Story time again! So, what makes a Hustler? Travel with me as I relate stories of moments that changed my life. This story in particular because I almost lost my life.
(In the spirit of being honest, I had to alter some of the story’s events. Everything did happen, but I had to omit some details out of respect for a particular individual – street code, you know…)
This is a long one so settle in. It’s good though, I promise. Click “Read More” to continue…
If you’ve never stared down the barrel of a gun with an irate person on the other end then let me tell you, that non-sense about seeing your life flashing before your eyes is a load of crap. At least it was for me.
There were only 3 things I thought about:
(1) I was about to die over some car hubcaps.
(2) Could I kill this person before he killed me?
(3) Life really can change at the drop of a dime.
Here’s how this all started.
Earlier that day my Hustler partner New York (his street moniker) and I were at “The Spot” – a generic term for the main location where we hustled at; aka "The Paper Spot".
It was the fall season, but the weather was great! The Spot was jumping and the money was coming in steady.
“Hey, Shah (my street moniker)!” New York said in his Brooklyn accent. “My man just got these Falcon tickets for the game tonight. I got three. What’s up? You wanna go?”
Honestly I’m not much of a football fan, but I didn’t have anything else to do, plus it was free, so why not? “Sure I’ll go. What time?” I replied.
New York gave me the time and he found another one of his friends to take the third ticket. The evening came quickly. We both left The Spot early, went to our respective residences and got ready.
I drove to New York’s apartment. He lived alone in a decent 2-bedroom apartment. Nothing fancy but it was fully furnished and worked great for a bachelor pad. His friend, who was claiming the third ticket, was there and ready to go. We all got into my car and made our way into downtown Atlanta to the Georgia Dome.
Finding parking took a little time, but we managed to squeeze into a space where we wouldn’t have to walk too far. We got into the stadium, snuck from our mid-range seats to empty season ticket holder seats (a little courage and an effective mouth-piece works wonders). And there we enjoyed what was left of the game.
After the unexplained loss by the home team, we went to eat and talk our normal Hustler non-sense and then headed back to New York’s place. I dropped him and his friend off.
It was getting late – after 11pm. I was pulling out of the apartment’s entrance to the main road when a blue car came darting down the road out of nowhere. I slammed on the brakes but the other car didn’t seem to slow down. My heart starting beating fast, adrenaline shot into my system and time seemed to slow down. I mentally and physically braced for impact.
The car swerved, just enough to avoid running into the driver’s side door. Speed Racer’s car grated the front of mine, ripping off the bumper, scraping up his door and shattering his alloy finished hubcaps. The hubcaps shattered into pieces and made a trail along the road. He finally decided to slam his brakes and come to a screeching halt some 30-feet away.
I shook off the initial shock and opened my car door. I surveyed the damage as I walked to the front of my car. In the distance I could see a tall slim black man getting out of his vehicle and cursing to "high hell". Mr. Lead-foot walked around to the damaged side of his vehicle and looked at the dents, scrapes and broken “rims”. His front passenger-side tire was bent inward.
He looked down the road at me and called me quite a few colorful names which I’ll leave you to figure out. I started walking toward his car. I wasn’t too upset – honestly I got the car at an auction and didn’t really have an emotional attachment to it. If the damage was repairable, I could have it fixed the following week. Or I could just go back to the auction and buy a new one.
“My f*****g rims! I just got these motherf******s! Your piece of s**t car F*****d up my s**t shawty!” His Atlanta southern drawl was thick.
I could see the anger in his young face and feel the emotion behind every word that shot from his mouth. But you know what I said to all his raving? “Nigga! Those ain’t even rims. They’re in pieces all over the road, those are f******g hubcaps. Calm the f**k down!”
I reached to my side to pull my cell phone from its waist-holder. It was time to call 911 and report the accident. Georgia Boy let out a few more curse words then proceeded to the trunk of his car.
It was at this point, my “street sense” started tingling. My mind searched for a rational explanation but kept coming up with only 1 answer. He was getting a weapon! More than likely, a handgun.
I was partially right... I stopped dead in my tracks as he pulled out a rifle from his trunk and spun around. He aimed dead at my chest as he crept towards me. It was a pump action rifle with a strap attached. This meant it was most likely a semi-auto. It was hard to make out clearly in the dark.
“Dumb a** nigga! What now, f**k boy?” the young thug asked.
And there I was, at the worst end of a rifle barrel. I had a gun pointed at me before, but nowhere near this close. He stood only about 8 or 9 feet away.
2 problems crossed my mind (yes, even in a life threatening situation I still thought about how to handle the problem):
(1) I couldn’t hit the send button on my phone. 911 was already dialed but if he saw that, it would piss him off even more. Translation: Bad night for me...
(2) My gun and taser were in my car some 15 or more feet away. I couldn’t run to get it. Even if Rifle Ricky was a bad shot or couldn't handle the rifle's kick, he was still close enough to probably hit “some” part of my body. He would even have time to get off 2 or 3 shots with a semi-auto rifle.
I dropped my arms to my side. No way was I going to put my arms up and die like that to this asshole. No way! I reflected on how stupid to die like this would be. I mean of all the things I’ve done that could have gotten me killed – this was how it was going to end? This might sound strange, but I was just as angry as I was scared.
My potential killer mouthed-off some more words. None of what he said registered to me.
A car came down the other side of the road and like any curious individual, it slowed down to see what was happening. It seemed like forever as it slowly rode past before it continued driving away. Rifle Roger looked away for a moment and then I can only guess reality hit him. Even if he did shoot me, there would be a possible witness. He turned back to his trunk, I took a few steps backward and hit the send button on my cell phone to dial 911.
As I reported the accident Georgia Boy leaned against his rear bumper and was making a phone call. My “street sense” went off again. He was either calling for back-up, calling someone to take his rifle – or both. At least he was smart enough not to put himself in legal jeopardy.
As soon as the 911 call was done. I called New York for my back-up. “Damn I heard that crash all the way in my apartment. Hold on Shah, I’m coming,” He said and hung up.
Rifle Roger stared at me after his phone call was over. He was still cussing. Someone approached out of the darkness behind me. I turned to look. The apartment security guard came to poke his nose into situation.
The security guard started asking me questions. In return I started asking him questions about what he had seen. He gave the response I expected – he didn’t see anything he only heard a crash.
Another car came down the road. It stopped near Rifle Ray-Ray. I could make our at least 2 people in the car. Rifle Roger reached back into his trunk and handed off the rifle to the driver in the car and closed his trunk. The car screeched off.
New York popped up and I explained to him the situation. We leaned against my car talking to the security guard while keeping a watchful eye on Gangsta Slim.
I called my car insurance company and the police eventually showed up and all the necessary reports were made. Without evidence, they refused to believe that I was held at rifle-point and almost shot. There was no sense an arguing, I couldn't prove a thing.
I thanked New York for looking out for me and got back in my car which was still drive-able. A tow truck had to be called for Georgia Boy. His mother and girlfriend eventually showed up. His mother was visibly upset and stated that she had just repaired the car a few weeks ago.
I was served a traffic ticket because the accident was my fault – Gangsta Slim had the right-of-way on the road.
I looked at the police report. It had both my home address and Georgia Boy's which came from our driver's licenses. That alone could be a potential future problem. Sometimes "street drama" finds its way to your doorstep. I started to formulate a plan immediately just in case.
I drove home in silence; windows down with the radio off. I felt mentally drained. What kept playing through my mind wasn’t the fact I almost lost my life but instead, what have I been doing with my life? So much wasted time and lack of sincere effort. It was time to step-up the Hustle and put some pieces in place to make improvement for a more meaningful future.
I had been told many times before, but the brutal truth finally seeped into my thick skull... You never know when any day is going to be your last day. What exactly was I waiting for?
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