As for me, things have turned out nicely. I am going to attend a private school, where I will hopefully play soccer. Tino, Victor, Henry, everyone else and I have worked things out, and may go back to being friends soon. Besides Mom and Dad being in hysterics, they appreciate me and I appreciate them. Everything is working out just fine.
I returned home around midnight after I remember that horrifying event in my life. I screamed at my parents, demanding to know why they did not tell me what had really happened all along. My dad cried, for he knew Erik, as well as them had been unfair to me, and it was hard to watch. I was completely shocked to learn I was expelled from Tangerine Middle for assaulting a staff member. Mom found a gym bag she did not recognize in our storage bin, and discovered it contained the stolen jewelry and other missing objects from the Lake Windsor robberies. The blackjack was also found, and I alerted the police that Erik and Arthur were not only responsible for the robberies, but also for the murder of Luis Cruz. I give my statement to the police tomorrow. However, a story in the paper was almost equally surprising to all the recent drama. Antoine Thomas, the Lake Windsor football star, lied about his address in order to play on a better team. Now I know why Shandra, Antoine's little sister, ran from the camera that day. She knew that if they caught her at Tangerine, they would know her brother lied about his address, destroying his football career. All the records earned while Thomas was on the team were erased, turning the teams perfect season into a losing season. This destroyed the Erik Fisher Football Dream, crushing dad. He took the news that Erik might be going to jail better, however, saying that Erik deserved to serve his punishment.
Last night was one of the most dramatic nights of my life. There was an awards ceremony for the seniors of he football team, and a ceremony of remembrance for Mike Costello. Not even twenty minutes into the ceremony, no one other than Tino and Victor come through the door. They are not there to watch, however. They march past all the players, families, coaches, and administrators, and straight for Erik and Arthur. The two football players didn't see it coming, and suddenly Tino and Victor were viciously beating them up. Tino took Erik, knocked him over and kicked him in the nose, probably breaking it and causing severe bleeding. They fell to the floor, badly injured by a couple of seventh graders. Tino spoke with confidence, but a slight tremble when he said, "I'm Tino, and I do Luis' light work."
When the coach tried to break up the fight, I hurled myself at him without thinking. I was pulled off of him, still kicking and throwing punches violently. Running faster than I knew was possible for myself, I left the gym, the school, and down Route 89. When I finally reached a spot I felt safe, I saw Arthur and Erik approaching in the Land Rover. They got out, with a bat in hand. Apparently, my safety and the fact that we were related meant nothing to my brother. They began threatening me, about how I was going to pay for what my friends did that night. Arthur went on to say things that apparently jogged some kind of memory in Erik, for he spun out of control, full of rage. "Shut up Castro!" he screamed. They jumped in the car and took off. Suddenly, I remembered something I was unable to before. My parents told me I looked at a solar eclipse, and that damaged my vision, but now I remembered the truth. Vincent Castro was my brothers henchman back when I was about 5, and he about 8. I remember Erik, being the twisted little boy he was, order Castro to do something that affected me forever. Erik pinned me down, and held my eyes open. Castro sprayed silver spray paint in my eyes. No matter how hard I screamed, and how much it hurt, they did not stop, and continued to laugh at me. I know my parents saw the paint in my eyes also on Erik's hand, but decided not to mention it. Why would they keep that from me?
The weather is getting cold fast, and a freeze can but all the local fruit sellers out of business. Today, the temperature dropped almost below thirty. Luis and the rest of the Cruz's were having trouble keeping their grove alive, forcing Tino and Teresa to skip school and help. After school, I knew immediately where to go. Henry and I went to the Cruz's house, and worked all night to help keep the trees from freezing. It was tiresome, and I passed out sometime in the very early morning, and got really sick afterwards.
Another death struck those in Tangerine a few days after. Luis Cruz passed away, he was found lying dead in his grove. They noticed something wrong in his head, and believed he died of an aneurysm. I was shocked when I received these news, and I immediately wanted to help. Tino and Teresa were not at school again, but home with their family. I researched aneurysms, and found that they could have been inflicted a week before the person suffers any injuries. The information hit me hard: Luis was killed by Arthur Bauer, when he struck him in the head with the blackjack. It damaged a blood vessel in his head, which clotted and finally burst, killing him. Erik and Arthur probably knew it all along.
Yesterday Mom had to meet with Erik's academic advisor. Apparently his grades are slipping, and he must maintain a C average to remain on the football team. I decided to go with her, I had nothing better to do now that I cannot hang out with Tino and the rest of them. I was innocently sitting on the bleachers, watching Erik's football practice. It's funny that Erik seems popular, even thought the rest of the football team (besides Arthur), and even the team's star, Antoine Thomas, hate him. Then, I noticed someone I definitely recognized entering the field, and I immediately ducked beneath the bleachers. It was Luis Cruz. He came right up to Erik and Arthur, this was probably his plan to get revenge. It appeared that the rest of them team was in on it, too. I didn't catch all the words, but Erik and Arthur certainly did not seem threatened. Suddenly, Arthur pulled a sock stuffed with a heavy object out of the gym bag he always carried, with a sly grin on his face. "This is Arthur," Erik said. "He takes care of all my light work." It hit me then, what the weapon was. It was a blackjack, a deadly weapon. Arthur swung it at Luis, hitting him in the side of head. He stumbled, but did not fall. I am pretty sure he saw me before he jumped in his car and drove off. I was sickened at the wickedness of my brother and his friend.
Of all the progress I have made socially at Tangerine, today ruined it all for me. Teresa, Tino, Henry D, and the rest of our group came over to my house after school to format the report on the family computer. We were done quickly due to the efficiency of my new computer, so we decided to go play a litter soccer in the backyard. After about fifteen minutes, I recognized the hum of Arthur's Land Rover pulling up, and I knew Erik was with him. It all happened so suddenly, but before I knew it, Erik was in the yard and I could sense the beginning of a fight between him and Tino. Erik made some insulting remark about how "the farmers got a day off" and Tino went right back at him, ridiculing him for when he slipped and fell during his first game. That made Erik furious, and right when I thought Tino had won and Erik was going to back down, Erik had punched Tino in the face, and his nose was bleeding. He shot a glare at me, and then walked away. The others followed. Tino was never exactly easy to get along with, but I really blew it now, and all because of my jerky brother.
Tino and Teresa did not come to school the next day, but I did not expect them too. Henry D. said maybe one word or two to me, and basically hinted to stay away from them from now on. Henry did say that Tino would be avenged however, the he and Luis had some plan of revenge.
Today after school, we went over to Tino and Teresa's house to meet Luis. He seemed like a very kind man, and was excited to show us around the grove. One of the first things I noticed was a tall cylindrical building made of tin or a similar material. This is where the workers meet, and where the seeds are gathered to be planted later on. We then toured the actual grove, and were told about the different types of trees. One section was growing a plant called Rough Lemons. Luis told us that they are the cheapest to plant, and you can put any kind of seed inside it later on, so it will bear any type of fruit, earning you more money. The rest of the grove was devoted to the Golden Dawns, which smelled and tasted delicious. This grove was a beautiful place to visit, and I enjoyed the company on Luis. He invited me back anytime, and I know he meant it. I am definitely going to take him up on that offer.
I am enjoying being a War Eagle and playing soccer for Tangerine more and more every day. They have an amazing determination, and they always put in their best effort. It's amazing how serious this is to them. To them, it's not just for fun an entertainment, to them it's war, war to prove that Tangerine can compete with the bigger schools. They don't prove themselves with their words, they prove themselves by their actions. The War Eagles are some of the most skillful soccer players I have ever seen.
Most of us from the team have science together, and decided to team up for a project assigned. Tino and Teresa pretty much selected our topic for us. They told us about their older brother, Luis, who works on their family's citrus grove and who created a new type of Tangerine, called a Golden Dawn. In a few days, we are all going to the grove, were Luis will give us a tour and tell us about the Golden Dawns. We are going to type our report on my dad's IBM, because Teresa only has a typewriter.
Something shocking happened on the day were were selecting partners, however. Joey had been acting strangely during that time, and seem reluctant to work with the soccer team. Joey couldn't handle the teasing and remarks cast at him by the rest of them team, and it affected him more than it did me. One day, the soccer team took it too far, however. By insulting not only Joey, but his late brother, Joey got in a fight with Tino in the middle of class. He wasn't at school the next day, but I new exactly where he was: Re-enrolling at Lake Windsor Middle.
Life at Tangerine Middle has been surprisingly good. My first day was very intimidating, and the soccer team immediately approached and basically threatened me. They are about twice my size, and some of the best players I have ever seen. It took awhile to adjust, but I would say we almost get along now. The coach, Betty Bright, won't play me in goal, but she does give me chances to play the front line, and I am enjoying that. Today a reporter from the Tangerine Times came to interview Maya, Shandra, and Dolly, some of the only girls and some of the
best in the league. I have no clue why, but as soon as the photographer aimed his camera at Shandra, she ran into the school with her hands over her face. Betty loudly asked them to leave.
Erik and his friend Arthur seem to be up to no good. They are always together, and I get the feeling they are picking on other kids. The rest of the football team doesn't seem to be too fond of them. Mom had another Homeowners Association Meeting today. There have been even more robberies and no one has any idea as to who it might be. While I was doing my homework on dad's computer, I noticed he had an entire file devoted to "the Erik Fisher Football Dream," complete with letters from colleges and lists of those he should attend if accepted. Dad is so busy with Erik's sports, he rarely has time for my soccer games. There is no dream for Paul Fisher, just Erik, and it can become very annoying.
I started school at Lake Windsor Downs last week. Some very good, some very weird, and some terrible things have happened since then. I made the soccer team, but I can't play because of my handicap. My mom had to tell the school I was legally blind, (even though I can see just fine!) and now coach says I am not allowed to play. I made friends with a boy named Joey Costello, who also plays soccer. There are a lot of strange things that happen around here. One night, I saw smoke and smelled a fire. We called the fire department, and he said it was just something called a muck fire. The muck fire has been burning underground for as long as anyone can remember, and no one knows how to stop it. If you think that is ridiculous, wait until you hear this story: It was raining and thundering so badly today, and the field was extremely muddy. Our school has portables on the field. Suddenly, the mud was so thick that it formed a sinkhole, dragging an entire the portable down into it's muddy depths. It wrecked most of the middle school. We had a few options on where to go to school, and I chose to transfer to Tangerine Middle. We will see how that goes.
A terrible thing happened last week. In Tangerine, we have lightning storms during the high school football practice everyday. Joey's older brother, Mike, was leaning against the football goalpost when lightning struck. He was electrocuted to death. I want to help Joey, but I don't know how. Mike'ss funeral is this weekend.
Today was the day we moved. We got up early and made the nearly 15 hour drive from our home in Houston to a new place called Tangerine, Florida. We pulled up to a development called Lake Windsor Downs, and our new house was large and extremely nice. The first thing I unpacked was my little PC, and that is how I am typing this entry. I don't know how I feel about school starting, because I don't know anyone. Dad already has everything planned out for Erik, and is looking for ways for him to be a starting player on the Lake Windsor High football team. You see, my older brother Erik is an all-star placekicker. Erik's success is extremely important to my family. I don't think Erik is all that great though, he can be a pretty mean kid. I have some terrible memories of him teasing me, especially about my glasses. When I was five I looked at a solar eclipse, my eyes unprotected. The funny thing is that I don't remember any of this. My parents thought I would be blind. That didn't happen, but I do have to wear glasses so thick that it looks like I have bug eyes. I have some pretty horrible memories of Erik, of him doing some very bad things. But my parents don't believe me. They never do. I should probably get settled into my room now.