He's a small guy (5-feet tall, 100 pounds, according to court records), but he's wiry, and as his pale eyes shift back and forth across the playground and parking lot, he looks like a point guard plotting to sneak a lob pass past the other team's defenders.
His hair's close-cropped. A wispy goatee feathers across his chin and upper lip, making him seem even younger than his 23 years.
Grande Barrio Central, also called GBC
Juaritos, also called Grande Barrio Locos
Mexican Pride Gangster, also called MPG
Latin Town Brim
"This is Termite here," one says by way of introduction. "He been with us probably as long as anyone."
The "us" is the Juaritos, also known as Grande Barrio Locos, a gang that has its roots in Juarez, Mexico, but which migrated to the United States along the same tracks taken by the country's burgeoning Hispanic population.
"When it first started, it was just 12, 10" homeboys, said member Manny Juarez, 16, also known as Pelon.
"Now we ... deep in Oklahoma City. Grande Barrio Loco just mean like big, bad crazy 'hood or something like that. It's hard to explain in English."
At least four other Hispanic gangs have taken root in Oklahoma City.
Two -- the Southside Locos and Grande Barrio Central, commonly known as GBC -- have memberships as large or larger than the Juaritos, which boast anywhere from 100 to 300 members.
Between them, police said, these gangs are believed responsible for at least five killings in the past month.
None have been solved, but the gang unit has its suspicions.
"We don't know who it is, but one of the Juaritos used an assault rifle and killed a guy" in early June, police Sgt. Jay Szymanski said. "One of these guys is probably the shooter, but we just can't prove it."
L'il Termite, whose real name is known to police and The Oklahoman but who asked that it not be used, said he doesn't do violence anymore, at least not the kind that involves firearms.
It's too big a risk.
He's been with his gang, or "set," for 10 years. When he was 13, he was "jumped in," a practice that usually involves being beaten by several older gangsters.
Fight back and survive without crying too loudly, and you're in.
Since then, he's followed the usual path. Arrests on relatively minor charges resulted in convictions. Getting caught with a gun now could mean time in federal prison.
"I just been kickin' back," he says. "Chillin'. Tryin' to maintain, you know. As you get older, you got to be careful."
But when talk turns to the set's enemies, L'il Termite swells. His eyes continue their away- and-around travel, scanning for trouble, and Juarez and the others stand stiffly, facing different directions. Ready for war.
The Juaritos have beefs with so many other gangsters that even here, on their own turf, they can't feel completely safe.
Graffiti on walls throughout the neighborhood threatens the Southside Locos and members of all the city's Crip sets.
If any rivals throw gang signs at him, twisting their fingers into symbols associated with different sets, L'il Termite says, he'd fight.
"They probably pull guns, though," he says. "They too scared to just fight."
That matter-of-fact statement is more illuminating than the bluster could ever be.
Without question, L'il Termite, all 100 pounds of him, would risk incarceration or death over something as fleeting and meaningless as a hand signal.
He would die to protect his 'hood from perceived disrespect.
The other three -- ages 15, 16 and 17 -- seem to share his convictions.
When asked, they said they don't think about the future. When the time comes, Juarez said, he'll die representing his set.
Death could come sooner than he expects.
Juarez's lower northwest Oklahoma City house serves as a sort of unofficial gang headquarters, police Sgt. Ritch Willis said.
It's where members originally met with The Oklahoman before deciding to relocate to the Pilot Center.
"That house where they were," Willis said, "there've probably been 10 drive-bys on that house so far. That's not in its history. That's this month."
L'il Termite, at least, realizes his time might be short. With no diploma and a felony rap sheet, he says the best job he's been able to find is a part-time janitorial gig at the Ford Center.
It's a way station on his journey back to prison.
"Well, I done time," he says, "so time ain't nothin'. It just time. I don't wanna get shot, though."
He looks away, his gaze crawling across the urban landscape as if he's trying to memorize the view. Then, for the first time, he makes eye contact.
"I guess that's the way it is," he says. "That ...
that's the life I chose for myself."