TITLE: Weight of Metals
GENRE: YA, Urban light SF/Fantasy
At breakfast my dad explains the irony of the civil war and the blood of names. He gets passionate about human rights and his voice keeps time with that patriotic cadence, but on an empty stomach, it's all static to me.
We ride to school together, winding back roads through a hybrid of urban street life and rural farmland to First Coast High. Most of my friends had his U.S. History class last year. They tell me he's a hard ass. I know this. He admitted he hit my mother once before she left. She's never come back.
Two weeks remaining in my senior year and there are three shoving matches at lunch and a whole lot of whistles blowing. I work through my sandwich quietly while Aryana stares at me over her Sunkist.
"Bae, what's wrong with you?" she says, swallowing. "You ain't saying nothing."
"You listening or nah?" she burps. "Why that thot, Lena, in your face yesterday?"
I gather my trash. Lena's at the next table over and makes eye contact when she hears her name. Her caramel legs always slide so smoothly from beneath her cheerleading skirt. Her fingers move over her cell and mine buzzes. Aryana blocks my view.
"You ratchet," she says, loudly, but it's drowned out by my boy yelling my name.
"Bruh," Mack says, panting. "Your pops!"
"What about him?"
"He was breaking up a fight, caught one in the face, and swung back," he says, miming the motions. "I saw them put him in handcuffs."