© copyright 2008 

     The sun was barely awake the next morning when it peeked down on Wiley's band of Trolls tramping through the shadowy alleys. Most were toting a crude weapon of some sort, boards and clubs, a few slingshots, even a chain and a homemade knife or two. 
     Max finally asked Wiley. “Is this going to hurt?”
     “Not if you can really use this.” Wiley tossed a knife and sheath to Max. “That's yurs.” The sheath was heavier now. Max saw the knife was real. His hands turned clammy. 
     Wiley called a halt when they arrived at a large lot where the alleyways joined. Another gang was waiting. Ragtags, and like the Trolls, they came armed and ready for a slugfest. “They call themselves 'Brutes',” said Wiley. “They think this turf is theirs.”
     “Is it . . .?” Max regretted asking that instantly.
     “Not if you can really use that knife.” Wiley was smirking. He waved his boys into the lot.
     Max's was sweating all over—this will be hard to fake! Wiley made things a little easier when he instructed Max to stay put. “Watch how it's done, before you start swingin' . . . We don't wanna lose our new 'breadwinner' just yet.”
     Max watched as the two gangs approached each other, formed lines and postured themselves for a round of bait and badger, probing for any weaknesses before the main bout. One of the bigger, uglier Brutes began the standoff by referring to Trolls as 'Turds'. 
     Wiley must not have been in the 'standing' mood. He stomped right over to the big ugly with both fists clinched, and uncorked such a jaw-breaking clout, the boy's legs folded, and down he went. “Did you 'Butts' come here to talk or fight!”
     The next thing you know, a brick came flying out of the Brutes' ranks and conked Wiley on the head. Shrugging that off, he came up with both fists swinging. Soon it was a donnybrook, with Trolls and Brutes tangled in a no holds barred free-for-all.
     Spit and Weener had their hands full bopping heads, and gouging eyes. Bumble had a pair of kicking, biting Brutes clamped in his meaty arms, while ignoring a third fellow who was pounding him on the back with a broom handle.