Street Diplomacy

The school bell rang around 8:50 pm each night and we all knew what that meant.

A gang fight.

A walk home from school had built-in entertainment just a few blocks away from the school gates - a park with a large kiosk that served as front row seats to gang fights. The Undercard - unresolved beef that cooked over the school-day on some gossip between 2 girls always led to the exchange of ideas which included hair-pulling, kicking and punching around with eyes-wide-shut.

The Fight Card - Dozens of students would form a large circle around the girl-fight to watch the mayhem and push the girls back into the circle as they tumbled around the ground. At some point the fight would turn into a fighting frenzy between the 2 gangs. Time to go home. Walking home from school each night was straight out of a scene from the movie The Warriors. Luckily for me, my street-diplomacy and knowing when-and-where to name-drop my classmates names was my passport as I entered and exited several gang borderlines with my backpack and skateboard on hand.