Mr. Bill speaks…Youngster listens…
When I was deep in the LIFE I started cutting out on my first wife with Brandi. Brandi was five years younger than my wife Stacey. Youngster, back in the day Brandi had shape for days. She was the exact opposite of Stacey. Stacey went to work, came home, cooked and cleaned, and took care of the kids. Brandi slept all damn day and played all damn night Youngster. She loved the fast lifestyle. Before I knew it my wife was gone. My kids Shay and Bishop were living in Texas with their momma and grandparents. For some strange reason, I had chosen Brandi. We were left to look at each other in a 1 bedroom house in Greensboro, North Carolina. That fall we found out she was pregnant with Stevie.
I started hustling hard. You know these boys on the street still know me as the “Hussle man”. By that point I was drinking 2 six packs a day and smoking 2 packs of cigarettes. I would slang that rock early in the morning to the fiends for what I called their “first meal”. “Second meal” I would let my partner handle— so I could make my drops at my stash houses. “Dinnertime” I would slang that rock at an abandoned house—it was easier to control the atmosphere at night that way.
Stress was my middle name Youngster. I couldn’t quite figure out how things got so bad with Stacey. She hated the lifestyle no doubt. But shit, I was just trying to provide. That was my perspective at that time in my life. I kept telling her we would be out the game in a few years. She didn’t believe me, and I didn’t give her reason to believe me.
I damn for show couldn’t figure out how Brandi and me just started shacking up. It all happened so quick. I was in love with one woman one minute, and then she was gone from my life the next minute. I wanted to do right, but life was moving so fast. Only thing I knew was that I needed to be a provider.
Make money and provide–that was my motto Youngster. I wasn’t a good father, I wasn’t even around to see Shay and Bishop. I was just a drug dealer Youngster. Just a another black man shooting my own people. I wasn’t shooting them with a gun Youngster, I was shooting their veins. Stacey would stay on my ass, telling me to be there for the kids, and that I was making enough money to be around more. But my daddy wasn’t around Youngster. My momma had bills. She raised all seven of us working in them white folks house in the morning, and cleaning the hospital floors at night. She cried everyday raising us.
I didn’t wanna be like my daddy. I didn’t wanna be broke and worthless. I wanted to be a provider. I wanted respect. I wanted power. I wanted these boys to know my name in the streets. I look at you Youngster, and you remind me of myself…
I was fortunate enough to be sly and quick enough on my toes to make it in the game–until I was able to move out of the game. Leaving North Carolina was good for me, but I be lying to you if I didn’t tell you that some days I want back in on the money. I was fortunate, I was dumb, I was ignorant, and I was a fool. I gained a few dollars, but in the process of being the man in the streets I lost my family.
Remember what I’m saying to you Youngster; the game gave me money, but the game ain’t nothing to play with.
I could provide, but I wasn’t man enough to know that making money is one part of the equation. You see…kids need love Youngster. They need a daddy that’s around. A daddy to show them discipline. A daddy to show them strength. A daddy to show them protection. A daddy to show them how to have a relationship with God. Money don’t show them that Youngster. Remember money come and money go. Daddies can’t come and go. Daddies that come and go don’t mean shit to these kids. Kids need a man around to provide stability Youngster. These kids only got one daddy.
Look me in my damn eyes when I speaking truth to you Carlos! Damn it boi, look me in my damn eyes!
Carlos was stunned that Mr. Bill raised his voice, and called him by his first name.
I done messed up enough to realize what not to do. I don’t want you following my path is what I’m trying to say Youngster. In some ways I’m still in shock. One thing led to another, and Stacey was gone. The love of my life was gone. Me and Brandi were in a house with a few groceries in the fridge and a beat up television set on the floor. Her belly kept growing, and one year led to another year. One child led to a second child. Brandi, a good girl–she tried to do right by me. She birth me two beautiful young men; Stevie and Scion are good boys. I love them, but unfortunately them boys don’t know me like they should…
Shadesville ain’t bad Youngster. I want you to dream big dreams–but just know you can always come back to this broken reality that God has laid at your feet. Marry that girl by the name of Jules, have some children with her, and be a respectable man–with a respectable job.
Tell me what’s on these streets for you Youngster?
Are you stupid enough to steal?
Are you stupid enough to kill?
Are you stupid enough to die for these damn streets?
Cause guess what…these streets ain’t gonna die for you boi!
Think that shit over Youngster.
Think it over…
I’m praying for ya boi. I’m praying that you got the strength to make the right decision.
Author, Sam Blakemore, July 29, 2017.