Ezekiel, or FREAKY as all the kids—and teachers have learned to call him is one of the coolest students at school. The word student is applied loosely here. He is rarely in class, and makes a habit of posting up in the school hallways, stairwells and corners outside. Freaky is more a part of the streets than the school, yet he is a fixture. Teacher is asking him probing questions about his gear, and how he gets it. He regularly comes to school hungry, but is always in the freshest clothes. Teacher is on a prep, and is passing the time this way instead of grading. Most kids get irked by long strings of questions, but Freaky is
“What’s hot this year? Oh, you gotta have the A-1s, like always. They come in all colors, and they a little cheaper than like the Jordans. I got money—I gets money, but it’s not everyday you got a buck-80 to spend on sneakers. And depending on who you are, where you stay at you could go home with a buck-fifty on your face [traces a finger down his face in a half-moon slice, indicating one hundred and fifty stitches.] … How much do I think I spent on sneakers on the past five years? C’mon miss… How much time you got? My closet is crazy. Those are my babies. I don’t know, I got like seventy boxes, Poloroided and all that. Yeah…. I don’t have the walk-in joint, but I gotta a lot. A LOT. I can get lost in there. I have to know where everything’s at. Then what comes next? A’ight, I pick the kicks first, like then I know the color palate I’m working with, or whatever, and then I do belt, match it, fitted—catch it. [Takes off his Yankees hat, flips it, and puts it jauntily back on his head]… Too matchy-matchy? What you mean? What does that even mean? If you don’t match you look bummy. I can’t have that. Like I have to match to the socks. To the drawers, if you gotta know…
[Freaky gets annoyed, and starts to back off a bit.]
Because, if you don’t match you look off, first of all, and then everybody thinks they know your whole life story. You don’t know my life. You don’t know nothing about me. Fuck they opinions, but I don’t want nobody to think I’m broke. I got money. I get my own money out here all day.
…It just sets your day off right. I got the Trues, socks straight out the package, the crisp white T- from the Habibi or African spot. Oh, they all over. I know you not looking for a white T, but do you even look where you going? They on every other corner. This is really interesting to you? Don’t make no sense. It’s simple. Kids like to look fresh. I spend it cuz it’s worth it. It’s college money? You crazy. I’m getting scholarships. All day. That’s light work. Now putting together the right ‘fit… That’s harder.