The Plaza Park Boys entered the room.
The Square Street Gang was already seated behind a folding table.
The room was still with stares.
The Reverend and I stood between the two gangs.
The Reverend gave them rules.
Then we stepped aside.
They looked intensely at each other.
A Plaza Park Boy, Wizzo, spoke. “How did this shit start? We all use to play baseball together.”
A Square Boy responded, “It was over some bitches.”
One of the boys from Plaza Park was bullying a girl who lived in the Square.
“Yeah, you came back trying to buss at us,” Wizzo said, “But the gun jammed.”
Lee, a Square Boy pulled out a gun, the Plaza Park boys scattered, hiding behind parked cars and buildings.
The gun wouldn’t go off.
When the Plaza Park Boys realized the gun was jammed they chased and caught Lee, and then beat him until he was bloody, kicking out one of his front teeth.
Lee remembered that summer afternoon. He put his fingers in his mouth, took out his false tooth, and placed it on the table.
“I just got this shit fixed. So what’s up now?” he asked.
He continued, “We won’t shoot at you, if you don’t shoot at us.”
The Plaza Park Boys agreed. “Stay on your side and we’ll stay on ours.”
Malo, a Plaza Park Boy who lived across the street from the Square, said, “Can me and my step sons walk home safely?”
“Don’t be wearing hoodies and shit,” a Square boy replied. “Let us see who you be or else we bussing.”
And just like that a long time gang war had ended.
Or so we thought.