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Please Note: At the bottom of the short story I have included a glossary for better understanding of the slang terms used. Most of these terms come from 90’s/gangsta rap culture. The terms will be identified in bold italics.

    The sunlight is pale and dim as it shines over the dead trees, and the sky a greyish blue. The wails of the one time echo throughout the inner city.  His scarred arm reached through his closet and finds his worn and patched  jacket. Lazily throwing it on, he moves through the house and opens up an old wardrobe, the wood cracking and the door creaking as it slowly opens. He pulls out a nine, pops in a clip,  pulls the slide back, and stuffs it into the back of his jeans.  Grabbing the plastic bag, he walks out the door, a barely noticeable limp in his step, his breath briefly forming clouds in the cool weather. Survival of the fittest--only the strong survive--the vigor of the successful. He repeats the saying as he puts his foot down and begins to stroll. “Survival of the fittest, only the strong survive.” Every day someone dies on the streets. “Won’t be me,” he mutters.

As he walks down the streets of the ghettos , he pulls out a square and lights it, covering the flame from the cold wind with his hand. He takes a few puffs, then throws it on the cracked sidewalk. He’s here. It was arranged at 6:00 AM this morning. A grimy and dark alleyway near a few grafitti’d bandos. Havoc, his friend, and his friend’s man, Sneaks, three  fearful soldiers, waiting in the cold silence before some bucktowners walk around the corner, four deep. Paranoid, Havoc’s eyes began to dart back and forth, studying each person; three heats, and one’s got a knife. One walks up to him, a black doo rag on his head and a red bandana tucked into his pants, “You got it?” the guy with the bandana asked. “You know I do.” he said. “A’ight then, let’s see it.” He pulls out the plastic bag and holds it up. “Where’s the money at G?” Havoc barked. The man in the doo rag snapped back, “Right here.” The man said as he pulled out a stack of cash. They exchanged the cash and the bag, he counted the cash, bill by bill. Two-fifty. As the bucktowners turn to leave, one of the lookouts whispered, “Hootie-hoo!” A black and white car slowly rolls by, NYPD plastered onto it’s sides, and the person inside investigates the crews. The car finally passes by and Havoc’s crew continued on their way. The deal was finished.

The sun is rising now, desperately trying to shine through the grey clouds that blocked its light; but to no avail, gloomy grey covers the skies. A beep hit him on the hip. “One more,” he mumbled to his crew. They walk along a rusted bridge connecting one ghetto to another, heads down, hoods up, keeping their identities a secret from the one time. They had a long walk ahead of them. They stroll past poor, homeless tweekers that held up cardboard signs in hopes some fool will give them some measures. Cars pass by them up and down the bridge, the sound of the tires against the road always made him paranoid, the fear of a drive-by always lingering in the back of his mind. “About two or three more blocks.” Havoc said to his crew. The soldiers walked into Brownsville, the notorious murder capital of New York. They saw the building right up the street, the sound of tires on the road, he looked. A blacked out van speeding towards them. The van door slid open as he ran, his crew behind him. He sped into an alleyway and hid behind a trash bin. Gunshots, for what seemed like an eternity. They finally stopped, he saw the van blast by the alleyway, no vaseline. He sprinted from his hiding spot, his friends laying on the sidewalk, red all around their still bodies.

He heard sirens, he ran. Sprinting down the streets, pushing those in his way. “Won’t happen to me.” Maybe the drive-by missed me. Maybe they forgot about me, he thought. The sound. The sound of tires against the road. Shook, he looked. The van...the blacked out van. He ran as fast as he could. His breath forming clouds...Clouds. Gunshots. He lay on the cold concrete, his cheek against the rough texture. Red slowly forming around his body. He rolled over. He looked at the bleak sky and the black power lines criss-crossing through the grey and blue. His breath forming brief clouds. “Won’t be me.” His breath forming fainter clouds. “Won’t be me.” The clouds stopped. His eyes steadied and his body stilled. Dim sunlight shining through the dark clouds, the sky a greyish blue. A light rain began to patter on the cold sidewalk, an opaque fog laid down and rested on the inner city streets. The rain began to wash away the red; Streaming it into the cracks and holes in the concrete. Another body on the streets, covered in red, calm as the night sky. Trapped in  a cycle, stuck in a prison of death, unescapable and never ending he sits and withers away; fading into nothingness and becoming just another number.




“One time” A slang term for the police. You look one time at the police, if you do a double-take it might attract attention.

“Nine” Referring to a 9mm pistol.

“Square” A cigarette.

“Bando” Short for abandoned house.

“Bucktowner” A term used to reference the residents of New York City borough of Brooklyn.

“Deep” A number of people.

“Heats” Guns.

“Hootie-hoo” Heads up to others that the police is coming. Made popular by Outkast in the hook from “Slump.”

“Hit him on the hip” To be contacted on a pager.

“Tweeker” A person who uses stimulants

“Measures” Money.

“No vaseline” To attack an enemy without any mercy. Made popular by Ice Cube’s song, “No Vaseline.”


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