I’ve said this before but, living a street life is a life full of paranoia. You’re constantly watching your back, watching your people’s back, being careful of the women you deal with and weeding out the fakes so you can deal with real people who respect that layer of The Game.
One of those Hustlers I had the honor of knowing was a Jamaican. He moved to America with his family and ran with a small crew here in Atlanta. Out of respect, I’ll just call him A-Z.
A-Z was a bona-fide street Hustler who decided to leave the stress-filled life behind and live like an average square. His main motivation was his family. He found a regular job but still kept an ear to the streets.
I met A-Z through a mutual friend; one of my Ladies who was an ex-stripper. I’ll just refer to her as, Shawni. Shawni grew up in Chicago. She was well familiar with various street games but slowed down when she fell head over heels with the father of her first child. She left the street life and became a devoted mother. She already came equipped with Game, which was a plus in my book.
To continue the story, click “Read More”.
It’s said that, “Real recognize real and fake,” so when you run across a real Player, you just immediately give them a certain level of respect. It’s almost automatic, like picking up your cell phone when it rings. I always imagined it as an unspoken understanding. We run across so many fakes that you can’t do anything but appreciate someone who isn’t.
A-Z and I never talked much, but we showed each other mutual respect based on our Game. At that time in my life, my circle was small. I had few friends and a lot of acquaintances.
Because of that, I was puzzled when A-Z told Shawni to have me hold onto his gun for safe keeping. Since A-Z had left the street life, he also got rid of things that reminded him of it. Plus, Shawni had children, and A-Z was an honorable man so he felt it was best that the gun wasn’t kept in her apartment.
The pistol itself was slick. An all black .357 magnum. The serial number was etched off and it appeared like it had only been used once or twice.
I felt a little uncomfortable with the request. Of all the people he could ask, he asked me. I called him to see what was up. I had to understand. I needed to know if there were rules involved; or even a catch.
“Yo, what’s good A-Z?” I asked holding the small brick-sized cellular phone to my face.
“What’s up Shah?” A-Z said. His Jamaican accent was unmistakable. Even through the cellular static. The name, Shah was my street handle at the time.
“You told Shawni to have me take care of something for you?” It was street code. You just can’t say the words “gun” or “pistol” over the phone. It’s not like we were doing it “big time” and had government eyes watching. It was just a paranoia thing. You could never be too careful… until you realized you weren’t. Of course by that time, it was too late; like showing up the day after a funeral.
“Yeah. Yeah. That’s what I told her.” A-Z replied.
“You good with that?”
“Yeah, Shah. We good man. Respect!”
What I really wanted to ask, I couldn’t ask. What I really wanted to know was, why me? It was off-putting; like asking a stranger to watch your family pet for a long unspecified time. I mean, think about it. I could sell the gun, trade it and even use it in a criminal act while wearing gloves. The only fingerprints on it would be his and Shawni’s. It was a move that involved a large degree of trust on his part. More trust than you would give someone you didn’t run with daily. More trust than I would have given him.
“Alright then. Just let me know when you want to pick it up,” I said.
“I’ll only get it when I need it.” He replied.
Almost 2 years passed. I kept the magnum in a small brown paper bag in a black trunk under lock and key. I never touched it or pulled it out. And I never told anyone about it. It wasn’t mine to play with. To be respected in any Game, you have to have integrity, bottom line. And although A-Z and I didn’t Hustle together, he showed a great deal of confidence in my judgment. Because of the respect I had for him, I could only reciprocate. A real Hustler honors his word and The Game. That’s all your reputation can be built on.
It was a fall night when a text notification came across my burner (pre-paid) cell phone. It simply said, “This is A-Z. Call me at XXX-XXX-XXX.” I figured he must have gotten the burner number from Shawni. I personally hadn’t seen or heard from A-Z in almost a year.
I was chilling with my Hustle partner Burns and our friend Iz. We sat on the sofa wasting time on the Sony Playstation. I stood up, handed my controller to Iz and walked out to the front porch. I called back the number A-Z had given me.
“A-Z! What’s good?” I asked.
“What’s going on Shah? Um, you still holding that?” A-Z said getting straight down to business.
“Definitely Brother. What’s up?”
“I need to get that from you.”
“That’s nothing. When? Where?” I asked.
“Now. Where can we meet?”
“East Point. I’m not too far from the East Point train station.”
“About 45 minutes?” A-Z asked.
“I’m there.” I replied. There was a moment of silence then the phone hung up.
I walked back into the house and made my way to my black trunk. I opened the lock and dug around inside. I pulled the bag from the trunk. Closed it and locked it.
“Yo, B.” I said directing my attention to Burns. Burns looked back my way from the sofa and I gave him a double sideways head nod toward the front door. Burns stood up and joined me on the front porch.
“Shah? What’s up? What’s in the bag, son?” Burns said in his faint New York accent.
“A Magnum.” I simply replied.
“Oh shit! Yo! Let me see. Where’d you get that?”
“It’s not mine. I’ve been holding it for someone. A Jamaican cat.”
I explained the situation to Burns and the history behind it. As a fellow Hustler, Burns immediately understood. We often talked about getting big, investing our money into something legitimate and leaving the life behind. But Burns also picked-up on what I was already thinking. If A-Z was asking for his gun back, then he probably planned on using it. He hadn’t asked for it in nearly 2 years. He obviously needed it for something.
Burns went back in the house and came back out with Iz. I explained the situation to them and Iz agreed to drive me to the meeting.
We pulled up at the train station. The sky brought drizzles of rain down. I could hear the wind pick up. There was only 1 car parked on the street directly outside of the train station. It was an old school with tinted windows. I could only assume that was A-Z, but I had to be sure. I told Iz to pull up behind the car and flash the headlights. Iz agreed. The driver’s side window from the old school rolled down and a hand came out and waved briefly.
I tucked the paper bag under my belt, covered it with my shirt and exited Iz’s Benz making my way casually around to the driver’s side rear door. I heard the locks click then I opened the door and slid in the back seat.
A-Z sat in the driver’s seat and a dark-skinned dread sat in the passenger seat. I never saw his face because he never turned around. Paranoia you know…
A-Z stayed looking forward as he spoke, “What’s going on Shah?”
“All’s good man.” I said. I could smell the scent of marijuana in the air. There was no need for reunion chatter. I pulled the bag from my belt and laid it on the console between the front seats. A-Z reached back, doing his best to stay looking straight forward. He grabbed the bag and made sure what I brought him was what he asked for.
“You alright A-Z?” I asked. What I was really asking was, ‘Are you sure what you’re about to do is the best thing? You still have a choice.’
“Just a little war problem. No worry. I’m good,” A-Z said coldly.
“Alright man. I’ll get up with you.”
“Respect Shah!” A-Z said as I opened the door and got out of the car.
That was the last thing I ever heard A-Z say. I never saw or heard from him again. The street life has a way of pulling you back in, even when you try to leave. Some decisions need to be final. The streets are a bitch and you can’t flirt with her; either you have to commit or walk away. A-Z, wherever you are Brother, much respect to you; a true Hustler.
Curious about the Game? Subscribe to the Uncommon Sense Adviser – Higher level Game to help take YOUR Game to the next level. Also receive news, discounts on future books and products along with early access. Join now by clicking [HERE].