When Danny finally pulled out his stash, he looked straight at Ant.
"I'm calling bullshit," Danny said, as he dumped the weed out of his shredder and onto the tin box top. “You’re dad is messed up lying to you like that.”
Ant was crushed, but he kept it to himself. A shiver ripped through his spine that he couldn’t hide, but it wasn’t from the cold. He sat silent and watched Danny place the weed into the rolling paper gingerly, pinching the paper between both thumbs and pointer fingers. He rolled it until a perfectly proportioned joint sat in his two hands, sealed with a quick lick on the gummy part.
"Dude, the town was never like this until he died and they named a school after him. That's what my dad said," Ant said. "He said the last thing he ever wanted was to have a school named after him because kids hate going to school. He didn't want his name associated with something kids hated."
"That part I believe. I hate this place," Z said. "I wouldn't want that either."
"You're tripping, Ant. My parents been working the fields for like, a long ass time. Since they were kids. They said it's always been like this," Danny said, pulling out a lighter to spark the joint. He inhaled the smoke in a quick breath, the plume escaping for a split second before retreating through Danny's mouth and nostrils, into his lungs. Danny exhaled slow, took another hit, and passed it to Ant.
"Man, you know I don't smoke. It's supposed to go to the left, anyway," Ant said, offended by Danny’s every gesture.
"If you don't smoke, then how do you know it goes to the left?" Danny said, bogarting a toke before passing it to Zamudio.
"Because the song goes "Pass the dutchie to the left hand side" dumb ass," Ant said. "I can't believe you can be so paranoid about cops but think it's safe to smoke a joint out in the open."
"This ain't the open. We're on the rooftop. And besides, they don't have security guards here anymore. They finished all the construction," Danny said, the paranoia gone in a cloud of chilled smoke.
"Hey man, what's that over there," Arnel said, pointing toward the row of aged palm trees in the campus plaza. "I thought I saw something move."
"Dude, there’s nothing over there. You ain't even high yet," Danny said with his head turned, trying to figure out if he saw anything.
"Man, I ain't getting caught here again. Last time they rang the alarm, we almost didn't make it out," Ant said, getting nervous. "You sure they don't have security guards here anymore?"
"Yeah, I'm sure. We've been coming here for how long now and never got caught? Come on now, you're tripping," Danny said, clearly high off just one hit, getting the joint back from Arnel. Ant was still nervous.
"So, what's up Ant, you got anything new for us or what?" Z asked, looking more relaxed now that he had taken a toke.
"What? Man, I don't know. I been writing some stuff, but nothing I'm too hype about," Ant said, his mind trying to figure out what he wanted to share with them.
"Aww, man, come on. You know you got a whole new stack of shit on you," Danny said, taking a long toke before passing it to Z. "I could hear those papers crumpled in your pocket all the way over here. I’m surprised the security guards didn't hear that."
"I thought you said there were no security guards," Arnel reminded him.
"Whatever, man. Seriously though, when you gonna spit some gangsta shit for us, Ant? When you gonna write about your homeboys in East Salas out here banging and slanging and thangs," Danny said, his voice hitting a low register that resembled a gangsta drawl. "Like some Mac Bullet shit."
"You heard that new Mac Bullet mixtape? That album is hard," Z said, taking a long, mean pull, his bear lungs sucking in twice that of Arnel and Danny. “He's got a song on there, "Killa Hoe," that bumps."
"Mac Beezy is tha truth," Arnel said, taking the last of the joint and trying to salvage a hit. His lips put out the joint.
"Man, I don't know about all of that. I ain't really feeling that Mac Bullet shit. He just raps about getting shot and making money," Ant said. "I don't respect the person who got shot. If anything I'm gonna respect the shooter."
"See, that's gangsta. Why don't you spit like that," Danny said. "Come on, show us your latest."
"Well, I wrote this one to remind me of the cold-ass summer, chillin' literally on the rooftop. I guess this is my back to school rap," Ant said, finally pulling out his short stack of rhymes. He had about eight or nine new raps he had written that week, most of them already memorized. Ant liked to keep the paper with him just in case.
Ant flipped through his papers but he already knew what he was going to say. Still, there was a sense of security in looking down at his scribbles, even if he wasn't reading off the page.
"Alright, check it out...
A-yo, cold ass night in the summer but I'm blazin/
ain't nothin' to do, always the same thing/
Kids on the block actin' hard like retards/
I need to find something to do, and still be smart/
So we takes it to the spot on midnight creep/
Four-deep, steady quiet so the pigs don't peep/
My boy D's got the bomb but you know I ain't trippin/
Big Z got my back, so you know I ain't slippin/
Nel's up top and you know it don't stop/
Bout to hit the cash crop even though I don't cop/
cause in the Salas valley, that's just how we do/
Ain't nothing wrong with chillin' out with the
Ant stopped to catch his breath, and without realizing it, he opened his eyes. He wasn't sure at what point he had closed his eyes. He wondered if the guys noticed.
"Damn, that was pretty tight man," Z said, his head nodding in approval. "You even mentioned the valley in there."
"I like that one, it sounded like some east coast stuff," Arnel said. "I'm not into that stuff, but it sounds good from you."
"You still need to spit some gangsta shit," Danny said in his typically disapproving tone. "Listen to some Mac Bullet. Some hard shit."
"Man, I ain't trying to be hard. I'm trying to be complicated," Ant said, his joke registering nothing from the rest of his boys. He sighed quickly before hearing what sounded like a loud thump. All of the boys jumped in response.