My mother dropped me off on the west side of Chicago in the summer of 1986. She abandoned me on the corner of Huron and Cicero. I walked into my father’s house and he had no idea that my mother wanted us to live with him. Well, that was a devastating moment in my life. But the subsequent months on the west side proved daunting.
I’ve always been kind of a nerd, but I could dance, rap and play football so it saved me from ridicule. Besides, I was going to high school with the same people I had known since kindergarten.
Austin High was something different. I knew no one and the guys from my street didn’t go to school – I was alone. So it was only fitting that the girlfriend of a popular football player had a thing for me. It was also fitting that this guy had a mean streak and hung around with a group of guys that didn’t give a damn about beating the crap out of someone.
My perilous predicament started with a note from “the girlfriend” asking my name and phone number. I knew she was dating “that dude” but she was cute and I was new. So I gave her my name and number and it started. She called and we talked. After several nights of talking and afternoons of walking her to her locker, the word got around.
One night I got a call from “that dude” with him basically threatening to beat me to a pulp. Two days later he and his boys surrounded me at the lunch table, again, threatening to beat me to a pulp. I got it and left her alone. But she didn’t leave me alone. One day while walk to my art class, she strolls along side of me. We talk and wouldn’t you know it, “that dude” and his cronies happen to be standing by my classroom.
They left no doubt that at three thirty I would get the beating of my life. I was four months into my west side life and had already had three brawls. One, in which my guy left me – you can read that story here: Punks
I got on the phone and called my boy Maurice. He lived across the street from the school and was about as crazy as they come. He told me to walk across the street and he’d handle the rest.
At three thirty, I left the school with “that dude” following close behind. I figured I could get a couple of good punches in before they smashed me. As the beat down was about to commence, Maurice runs out of the house with guns blazing. If he wasn’t so demonic looking he could have been an angel. “That dude” backed off and we were able to reconcile our differences with the spillage of my blood.
I always felt good about not running home scared. I was willing to take that beat down. Sometimes you have to get knocked down in standing up for yourself. I did get beat down a couple of times after that day and I administered a few along the way. One of those tales is soon to follow this one.
1) How do you deal with bullies?
2) Have you ever gotten into a fight with a jealous boyfriend/girlfriend
3) Who was your arch nemesis as a kid? What happened?