The Brave

The Brave by Robert Lipsyte

Book: The Brave by Robert Lipsyte Read Free Book Online
Authors: Robert Lipsyte
great-uncle.”
    â€œHe some kind of shaman?”
    â€œWhat?”
    â€œYou know, like an elder…”
    â€œHe’s old, for sure.” Sonny cocked his fists at Rocky. “Let’s go!”
    â€œJab…one…one. Right…three. Jab…one…. Where’s he live?”
    â€œDon’t stop.”
    â€œHook…five. Jab…one…one. Right…six.”
    They worked on Rocky for five more rounds, a hot blur, Martin’s voice bingo urgent, Sonny lost in the intensity of his concentration as his pounding fists moved over the dummy’s body.
    â€œTime!” Johnson was staring at him. “You been flat-foot when you jab. Up on the balls of your feet. More forward. See?” He demonstrated and walked away. It was the first time Johnson had given him any instruction since he had started.
    Martin wiped his glasses. “Man, that was awesome. You tapped into a spiritual wellspring.”
    â€œYou woke up.” Sonny strode to the mirrors, Martin at his heels.
    â€œIs he like a wise man, your uncle?”
    â€œRuns a junkyard.”
    â€œThis is like a movie. You see American Ninja ? Karate Kid ?”
    Sonny began to shadowbox at his reflection in the mirror.
    â€œHe live in the city?”
    â€œOn the Reservation. He came to get his truck.”
    â€œReservation? What kind of Native American are you?”
    â€œHalf Moscondaga, half white.”
    â€œThat is so cool. What does Sonny Bear mean?”
    â€œIt’s my name.”
    â€œYeah, but does it have some tribal significance, like when a bear came to the wigwam…”
    â€œNo. My dad’s name was B-a-y-e-r, people pronounced it bear, so that’s the way my mom started spelling it when we went to the powwows.”
    â€œPowwows! What were they like, what did you…”
    â€œYou’re blocking the mirror.” He almost felt sorry for pushing Martin out of his way. He had never seen him excited before, shifting from foot to foot as the words tumbled out of his mouth.
    â€œI thought you were just some wiseguy with a ponytail. Listen, maybe we could…Uh-oh.”
    The change in his voice made Sonny turn. A tall, gray-haired man in a pin-striped suit stood at the door talking to Johnson. When he spotted Martin, he waved him over with a commanding swing of his arm.
    â€œGotta go. My dad. See you tomorrow around noon?”
    â€œWe don’t start till…”
    â€œI’ll help you clean up so we can plan our attack on Rocky.” He made it sound like a war movie. “See ya.” Martin waddled away.
    Jake helped Sonny restack the chairs and straighten up after the gym cleared out. They ate dinner at a Chinese restaurant across the street.
    â€œAlways train with that boy?”
    â€œHe really got into it after you laid that Braves stuff on us.”
    â€œThink they love Indians, new-age yappies.”
    â€œYuppies.”
    â€œâ€™S okay. He can help you if you let him.”
    â€œHow?”
    â€œEvery Running Brave had a young warrior-in-training he…”
    â€œC’mon, Jake, none of that.”
    Jake said, “Your mom been calling.”
    â€œYeah?” He felt glad and scared.
    â€œShe don’t like it, you down here by yourself.”
    â€œWhat’s she gonna do?”
    â€œDon’t know. Limo fella keeps her busy with”—he spat out the words—“Sweet Bear’s Kiva. She wants you out there with her.”
    â€œSelling jewelry?”
    â€œLive good. Make some money. Finish school. Not bad.”
    â€œSounds like you think I should go.”
    Jake shook his head. “I think you got to make the choice.”
    â€œI’m not going.”
    â€œSee what happens. She could try to make you.” Jake poured tea. “Know a girl Heather?”
    â€œHeather?”
    â€œCalled twice. Said she owes you a slice.”
    â€œHeather.” His stomach flipped and his

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