“Our brains are starting to eat themselves, Lucky,” said one of the guys, sitting at the table. “I don’t even want to beat those guys up anymore,” he added, pointing to three kids, wearing different colors. “How am I supposed to feel about that?”
“How do you feel about that?” asked Toledo.
The kid shrugged. “Weird. It wasn’t that long ago I would have shot them.”
“We’re friends,” he said softly, shaking his head. “It’s just wrong, that’s all. There’s no fun in life anymore. It’s…it’s just boring.”
The guys started chanting, “Boring, boring, boring,” and pounding their fists on the table.
The demons walked in and nodded. “The kid’s right. Life is boring,” said Thx. “I’m not happy anymore.”
“Were you happy before?” asked Toledo. “Were you happy in the arena?”
“I didn’t know it then but I know it now. Yes, I was happy. Demons aren’t cut out for this kind of everyday, always nice, kind of life. It’s killing us.”
T walked over and hugged him, as best she could. “I’m so sorry,” she whispered. “Why don’t you and your men start training and go home for awhile. You’ll always be welcome here, Thx. Any time. But get your skills up to par and go home.”
The demons nodded and started to leave. “Wait,” said Thx. “T, we learned something by being here. We learned what we are, who we are, and what we need to be, in order to be whole. That’s an amazing thing,” he said. The other demons nodded again. “The arena won’t mean the same thing to us any longer. Now, we will go into battle knowing that we love it, that we want it, that we can’t live without it. Thank you for that,” he added, touching her face with the side of his finger.
“Please don’t go without sayng goodbye,” she said, softly. “I’ll miss you.”
“I’ll miss you too,” he said, and gave the signal to his men to leave. “If you ever need us, just…”
“I will,” she said.
“What about us?” asked the kid at the table.
“What about you?” asked Lucky.
“We,” he said, holding his arms out to the side, to include some of his gang members, “don’t want to be nice all the time.”
“Yeah,” said Byron, a handsome boy with bleached white hair. “We don’t want to be carrots.”
“Would you be able to go back to hating each other again,” asked Toledo.
No one said anything.
“You gonna want your turf back? Wanna start killing each other again?”
“I don’t remember why we didn’t like each other, before. All the guys are cool.” said Al, one of the youngest kids.
People nodded and snuck glances at each other.
“Gangs are in our blood, T. It’s always been our life,” said Lenny, a gang lord. “We’re all getting along, eating together, working together, but our reason to be, is gone. Rebuilding the neighborhoods can’t replace what we had.”
“He’s right,” said Donna, standing up. “Nothing’s the same. I think the idea of an equal society is great but the next generation will have to grow into it. We’re having trouble. The guys aren’t themselves. They’ve gone…soft.”
There was a collective gasp of horror.
“Look,” Donna said, “I think you’re all great. I like that we can all be friends but you’re all grunts, smiling, painting, doing nice things. You built a bookstore!” she said, snapping her fingers. “Your PASSION is gone. You aren’t edgy anymore and it shows. You’re just guys.”
Lucky looked shocked. T closed her eyes.
Lois walked to the center of the floor. “Donna’s right. Don’t get me wrong, I like knowing that Teddie’s coming home alive every night. His anger is gone, his rage, but so is his reason for getting up in the morning. Everything is like oatmeal. When he comes home,” she said, looking at Toledo, “his body isn’t strong and tense. His muscles aren’t ready for action. The fire in his eyes is gone. Do you understand?”
“I do,” said T. “I understand perfectly. How can we fix this? We can’t go back to the way things were. You all know each other too well….”
“I got this,” said Lucky. “Here’s what we’re gonna do. You guys are going to finish what we started and you’re gonna stay friends. But we’re gonna to lift the veil and anything bad that comes for us, belongs to you and is fair game.”
Shouts went up from everyone in the room. Toledo, grabbed Lucky’s hand. “Great plan,” she said. I love it. You’re kid of smart…for a guy.”
“You tell ’em, girlfriend,” said Donna, as se walked by.
“When do you want to take down the Fairy Ring and lift the veil?”
“So, one more night of peace.”
“And I know just how I want to spend it,” he said.