Stories from readers – Gang Life
“I’m free” I said to myself excitedly. I had finally escaped and now I had to figure out my exit strategy. I ran as fast as I could while Diego and Pablo chased after me trying to shoot me with their 9mm rounds. I ran through the water and through the woods and up the hilly terrain away from them. Luckily, I had a ride waiting alongside the highway.
It was my girlfriend Rosa and she was eager to see me. She had gotten a text from me earlier saying things were not good and to meet me at the underpass. I had been living the life of a gangster for ten years now and needed to retire. I needed to have a fresh new start, I had been living as a thug since the age of twelve and I was no longer interested in that scene. I had seen way too much and heard way too much. I have lied for the brotherhood and almost died for them on many occasions. For the last year things have just been awkward between me and the guys.
That family really doesn’t feel like a “family” to the older members anymore since a new leader has taken over. All the guys keep getting suspicious and try and turn on you. Everyone thinks that the guy next to them has a wire or a recording device on them. Theirs a few guys who even try and check the place for bugs. They get twitchy when they’re around you and that’s something I’m not having. If I wanted to see a bunch of twitchy crazies I would go see the homeless meth heads down on the corner not far from where my crew hangs out. I should know we sell to the junkies and prostitutes a few times a week or sometimes daily.
The leaders name was Paco and he ran the gang with an iron fist. He wasn’t much older than me, but his family had ran the gang and were members of the drug cartel. I was only 22 and Paco was only 25. He had been running the gang for a few years now and no one questioned him. Nobody questioned or disrespected Paco unless you wanted to be put in the ER or buried in a shallow grave. I have seen a few guys disrespect Paco and their hands would get broken or melted with Hydrochloric acid. He even liked to stab guys right in the kidney on occasion. Paco’s reasoning behind stabbing them in the kidney is that one less kidney is just a little less life that person will be living. Paco took over when his brother Guillermo left to settle down in a family life. Guillermo helps run the drug cartels now as an inside man working on the Mexican border. The difference between the two brothers is about twenty cents, Guillermo wouldn’t hesitate to put a bullet in your head and didn’t like to torture people.
The gangster life seems cool and extravagant…but there is a lot of blood to be spilled. Innocent lives are lost and people die just because of money, drugs, and other crazy shit. Someone can’t say they’re gangster until they walk in my shoes and see the shit that I have seen. I have friends that are locked up for murder, assault, robbery, arson, and drug trafficking. Their whole life is gone by the long arm of the law. I had a choice and after ten years I finally took my exit. Today I refused to do a deal and an initiation. One of the people who was above me was about to put a bullet in me but I shot out his knees. His crew caught up with me later, and that’s where the two goons Diego and Pablo come in the picture. They don’t know there ass from a hole in the ground so by the time they caught up with me I was already high tailing it as far as I could away.
I was 12 years old when I first got into the gang life. The gang was 18th street and when I joined I was their youngest member. I had to prove myself by getting a circle beating and doing a few high dollar drug sales. Cops are less likely to see a kid, older person, or someone dressed in nice clothes as a threat. So there I was, instead of delivering papers like normal kids, I was making drug deals. I was also robbing people too. Every now and then is a person’s wallet was within easy reach or if they had something worth stealing I would take it. I was a fast runner too so I never got caught. I was using my skills that I had for bad and I was heading down a long dark path. I enjoyed the gang life because it gave me money in my pocket and I felt like I belonged. At the age of 14 I even started smoking pot and then got into smoking crack. The long dark road got even dark. One of the gang members knew I needed help and put me in a bootleg detox. I was locked in a house outside the city for 10 days and I had to face my addiction cold turkey. Luckily for me my so called family was doing this for me.
I had witnessed over two dozen murders, more assault than I can remember, I have had to murder two people so they wouldn’t be witnesses at a trial, and all for my gang family. My gang family made millions of dollars from stolen goods, drugs, and other illegal activities, but I only seen a very small portion of it. This gang was no more of a family than an extended family during the holiday season. I’m telling my story in hopes that someone will listen and in hopes that they will decide that the gang life is not the way to go.
The thug life is no life to live. I had to go into hiding and change my identity. I moved to a totally new country with a new identity. I know too much, I’ve seen too much, and I am a hazard to my own self. I go to bed every night with an alarm, a guard dog, and a pistol…and it still isn’t enough. I don’t think they will ever be happy until they find me and when that day comes I’ll be ready.