Knockout Games

Knockout Games by G. Neri

Book: Knockout Games by G. Neri Read Free Book Online
Authors: G. Neri
Missouri
    Knows: Russian, Arabic, kung fu, sword fighting, and deep-sea diving
    He had to be messing around. I guess anyone can say anything they want about themselves online or just reinvent themselves. Was this the version of himself that he wanted to be? Or just a cover?
    There were a bunch of pictures, and they were definitely of him. There was even a cute one of him and Boner. I knew he was NOT going to university, but whatever. Maybe that was just a cover for him not being at school.
    There were pictures of him with some of the Tokers I recognized. He looked like a big brother, taking them for pizza, posing in a gym dressed like a boxer. And then some of girls that looked like more than friends.
    Including one of me , a still he lifted from the park video.
    Another image showed him and a younger looking Destiny. They were standing next to another guy who looked kind of like her—her brother? I noticed K had his hand on her ass. Brother was not smiling.
    One of the weirdest touches was at the end of his list of favorites. His favorite quote kind of gave me a chill: A disobedient child shall not live his or her days to the end.

18
    A day passed. I thought of Kalvin a lot, but kept to myself, trying to figure out what it all meant. Were we going together now? Was that a onetime thing? I wanted to talk to Destiny, but there was something going on there I wasn’t quite sure about.
    In art class, I still didn’t feel like drawing anything, but I had worked up the nerve to finally show Mrs. Lee some of my non-TKO videos, like the ant one and some of the ones I made about my neighborhood. I’d given her a DVD to watch at home, and when she saw me, she made a beeline for my desk.
    â€œErica! Your videos are quite good. I knew you had an artist’s eye. You’re a rebel; I can see that. Keep going. I want to see more!”
    I didn’t think she meant my TKO videos. Speaking of artistic eye, she was wearing that T-shirt with all the mouths and ears and eyes on them. “Are you the one who makes those Eyez all over the neighborhood?” I asked.
    She blushed and looked around. She looked a little rattled. “I just made one and my husband kind of co-opted it for his own purposes. It’s interesting to see them posted around, but, as a teacher, I’m not supposed to be doing graffiti art. . . .”
    â€œYou’re a rebel too, I guess. I met your husband—”
    This rattled her even more. “You met Joe?”
    â€œHe handed me a flyer.”
    â€œOh,” she nodded, unsure. “He’s really the rebel. I just try to keep him grounded.”
    â€œDo you believe in his cause?”
    She paused for a long beat, choosing her words carefully. “I believe you need to stand up for what you believe in and that people have a right to be safe in their own neighborhoods. He’s more the activist. I try to work from the other side, through art and education. I try not to pick fights.”

    On the second day, I decided to talk to Destiny. I spotted her from my locker but she was with her “other” friends. So I waited, and while I was standing at my locker, this white girl from my homeroom came over. She was the skinny blonde who always ignored me in class. But today, she wanted to talk. I think her name was Autumn.
    â€œMaybe she don’t want to be your friend anymore,” she said, nodding at Destiny’s clique. I wasn’t sure she was even talking to me, but there was no one else around.
    â€œYou talking to me?” I asked. I didn’t look at her because, first of all, I felt even fatter standing next to her. Secondly, I didn’t know her. She was in one of my classes, but we never said hi or anything.
    Destiny was watching me out of the corner of her eye. I just shrugged. “At least she talks to me,” I said under my breath.
    â€œYeah, but why would you want to talk to her?” the girl said.
    This is not how I imagined

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