked.
“Nah, she’s not that type of chick.” DeVante answered.
“How do you know? We raped her!” Jordan expressed.
DeVante said, “Missy is a hood bitch! If anything, she only told Bishop what happen.”
“It was smart for us not to go to school today. We definitely would have got it poppin’ with Black Mafia.” Durant said.
“It’s already at the next level,” DeVante continued. “It comes down to can we take them out before they do us.”
“This is war.” Curley replied.
“A war we’re going to win.” Jordan said. “If Black Mafia wants to take this to the guns, then so be it. We’re not backing down from any of those BK motherfuckers.”
DeVante smiled and said, “Let’s get the fuck out here and get something to eat. I’m not feeling the vibe in this area.”
It was eleven at night, and Keyshia was lying on the couch dressed in a white tank top and shorts. Playing on the 50″ Cable television was the classic comedy Uptown Saturday Night starring Bill Cosby and Sidney Poitier. Keyshia was bored, and regretted not going to the club with her girlfriends. This was Saturday night, and she was usually having fun with her friends or DeVante. Keyshia was about to go to her bedroom, when the doorbell rang twice. She answered the door, and there stood DeVante wearing all black. The color was very symbolic Keyshia thought, as DeVante’s life was in a dangerous shroud of darkness.
“DeVante, what do you want?”
“Can I come in, I won’t stay long.”
“I’m about to go to bed.”
“I just need to talk to you.”
“DeVante, I’m not having any company.”
“What are you hearing about me in school?”
“I heard you and your friends raped Missy. Is that true?”
“No, it’s not true.”
“DeVante, don’t lie to me.”
“We didn’t rape that bitch. We don’t take ass from girls against their will. Missy was drunk and saw us chillin’ in the park. She didn’t even look in my direction or say a word to me. She just walked over and started getting freaky with the crew. I didn’t even touch that bitch.”
“Well, Bishop was really pissed and he had a gun on him. He said he’s going to kill you and your friends. I almost got in a confrontation with him Friday.”
“He didn’t put his hands on you, did he?”
“No, but I can tell he really wanted to.” Keyshia said softly. DeVante leaned over to try to kiss her, but she back away. “I have to go, DeVante.”
“You’ll want me back, and when you do I’ll come back for you.” DeVante murmured.
As Keyshia close the door, she cried. She knew in her heart that DeVante and his friends did something to Missy, and felt like this was the last time she was going to see him.
Chapter 5: Someboy’s Gotta Die
It was Monday, June 1, 1998, in the early hours of that spring day, at exactly eight in the morning, Bishop and his homeboys were in a dark green van watching the students entered the High School of Environmental Studiesone by one. Notorious B.I.G.’s “Suicidal Thoughts” blared from the sound system. Bishop wanted to make sure that all the students from uptown were there especially DeVante. There was no way he was going to light up the school without DeVante being present.
When Bishop finally spotted DeVante walking inside the school, a huge smile came across his face. He made sure his guns were loaded and that he had extra ammo.
“Why don’t we just blast this fool now, Bishop? Nobody is around.” Ricky felt.
“I want to make history, nigga.” Bishop said softly. “I want the whole city to remember this event.”
“Why go through the complications with the guards or even Five-O?”
“This ain’t no complications man. I don’t just want to take DeVante out his misery; I want the whole school in flames. I want this massacre broadcast across the nation. We’ll be Brooklyn legends when all this is done!”
“Then let’s do this, nigga. I’m ready to shoot something up.” Ricky exclaimed.
They got out the van and ran around the corner of the school.
“I want y’all to take your positions. We’re going to shoot the fucking school up.” Bishop said. “We’re gonna kill all those motherfuckers in there. Leave that punk DeVante to me.”
The Black Mafia entered the school through the back staircase, which security rarely monitored. They all split up and took their positions preparing themselves for the massacre. Bishop was hiding in the back staircase, the main cutting spot for students. He knew he could count on a few students leaving the school early through this exit. What Bishop did not expect was one of his main targets coming in the school through this way—Kehoe. Bishop camouflaged with the darkness of the staircase as he watched Kehoe come inside the school holding a brown paper bag with his lunch in it. POW! Kehoe never saw it coming as his brains splattered on the wall.
Inside the gym, it was the typical atmosphere. It was about 9:15 and some students were standing around conversing and laughing. Others were making their way to the lockers to change into their gym apparel. Keyshia was already in her gym clothes, ready for the ten-minute workout before she plays volleyball. She saw Durant and Curley standing by the bleachers talking to a blond-haired curvy Hispanic girl. Keyshia looked around to see if DeVante was close by, but he was not. Instead, she saw three dark-skinned boys dressed in camouflage standing by the exits observing everyone in the gym.
While doing some stretching, Keyshia saw Missy whispered something to the three dark-skinned boys standing by the exits. Keyshia knew something bad was about to happen, so, she stopped what she was doing and watched the three boys approached Durant and Curley.
“Are you down with the Goodfellas?” One of them asked Curley.
Suddenly, the three boys were on top of Durant and Curley punching, kicking, and stomping. The students close by moved away, and some of them stood there in shock. The gym teacher made his way over to break up the fight; one of the camouflaged boys pulled out a gun and shot the teacher in the face.
“Let’s kill these motherfuckers!” One of the boys in camouflage yelled.
Now, bullets were flying and some of the students were falling to the floor like dominoes. The smell of gunpowder filled the gym. Then panic broke out. Students were screaming and running. Keyshia ran behind a small group of students clothed in green gym attire to find a room for shelter. As she was running downstairs, the gunshots were getting louder. Then out of nowhere, Bishop jumped out, hollered, “Brooklyn!”, and shot the students in front of her.
Inside the principal’s well air-conditioned mahogany office, Principal Leong, a tall, slim Asian man in his late thirties was listening to some classical music. His blond-haired assistant entered his office and informed him that firecrackers were going off in the school. As Principal Leong got up to investigate the situation, two boys wearing army fatigues and red bandannas stormed in his office pointing two identical 9-millimeter semiautomatic pistols.
“Don’t fucking move! Get your ass on the floor!” One of them ordered.
At that moment, QB forced Principal Leong’s assistant to the floor. She was screaming and trying her best to remain calm, but the guns flashing in her face made it difficult. QB getting very frustrated with the assistant hit her in the head with his gun to silence her.
“Fuck it, let’s shoot these motherfuckers!” QB shouted. “I don’t like them anyway.”
Just like that, they murdered Principal Leong and his assistant. The shooters did not feel remorseful about what they just did. Instead, they felt even more like killers than ever before. The sight of the two dead bodies lying in a pool of blood aroused them and drove them to kill some more people. As they were leaving the office, they saw students running from all directions screaming and panicking. Without saying a word, they opened fire on them like a bunch of crazed, heartless thugs. Screams and gunshots echoed the long halls, transforming them into a chamber of doom. Some students covered in blood crawled to classrooms or anywhere to find some sort of shelter.
Inside the cafeteria, nobody was sure what was going on. They believed a few students were lighting up M-80s and blockbusters. One neatly dressed professor eating a cheese sandwich realized it might be more serious. The gunshots were getting louder and louder. As soon as he got up to investigate, a security guard ran inside the cafeteria and announced, “Somebody is shooting in the school. Everybody please evacuate from the rear of the lunchroom!”
Students immediately jumped up and rushed to the exit.
In a quiet classroom on the third floor, DeVante was feeling good about the History final he was taking. So far, he knew all the answers and felt strong that he could get a perfect score. Within a few minutes, he heard gunshots. When he looked around the room and saw that the other pupils heard the same thing, he knew he was not going crazy. ‘Brooklyn! Bam Bam!’ DeVante’s first reaction was, ‘Oh my, God, it’s going down!’ His professor, Sheriff, a thin, dark-skinned Middle Eastern man with a baldhead jumped up to go see what was going on. He signaled for everybody to stay calm and continued taking the test.
Prof. Hurley, a science teacher with the looks of a traditional grandfather with the baldhead, glasses and wrinkles came storming in the classroom. He was sweating profusely and breathing heavy. Everybody in the room saw the fear in his eyes, as he tried to get himself together.
“Everybody remain calm.” Prof. Hurley said. “There’s a shooting inside the school and I want everybody to get down! I am locking the doors so that nobody can get in! Help should arrive shortly!”
Most of the pupils in the room immediately duck down and hide beneath the table. A few of them pulled out their cell phones and called their love ones and the police. Three other pupils helped Prof. Sheriff barricade the door from intruders with desks. The fire alarms were ringing wildly. Big Lance turned the lights off so the shooters could assume that no one was in the classroom. DeVante was under the table in a prayer-like pose, thinking about the craziness going on. He heard many students complaining about the 911 number being busy. DeVante took out his cell phone and decided to call Keyshia. He got her voice mail, and left her a message:
“Keyshia, I’m sorry for all the drama and trouble I caused you. The one thing I will never stop doing is love you. I want you to believe that. Bishop and the Black Mafia are shooting up the school. I don’t know how many people are hurt, but if I should survive this, I promise you I will make things better. I love you.”
One of the shooters was banging on the door, and turning the door handle. Everybody in the classroom were getting ready to panic, feeling like this was the end of his or her young lives. Nobody made a sound, as they listened to the shooter trying to get in the lock, barricaded door.
“Open this fucking door!” The shooter demanded. “Y’all only making it worse for yourselves!”
Feeling frustrated, the shooter fired two shots into the door. The bullets shattered the small glass window on the door. About four seconds later, the shooter ran down the hall to seek more victims.
The time was 10:00 when Bishop and Ricky entered the library like two warriors ready to take anybody’s head off. Their faces had no expression and it looked somewhat menacing as if the Devil took over their souls.
“Get the fuck out!” Rick ordered.
“Everybody fromBrooklyn, stand the fuck up!” Bishop shouted, as he waited a few seconds. Nobody stood up or made a move so he started to move forward. “Well, fuck it! I’ll shoot everybody in this motherfucker!”
Bishop and Ricky let off a few shots. Bullets, papers, and flying splinters filled the air. They walked halfway through the library, and saw a group of Asian girls consoling each other. Watching the fear in their eyes made Bishop and Ricky aroused. They aimed their guns and murdered them.
“Wow, I can’t believe I did that!” Ricky said excitedly.
“This is the shit!” Bishop said, after kissing his gun.
They continued killing and injuring students in the library like a pair of psychotic hunters. Only a few were lucky enough to run out of the library unharmed. Once Bishop and Ricky felt they completed their job in the library, they slowly left to continue their onslaught on the upper floors.
Back in the classroom on the third floor, it was 10:45 and the students were still hiding under the table. Professor Sheriff was on his cell phone trying to get in contact with the police, but was not successful. He walked over to the window and noticed an officer was standing there.
“We need some help up here!” Professor Sheriff shouted down.
“Help is on its way.” The officer yelled. “We are having a tough time trying to get in. How many students do you have up there?”
“I have twenty students here.”
Finally, the students had the courage to try to make an escape for it. Professor Sheriff, feeling nervous, instructed the students to jump out the third floor window. Once the first student plunged out and into the arms of the policeman, the more confident everybody in the classroom became. Students were helping each other out of the window and climbing down the side of the building. Big Lance being a young man of character, decided to let Professor Sheriff go ahead of him. After Professor Sheriff landed safely, Big Lance turned to DeVante.
“DeVante, it’s your turn.”
“No, I’m not going down.” DeVante said. “Most of this is my fault, and I don’t feel like running away from it.”
“I don’t think that’s a good idea. What about your life?” Big Lance asked.
“Don’t worry about me, playboy.” DeVante told him. “I’m good!”
BigLawrenceshaking his head said, “You can’t win this.”
“I’ll be fine, trust me.” DeVante lifted his shirt up, exposing his .357 Magnum handgun. “Go, my friend.”
The two friends embraced one more time. Both of them felt this might be the last time they saw each other. As Big Lance started climbing down, DeVante was moving the desk out of the way, and preparing himself mentally for death. Part of him wanted to join his friend and climb down, but the other part felt it was his destiny to end this madness his way.
As he was walking through the halls, DeVante could not believe what was around him. It seemed very Shakespearian with all the craziness and wildness occurring. There were still gunshots firing, fire alarms ringing off, bodies lying on the floor, and students running around. Many of the faces he did not even recognize. Maybe they are freshmen he assumed. DeVante pulled out his gun ready to shoot anybody he knew was friends with Black Mafia. A firm grip on DeVante’s right ankle stopped him in his tracks. A nervous DeVante was inches away from pulling the trigger, but stopped himself when he saw the person’s face. It was a badly wounded Durant, who had been shot in the chest and stomach.
DeVante kneeled down beside him and said, “What the hell happened?”
“They’re all dead.”
“Everybody, Black Mafia killed them all.”
“What about Keyshia?”
“She ran out the gym.”
With his eyes barely open, Durant took a deep breath and let out a big sigh. DeVante watched as Durant closed his eyes for the last time. He knew what had just happened as he got up and noticed two white students, a boy and girl, dressed in Gap apparel standing there in shock. Without saying a word to them, DeVante walked off to search for Keyshia.
DeVante reached the fourth floor. His shirt was wet from perspiration, and he did not want to believe that all his friends were dead. He felt weary and thought about ending his search for Keyshia. Then a soft voice cried out his name echoing the halls. He turned around and was both relieved and stunned. The sight of Keyshia covered with blood in her gym clothes took DeVante by surprise. It was so shocking for him that he could not even move for a moment. DeVante ran and consoled Keyshia. She fell in his arms as if her entire body shut down, and she was crying softly.
“Keyshia, what happened? Who did this?” DeVante asked.
“DeVante, I’ve been shot in the back. I don’t want to die.” Keyshia responded.
“You’re not, you’re an angel.”
Tears rolled down DeVante’s brown face and sprinkled on Keyshia like soft raindrops. He felt her take her last breath as he closed his eyes and broke down. Ricky spotted DeVante and began to creep like a lion. He had the opportunity to kill him, but he knew how much Bishop wanted to have the pleasure of doing so. Ricky expected someone to ruin his clear view, but nobody did. After waiting patiently for a minute, he decided to make his move. As he got closer, his heart was beating fast in his chest. Just as he was about to pull the trigger, four shells hit him. One of the shells caught Ricky in the head, killing him instantly.
DeVante jumped up with his gun drawn like a sharpshooter. He was happy that it wasJordanstanding there.Jordanwas always there for DeVante at the right time like a guardian angel.
“My nigga,” DeVante said softly, “I thought you were dead.”
“I’m always keeping these cowards from killing you. Come on, we have to get the fuck out of here. I don’t know how many niggass Bishop have in here for us.”
“Drop the gun!” A white policeman with a mustache yelled out.
“Don’t make us kill you!”
Both DeVante and Jordan were startled. They did not know what to do. There was no way they were going to give themselves up. Taking one look at each other, they made up their mind and took off running. The policeman aimed his gun atJordan’s back and squeezed the trigger. DeVante heard the shot and a loud cry, but he kept on running. When he turned the corner of the hall and did not seeJordanright beside him, he knew what happen. A tear rolled down his cheek as he felt that his best friend had died. Now he lost two people that had an everlasting impression on him. DeVante continued to run and load his gun at the same time.
“Fuck!” The policeman cursed, when he didn’t see DeVante down the hall. “Damn, that kid is fast!”
His partner, a medium build, pale-faced Hispanic man, told him thatJordanwas in fact dead, and several boys wearing army fatigues were either shot dead or apprehended. The two policemen stood there for two minutes, before hearing more gunshots. The sudden commotion of people running and screaming caught the officers by surprise. As the pupils ran past the uniformed officers, one of them shouted “Upstairs! A teacher is shot!” the officers ran to the stairway to investigate.
Outside the school, more police officers arrived at the scene. They watched as students climbed down from the side of the school, dropped from the broken windows above and some running out the exits crying and screaming. There was no doubt in the arriving officers’ mind that this was something very serious. The High School for Environmental Studies had a reputation of being one of the best schools in the city, and now the officers were witnessing the school under siege.
DeVante roared and jump to his feet and sprayed the three members of Black Mafia in front of him.
DeVante was now on the fifth and top floor of the school. Gunshots were going off, and DeVante was preparing himself to shoot any member of the Black Mafia he caught walking out of any classroom. His heart was racing, and he sensed Bishop was on this floor. As he was getting closer to the gunshots, the tighter his grip was on the trigger.
“Bishop, shoot that nigga!” A husky voice shouted.
Two shots went off like big firecrackers in the classroom. DeVante stayed stationary as he bent down. QB came out the classroom first with a slight smile, as he turned around. His mouth opened up wide like a subway tunnel but no words came out, as he was surprised to see DeVante. He tried to aim his gun at him, but it was too late. DeVante hit him in the chest three times dropping him instantly.
Bishop ran out blasting and shouting out, “Come on, nigga! Bring it motherfucker!”
Miraculously, none of the bullets hit DeVante. The gun jammed, and Bishop took off running. DeVante let him run for three seconds before shooting him in the legs twice. Bishop screamed as he fell forward, his head hitting the floor with a frightening crack. He wanted to crawl to safety, but his body just didn’t have the energy to do so.
Pointing his gun at Bishop’s head, DeVante asked, “Who got the power now, motherfucker?”
The fear in Bishop’s eyes gave DeVante the satisfaction he wanted. For the first time Bishop was not the gangster he pretended to be. He was now an oversized boy with tears in his eyes looking like a defeated adversary.
“No, no, don’t kill me!” Bishop begged. “I don’t want to die!”
Bang! Bang! Bishop was dead. A slight smile came across DeVante’s face, as he stood there feeling like the most powerful man in the city. The Black Mafia was gone so he felt he did not have to fear any reprisals. The Uptown and Brooklyn war in the school was over. After wiping the gun off, he drop the gun on Bishop’s lifeless body and headed for the back exits.
DeVante managed to make it all the way down to the parking lot of the school without somebody noticing him. The sight of the afternoon sunlight and people moving around calmed him down. He felt as if he was floating as he was slowly making his way to the streets. The closer he got, the happier he became. Creeping from the shadows of the parking lot was Missy pointing a .22 at DeVante. Not one sound escaped from DeVante’s mouth as the gold bullet struck him. It literally caught him off guard. As he turned around, he saw Missy standing there. He watched as she pulled the trigger, the second bullet hit DeVante’s heart, ending his life. As his body began to fall, flashes of Missy shooting Keyshia and DeVante roamed in her head. She permanently put an end to the so-called hottest couple in the High School for Environmental Studies.
Lost in her thoughts, Missy did not even hear the cops telling her to drop the weapon. A pale-skinned uniformed cop from behind, tackled Missy to the ground, and cuffed her. Missy let out a scream of pure terror. She knew her life was over, and the next destination for her was a small jail cell.
Back in front of the entrance of the school, the yellow crime scene tape just went up. The pupils and staff members that survived the brutal rampage were crying, consoling one another trying to make sense out of all this. News helicopters above sliced the peaceful sky, and the police were clearing the scene. Commentators were also reporting, and a few students who wanted their 15-minutes of fame gave explicit details of what they witnessed. The whole scene was very movie-like with the raw emotion and energy. With a tear in his eye, Big Lance watched as the paramedics carried the dead bodies and loaded them in the ambulance.
Later that day, the school shooting was all over the news. News reporter Sade O’Neal chattered away:
“This morning at the High School for Environmental Studies, a conflict between students from Harlem and Brooklyn ended in a school massacre. Twenty-two students and seven teachers are dead, and about thirty other victims are hospitalized. Concerned New Yorkers are hoping this will end school violence among students…”
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