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Dark Truth, A

112 pages
Riley and Dashawn have been friends since they were three. They got into skateboarding together and have advanced to the point where it's time to create a Sponsor Me tape. They bring a third skater along, Natasha, and try to get some good clips around a new office development. Then the police storm into the lot. The three skaters quickly scatter, trying their best not to get busted. Riley and Natasha arrive at the meet-up spot. They wait and wait, but Dashawn never shows.

   The next day Riley visits Dashawn, only to discover that the police have given him a “beat-down.” Nothing like this has ever happened before, and for Riley it is a wake-up call that whether they know it or not, not everyone lives in the same world he does.
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A Dark Truth
Jeff Ross
Copyright ©2016Jeff Ross
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording or by any information storage and retrieval system now known or to be invented, without permission in writing from the publisher.
Library and Archives Canada Cataloguing in Publication
Ross, Jeff,1973–, author A dark truth / Jeff Ross. (Orca soundings)
Issued in print and electronic formats. isbn 9781459813274(paperback).—isbn 9781459813281(pdf).— isbn 9781459813298(epub)
I. Title. II. Series: Orca soundings ps8635.o6928d37 2016jc813'.6 c20169007820 c20169007839
First published in the United States,2016 Library of Congress Control Number:2016931892
Summary:In this highinterest novel for teens, Riley learns that the color of your skin does affect how you are treated.
Orca Book Publishers gratefully acknowledges the support for its publishing programs provided by the following agencies: the Government of Canada through the Canada Book Fund and the Canada Council for the Arts, and the Province of British Columbia through the BC Arts Council and the Book Publishing Tax Credit.
Cover image by iStock.com
orca book publishers www.orcabook.com
For Luca & Alex, who got me back into skateboarding, the SMC for enabling and encouraging, and Megan for tolerating this madness.
C h a p t e r O n e
“You have to think about where your shoulders are all the time,” Dashawn said. The sun was right above us, glaring straight down, hot and bright. We were two blocks from the skate park and I was already beginning to sweat. I could feel my underwear binding to my skin. The cascade of water building beneath the brim of my hat.
Jef f Ross
“I know,” I said. “Well, if you know, Riley, then start doing it.” “Shut up,” I replied. We bumped into one another, arm against arm, then kept moving. Dashawn and I had been best friends since kindergarten. Our mothers used to take us to the same playground to roll around in the sand, but the second they were distracted, we’d be up the play structure and dangling from one of the high bars, laughing our asses off. Four years old and already we required the world to be îlled with adventure or boredom settled in. It was the same need for an adren-aline boost that had us skateboarding when we were ten. We’d tried other things, like or jumping off cliffs into the deep waters of the bay, but those things didn’t require the same skill. At least, not the way we were doing them. Skateboarding gave us something
A Dark Truth
different, something we could get better at every day but which, at any time,we could totally ruin ourselves doing. We bumped into one another again as we turned the corner to the park. “Ah, shit,” Dashawn said. “That is alotof scooter kids.” I exhaled slowly. There had to be twenty of them in there. The youngest ones were on those little three-wheeled scooters. The older ones were fourteen or îfteen and were trying to whip the scooters around above their heads after they popped out of the bowl. Everything about scooters depressed me. The handlebars. The whistling noise they made. And the fact that they were in the skate park at all. I mean, they’re calledskate parksfor a reason. Anywhere skaters go, we get both-ered by security guards or, even worse, the police. No one else has this issue. These kids could ride in the middle of a parking lot and people would think
Jef f Ross
they’re cute. There was no reason for them to be here at all. And the worst of it was they didn’t understand skate-park etiquette. They’d do circles for twenty minutes in the middle of the space, making it impossible for anyone to set up for a trick or create a line. “Man,” I said. “There’s even some of those strider bikes in there.” “That dude’s on a mountain bike.” Dashawn dropped his board, then popped it back into his hand. This was what he did when he was anxious. “It is going to be impossible to hit that ledge,” I said. “You give up too easy, bro.” He dropped his board again and rolled forward. I did the same, coming up close to him. “The space is there—you just have to make it or take it.” “Make it or take it,” I said. “All right. Orwe could just crash one of them.”
A Dark Truth
“They’re little kids, man,” Dashawn said. “You’re gonna go running over little kids?” I’d had a hate-on for scooter kids since one of them had cut me off at the last second and I’d seriously sprained my ankle. It had put me out for two weeks. That doesn’t sound like much, but it took me another two weeks to get back to where I was actually progressing. I spent that time playing Skate 3 on my Xbox or watching videos online and justdyingto get back out again, and all I could see was this little kid on a bright-blue scooter with a stupid grin on his face as he slowly turned into me. I knew I shouldn’t hate all scooter kids because of that one, but it was hard. It didn’t seem like any of them really looked out for anyone but themselves. The skate park was nothing more than
Jef f Ross
a place for them to go mess around, whereas kids like Dashawn and me were there to make skateboarding a career. “Yeah yeah. They’re erratic pylons,” I said. “You gotta be kind, bro,” Dashawn said. He ollied the curb and rolled into the park. One of the scooter kids wove around him, then cut back down a ramp without a care in the world. “There’s your ledge,” Dashawn said. He rolled to the ledge and ollied on, then immediately off. We were there that day to shoot some clips for our Sponsor Me videos. A lot of people had gone straight to Instagram in an attempt to be seen, but Dashawn and I were old school. We wanted some-thing that you could actually hand out. The ledge was fairly high. I had an idea for a trick on it, one I totally thought I could get and which would