Exclusive Excerpt from Two Princes
by Maggie Blackbird
“If you’ll excuse me, since I didn’t expect to have to stay after school, I have a few phone calls to make. I’ll be right back.” The teacher turned and swished out the door.
Billy finally expelled the laughter from the back of his throat. He wasn’t writing anything. If they wanted to lock him up and throw away the key, they could try. He only had four more months until he turned sixteen, and his get-out-of-jail-free card was burning a hole in his back pocket to finally escape this prison.
“What’re you laughing about?” René snapped open the three rings on his binder and shucked four pieces of paper onto the desk.
“From where I’m sitting—nothing.”
“Whatever.” René started writing.
This would piss off His Royal Highness, but big deal. Billy had to find some kind of amusement to pass the time. He wormed his desk against the floor until it bumped Rene’s.
“Get back to your spot.” Warning lingered on René’s order.
“How am I s’posed to help if I’m sitting a mile away.” The crisp clean scent from this morning settled under Billy’s nose. “What’re you doing?”
“What’s it look like? Completing our assignment. Go ahead, call it a joke. But I got a job to work and had to get someone to cover my shift at the store. There isn’t a chance I’m coming here tomorrow.”
“Giving your version, huh?” Billy leaned over to peek at the paper.
“I told you to step off.”
“Watch it. I get a say, too. I wasn’t even bugging Stu. He was invading my turf.”
“Your turf?” René snorted. “It figures you’d claim ownership of Indian Corner.”
“Not like you’d be caught dead there, eh? Can’t be seen near ‘skins.”
“As if.” René kept writing.
The five-dollar words on the paper jumped out at Billy: Billy Redsky’s family is responsible for his attitude problem, because they aren’t respected in the community. This is of their own doing since none of the adults work and refuse to maintain their home. Therefore, Billy feels the need to assert power over others whom he feels inadequate to, which resulted in his dispute with my cousin’s son, Stuart, this morning.
“Bullshit. Erase it.” He snatched the paper and crumpled it in his hand. The fancy report mirrored what Chief Oshawee probably said at the dinner table every night. “Stu approached me. Got it?”
“Don’t you ever disrespect me again.” René looked down his nose, as he’d done this morning. “You want something from me, you ask. Got it?”
“I ain’t asking for nothing. You didn’t ask me if you could write that bullshit about me and my fam.”
“Seriously? You want to help write our report?” René tossed the pen on the desk. “Fine. Have at it.” He snatched the extra paper and slammed it in front of Billy. “Get writing… if you know how to write.”
Billy seized the paper. He shouldn’t have crumpled the other one. Maybe in the upper grades they had to write those important essays, but not in the lower classes. He had to come up with something or René would laugh.
Billy began writing what he believed was the truth. René Oshawee is the chief’s spoiled-rotten son who thinks he can get away with anything…
“Get real. Chrome Dome isn’t gonna buy what you’re selling. He knows I’ve never been in trouble. I shouldn’t have agreed to what he asked.” René sat back, shaking his head.
“What’d he ask you to do?” Suspicion crawled up Billy’s spine.
“He said he saw potential in you and asked me to help. That’s why he has us writing this dumb report. He thought if you had a chance to work with me, you might smarten up.”
“Uh… he did?” The hostility vanished. The tension crawling along Billy’s spine melted. Finally, after fifteen years, someone gave a shit, even if it was the lame Chrome Dome. “You… uh… agreed?”
“Yeah.” René grabbed the paper. “Are you in or not?”