Less than Lethal

As we walked our way down the path thoughts were running through my head abut how we were going to handle the situation as planned. Who was going to attack who, and how far we were going to go. When we reached the halfway mark on the path, we reeled around on our feet and squared off against the two. The need to stay tough and intimidating in this situation is important, for them, because now they were outnumbered by a group they thought were afraid of them. The tried to keep the mean mug on their face, but the smallest edges of surprise gave away how they thought this walk was going to go down.

We charged before they had the chance to react with enough clear thought. They obviously hadn’t planned out this walk the way that we did. Within the first few strikes, they were curled up in balls on the ground. As the three of us attacked head, body and back to head. The one violent vote stretched out the arm of the shooter, and nodded to me. This was where I should have brought my foot down on it, but I hesitated. To my surprise the non violent vote was the one to do the action without thinking twice. The sound that resulted let us know that it worked on the first try.

I kneeled down between the two of them, and told them that we had the opportunity to get revenge, we could have killed them if we wanted to, stamped them out in some random back alley, and that would be the end of their street, but we weren’t going to. One life was lost, and that was already too much. We gathered up our bags and sweaters, and walked home, leaving the two on the ground in crumped heaps to tend to their wounds. We felt big, we felt like we sent a message, and mostly I felt relieved that it didn’t have to go any further than that, cause when it came right down to it, I don’t know if I had it in me to take a life, especially if mine wasn’t in any form of real danger in that moment.

The movie ending of this story would play out a lot different, things would escalate, or I would wind up in jail, or my friends would die due to gang violence and not giving up the lifestyle, but that’s not how it played out. We finished our school years with much the same issues as it went previously, minus the one shooting of course, and then I enrolled in community college. My other two friends moved out of the city when they could. I still visit my parents, on the same street, and I see the spot where I lost a comrade growing up, but I feel no attachment. I feel pity for the three kids I see standing on the corner, knowing exactly what’s going through their minds.

But now we’re adults and my story continues

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