Vanessa is a member of Jose’s old seventh grade class for students with mild to moderate disabilities. She has been pulled aside by the teacher with her best friend Osiris to speak to the principal about the incident between Jose and Kaleema. She is very skinny, and a few of the boys in class make fun of her—pretty ruthlessly at times. These boys don’t know how else to express their emerging interest in her. This particular group of kids has been in the same class for three years, or a decade in adolescent years. Vanessa is a beloved, yet a terror. Her temper is an ongoing issue in class. Part of her reluctance in telling on Jose is based on the fact that she relates to his anger.
“Defending the girls? He said you defend the girls? That’s what Jose said? PUH-LEASE. You run and tell onion boy I said… [To Osiris] why I call him onion boy?
.... But you remember what I’m talking about. With his eyes, and the tears… Yeah… YEAH. But bendito, don’t clown him too much. He can’t control it. It’s uncontrollable… like a condition, or whatever.
[Back to the teacher]
…But anyways, Miss, I don’t think it’s right what he said that but I’m not telling. Let’s be serious. You want me to go into Mr. Hannibal’s office and snitch… That’s snitching, Miss. How? He didn’t say nothing bad to me. Well then, I’mma do unto others. I’m not telling on Jose when he had a issue with Kaleema that had nothing to do with me. If somebody pisses me off, and dique, I can’t control it, and I spaz on someone and then I get in trouble, that’s not fair. Why? Because they got to say what they had to say and I didn’t. When Johnfe and them be fuckin—‘scuse—me, messing with me, and you can’t shut them down, I have a right to curse them out. They come at me all the time. Calling me skinny and ugly, and making fun of my lazy eye. And if, let’s say Osiris snitched on me for cursing in class when I’m defending myself that’s madd wrong. And anyways, snitches get stitches. I’m not saying nothing.
Osiris, speak already… I’m saying everything. C’mon, chunky. Say something…. Miss, I could call her chunky, that’s my best friend. She call me skinny, skeletor, crypt keepa, all that. Miss, bust how the day of my physical for softball Osiris called me Ash-a-ley Olsen. Yeah, that she used to be on Full House now she look like a homeless crackhead that you see on Jerome Avenue. Yo, she is killing herself to look like a dope fiend. I don’t understand that. I wish I could gain weight. You watch, next year I won’t even need to wear two pairs of jeans to school. I’m drinking Nutriment.
[To Osiris] Back to the subject… Osiris are you gonna tell Hannibal?
I understand that… you don’t like Jose… Me neither, not really, but are you snitching? Well?
You, heard? Damali and them niggas in 6-Wild are stalking Kaleema now. Calling her nasty and you know, and they all trying to take her. It’s not right, but that’s what happens when you do stuff like that in the first place. Let me stop… I’m not saying nothing else …next thing you know she gonna ask me to snitch on this Blooded up crew from 163rd. Like I’m a idiot. Miss, one day you gotta tell me where you went to school. Why I wanna know? There’s certain things that you just don’t—I’m just saying… I wanna hear that story.”