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Skippy Joins a Street Gang

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Last week, Homeland Security announced the rounding up and arresting of 582 gang members. In my most ambitious project yet, I James Skippenofsky set upon my most difficult assignment. I attempted to infiltrate one of these immigrant street gangs.

Once again I relied on the street savvy of my discount mortgage broker Frank. Frank put me into contact with an associate of his named Bernardo. Bernardo had recently moved his gang to the U.S. from Puerto Rico, and was looking for able bodies to fight in the turf wars that would ultimately gain him respect.

I met Bernardo behind a local community theater his gang, the Sharks, called home. Bernardo took instantly to me and even said that I had the right look to be one of his lieutenants, or understudies.

Bernardo told me that if I wanted to be a Shark, I would have to audition. First we did some focusing exercises. Bernardo told us that the most important part of being in a gang is the appearance. He talked about how we should carry ourselves in a way that gave a feeling that we were capable of violence.

Then we started the audition. First we took turns showing Bernardo our presence. Then we practiced snapping our fingers in time. We each did cold reading and then we sang a solo. I chose “Old Devil Moon” from Finnegan’s Rainbow.

In the end, Bernardo told me that I had been a very good applicant. But he told me that I really needed to work on my modern dance if I wanted to be in the Sharks. He told me that I did show promise and that I should try again next year when they would be casting for the Sharks again. I walked away from the experience with a profound respect for Street Gangs and the skills they need to successfully defend their turf.

James Skippenofsky, Skippy Does it All

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