Why for Peace Sake? I was relaxing on a cruise when it was time for dining. The
Maitre 'D announced that the crew represented over 300 different countries.
Curious, I went down to C desk and noticed an open door. These gentlemen lived in a cramped room for over 6 months out of the years and they get along.
True they have to or they would be fired but what if an event snowballed into peace in the Middle East.
The bible is clear, it says pray for the peace of Jerusalem. Those of us who claim that Abraham is the father of many nations understand that we are killing our own kind. Why, because we disagree on who should have the power.
|Product dimensions:||6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.73(d)|
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For Peace Sake
By Susan W. Barnes
AuthorHouseCopyright © 2013 Susan W. Barnes
All rights reserved.
Escaping the Miry Pit
It seemed to be the perfect day. The sun was shining and a light breeze blew through the classroom windows. But for ninth grader Sherea Draper, the last day of school at Judas Broadway Middle School, could be one of the worst days in her life. Sherea was not the most popular student at the school. Not up to date compared to her peers, she wore long dresses, never cut her hair, carried a bible and refused to use foul language.
But the things that really set her apart were her social activities which resolved around church or sports. She avoided parties, only talked to boys as friends and avoided those who indulged in those activities. She did not drink and was not intimidated by those who did. She understood that misery love company.
Five years ago, her parents moved to a new neighborhood of their dreams. They had dreamed of living back in this neighborhood since they were teens. Ten years ago, this was considered an upscale neighborhood with manicured lawns and freshly painted houses.
But living out of town, they were unaware of how much the neighborhood had changed. Stumbling upon a tax sale on the largest home on the block; they were thrilled to finally live in Chateau Estates. So they purchased the home sight unseen and were excited until the U-haul passed dilapidated houses and cars.
What used to be a pristine area laid dirt and weeds instead. Empty homes were havens for vermin, the homeless and drug addicts. Strike one against following the advice of the pastor a church they attended for a month. At first, it had all the look and feel of their old church but something was missing, perhaps Holy Ghost?
"What happened here?" Sherea's mother Vashti remarked upon her first look at their new residence.
Stray dogs roamed the neighborhood. Many homes were for sale. One look at the "new" house and everyone knew that it was just the largest broken down house on the block. But they were determined to make it work. Everyone pitched in. Nick, Sherea's older brother, managed to make a few friends who came over to lend a hand. Using sweat equity on a host of problems from the roaches who tried to take over the basement to the cracked bricks leading up to the front door, returned the house to its former glory.
By the first day of school, the house was finally livable. Even though this school was her parents dream for their children to attend. But after the first day, it was Sherea's dream that no one from her family would ever attend this school again.
Even the NY board of education had it listed as one of the worst schools in NY City. Gang roamed the halls and the staff was intimidated. Sherea suffered from culture shock coming from a private school. Her new pastor recommended the school stating that most of the kids from their church attended that school. He left out an important fact; his oldest son was the school's gang leader. As far as Sherea was concerned that was strike two.
From the first day Sherea stepped foot in the school, it was obvious that she did not belong there. To most of her peers, she dressed funny. Everyone had an afro if you were cool but she had long, long white girl hair to the majority Black student body.
Many of them thought she was white. Her hair had several mixtures of blonde and brown. Her fair complexion did not help so the teased her by calling her the republican.
"It was the party of Abraham Lincoln," she retorted.
The school was mixed, but each race hung with its own kind. And no one looked like Sherea.
Daily she bugged her parents to transfer her to another school. But the administration needed her test scores and her parents refused to sign the papers. The picture they painted to her parents assured that she would graduate from that middle school. Sherea was out done that her parents did not believe her.
"Mom they are lying to you; there are not any accelerated classes."
The principal hurried and created accelerated classes which attracted students from other schools and the school board complied by funding the project. This was the only school that one could take those classes. Thus, her two friends, Singleton and Gina transferred to her school.
Having their company during the school year made it easier to avoid the thugs. But after three years of eating lunch outside and waiting to get home to use the restroom this final day could be the most dangerous day for all.
It all began three years ago. Sherea was still new to the school, only attended school for six months. One of the gang members flew by her placing his hands where he should not. Sherea slapped him and he was about to hit her when a teacher saw the entire incident and the thug was suspended.
Being twelve years old, she could pass for sixteen with hips, breast, light brown eyes and was five foot four inches tall. Sherea was hysterical to say the least therefore the principal allowed her to use the phone. She called her older brother, Nick, who was studying for his PhD at NYU.
Nick knew that his sister's looks could mean trouble. She was beautiful. Being an adopted male from the Middle East, he had a different attitude as to the duties of an older brother. He decided to diffuse the situation by picking the girls up for the next three years.
But the B-three gang tried many methods to seduce them. Unaware of Nick's ugly background, the gang had no idea who this Middle Eastern monster was. He grew up training daily to be a terrorist. But he had been abandoned in the US when a plan went terribly wrong. Unfortunately for the B-three gang, 40 members received a dose of terrorist torture at Nick's hands.
Fly Guy, the adopted pastor's son, needed four months to recuperate from his torture. Many of those who were tortured with him quit the gang thus turning his attention to younger kids he thought he could control more easily at Judas Broadway Middle School. But many older siblings told the stories about Leonard and Fly Guy which took on a life of its own.
But when news spread bout Nick getting a job out of town Sherea's final year the harassment resumed. This time it was double the harassment. The gang issued an order, there would be no virgins graduating from Judas Broadway Middle School, males or females.
Since these girls were known as the prettiest yet most moral at the school, operation no virgins was initiated. They had tried everything to get at her and her friends. But Sherea had a few jewels in her corner.
Most of the main gang leaders did not know that Nick had moved out of town until spring and no one knew that Nick was home because college ended in May. But Sherea had enough of all the nonsense. After another new recruit, slapped her in the wrong place while the group laughed, she turned and prophesied.
"In the name of Jesus, you fail to honor who lives in this body therefore consequences are headed your way. How long and how bad they will be depends on. You will be dragged down a hard road. And all associated with you will pay the price and beg to be saved, especially, Yusef."
As the year came to a close, the gang stepped up their activities. Many occasions Singleton had saved them from uncertain consequences. Three of her brothers told the girls about the assaults happening in both the girls and women's bathroom. Leonard began recruiting girls just to have access to the girls' locker room and bathroom.
But on the last day, the boys believed they could do anything. The only disciplinary action that students would receive would not take place until the school reopened in the fall.
Some teachers were tired of the lack of action by the school board. Teachers who could retire would; others would not remember exactly what happened. It was one student's word against another.
The homeroom teacher was aware of the problem and allowed any student with a B or above average, to leave her class early. With Sherea's books turned in, locker cleaned, she had her yearbook and that all important report card. Sherea uneasy feeling turned to fear as this day was ending soon. Her plan was to avoid the commotion and get home as quickly as possible. But this was their last chance to catch her.
Being a latch key child her parents had gone the extra measure to make sure the house was secure. With the new alarm system, the police were at a touch of a button, if they were going to show up at all. It was a well known fact that the police would show up 30 minutes to an hour later in the Black community.
She was looking forward to a nice quiet house to thank God for all He had done this year. Her friends offered to go home with her and stay until their parents picked them up. This way everyone will have someone with them. Once this craziness is over, they would go to Holy Ghost Camp.
Summer time they were too young to get jobs and too old to attend most camps. If their parents had the money, they could visit a cousin who lived far away or attend a program for teens. But today, it would be a challenge just to get home from school. Upscale neighborhoods had school buses but Sherea did not attend those schools. She took a quick glance at the bell, she had two minutes. The teacher motioned for her to leave the classroom.
What she needed most, was a ride home. Nick had an internship with the city and was unable to pick her up from school in time. Sherea was a budding track star; she had been in meets all spring. Running for her school gave her the ability to run long distances. She had been on the track team since seventh grade. She was fast enough to obtain an invitation to the Jr. US Olympics. But two boys in the gangs were also on the track team even though one needed a B average to participate in after school activities. To make things worse, some were faster.
Nick drove the girls to school the night before. He had outlined a plan that would change their lives.
"You want to get a head start, remember, Fly Guy doesn't go to school. He will be outside watching the doors but he can't watch them all by himself. As soon as you realize they are chasing you, run hard because your life depends on getting home safely. At the bottom of the hill, turn left and run in the middle of the street. That will attract attention which might be helpful later. Search for three state of the art limousines, one will have my friend in it, and the other two are for protection. One of my friend's guards will pull you in. He will be there; Sherea, he remembers you."
Sherea and Singleton focused on what he said, but they were hoping to make the first bus.
"Gina, are you listening," he asked.
"Yes, I just wish you would miss that one class and pick us up."
"If you listen to me, you will be fine. You want to meet at the side gym door; stash your running clothes in the janitor's closet in that morning. Put them over your clothes and wear a skirt to school that you won't miss."
Singleton got in Gina's face, "Wear your clogs and I'll ground them to powder," she said through her teeth.
Gina went back to picking at her nails; she was wearing what was cute, and in style no matter what she had to do.
Nick continued, "Put rocks in your pocket or throw them behind you. It is very hard to run on rocks and they will hurt if they fall. Stuff your jacket with two bottles of coke. Just hit the person closest to you, they will be surprised."
Sherea glanced over at Gina. She knew if anyone would spoil the plan, it would be Gina.
"Gina, what did Nicky just say?"
"Oh something about don't act like your head is full of rocks and bring a coke," she replied.
Reviewing Nick's instructions in her head, Sherea knew that a good run was better than a bad stand any day. But this was serious situation as she was running for her life. This was one of those situations that if she failed, could change her life for the worst. She had the right to prevent someone from touching her body. The entire problem was ridiculous; she had the right to wear the clothes she wanted to wear! She wished they would just do what they do best, beat on other gangs.
After Nick dropped Gina off, he turned to the other two and said,
"She wants to be caught. If she shows up in heels, leave her."
Leaving the classroom, she felt her heart beating out of her chest. She reached up and quickly felt for her house key dangling around her neck. A glance at the clock, noted less than a minute until the bell rang. As she passed a window, she saw the principal getting in his car. He was almost stabbed last year. He was leaving early, abandoning the rest of the staff. Her gym teacher motioned for her to come through the gym.
"Sherea use the gym side door," he suggested.
Sherea looked up and saw Singleton moving quickly and quietly heading toward her direction, allowing them precious extra minutes to execute their plan. She and Singleton quickly and quietly headed down the steps away from the lockers as they moved toward the gym side door to await Gina.
They quickly changed clothes while Gina took her sweet time. Sherea shuffled her feet as she tried to concentrate on their plan to make the 3:05 bus. But we won't attract attention and still make it to the bus stop."
She grabbed Gina's hand and demanded for her to keep up. Easing out the gym door, they took the path around the track and slid quietly through the brief woods to the sidewalk. So far, so good, they were ahead of the pack. Most of the students were standing around watching small fights.
Sherea was the brains of the group; most of her life was spent at the library. Even though she played basketball, baseball and tennis, her real talent was singing. Sherea was always plotting and planning sometimes reading the books of former great generals from WWII. Sherea had two brothers, one older and one younger. Older brother, Nick, had planned the escape route to the bus stop.
Things were going smooth; so far the plan was working. Everyone was playing their part and soon, everyone would be on the 3:05 bus. But everyone had their own agenda and Gina was no exception. Gina loved being the center of attention and always lagged behind. Wearing heals made her hips move back and forth which attracted attention.
This one day it was not wanted, the other girls could not afford or want attention. But Gina craved it. Gina had to show off her calves, all that was needed was a gust of wind. Walking along the outside close to the road and her wind came, lifting her dress revealing a pair of hot pink short shorts. Gina was just waiting for some attention but Singleton noticed first.
"Lose the get up and the clogs," Singleton demanded before they left the cover of the woods, "You can't run in those shoes."
Singleton grabbed Gina, "I am serious, don't turn around or answer anyone who calls your name. They will be looking for us."
"Come on girls, if we fight each other, we will never make it home," Sherea begged always being the peace maker.
Kids from other schools had begun to gather by the school's entrance. It appeared as if free concert tickets were being handed out at the door. Just before they came out the in the open, Sherea had a sudden sick feeling.
"Hurry Gina, you are holding us up," Singleton angrily told her.
Gina purposefully chilled allowing two students who left after them to pass by. Singleton was serious. Having five brothers gave her insight to what damage angry boys can do.
"Check your hats; the gang will be looking for girls with long hair and skirts. Not girls dressed like everyone else with cool hats and designer jeans."
With the sidewalk dead ahead, they were out in the open. Hats were working; the girls fit in with the rest of the crowd. They were half way down the sidewalk. Before they walked out in the open, they made a pact not to turn around or talk, just quietly mingle with the crowd moving toward the bus stop. Once in the open Sherea and Singleton were stepping in unison.
But Gina managed to put back on her clogs and arrange her hat in a position so it would fly off. Her motivation was to get caught. She thought her mother was coming to pick them up but she did not want to wait at school. It would be too dangerous. Plus she hated taking the bus.
She thought the girls would stay with her; they had never left her before. And she thought Singleton's brothers would come too. She had a totally different plan. Then she ran on her toes to catch up. The move attracted attention. Just as the girls were half-way, Gina suddenly turned around and smiled. Her hat flew off with a blast of wind and her hair moved with the gust.
Suddenly, a boy said loudly, "Shorty, how about hangin with me; hey, girlfriend, come here, what's your name?"
"What are you doing this summer?"
Gina had to "pose" as she pretend to run.
Together, Sing and Rhea said, "Oh no, not today, GINA; you don't want to be caught today. Don't answer and pick up your pace."
Gina, loving attention, turned back around facing the crowd, blowing kisses as if she had personal security. Sherea took out her mirror; she could see boys breaking away from the crowd running in their direction. Sherea roughly tossed her around like a three year old who had seen candy.
Excerpted from For Peace Sake by Susan W. Barnes. Copyright © 2013 Susan W. Barnes. Excerpted by permission of AuthorHouse.
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