The Felon’s Point of View
WARNING: Foul and inappropriate language is used in the following story.
It is Grandma’s birthday and all of your family are showing up to the event. Grandma will be 68 years old today and is still alive, despite diabetes complications. You are talking with your best friend/cousin named “Skooby”, a local blood member from the Ballstone Boyz. Skooby is 4 years older than you, and has done time in juvenile hall and youth authority. Skooby and you take a walk around the block and light up a blunt filled with marijuana. You guys pick a spot near a dumpster in an alley and talk about how crazy things are getting in Troose.
You:”Shit gettin crazy out here Skoob, niggaz is straight savages killin in broad daylight!”
Skooby:”That’s why I always keep that Nina Ross(gun) on me, in case these niggaz wanna try me wit that fuck-shit!”—(Fuck-shit means, weird or strange behavior)
You:”I gotta find a way to get me and moms up outta here. Im getting tired of making 170 bucks a week on this part-time shit. I’m tryna ball like Trump or Bill Gates one day. Create some shit like Steve Jobs. I am tired of being poor. Mom’s getting older, and pops getting out in 6 years. Im tryna have shit laced by time Pops get out so he can never have to work again”
Skooby:”I feel you bro. Thats why a nigga out here getting it. I stay on the come up getting that Guap (money). You think a nigga posed to get up and go to work for only enough money to pay the light bill and eat canned food. Nigga fuck that. Squares out here working at McDonald’s for a whole month just to buy some Jordan’s. What you make in a month, I make in a day.”(laughing hysterically)
You:(disturbed and uncomfortable look)
Skooby:”I used to be like you. Listen to the white man, wanna get a job and go the right path. That shit is for suckas B. The white man want you to work for him till you old and grey and aint got shit but diabetes and a social security check. Fuck that! My squad starting our own enterprise out here. All my niggas got new whips and bad bitches. Look at FatBoy Troy. That nigga used to wear the same Jordan sandals er’day. No money, hummin and bummin. Look at him now, he got his own turf, a brand new Challenger on 24’s with a bedroom full of Jordan’s. Bitches jock him now. You need to stop depending on the white man. That shit will hold you back bruh-bruh.”
You:”Don’t you fear going to jail and dying? Niggaz is droppin like bird shit. Goin to jail and doing 25-to-life bids. Black men are incarcerated at high rates. I’m not trying to be another statistic. They say we either end up dead, jail, or paralyzed. I can’t walk that path. What if you die?”
Skooby:”youz a scary ass nigga (puffs the blunt). You gonna die anyway! you could drive your car and get into an accident and die. Fuck them statistics. Them statistics aint taking care of me and my niggaz. You brainwashed TQ. That’s why you ain’t gonna be shit. You wanna regular job to be a house nigga and never have shit.”
Skooby:”Ah, shit, I forgot to tell you that cousin Stretch got out!”
Stretch, a black man with a svelte, muscular figure, standing at 6’4, is a cousin of yours who went to prison when you were 5 years old. He was a member of the 45th St Ballstone Bloods, who went to jail for armed robbery. He was 18 at the time of the crime, coming off a botched college basketball career. He was a 4-star recruit who earned a scholarship to a NCAA Division-1 basketball team. During his freshman season he averaged 20 pts a game. Stretch, had a problem with who he surrounded himself with. He was always around his childhood friends from the hood. They convinced him to participate in an armed robbery. The event was captured on a surveillance camera and became national news. Stretch, real name Egypt Browne, was sent to prison for 15 years. Due to good behavior, and prison overcrowding, he qualified for early release.
Stretch:”Wassup Black MEN!!!”
You:”Wassup”(in an estranged and aloof tone)
Skooby:”Whattup Stretch! You done got buff. You used to be a twig, nigga!”
Stretch:”Yeah, that’s what that prison food will do to you. You youngstas got a lot to learn. T.Q, you was too little to know who I am, but I am your big cousin. You are a grown man now, and Skooby you got big too.”
Skooby: “I’m tryna tell this nigga about making money off tha block, but he ain’t listening.”
You: (Looking uncomfortable)
Stretch:”That shit is stupid Skooby, Jail is not a place for boys. It’s a lot of shit that goes on in prison that you guys don’t understand. I have seen grown men get raped, stabbed, and killed in prison. Yes, you can die in prison. Skooby you are a knuckle-head that won’t listen to anyone. But I am telling you guys, prison is no joke! I have seen grown men cry in prison.”
Skooby: (growing irritated)” Youz a old head. You don’t know what shit is like on the block right now. Shit has changed. Mezza’s and the Troose 13’s is running shit. Aspey’s are fucking wit crabz (crips) and shit is all fucked up. Niggas is out here getting killed like Iraq. You don’t know shit!”
Stretch:”First of all, Im your O.G.!! Nigga don’t get it twisted. I used to run wit some of your lil homies uncles. You a poo-butt snot nosed wanna be. I’ve lined it up (fought) wit Crips in the chow hall, 2 on 1. I served time for puttin in work for the hood. You just went to Juvie (Juvenile hall). Do you know what it’s like to not have none of the homies write you or put money on your books (commissary)? Do you know what its like to not have a relationship with your child, because of a fuck up you did when you was 19? My baby momma moved on to another man, who my son calls daddy, and won’t acknowledge me or my phone calls. You don’t know that pain, Blood!”
Skooby: (puzzled look)
You: (involved and intrigued)
Stretch:”I have been looking for a job for the past two months I’ve been out, and can’t get hired. I have tried everything. There is no equal-opportunity for an ex-felon. I have to register wherever I live. My P.O (probation officer) is my fuckin baby sitter. I have to piss in a cup and check in with her at a moments notice. I have no rights. Cops can harass and take me to jail, simply off of suspicion. I can’t hang with none of my homies cause of gang-injunction laws. The White man won’t hire me. The Black man won’t hire me. He is just as scared of me as the White man is. I can’t even get a job doing construction. The Mexicans and Latinos are taking over the labor industry. They come into our country with skilled trades and businesses. We barely have a culture, we don’t wanna help each other out. The million man march and Black lives matter shit is cute, but we don’t wanna help each other out. The ex-felons don’t have a voice. Especially the Blacks. Mexicans and Whites get a job working for their cousin when they get out of jail. Where do the Blacks go? Back to the block to sell some crack and end up back in Prison. It is an invisible caste system that never gets publicized. So, for now, I have to stick to these temporary jobs I get at the local “Labor-Ready”. I am removing roof shingles and digging holes for less than 40 bucks a day. You young bucks got a lot to learn!”
Part 5 coming soon…
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