Anthony always asked why Omar was still in school. Some days, Omar didn’t get it either. Why should he have to be caged up in some classroom, learning about what old white dudes had done to the world.
It wasn’t like even community college was in the cards, not when outside his window he could see the game, right there. It was ready to be played, and when he was in school all Omar could do was eye it up, not go out and get his. And the game, it didn’t wait for no man, no matter what no truant officer said.
The bell rang, clamoring loudly. The screeching tones were warring with the pounding of students’ feet as they rushed out into the hall. Omar didn’t bother to run. He just took his time, strolling where he want.
He didn’t quite have the rep to carry himself tall here, yet. People might know his brother’s name already, and his scar marked him, but his own name didn’t ring out yet. Omar was still pushed in the hallway by the drifting groups and gangs of kids all clumped together. He ran solo here in school.
Most of the time he liked it that way. Most of time he could carry it solo. No one messed with Anthony Little’s brother. Someday, Omar promised himself, that would have less to do with Anthony and more about him.
Except apparently, there was someone who would step to him, judging by the long ass stick they had just whacked Omar in the head with.
“Yo.” Omar kept his voice soft. He didn't like to yell, or cuss none, either. Gramma had always said cussing was a last resort to get attention, and that was one thing Omar knew how to get on his own. He didn't know why it was, or how. Omar secretly liked to think it was his soul, all burnished and glowing like the wing's of the angel that sat on Gram's mantle. That was what made people listen when he spoke.
His fifth grade teach, Mrs. Monroe used to say all exasperated, "If only you would put your charisma to something good." Of course, those words only came when she was annoyed with him. Like when he convinced his whole fifth grade class that they needed to turn all the desks over and have class underneath in case of an earthquake.
Omar laughed a little at the thought. That was before Anthony let him do more than sneak a peek at the game. No more kid playing for him.
"What you laughing at, little man? Didn't you ever see a nigger with a lacrosse stick before?" His eyes were sparkling. Omar could see them through the fringe of dark lashes. They weren’t the eyes of someone in the game. Too pretty.
"Is that what that thing is, I thought it was just some compensation for your penis, being as it is so small and all." Eyes or not, Omar got to stand tall.
“Nah, man. See that basket on the end, that is to hold up the end of my dick when I take it out. It’s good for other things too.” He waggled his eyebrows. “They call me The Bunk.”
Omar felt a grin slide onto his face all unintentional like. This guy was smooth for sure. But before he could respond as that deserved, the bell rang out again. So all he said was, “See you around, Bunk.”
“What the fuck are we doing here, Omar?”
“We be watching the game, fool. I thought you might be able to tell, what with the cheering crowds and the people running around with balls and sticks on the field.” Omar raised his eyebrow at Anthony.
“Shit man, you can’t call that a crowd. It is like maybe ten people. And I know why there aren’t more. It is because who the fuck wants to watch a lacrosse game?”
Omar ignored him. They were sitting way up in the bleachers, but if he looked real careful he could see Bunk running full tilt at one of the white dudes, who was looking very unhappy about the situation. He huffed out a laugh.
“Fuck this, man. I hear the girl’s lacrosse team wears those little skirts to play. I’m gonna go find one of those games instead. But you holler if you need, okay?”
Anthony reached down a hand to pat Omar’s head. Like he was still some kind of kid. Omar batted it away, even though he kind of liked it. He was almost thirteen now, way too old for that bullshit.
He kept his eyes trained down on the field, watching Bunk as he ran, his legs bare against the brisk Baltimore evening. There ain’t anything wrong with watching, he told himself.
Omar had wanted to slip away before it ended. It didn’t do no favors to a man’s rep to be seen at no lacrosse game. But between his fixed gaze on Bunk, which didn’t mean no thing, he assured himself, and not really knowing the game, it took the rest of people in the stands wandering away for him to notice it was over.
He still tried to carry it all nonchalant, though. But that was foiled when he was spotted.
“Yo, my little man, what you doing around here?” Bunk was grinning at him. No way Omar could just walk away.
“Came to see what you could actually do with that stick.” He tried to keep his voice steady. Lately it had been going crazy on him, but he wanted it to be level.
“You learn anything?”
“People pay attention when you have something that big in your hands.”
“My stick is magic. All the girls agree, don’t they, Maddy my love?” Bunk wasn’t watching Omar none. No, his attention was laser focused on this tall girl. Her braids were fierce, and Omar had seen her around before, had thought she was okay.
Now he hated her. Not sure why. Maybe it was the way she curled her arm so close around Bunk. Not wanting to watch some seniors making out, even if one of them had such a pretty mouth, he walked away.
Time to find Anthony, because it was time for the real game, indeed.
“There you are, motherfucker.” Bunk rooted through the box to grab his prize. “Now this, my dutiful progeny-”
“What does that-”
“You, my son. And don’t tell your momma about the ‘motherfucker’ comment. And what was I saying? Ah, yes. I was about to show you your father in all his high school glory.”
Bunk began flipping through the Edmonson High yearbook, looking for the lacrosse page. “Motherfucker.” He turned to glance at his son. “That one stays secret too.”
He tapped his finger down on the picture. Bunk’s younger self was all flushed with victory, his arm around a fine young thing. But all his attention was on another figure. “Well fuck me.”
“This picture has some story to it now. But you can’t ever tell Uncle Jimmy.” He waited until he saw a nod. “Alright then. You ever heard about the man they call Omar?”