I honestly couldn’t tell you his govt name with a gun pointed to my face. Every student and even the teachers whenever they were taking attendance referred to him as King Koopa. At 5’9 in height and close to 200lbs he(Koopa) still remains the largest 5th grader I’ve ever seen. King Koopa was brown skin with a high top fade that never seemed picked right while wearing the same pair of Used blue jeans and three faded t-shirts in a rotation. The red Coca-Cola shirt meant lunch money day, the green Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle shirt meant “Your shoes are my shoes day!!!” while the most feared was the black Detroit Bad Boys skull & bones shirt because it meant “I’m just gonna knock a random mofo out because I can today!!!” After transferring from a rumored eight other elementary schools King Koopa within a month was already taking over. Only a fool would oppose a 10-year-old with Mike Tyson strength and two happen to be my close friends. The first was Courtney, who didn’t want to give up his He-Man watch. For seven and half seconds Courtney looked unstoppable until King Koopa’s raised both fists in the air bringing them down in a Hulk Smash like fashion making him(Courtney) collapsed to the gym floor as his legs did a Van Damme split before passing out. The next was Carlos, who refused to give up his cookies at lunchtime as a tribute to King Koopa and decided that he was going to Sugar Ray Leonard dance with punches to stay out of harm’s way. King Koopa caught his fist pulling him close enough to squeeze the neck and lift him(Carlos) off the ground with feet dangling before torpedoing the kid in mid-air down the steps. As I watched my friend lie on his back confused about what year it was, I then turned to see that King Koopa was already staring with a crazed look letting me know that I was next.


The next day was like watching my own funeral service. Everyone who walked passed me either shook their head with sadness or looked the other way. However, throughout the day King Koopa appeared to be too busy bothering other kids than to pay attention to me, so the day began to appear as ordinary as any other until the last period when I walked into my science class late. The only chair available was right next to King Koopa who was sitting with a smirk taking off a grey hoodie he “borrowed” that revealed underneath was the infamous all-black crossbones t-shirt that made everyone gasp at the same time. After I sat down, Mr. Sweeny our science teacher came in afterward wearing his traditional white lab coat and dark shades that were a translation for “I am hungover and today kids we’re gonna watch a short film on volcanoes for the 50th time as I sleep in this corner.” As soon as the lights went dark King Koopa rolled up his sleeves and said out loud “You know I hate a nigga that act like they don’t know what time it is!!!” in which in that moment he pushed with the strength of 3 adults nearly knocking me off the stool before rising back up in the same motion carrying a large size Webster dictionary that I grabbed from underneath the table and slammed it against him. As King Koopa was dazed I grabbed him in a headlock making his high-top fade stick out my armpit. “Let me go bitch!!!,” he yelled as he then stood us both up in mid-air WWE style before slamming my entire body on the hard wooden science table making a loud “BOOM!!!” sound breaking it inward. We both now were on the floor as I squeezed his neck more and continued to punch the high-top fade. Mr. Sweeny finally woke up once Principal Wilson came in yelling “Break it up” as they separated then escorted both of us to the front office. Moments later, King Koopa(who was holding an ice pack on his neck) and I sat outside Principal Wilson’s office waiting on the verdict. I was told that my mother was called and for me to walk home and she’ll “deal with me” once she gets off work. King Koopa’s folks, however, never picked up and every number he kept giving Principal Wilson was the same result. Principal Wilson then decided that he would take him(Koopa) home personally in which hearing this King Koopa began to throw a tantrum in the office knocking over tables and throwing anything he could get his hands on. I took that opportunity to walk out and head home because by the way King Koopa’s temper was going added by the pain from the table that began to slowly creep up my back, it was clear that I was in no shape for a round 2.


The next day it was said that King Koopa ran out the office and when Principal Wilson went to his home anyway it was discovered that the house was without power and that there were crackheads living inside whom none were listed as parent or guardian. I never saw King Koopa again until years later when I was a sophomore in high school and was walking through an unfamiliar neighborhood when seven gentlemen all dressed in black approached me from their steps a few blocks away from where the house party I walking to. “Sup lil nigga, what you think this is a safe zone?!!,” one of them said as they begin to surround me. At moment I began to think on how stupid I was for walking down an unfamiliar block late at night where at the same time a voice from above said: “A yo, let him pass dog.” When I glanced up it was an older King Koopa standing on a high porch of a two family flat. His high-top fade was now replaced by the 360 waves he kept brushing while wearing jeans and a white tank top showing a now 40oz belly with Popeye-like arms. “Alright King,” one dude said as the rest of them walked back to the front steps. Koopa then gave me a slight head nod and I replied by doing the same, walking toward my destination already thinking to myself of another route when I head back home.


J Hall