Thursday, April 2, 2009

Juiliet is Bleeding

Juiliet is miserable.

Shy, quiet, reserved, she has a hard time making friends and meeting people. For years she begged me to send her to South Gate, our rival high school because that's where her friends were. Like Rizzo is Drugstore Cowboy, Juilet was convinced if she went to South Gate everything would be wonderful.

Now in her junior year, she has finally began to make friends, and the clamour for South Gate has diminished. She even met a boy.

"Guess what, Mister? I met a guy."

"Is he in high school?" I grunt. I'm reading the morning news. Housing prices have dropped again.

"No. He dropped out."

I look up, attention diverted. "He's a drop out? How old is he?"

"I think he's like seventeen."

"Is he in a gang?" I ask, knowing that he already is.



"I don't know, Mister!" Juiliet whines. A moment later she rises to his defense. "I like him!

I shake my head and silently think to myself that this story can only end in one of two ways. Pregnacy, or jail.

I advise her to stay away from him, she ignores me. Attention from a boy is intoxicating, even if he is a little cholito two steps away from getting locked up.

Next Monday Juiliet enters my room, depressed. "Mister, he won't return my emails. I've texted him and MySpaced him, but he won't answer."

"How long have you guys been going out?" I ask.

"Since yesterday."

"Well...maybe a little early to start criticizing the relationship," I reply, holding in a chuckle.

"But why won't he answer?"

Because he's an idiotic gangbanger, he's a cholito looking for his cholita, he's a player and you're the mark, I think, mouth sewn shut.

The next day Juiliet is delighted. "Guess what, Mister? He returned my emails. We're going out."

"Great." I respond, sarcasm ten stories above her head.

"It is great, Mister. We're going to kick it today after school."

A week after that Juiliet is despondent. "Guess what, Mister?"

I know from the look on her face something happened to her boyfriend. Either they broke up or he's in jail, I think quietly. Probably jail.

"My boyfriend got locked up."

Leiken scores for 3 points, but he manages to keep his poker face. "What happened?"

"He got locked up for a violation."

"What kind of violation?"

"I don't know, we don't talk about that."

I shake my head and try to offer her words of encouragement, but then the story ended in one of the only two ways it could have ended. Break-up, or jail.

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