I grew up in Harlem during the 80's and 90's, when crack hit the streets and AIDS was making a name for itself. It was a wild time and i really am surprised i made it this far.
As a teen i was in gangs, drunk St.Ides ,cisco and smoke weed like the rest of the hoods. During the summers we would sneak into the pools at night time after their closing hours and have a blast.
Halloween wasn't trick or treat for us. It was throwing eggs and spraying people with mace. Everybody over twelve was selling drugs at the time. If you wasn't selling you were a look out. If you wasn't a look out, you did pick ups. It was all fun and games to us. Get locked up, go to Rikers for a few months, then come home and you were a hero. A big old game of cops and robbers. I really didn't take any of it seriously until people started dying. When my friends starting getting killed, we all started to admire death.
MY boys who died had their names tattooed on the bodies of everybody who knew them, murals were drawn on gates and walls and they became street legend. "Remember crazy ass Kato.." people always began when telling the stories of my cousin. It was usually followed by a tale of fights, guns and sex. No matter what story they told it always ended with how he got shot twice in the head at Harlem week in front of the state building by pistol pete.
By the time i was twenty i had made a strong name for myself in the streets. I had more money than would fit in the brief case i kept it in and girls loved me. At this time I had My own apartment up in washington heights, where few people knew me and I kept my address a secret. You should have seen how hard it was for me to get home without letting people know where i lived. I would take a cab to the bronx and then jump on a train back to manhattan. Or take the 2 train downtown switch to an uptown 1 and go two stops past my house then catch a cab get out two avenues away and walkeast bound thru a street that had west bound traffic.
Paranoia grew as my pockets did, so i began to think the chicks that i met at clubs were trying to set me up. I never announced when i was going places i would just go. It was all crazy and by twenty two i was seriously burnt out. After my best friend was shot and killed on 115 street I went into a almost suicidal drinking binge. I would sit in my house toast in my hand drinking hennesy expecting people to burst into the house. At night i slept with the TV and radio off to hear every little sound. If a girl stayed the night, everytime she moved i would wake up and start reaching. And to make matters worst, the police drove by in their unmarked cars callin my name, saying my turn was coming.
They dragged me in when my boy got killed saying the killer was trying to get to me, but it was all their little games. Shawn died because him and the guy bumped into each other while turning the corner at the same time. Sounds like stupidity right? Well thats how it happened ,chuck was there, and it was just that simple.
Usually whenever i went somewhere i took the same cab. My driver,Double 0 was an african guy who was mad cool. You could rent the car for an hour and he would drive you around so you could smoke weed and make what ever runs you needed to make. One day Double 0 dropped me off at the block and i check it out first and then went to get breakfast. Before i could get back to set up, police swept the whole block and had everybody and their mommas in cuffs. I walked to a phone and called 0 so he could get me. "yo , 0 come get me in need to get out of here" oh sounded funny this time "uh, uh" he stuttered . Shit somethings wrong. And then he started screaming at me" Bitch i told you stop calling me."
I went to a chick house and chilled for a couple of hours until night time. O paged me and told me the police stopped him a block from where he had dropped me off and asked him where he picked me up from and a bunch of other questions. They looked thru his cell phone but he set his phone up the way i told him. My name Was Sexy kisha in his phone and immediately after our calls he erased the recent calls. Changing my name to a female name on everybodies phone was my boy shawn's idea. It was time to get out.