In The Ghetto

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: True Confessions  |  House: Booksie Classic

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A pensioner relates their childhood in a gang.
750 words.

A young visitor stands listening to a pensioner who smiled and began the story.


I grew up expecting a world of surprises, but I had been told from young by my parents various good and bad things that should and would be expected. We, that is other kids and I, sometimes couldn’t play much, primarily because of the gang wars. You see not that I never tried to have a childhood.


I elicit no joy recounting I was part of them at thirteen years old. People of character my parents. Warned to stay away. Driven by a child’s curiosity, every chance I got chatted up gang members.


Was not expecting at first, in time I joined a gang, Rolling terrors. Consisted of twelve members and I made thirteen. A kid with bad adults.


Led by I’d say three hundred, six footer, mean looking black dude, called him Knife. Blubbery fat than muscle. Was to find out this name seemed to suit him.


Scant days passed since my recruitment, took me on the town not far from the ghetto where I grew up. Night late when we arrived at a small store owned by a Korean fella. About to close when they…no us made our presence felt. Pushing him inside, we entered the premises quick. Lights came on. Knife brandished his namesake and demanded cash out the register.


A child’s morality was sorry to the Korean.


Rolling terrors collided with the Yellow Flag. Knife declared war you see. Didn’t come outta nowhere.


Dropping by as night ghosts, painted in yellow spray paint no less, wall graffiti at their headquarters the words this joint belonged to us – the reaction is not impossible to predict threw glass bottles at our place.


War continued with periods of break without a clear victor.


Casualties you ask? No casualties nah I mustn’t say that. Fists and sticks and bottles and bad words came into play, marked members in cuts or bruises, instead of firearms – a good thing you may suppose. Little me sustained cuffs, roughed me up. That’s nothing to the day kidnapped me till freed after a while. Was it a child’s innocence that made me not consider I might die?  


Residents were left counting the costs. Living in fear. Home yeah, just not a good home.


Numerous times police received calls, lazy hides too lazy. But something had to break. All dem calls too loud. All it took was one raid that day. A cop every which way.


Cold metal of hand cuffs the first time touched the skin, juvenile center followed. Offered no resistance and spilled my guts - what crimes they…we did, names everything.


Brought hurt and bad reputation to my neighbourhood, helped its spiral from neighbourhood to ghetto.


I’m a pensioner today talking to you youngster. I remember it all these decades. A stage in my life I don’t want you living. The past cannot be taken back, all we can do is live a better tomorrow.  


Author’s note – hand written for English class many years back in 1996. The pensioner looked at the young visitor and smiled. Minor rewording to improve sentences, particular more natural speech. Teacher scored it 18/25.

Date - 10 April 2020






Submitted: April 10, 2020

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Nicely told, dreamscriber.

Fri, April 10th, 2020 7:26pm


Appreciate your critiques.

Fri, April 10th, 2020 2:38pm

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