From ultimate zero to hero, a former uppity negro
Raised in a two-parent household with an alter ego
First name Bone, last name Flake
Still a Black man who can’t catch a break
False accusations and corny handshakes
He made a mistake
Hanging with the wrong crowd, then hearing the bullet sound
Lost a friend to a cop at a party
How harsh can that be?
Met Kevin Kyle, who became his mentor
Taught him what he was meant for
The two survived behind jail doors
Only knew him for a minute
Flake later hangs with Marc Genesis
Runs a corporation
He’s misusing a generation
Flake can turn invisible with the strength of sensation
Fast as a gazelle, with healing factors to prevail
Able to erase the pain, but still empty mentally
He’s silly but attends a college of community
A community college
Pays tuition out of pocket as he props knowledge
Realizing he can be a robin
1. From Winnin’ to the Pen
Bone Flake lies on his back in bed in the jail cell with his eyes closed and his hands on his stomach, wearing a gray uniform like all the other inmates. He’s here on false charges of rape and assault. The water drips from the faucet next to him. He’s on the bottom bunk, mumbling to himself, dreaming of his track and field days at Arval University.
It’s hot and sunny. The bleachers are packed. It’s humid enough that lots of people have brought their own fans, and others are making do by waving pieces of paper or even just their hands. Flake, in a skintight red-and-black uniform with Arval printed across the top, stands behind the blocks with his hands on his hips, looking determined. He stares down at the finish line. His opponents to the left and right bounce up and down and stretch.
He looks to the bleachers then, where he sees his mom and dad, Alicia and Aaron, sitting together. Dad’s bald head looks like a chocolate ball from here, given his skin tone; Mom has the same complexion, but her long hair is tied up in a bun. Both wear red Arval shirts to support their son.
The runners ready themselves in their blocks on the starting line, both feet planted firmly, all of them wearing track spikes, hands laid on the track, heads down.
In the audience, Flake’s dad whispers anxiously, “This is your time, son. Go get it.” Then he hears another voice from the bleachers on the other side: “That’s my dreadlock nigga!”
Flake has dreads down to his neck. His father looks across to see one of Flake’s childhood friends wearing a black wave cap, gold chains, a black t-shirt, baggy jeans, and boots. A gold ring studs his left nostril. He has a couple of buddies with him in the same outfit.
“Smoke these motherfuckers! Show them what they all about!” he yells again. The people around him and his buddies don’t look too pleased.
“It’s one of Bone’s troublemaker friends. Jordan Lawrence,” Flake’s father whispers to his wife. She shakes her head in disapproval.
“On your mark! Get set!”
The gun is amplified by the loudspeaker, and eight men sprint down the straightaway. For the first twenty meters, all eight are neck-to-neck. One of the runners to Flake’s left pulls ahead on the fifty-meter mark, but Flake catches him at the ninety and leans in at the finish line.
“What a great finish for Bone Flake! He set a meet record!” The announcer’s voice crackles out of the speaker on the pole by the bleachers.
Flake, characteristically humble, shakes his opponents’ hands after the race. Then the dream moves forward to his next event, the long jump. He claps his hands over his head to pump the audience up, and they clap along with him.
“Come on now! Show them what you’re working with!” his mom shouts from the audience. Like her husband, she’s attended every one of her son’s track meets.
“Get that shit, bruh!” Lawrence yells again from the stands. Flake’s mom rolls her eyes. An elderly man sitting in front of Bone’s friend turns around. He has a white mustache
and gray hair on the sides of his head, but it’s bald and sunburned on top. “Excuse me! Could you keep it quiet? We’re trying to watch.” He looks irritated.
“What? We ain’t bothering nobody. Just watch the event, my man.”
The older man turns around, shaking his head, then he gets up and walks away, stepping over the feet of other people.
“Yeah, walk yo’ old ass somewhere else. You ain’t nothing to us,” says Lawrence. Flake sprints down the runway and jumps. The audience hold their breath in awe.