TORRANCE SHIPMAN WALKS across the nearly empty gym at East Compton High School. She’s there to right a wrong. Not long ago, she discovered that her entire award-winning cheerleading career was built on lies and stolen routines. At regionals, Shipman and her Rancho Carne Toros performed a routine from a choreographer who had peddled the same one to multiple teams. While East Compton wowed with its original performance, the same one the Toros originally stole, now it was time to see whether the Toros’ new unappropriated routine would stand up to what East Compton would be bringing to nationals. The only problem? When the list of cheerleading squads slated to go to nationals was posted, the East Compton Clovers weren’t on it.
Which is why Torrance is here. And why she has persuaded her father’s company to sponsor the Clovers. And why she has come to deliver the check to the Clovers’ captain, Isis.
The Clovers are sitting, huddled in the circle in the middle of their gym, and when Isis sees Torrance walk through the door, she rises to greet her. Torrance sticks out the check, and Isis appraises it. “What is this?” she asks. “Hush money?”