The next couple of weeks Gabriel showed me more of his Angels and Demons. They were each magnificent and terrible in their own ways. I saw less and less of my other friends, but it was because they actually had things to do; Sarah had joined the cheerleading squad for the Pop Warner football team, so that kept her occupied. As you can tell, I am not the cheerleading type, but she seems happy, so who am I to criticize? Besides which she seemed to have a new idol, some girl named Elizabeth. She was a Spanish girl from way on the other side of town, but who I guess would be in 9th grade with us. She was Brown like me, and had long Black hair like I did as well. In fact we resembled each other in a lot of ways, except that she had already, uh, developed in some ways that my body clearly had no intention of doing so as of yet, which was fine by me. I didn’t want all that attention, and she was already starting to revel in it, so more power to her. I could tell from the opposite side of the field that there was something different about her, but I couldn’t put my finger on it. Every now and then I thought I caught her sneaking glimpses at me, but I was never quite sure. The whole exchange was weirding me out, so I decided to just let it go.
As for Martin, it took him a whole year and a half to get his dream self back after Lewis “killed” him. He started playing Pop Warner football, and it turns out he’s actually pretty good at it. I go to see him play sometimes and I see sparks of the old him returning. It’s good for both of us. His family came from the south side of Chicago, and he was the first Brown person I ever saw here outside of my family. It was rough seeing him listless and defeated for so long. But he’s got hope again, and a fire in his eyes that you can see rejuvenating not just him, but his entire family as well. I could care less about football, but every time he scores a touchdown I can’t help but smile for him. It doesn't hurt that his family feeds me great soul food every time I come over, which seems to be more and more often. He should have warned them that I am like a stray dog; if you feed me once I'll never leave.
At this particular game Lewis came with me. He and Martin had actually become really good friends since the Dragon incident. Lewis was Jewish, and though it is a stereotype, he is definitely prone to guilt. Lewis never forgave himself for what he did to Martin, especially since Martin was Black and Lewis was growing into what he called a “Liberal”. In any event he could not do enough to apologize, even though Martin had honestly gotten over it a while ago. I guess in a way Martin had a chance to mature more than the rest of us in that time that he was living completely in the real world, but in the end he still managed to retain his powers. He truly had the best of both worlds, nothing to complain about really, but Lewis just couldn’t get over his guilt. It all seemed to work out for the best though, as Lewis’s guilt seemed to amuse Martin, but he never abused it. Boys fight, boys make up, boys become best friends; boys are silly, but I guess that’s how boys work. They’re my boys and I wouldn’t trade them for anything, especially since one of my boys just scored on a 7 yard run to win the game!
“Yeah Boy, that’s my Juggernaut!” I said as I gave Marty a big muddy hug. After the game was over, Martin, Sarah, Lewis and I were about to walk home together, when Elizabeth came over, in all of her “Just Bring It” glory. “Excuse me? Sarah? Where are you going? We still have our post-game Cheer-togetherness Bakeshop to go to.”
Sarah turned white as a ghost, “OH MY GOD! I forgot about the bakeshop!”
“Bakeshop?” I said, trying not so hard to hide the derision in my voice.
“Yes Lola, It is a Baking workshop, and it is very important to Cheer cohesion and unity, and something that any serious Cheerleader would not have forgotten.” Sarah dropped her head in shame as if she had just been caught selling Federal Secrets to the Russians. “Guys I really have to go, I’m sorry, I’ll make it up to you later.” Martin and Lewis just nodded, but I sensed something was amiss. “Yeah Sarah you go ahead and ditch us for your circle-bake. You know Lizzy, Sarah already had plans with us. I’m sure you’re Stepford Bakeoff will be fine without her.” I stepped in between Sarah and Lizzy. A cool breeze blew on that warm Summer evening, and Martin, Lewis, and Sarah backed off; they knew the look in my eye, and they knew what was going to happen. “I hope she’s quick with this one”, Martin said, “I’m hungry, and My mother’s makin dinner for all of us.”
I thought about how I would take this girl down. In my minds eye I saw myself as the Judo girl from Street Fighter 3, perfect for slamming this bitch's face in the mud. Martin whispered to Lewis “she’s going for the Judo technique, this should be over fast.” As the tension in the air thickened like the skin on old pudding, the very first leaf of late summer fell from an oak tree and twirled between the two girls. As soon as it passed below their eye level they lunged at each other. Lola disappeared, and in the blink of an eye her fist was… firmly caught in Liz’s left hand. The impact sent a shockwave through the puddles surrounding them, and a look of shock through the faces of Lola’s friends. They had never seen someone block one of her punches; ever. But then they looked closer at Liz and saw that she was no normal opponent. Lola finally realized what the weirdness she felt about Liz was; she had a power level of her own, and as Liz’s hand clamped down on Lola’s fist, Lola realized that she was dealing with someone who she should not have taken so lightly. She pulled Lola in and delivered a thunderous blow to her chest, knocking Lola on her back and shaking the ground. When Lola looked up, the cheerleader was gone, and there stood Liz in Bruce Lee’s classic Kung Fu pose, right down to his patented head bop and yellow jumpsuit. She brushed her long black hair out of her face and waived for Lola to come at her. “I’m gonna call Mom”, Marty said, “and tell her we’re going to be a little late for dinner.”