Best Served Cold
The entire summer that stood between 9th and 10th grade, vengeance was on Trevon’s mind. The wicked thoughts were directed towards Zaire Thompson; the boy who made his left eye black and his summer days blue. Always an moral-driven thinker, his father punished him for instigation. He had indirectly started the food fight, and in return got decked in the eye. For doing so, his father sent him off to a sleepaway camp in Albany, focusing on academics and sports. Academics and Sports made synonymous with Fun! The slogan alone bored Trevon to the point of instant fatigue.
His father ended his speech of punishment by reminding his son “Never underestimate the Domino effect.”
From June to September, Trevon planned to flee the camp and walk 49 hours home at least four times a week. He had only restrained himself from doing so because of a new friend named Ferguson, who was in a similar situation as himself. Many nights they’d stay up, sketching escape routes and strategies, each trial getting more and more realistic. One the first night, they’d imagine themselves climbing the buildings, strangling guards to sleep and outracing camp security cars in their stolen BMXs. By the second to last week, they already knew where all the cameras and back doors were. They became close with the guards, giving them their only caffeine snacks of the day, building up their trust. Friendships were made with the counselors, and their good grades led the teachers to believe they would do no wrong. Enough loose change and dollars were collected throughout the summer to add to the money they were given by their parents. All together, they had enough money to buy two bicycles, and ride off into the sunset. Their idea of a master plan had been set up perfectly, and they’d carry it out the following Monday. However, in all the time it took to devise the plan, they forgot to check the time, as the camp ended that same week. Disappointed in their failure to carry out their master plan, they vowed to reunite in the future and do something just as amazingly brilliant. It would be many years until they did reunite, by pure coincidence.
. . .
When he’d finally been released from the most tedious of his life, he reconvened with his group, this being the first of many of their outside world encounters. Beforehand, their friendships stayed in school, and with no surefire way of communicating with each other, had left it at that.
Now, they were in 10th grade, kids no more, and they felt their collective friendship deserved an upgrade. Via Dillon, they now called themselves the Buffet Boys Gang, because “we own almost every goddamn thing in school. We’re like a bunch of black Warren Buffets, just owning and controlling everything. If we can control the school, why not control the city?” No one took it seriously, yet they all jokingly called themselves the Buffet Gang for weeks on end. Initially, Trevon disliked the idea of it, because not only did it make them seem like an actual gang, something his father was always against him being in, it would also give them a villainous reputation in the school, and eventually the city entirely. Eventually the same stuck, but the boys called themselves the Buffet Boys instead of Buffet Gang, per Trevon’s request. However, this attempt to tone it down failed, by the second month of school, the entire school knew about ‘The Buffet Gang.’ At some point, Trevon accepted the fact that he was now in a ‘gang’ and had nothing against it; his father’s interest in him seemingly leaking out of him. He’d always stay out of trouble so his father wouldn’t worry. But with the Trevon’s black eye and all the work he had been given, his son was now an afterthought. He no longer had anyone to impress or any expectations to live up. It was just him and the homies.
And as much as he loved his friends, the closest things to brothers he’d ever have, the absence of his father’s presence hit him hard. Had he spent the first decade and a half forcing good grades and boring, perfect behavior, just to find out it was all for someone who wouldn’t even care? He had never thought about it as deeply as that, but the idea lingered in his head almost every day. He hated the idea of not being able to do anything about it. At the very least, he wanted to make himself content with his new life. For some reason, he felt that vengeance on Zaire Thompson would set his ‘new thug life’ a long course of smooth sailing.
He brought up the idea with the Buffet Boys, their immediate approval catching him off guard.
“You’re my ride or die Tre, of course.Consider him on the list. Him and Chris, the kid who skipped me and took the last goddamn chocolate milk last year” “We can run up on ‘em right now if you want! I don’t even have to finish this Mcnuggets bro.” “When I finish these fries, we’ll go get that cocky mother-”
“Slow down,” insisted Trevon, “I don’t think it’s as serious as you guys are taking it. I just wanna mess with him, not frame him for murder.” The Buffet Gang looked at each other as if they all had the same brilliant.
“We can frame him for something else though.” suggested Rodney.
“We can break into his house, plant some weed and a gun in there, I know some people who can get that stuff for me for ‘free 99’…” continued Sid.
“And then we anonymously tip the pigs about this kid with all this illegal stuff! It’s perfect.”
Dillon finished their collective thought.
Trevon shook his head, scratching the top of his near-shaved head. “You guys can’t be forreal. I could tell it was gonna be something stupid, then you throw the cops into the mix and now I’m wondering if you guys are even thinking about the same thing I am!”
“Alright, how about this,” Derek jumped in, the previously irrelevant one of the crew, not in a disrespectful way, only in the sense that he never had any impactful contributions. “We just tell his mom or something. His dad? His uncle? His grandma, grandpa, step-dad, older brother? Anybody who scares him or can whoop his ass or whatever.”
Dillon smiled at Derek as he patted his back supportively. “Damn Derek! Since when are you a master framer? Your mom work at The Photo Center or something?” The whole group laughed, but softly enough for the idea to still breath. Trevon nodded his head as his eyes scanned the floor.
“That’s actually pretty good Derek.” He stuck out his clenched hand and fistbumped the man with the plan. Raised off ethical lessons, Trevon’s mind began to formulate doubts. What could be the consequences? He questioned whether or not it was the right thing to do. Did he even care? In less than a minute, his emotions came into play and decided for him. “Let’s get to it then.”
A month went by, and the gang had all they needed to frame Zaire Thompson. Sid got the drugs and the gun, ‘no fingerprints’ he had promised. Derek took his mom’s car, a vehicle that been unused for months until he started the engine. He had just got permit, and assured us he’d be a great getaway driver, but Trevon decided to let Rodney take the wheel, because he’d been driving his grandfather to the liquor store since he was 13. That left Sid, Derek and Dillon to do the dirty work, busting in the house when no one was home and planting the evidence. Trevon insisted he had more of a role than just keeping a lookout, only to have his promotion request denied.
“No diss, but you not much of a sneaky, breaking and entering, frame someone for drugs and a gun type of guy. You’re more like a ‘Yo! Watch out! 5-0!5-0!’ type of guy. Plus, we doin’ this for you dawg. Just let us do this the right way.” Dillon explained. Trevon felt honored, maybe because they were honest and didn’t bother to sugarcoat things. Or maybe, because they knew deep down inside Trevon wanted to be involved as little as possible in this operation.
So on a Friday night, the entire Thompson family went out to the Copperfield High football, in which the youngest Zaire was second string wide receiver, and their oldest was starting quarterback. The Buffet Boys watched as they drove away in two cars, leaving the house empty and ripe for the picking. They waited twenty minutes before making a move on the house, just in case someone forgot a purse or a phone. Nobody returned. Sid, Derek, Dillon and Trevon hopped out the guy and jogged to the house, Trevon ducking by the porch bench, Sid picking the lock. Within minutes, they were in the house, looking for Zaire’s room. Before they could pick a room to search on the top floor, Trevon’s warning whistle filled the house. Dillon looked out the hallway window to see a black Chevrolet aggressively pull up to the driveway. A white man climbed out the car, flashlight in hand. A cop?! thought Trevon down below, terrified of getting caught. He jumped off the porch and took cover just as the man got to the door. He flicked his jacket backwards, just enough for Trevon to see the gold badge. Dillon signaled for his two companions to scatter, their escape plan one of their many flaws. Before long, all three realized they was only one way out, their unwanted visitor sure to see them.
Trevon, unaware and nervous about what was going on upstairs, climbed back up the porch and tiptoed towards the door. Before he could see past it, he heard the shouts of the encounter upstairs. Three blasts of wind blew by Trevon, shouting for him to get to the car. As he jumped the short flight of stairs, he could hear man behind them speak into a walkie talkie. A cop. At the end of the street, flashing red and blue lights appeared out of nowhere. He saw the same thing on the other side. He knew getting in the car was a sure way to get caught, so he screamed to the three that were running, to keep running and don’t get in the car. Only Derek listened, Dillon and Sid hopping into the car, only to be surrounded minutes later. Trevon and Derek ran for what feet like a mile, through a dozen houses’ yards, only to be cut off by more flashing lights. As his adrenaline left him, fear quickly took its place, reality setting in for him. It would take him a few years to learn that the police catching him was purely coincidence. They were acting upon a tip that suggested the Thompson house was a major drug distributor, and knew they’d be out of the house that night. Sometimes, and Trevon figured this the hard way once again, many things are out of your control.