The Gang Fight

Thursday, February 10, 2005

In the late 80s to early 90s gangs were all the rage. It was mainly a west coast thing with the Bloods and the Crips, made popular by numerous thug-life movies such as Boyz ‘n the Hood and Menace to Society. Some of it made its way out to the east coast, the Autobots and Decepticons being the similar gangs in New York but an obvious imitation at best. It was like they were planned rivals, picking different factions of Transformers. That’s not even remotely cool.

I was neither an Autobot nor a Decepticon but I still represented a few crews. Fuckin’ Up Toys (F.U.T.) and The Price of Fame (T.P.F) where two crews I somehow got involved with while in Junior High, the specifics are a bit of a blur. My involvement with them was minimal except for when I tagged up (Maze was my tag, by the way) I would represent them.

Tony was my friend growing up that came to the east coast from the west. He claims to have represented the Crips out there and decided to start a faction in Red Hook called the Four-Deuce Bishop Crips (4-DBC is how we tagged it). The gang involved myself and Tony as well as David, Dexter, Seymore and some other neighborhood kids, around 8 total I think. We were small but localized.

Anyway, for me, gangs and tagging was always more of a way to be accepted. I never really had enough beef to need protection and the whole gang philosophy was more of a joke than anything else to me. I just wasn’t raised that way, a great example being how my father took away my N.W.A. cassettes. But, graffiti was fun, I loved my hip-hop and I immersed myself superficially in the culture.

But one day Dexter found himself some beef. Dexter was the type of guy I should never have been hanging with. Straight from Jamaica the kid wanted to be hard, not just go through the motions. But, he found beef with some crew and he needed 4-DBC to back him up.

It was a very surreal moment of my life. I remember we were gathering weapons, I grabbed a bat, people were breaking bottles and others were getting switchblades. I remember asking myself, “How the fuck did this happen?” What if they showed with guns? At this point I already had two guns pulled me, independent of the day Mike got shot. I know kids our age pack heat and I have a fucking baseball bat.

We walked over to the JHS 142 school yard, the 8 of us, with ragtag weapons and meet the other crew.

There were fucking twenty people there. Twenty big, black, angry looking mother fuckers. And they LAUGHED at us when we showed up.

I don’t even remember the exchange, something about an agreement to brawl that night. No guns or something. Dexter said he was going to round up some more of his people to even it out. I don’t know, I didn’t go back that night. Neither did David. There was no point, you know? We were younger than them all, it wasn’t our beef, and we just wanted to listen to Tribe Called Quest.

I didn’t hang much with Dexter after that. One time I asked him if he was egging for Halloween and he responded, “Fuck eggs, this nigga throw bullets.” That was the last time I spoke to him, he moved out of the neighborhood shortly after that. Last I heard he was arrested for dealing drugs, someone even told me he was killed.

After the night of the gang fight I was still tight with Tony, Seymore and David. They said there wasn’t even a fight, people showed up, cursed a little bit and then cops showed and everyone scattered. David and I thought that Seymore might have tipped him off; he was like us, that wasn’t his thing.

But my ditching sort of resonated with some of the other kids in the neighborhood, but that’s a bunch of stories for other days.

I have to kind of wonder what would be different if I went to the fight. I sort of have this theory that there’s a point in everyone’s life where they commit to who they’re going to be. Their decision gets challenged as time goes on but there’s really one defining moment. Even if the fight didn’t go down that night, was that the moment? Was that the difference between me becoming a high-paid government mathematician or getting arrested? One of the guys that were with us, Nick, was probably smarter than me school-wise. He went to the fight that night. He’s a junky now. Is that the alternate me?

Like everything in my life I need to really thank my parents. They’re sort of that x-factor. Nick lived with his mom who neglected him. My parents worked hard to bring me up right.

I don’t know, I’m rambling now. I plan on talking about Nick some other day. I’m just reflecting on what my life could have been like, I guess. I’ll leave it at that for now.

read a book, fanboy: Crime and Punishment

turn off the metallica, fanboy: Labor Days


posted by Jason at 5 Comments


Blogger Jay said...

Damn good post. Might be your best one yet.

10:55 PM  
Blogger Chris Fabulous said...

Dexter is my hero. Nigga throw bullets.

11:31 PM  
Blogger Jason Copland said...

Glad you decided to miss the fight, man. (said in all seriousness)

Now, only if you could play Tetris like you can write...... (said in all cheekiness)

1:09 AM  
Blogger Jorge Vega said...

The ebb and flow of your entries is pretty nice, Jason.

7:48 AM  
Blogger Jason said...

Jay - Thank you.

Chris - I don't remember Dexter ever packing so nigga probably did actually throw bullets.

Copland - I think I figured out the secret - slow computer. My laptop I've been playing on is a 2+GHz. My home desktop is a 950MHz. I was rocking on it yesterday.

Jorge - Thanks. Your ebbs and flows are quite masculine as well.

3:02 PM  

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