A Stellar Flare of Young Adult Writing and Visual Art
The following work is the result of an eight-week collaboration with The Chicago City of Learning Young Author Playlist and Hypertext Studio Writing Center. An excerpt of this piece is also featured on HYPERtext Magazine.
BY ANGEL POTTS
It is 6:45 p.m. I am sitting on the front steps of my house, it’s a warm summer night, and a breeze gently pushes my long bangs and the rest of my hair out of my face. As I sit here daydreaming, I think about all of the many summer nights spent helping my father fix cars. When I first hear the sound of a honking horn I think I am still in “La La Land.” The second time around the honking sound alerts me that my only two friends Danni and John have arrived. They are in an all black, beatdown pickup truck. Danni is sitting in the passenger seat seemingly in a cheerful mood, smiling ear to ear. Almost blending in with the night and interior of the truck, she is wearing dark clothes complimentary to her jet black hair. You can only see her creamy complexion and bright blue eyes. Her eyes are especially pretty and unexpectedly unique considering she is Mexican. John is the driver, and the only thing visible is his pale, fair skin and sun-kissed blond hair.
Anticipating their arrival, I let them know I will be right back and run into the house. Once I open the door the cold air from the air conditioner hits me in the face. Walking towards the kitchen I see my mother standing at the kitchen counter ironically eating pancakes, but this is not too surprising considering she tends to do her own thing. This is something I really love about her, and boy can she put it away, but she carries it well. I mean she is really stuffing her face, chubby cheeks and all. See my mom looks very young for her age with the type of cheeks you want to pinch, and is so beautiful with her light-brown skin and round face.
Sensing my presence, she looks up at me in a confused way, and says with a big smile, “You’re still here… I thought you left hours ago, and why are you dressed up in all black like that as if you’re going to rob a bank?” It is as if she knows something is up. We briefly stare at each other, and I just know that I am busted. This is not good. She is going to ruin everything.
Turns out she doesn’t have a clue, and just says, “Well have fun!” It’s on! I grab my duffle bag sitting by the door, and leave to join my friends. Once I make it to the truck I jump onto the back. Danni opens a rear window that is about the same size as my head, simultaneous to me unzipping the duffle bag. Right before she can say anything, I hand her sunglasses for herself and a black skullcap for John. They both put them on, and then John takes his eyes off the road to ask, “So what are we doing?” Danni jabs him in the side and says, “Excuse me, keep your eyes on the road… All I need you to do is drive!” John is normally argumentative, but proves wise enough to just do as she says.
It is 7:34 p.m. We come to a complete stop in front of a tall building, the only tall building nearby. Danni jumps out of the truck and slams the door. I sling the duffle bag over my shoulder and jump out the back right before John pulls off. Danni immediately grabs me by the shoulders, and with one hand pulls my hood over my head. She whispers, “Don’t look up… There are cameras, and we don’t want them to see our faces.” Danni is always on it, but I am not too bad myself. I whisper back, “Go in my bag, there are some masks we can put on to cover up our faces.” So here we are, two “ride or die” chicks canvassing the location wearing theatrically crafted flesh-tone colored masks with red lips and rosy cheeks. The masks also emulate facial features including full lips and high brow- and cheekbones, kind of scary in actuality.
Danni signals me to follow her by waving her hand as I pull out a paint gun to hand her. Shortly after with great precision, she shoots both of the cameras, obstructing the view. Then we proceed in the opposite direction, a clever move on Danni’s part, to head to the back of the apartment building. She tosses me back the paint gun to put it back into the bag, and four staircases later we are both nearly out of breath. Danni, breathing heavily, says while pointing, “We have to go three windows to the right.” Still trying to catch my breath I give her a thumbs up. We slowly make our way from window to window. Danni stops and turns her body facing the window. Singlehandedly, she knocks the window out of the frame, and jumps inside, making hardly a sound.
Anxiously, I follow behind her in pursuit to keep up, but when I make my landing my body weight makes a loud thump and I nearly lose my balance. Then, in what feels like slow-motion, Danni reaches out backwards to grab my hand and saves me as if she has eyes in the back of her head. Luckily, my friend knows how clumsy I tend to be and is able to stop me from falling back out of the window. This could have been a disaster. Gratefully, I say, “Good looking out,” but do not receive a response because something has caught Danni’s attention. She is fixed on something in the distance and I cannot get her attention.
I whisper to her, “Is that him?” and notice that her body is trembling as she slowly balls her hands up into fists. I mumble, “That must be him,” and more loudly I say, “Danni don’t do anything crazy! Okay?” She nods in agreement, and takes a few steps back. I laugh lightly as a sign of relief, walking closer to confirm what I think she sees in the bedroom. Without turning around as I speak to her, I ask Danni to check and see if anyone else is in the other rooms of the apartment, but she is unresponsive. I turn to see why she is so silent to discover her standing there totally motionless with very still eyes. I have to literally walk up and smack her in the face to get her to snap out of it. Ready to tussle with my guard up, she just blinks a few times, and a moment later says, “Thank you, I needed that,” and proceeds to scope out the rest of the apartment.
At the threshold of the bedroom, I unload everything from the duffle bag including various tracking devices, paint guns, rope, spray paint, paintbrushes, mix paint colors, a black hoodie, and some candy. Danni comes back over seeing all of the stuff on the floor focusing mostly on the various trackers. She then hands me one of the trackers that is microscopic and in a liquid form combined with an anesthesia and says, “You know what to do.” I then enter the bedroom and effectively put the man sleeping in the bed into a chokehold he cannot get out of while holding him down to stick him with the needle. He struggles for a bit, but the drug does not take long to work, and the tracking device is then successfully injected. Meanwhile, Danni has gone back outside to put a tracking device under what she believes to be his car, and is just coming back in. Then together we plant the rest of the trackers inside of the watch he is wearing, soles of all of his shoes, and the lining of his coat hanging near the front door.
It is 10:15 p.m. George Zimmerman now lies in his bed with a black hoodie on covering his head, and a pack of Skittles in his hand. His karma has indeed come full circle. Danni and I finish up the last part of our mission and leave the premises. We walk back to the front where John is hidden in plain sight, sitting in the truck eating of all things pancakes. Danni interrupts his meal by banging on the passenger side window for him to “pop the lock” so she can hop in as I jump in the back. John pulls off without being able to finish his meal, and after a significant amount of time we make it across the border.
The radio is on and we hear breaking news about George Zimmerman’s home being invaded. It is said that the police found a letter at the crime scene that read the following: “Let this be a warning to you and anybody else who thinks they can just kill someone and get away with it! People are meant to produce life, and have no right to take a life! Try to harm someone else again and see what will happen! Beware. We will be watching you, and if you ever get out of hand again we are going to release your whereabouts to the media. Now try us if you want to! We the people will hold you accountable for your actions, even if the justice system continues to fail us. Do not think for a second you got off easy because you would have been better off in jail! Word is bond. If we have to haunt you like the ghost of your victim we will, but we are not going to stoop down to your level and be a murderer.”
According to Fox News, they say, “No one really knows who sought revenge against George Zimmerman, but there is definitely a lasting impression from the mural of Trayvon Martin painted on Zimmerman’s bedroom wall. It is now confirmed that at least one of the suspects is named Rebel…”
I happily close my laptop as a gust of wind blows my hair all over the place into my face, and tap on the window of the pickup truck to ask Danni and John, “So who’s next?”
Angel Potts attends Corliss High School.
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