The kids cut through the bushes. Brice breathed through his mouth, giving himself more energy. No time to warm up. He edged closer as the two reached Stein Playground. The trailing student fell, sliding on squishy grass. Brice tackled him. He attended his ninth grade Algebra class, a quiet kid he couldn't remember his name.
Brice covered the student’s head.
“You snitch, you’re dead,” the kid with the high top haircut said. Brice looked up. The shooter aimed the gun, flashing him a keep-your-mouth-shut look. He buried his head in the grass.
Brice jumped up when the shooter stopped firing. The shooter fronted him with his gun poking out his side pocket. This demonstrated to him that fools with guns ran the turf. The shooter disappeared in between the houses on Faust Ave.
“Who was that?” Brice asked, coughing each word.
“It’s Vapor,” the ninth grader said.
Brice yanked the student to his feet then snatched the bag from him. “What’s in here?”
“It’s my lunch.”
“It better be.” Brice unrolled the back. “This gun is automatic suspension.”
“Mr. Frankel, don’t hassle me,” he said.
"Is Vapor a gun dealer?" Brice asked. His silence meant yes. "Is he a student or somebody who breezes in when he needs to unload his guns?"
"I'm not going to be a dead snitch."
"What do you plan to do with this gun?"
“Use it for protection.”
“What are you protecting yourself from?” Brice asked.
“People who kill kids,” he said. “Mr. Frankel, can I go now?”
“Go back to the door you came out of,” Brice said. “Attend all your classes.”
“Mr. Frankel. I paid good money for that.”
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