Longform

Teo Castellanos' Life Is in his Plays

On the second day of eighth grade in 1975, Teo Castellanos, a runty Puerto Rican kid in shiny new Pro-Keds, nervously scanned the hallways of Carol City Junior High between classes, on the lookout for his nemesis. The year before, a much bigger kid had approached from behind in drama class, swung his forearm around Castellanos' neck in a chokehold, and squeezed until he blacked out.

Over the summer, Castellanos had resolved to toughen up. His older brother advised him to fight to the end, no matter what. Castellanos vowed that he would.

Suddenly, in the crowded hallway, Castellanos spotted the nemesis, who immediately yanked his hair.