by Kyle S., Age 13 , Grade 8
Sora Zhang was a pretty normal kid. And by normal, I mean normal in the way that a Japanese foreign exchange student with a dad who is a member of the Yakuza can be normal. He was a bit pudgy. Actually, he was very pudgy. He was made fun of all day. The only person who wanted to be his friend was a very obese Italian kid, but Sora responded by calling him a “ .” It’s a good think that Anthony Salerno didn’t speak Japanese.
He didn’t really have any friends, and the few mutual acquaintances he did have called him
After a particularly bad day of being pushed around, he began to want to take action. He was tired of people walking up to him and shouting “ANIME” or “PIKACHU, I CHOOSE YOU! I’M A POKEMON, TOO!” He didn’t even like anime (although he did quite enjoy playing Pokémon). He recalled what Yamaguchi-gumi's leader, always said about competition.
“ , o ,” which roughly translated to
“If someone challenges you, stab them.” This idea seemed pretty appealing to Sora. As his mind cleared, and his ears stopped ringing from the other students shouting at him, he began to create a plan. He obviously couldn’t do this on his own, so he’d need an accomplice, and he knew just the guy.
As Sora entered what had come to be known as the Closet at his school, his heart began to race. The Closet was known for its large gang presence. It reeked with the awful smell of cigarette smoke and substance abuse. He shuddered with memories of the last conspiracy with the Closet involved. He didn’t want to think about the news story about the burnt school, all of those children killed. The Closed still seemed to be mourning the death of Butch, their former leader.
He knew that in order to appeal to them at all, he had to act the opposite of what he really was. He had to act like he wasn’t a pudgy, pale, awkward, Asian foreign exchange student. He had often practiced acting normal. At his old school, before it had burned down mysteriously, he only survived off of looking as hip and cool as he could.
Sora was pretty confident in his ability to seem normal. He took a deep breath and walked up to Charles Gabriel III, the new head of the Closet. Just as Sora opened his mouth, he was interrupted by Charles’ Scottish accent, shouting
“What are you doing in my school?”
“Uh… I just wanted to ask you a question,” Sora muttered as he went over his pitch in his mind.
“Does it involve death?” asked Charles, obviously thinking of Butch’s.
“Not unless you make it that way,” replied Sora.
“Okay, give me the facts,” answered Charles.
“Lean in close,” said Sora “We can’t risk anyone hearing.”
As Sora contemplated all he could do with the Closet at his side, he passed a small child, exclaiming something about Apache Attack Helicopters being ‘.’
He was subsequently shoved into a locker by a tall British fourth grader who pledged his allegiance to the ‘Gucci Gang, Gucci Gang.’
Another subject, thought Sora, who promptly walked over and initiated his speech.
“Hello, kid! I’m Sora, and boy do I have a treat for you! For the small price of your innocence, you can be involved in a Yakuza scheme against all who have been mean to you!”