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Juvenile Jive

Juvenile Jive

“You get that money from Tommy jit?”
“Yeah I got it.”
“Good now lets go to the store and get a beer.”

Ray and his little brother Terrence headed on their way to the store to find an old drunk to purchase their booze.

“Yo T they still think we leavin’ right?”
“Yea Ray they was tellin’ me about what they was going to do when we leave.”

The boys shared a laugh at the expense of the gullible neighborhood kids following their lead. The two brothers conjured a plan to con money out of the rebellious children of their community. The year is 1984 and the Williams family is one of the few African-American families residing in the small community nestled in the heart of Pine Hills. Ray and Terrence noticed how disrespectful their new White friends were to their parents despite their wonderful life full of the materials things they desired. Their parents were tolerant of their children’s outbursts and disrepute towards them which left the boys baffled. They knew that if there were ever a day they got the inclination to show insolence toward their parents that it may be their last day on this earth. The boys were amazed at how much the kids could get away with. This amazement sparked devious plans in the minds of the brothers.

They began talking to all of the kids in the neighborhood about how sick of their parents they were and the other children began to open up about their own dissatisfaction with their home lives. Then the boys came up with a scheme to defraud them out of the money they would steal or demand from their parents. Seditious redirect of saving money to run away in two-years was relayed to the defiant pre-teens.

Ray was expert at swindling naïve trusting youngsters. He spun a tale of how he and his brother had been saving money in a jar for six months. The purpose of the money was to fund their running away and starting their own lives without their parents and their rules. All of the kids readily agreed; word spread through the neighborhood like wildfire. Money fell into the boys’ hands daily. The boys enjoyed the luxuries of all of the kids’ homes throughout the summer. Groceries were consumed, games and toys were borrowed but never returned and pools were enjoyed. If the residents happened to not be home during the day the boys still enjoyed their pools. They would sometimes jump from yard to yard, pool to pool. Trees of oranges, tangerines, mangos, apples and peaches courtesy of their neighbors were munched through by the boys throughout the long summer. Any and all free resources in the community were utilized by the devious duo.

The boys walked back home after purchasing four quarts of beer through a surrogate drunk in need of a beer. As they approached their home they laughed at their summer’s long hustle.

“Ray them dumb ass crackers been givin’ us all this damn money and we ain’t takin’ ‘em nowhere. I don’t know why they stupid asses want to leave all that shit anyway.”
“Fuck dat T, that’s they business. I just want the paper.”

They each finished their first quart and then stashed their second in the hedges in front of their house. They entered the front door all smiles unsuspecting of what trouble was waiting on the other side of the door for them. On their living room couch sat Mr. and Mrs. Younger as well as the Mitchells from down the street.

The boy’s parents’ stoic faces told the story; they knew that they were in serious trouble. Their father, the 6’7” 276lbs director of the Orange County Juvenile Detention Center, spoke up first in a mocking tone.

“Well fellas welcome home. Come on in and have a seat. You know the Youngers and the Mitchells don’t you?”

The boys responded by saying good evening to the two couples. Then their father continued.

“It seems that you two have been involved in some kind of neighborhood criminal enterprise, got plans of running away do you?”

Neither boy answered when their father’s eyes fell on them. He continued on.

“I understand that you two have been conning the neighborhood kids out of money. From what I hear ya’ll got a jar you put money in for your runaway fund, uh? Where is this magic jar full of money anyway?”

The boys still didn’t answer for fear of angering their father. They knew that all of his questions were rhetorical and that he had already come to a conclusion as to what they were up to and decided their punishment. This conversation was of mere formality.

“Since you two don’t seem to have a whole lotta answers, I’ve come up with my own. The Mitchells estimated that you got over two-hundred dollars from their kids so I think you should repay three-hundred and you will! The Youngers here estimate that you owe them in the neighborhood of one-hundred and fifty dollars so you’ll repay them three-hundred dollars too. I’ve got jobs lined of for the two of you down at the detention center, we need two new janitors and I think you two fit the bill. I will collect your pay checks and give every dime to the victims of your crimes. Of course you’re both grounded and we’re gonna have a meeting in the boys room later on!”

The boys both shuttered at the thought of the beating their huge father would give to them later that evening.

“For the next six months ya’ll gonna cut the Younger’s and the Mitchell’s yards too. Since ya’ll had so much fun actin’ a fool on their property this summer, now you can keep it lookin’ nice. I also want both of you to write a letter of apology to both families tonight after our meeting in the boy’s room.”

The man looked down on his two sons with contempt in his eyes. Both wronged couples on the couch began to fear for the juvenile’s safety after their departure. They were allowed to sit in on this family conversation as a lesson in parenting. Mr. Williams thought that the parents and their “White” way of raising their kids was part of the problem. Not demanding respect or courtesy from their children left their kids susceptible to the negative influence of their peers. He felt that if your children didn’t love and respect you, you can’t effectively educate or discipline them. He knew the issues with his own children and he planned on punishing them thoroughly to break them of their criminal ways. But, he could never imagine his children stealing from him and his wife and giving their funds to one of their friends. The boys wouldn’t dare, because they knew the severe consequences and more importantly they loved and respected their parents too much.

“Do you two have anything to say to these nice people?”

The boys mumbled in unison “sorry”.

“I cant’ hear you!”

Their father snapped at his sons’ weak responses. They spoke the words more audible and looked at the couples with genuine contrition in their eyes. The boys spent the remainder of the summer making amends for their transgressions against their community. Many a day they could hear the 80’s hit song “Cruel Summer” pouring from the radios of cars passing by. The song resonated with them as they sweated away the summer of ‘84 in the Florida sun making atonement for their unlawful actions and adverse antics of adolescence.
Photo: Juvenile Jive “You get that money from Tommy jit?” “Yeah I got it.” “Good now lets go to the store and get a beer.” Ray and his little brother Terrence headed on their way to the store to find an old drunk to purchase their booze. “Yo T they still think we leavin’ right?” “Yea Ray they was tellin’ me about what they was going to do when we leave.” The boys shared a laugh at the expense of the gullible neighborhood kids following their lead. The two brothers conjured a plan to con money out of the rebellious children of their community. The year is 1984 and the Williams family is one of the few African-American families residing in the small community nestled in the heart of Pine Hills. Ray and Terrence noticed how disrespectful their new White friends were to their parents despite their wonderful life full of the materials things they desired. Their parents were tolerant of their children’s outbursts and disrepute towards them which left the boys baffled. They knew that if there were ever a day they got the inclination to show insolence toward their parents that it may be their last day on this earth. The boys were amazed at how much the kids could get away with. This amazement sparked devious plans in the minds of the brothers. They began talking to all of the kids in the neighborhood about how sick of their parents they were and the other children began to open up about their own dissatisfaction with their home lives. Then the boys came up with a scheme to defraud them out of the money they would steal or demand from their parents. Seditious redirect of saving money to run away in two-years was relayed to the defiant pre-teens. Ray was expert at swindling naïve trusting youngsters. He spun a tale of how he and his brother had been saving money in a jar for six months. The purpose of the money was to fund their running away and starting their own lives without their parents and their rules. All of the kids readily agreed; word spread through the neighborhood like wildfire. Money fell into the boys’ hands daily. The boys enjoyed the luxuries of all of the kids’ homes throughout the summer. Groceries were consumed, games and toys were borrowed but never returned and pools were enjoyed. If the residents happened to not be home during the day the boys still enjoyed their pools. They would sometimes jump from yard to yard, pool to pool. Trees of oranges, tangerines, mangos, apples and peaches courtesy of their neighbors were munched through by the boys throughout the long summer. Any and all free resources in the community were utilized by the devious duo. The boys walked back home after purchasing four quarts of beer through a surrogate drunk in need of a beer. As they approached their home they laughed at their summer’s long hustle. “Ray them dumb ass crackers been givin’ us all this damn money and we ain’t takin’ ‘em nowhere. I don’t know why they stupid asses want to leave all that shit anyway.” “Fuck dat T, that’s they business. I just want the paper.” They each finished their first quart and then stashed their second in the hedges in front of their house. They entered the front door all smiles unsuspecting of what trouble was waiting on the other side of the door for them. On their living room couch sat Mr. and Mrs. Younger as well as the Mitchells from down the street. The boy’s parents’ stoic faces told the story; they knew that they were in serious trouble. Their father, the 6’7” 276lbs director of the Orange County Juvenile Detention Center, spoke up first in a mocking tone. “Well fellas welcome home. Come on in and have a seat. You know the Youngers and the Mitchells don’t you?” The boys responded by saying good evening to the two couples. Then their father continued. “It seems that you two have been involved in some kind of neighborhood criminal enterprise, got plans of running away do you?” Neither boy answered when their father’s eyes fell on them. He continued on. “I understand that you two have been conning the neighborhood kids out of money. From what I hear ya’ll got a jar you put money in for your runaway fund, uh? Where is this magic jar full of money anyway?” The boys still didn’t answer for fear of angering their father. They knew that all of his questions were rhetorical and that he had already come to a conclusion as to what they were up to and decided their punishment. This conversation was of mere formality. “Since you two don’t seem to have a whole lotta answers, I’ve come up with my own. The Mitchells estimated that you got over two-hundred dollars from their kids so I think you should repay three-hundred and you will! The Youngers here estimate that you owe them in the neighborhood of one-hundred and fifty dollars so you’ll repay them three-hundred dollars too. I’ve got jobs lined of for the two of you down at the detention center, we need two new janitors and I think you two fit the bill. I will collect your pay checks and give every dime to the victims of your crimes. Of course you’re both grounded and we’re gonna have a meeting in the boys room later on!” The boys both shuttered at the thought of the beating their huge father would give to them later that evening. “For the next six months ya’ll gonna cut the Younger’s and the Mitchell’s yards too. Since ya’ll had so much fun actin’ a fool on their property this summer, now you can keep it lookin’ nice. I also want both of you to write a letter of apology to both families tonight after our meeting in the boy’s room.” The man looked down on his two sons with contempt in his eyes. Both wronged couples on the couch began to fear for the juvenile’s safety after their departure. They were allowed to sit in on this family conversation as a lesson in parenting. Mr. Williams thought that the parents and their “White” way of raising their kids was part of the problem. Not demanding respect or courtesy from their children left their kids susceptible to the negative influence of their peers. He felt that if your children didn’t love and respect you, you can’t effectively educate or discipline them. He knew the issues with his own children and he planned on punishing them thoroughly to break them of their criminal ways. But, he could never imagine his children stealing from him and his wife and giving their funds to one of their friends. The boys wouldn’t dare, because they knew the severe consequences and more importantly they loved and respected their parents too much. “Do you two have anything to say to these nice people?” The boys mumbled in unison “sorry”. “I cant’ hear you!” Their father snapped at his sons’ weak responses. They spoke the words more audible and looked at the couples with genuine contrition in their eyes. The boys spent the remainder of the summer making amends for their transgressions against their community. Many a day they could hear the 80’s hit song “Cruel Summer” pouring from the radios of cars passing by. The song resonated with them as they sweated away the summer of ‘84 in the Florida sun making atonement for their unlawful actions and adverse antics of adolescence.

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