A Play by John G.

Performance: September, 2003
Hillcrest Juvenile Hall, San Mateo

Time: Twilight.
Place: The sky is filled with bright stars. The night sky looks like a black
blanket with holes in it. You can hear an owl in the distance hooting. The tall trees blow in the wind and shadows take strange form.
At rise: Some of the hardest hitters from the town are present. Ghandi the crow. Flaco and Check the cardinal birds. All stooped on numerous branches of a big old tree like leaders of foreign
countries. All eyes are on Artie the cardinal. He lands on a branch
in front of Loco, also a cardinal. The night light shines on their
beaks as they look at one another.


I am glad U made it bro.


How could I not, homeboy. So, what’s up, what’s the topic?

Loco: Well, this is what’s up, Bro. There’s this group of sparrows from over the hill. And these vatos ain’t cool at all, Homie. Turns out last night when I was out with Ghandi these fools came by my nest lookin 4 me. They didn’t find me. But what they did find was my little brother. They, they, they killed him, bro. He’s gone!

No, Bro, Li’l Sammy, that can’t be, Homie!


It is, and I can’t believe it myself. I found him dead this morning and the nest half destroyed. Homegirl Ana saw them flying away from my nest around 12 last night. These damn sparrows have taken it 2 another level, Homie. I mean, he was only 14.

Artie: I know, bro, I know. Loco, you have 2 calm down before you do something stupid. We have 2 think about what we’re doing before we act.
Loco: I am tired of thinkin bro. It’s time 2 act. I already called the green light on these vatos. Who wouldn’t, I mean what if they got Angie, how would U feel?

Look Homeboy, I more than anyone, knows how we do things in the town. And I don’t blame you. I can’t imagine, Loco, what you’re going through.

Loco: Damn right you don’t. Now I am asking you, Bro. I need U with me on this one. I understand that you’re trying to do something good 4 yourself, but we’ve been ridin side by side since we were young bucks.
Artie: I understand where U’re coming from. I’ve already gave years of my life 4 the town.
Loco: U know what, we all have.
Artie: I know, but I am fiending 4 something more, Loco. I need 2 start a family. I want 2 see new things go 2 school 2 learn things…2 become the first one in my family 2 succeed, Bro. If we get caught, we will get life. I will lose Angie and all my dreams go down the drain. I thought we were done with all this. I thought this was our time 2 kick it and call the shots.
Loco: Our time 2 kick it?!! This is our time 2 shine, Vato, our time 2 get our names etched in gold! I mean really show love 2 the barrio.
Artie: Wait a minute, Loco, this ain’t about your brother this is about your damn hood dreams! Show love 2 the hood?! I’ve been showing love 2 the hood 4 about 20 yea rs, I think its time 2 show myself some love and the ones that truly love me. That’s what you don’t understand. You don’t understand that hood life isn’t the only life.

You know what, check this out. I don’t understand! What happened 2 blood in blood out. Love and hate, sweat and tears? Loyalty above all laws? What happened 2 all that, bro? All U care about is your damn self now!

Artie: So what U think—I ain’t down 4 mine anymore?
Loco: What I think, you wanna know what I think?!! I think all that time made you weak minded. I don’t know about you anymore, Homeboy. I think that girl is messin with your head! That’s what I think!
Artie: You know what, my mind has changed, but so has this barrio. Loco, U used 2 be the most “firme” bird in the hood, but somewhere along the line, you lost it! You got all these youngsters runnin around with no clue what their getting themselves into. In our day it was all about respect 4 LA RAZA, bro. And I see now that it is slowly becoming the complete opposite! We ain’t lookin out 4 1 another any more, we’re just feedin fuel 2 one another’s fires. I remember when the barrio was all about bettering one another, well, under the circumstances, you should be teaching these youngsters that getting an education is just as important as their street smarts. Because an education, vato, is unstoppable. Tope taught us that. After my Pop’s death, I realized something, Loco, that we all need 2 stay true 2 our selves and our families 1st not 2nd. And that’s real talk. And if you don’t understand that then you’re the weak-minded one.
Loco: U know, bro, I can’t call U a liar. I know you’re not weak-minded; truth is I admire you bro, I mean you got it all. The respect, a girl who loves U. And an unstoppable mind, Homie. And no matter what I do I feel like I’ll never have all that.
Artie: I love U, bro. I mean, we’ve done and been through it all together. And I think you are smart as hell, Homie! You just never got the chance 2 show your smarts in another way other than this. I believe in you, Homie. I believe U can have something better if U try and commit half the hard work you give 2 the hood 2 yourself. I ain’t sayin forget about the hood. The barrio will always be a part of us, Vato. So, what’s your decision, Loco? You can stop all this right here right now, Homie—please hear me out. And as 4 your brother, bro, there’s other ways of dealing with that. Just give it time.
Loco: OK, Bro, I am gonna trust you on this, Homie. Please don’t let me down.
Artie: OK, Homie, I won’t. Come on. You’re gonna stay at my place 4 a while. We got things 2 handle.
    The End.