Too Much of a Good Thing

By , Chicago, IL
Donatello lived what would be called ordinary life for a 16 year old in his

Neighborhood. He lived in a six bedroom brick house, with a large yard, and a two car

garage. This house was purchased by his grandparents who still lived there, along with his

mom, aunt, three younger brothers, two cousins, mother’s boyfriend and his two kids, and

his mother’s boyfriend’s brother. Of everybody in the house Donatello was closest to his

same aged cousin Antonio. The family’s income mainly depended on the pensions of the

retired grandparents. Other than that the only ones with jobs were Tello and his cousin

Tonio, working at the barber shop called “The Chop Shop”, cleaning. Dave, Tello’s

mother’s boyfriend’s brother once worked at the shop, but was fired for coming to work

high, and drunk trying to cut hair. Now he does the same thing out of the basement of the

house. Tello’s mother sells cigarettes, while his aunt sells cigarillos out the house. Devin,

his mother’s boyfriend fixes cars around the neighborhood. Everyone else in the house is

too young to work.



The source of income for the house, other than the pensions, weren’t the best, or

even guaranteed. So Tello and Tonio were hustlers as well. Tello was clever and lucky, so

he was always gambling, or had a con. Tonio was bold and reckless, so if he wanted

something, no matter what he was going to get it. This is why Tello kept a pair of dice in

case he ran into somebody that wanted to shoot, and Tonio kept a 32 revolver, in case he

had to shoot when he was taking something he wanted.



The two cousins were also well known in the neighborhood, even

if it wasn’t for all the right reasons. They were most notorious for being a part of the

“Pack”, as they called themselves. The Pack was Tello, Tonio, and about twelve of their

friends. They weren’t a gang, but were just a group of friends doing what ever it takes to

get money, and have fun. Even though there was no official leader, in the Pack there was

a pecking order. At the top of the list was four equally respected members Tello, who was

so smooth and skilled, it was impossible for him to get caught doing something. Tonio,

who was crazy and wild, was willing to do whatever. Woody, who was simply 6ft 6in tall,

and 260lbs. Last, but not least JR, who had connects every where, so it seemed like he

knew the world.



Nothing was intentionally planned or forced, but the foundation of the Pack was

naturally based on loyalty, trust, honor, and heart. They were mostly hated by

many, and confronted by none, because their values made them stronger than all the

gangs around them. The Pack only had to show how dangerous they could be one time. It

was when Lil Sean was jumped, and robbed by some guys from a gang called the Block

Boys. The Block Boys had about thirty members, but half of them didn’t have heart, so it

was really a even battle. You would think that it wasn’t, because just after two days of

being chased, jumped, shot at, and robbed, the Block Boys apologized, and returned lil

Sean’s stuff, with extras.



It was a normal day at the shop. Tello and Tonio were sweeping hair, while Tonio

was talking about some girl he had met at the party the night before. Then a boy about

their age walked in, and sat in Big Will’s chair to get cut up. Everybody knew everybody,

so Tello and Tonio automatically knew this dude wasn’t a Block Boy, Get Money Boy, or

part of the Pack, which meant he had to be new. After finishing sweeping Tello and

Tonio walked over to find out who he was. Tello shook the boys hand, and said “What’s

good ma dude, who you be?” The boy replied “I’m Preston.” Tonio started

laughing and asked “ Did this dude just say his whole name?” Tello turned to Tonio, and

said “Man shut up.” Then he turned facing the on edge, timid looking Preston, and said

“I’m Tello, and this ma retarded cousin Tonio.” tonio followed still smiling and said “

What up man.” Next Tonio asked “ So Preston where you from?” Preston answered “Me,

ma moms and my lil sister just moved in on 107thpl.” Tello and Tonio knew exactly

where he was talking about, because they lived on that block. Tello said “That’s cool, we

live in the brick house right across the street.”



By this time Big Will was done, and it was time to close, so Tello offered to walk

Preston home. Preston accepted, and they walked home. When they arrived at Preston’s

house he said “Thanks for walking with me.” Then he handed Tello a hundred dollar bill

and said “ Here, yall can split this.” Tello and Tonio turned, and looked at each other,

then back at Preston as he headed in the house. They were in awe, because no one gave

away money, especially a hundred dollars.



The next day they were off from work, so they were with the Pack. Tello wanted

to triple his money real quick, so he started a $3 dice game. He had just doubled his

money, when Preston walked up and asked “Can I play?” like they were playing a new

video game. Tonio answered “ Yea, just know we shooting for 3 not 1, and this money so

if you play games we blow out brians.” Preston said “Ok” and threw down a twenty dollar

bill. By the time the game was over everyone noticed that Preston must have lost at least

$200 in twenties. Tello and Tonio walked Preston home again, at the end of the day. On

the way home Preston asked them about being a part of the Pack, promising a $1000 a

week. Taking what Preston had said as a joke, or exaggeration they said “ Yea as long as

you not a snitch, shady, or a punk.”



The following day they went across the street to pick Preston up. They had

planned to rob a gas station a couple miles away that day, but all plans were canceled

when Preston handed them $400. The next day, and the day after that Preston came with

the same amount. Now that the Pack was getting easy money, they stopped hustling, and

Tello and Tonio quit working at the barber shop. Every thing was good, the whole squad

was getting money, and they didn’t have to worry about being busted by the police. The

only downfall was, after about a week everyone’s attitudes changed. The Pack had the

most beef it had ever had before. Even though some of the beef came from hating gangs,

most of it came from within the Pack. There were several fights, and arguments over

money.



To end these problems Tello asked Preston to stop providing the money. Preston

didn’t, so Tello, in front of everybody walked up to Preston, and said “ What I tell you?”

and then hit Preston in the jaw. Like their mother had just been struck, almost the whole

squad started jumping on Tello. Only lil Sean fought with Tello, while Tonio seeing his

cousin being jumped, pulled out his revolver and emptied it. Shots returned, so lil Sean,

Tello, and Tonio took flight and ran. After making sure lil Sean got home

safe, they returned home.



They went to their room. Tonio slammed and locked the door. Tello took a seat,

with a stone look on his face, and said nothing. Tonio lit a blunt, went in the closet and

got all the guns they owned, and put them on the bed. As he loaded them he, went on and

on, swearing he would kill all of them. As he reached under the bed to get some more

bullets, he noticed tears coming down his cousin’s face. He knew his cousin was deeply

hurt, not because he was jumped, but because of the people who did it. This took Tonio’s

anger to a another level. He got up punched a hole in the wall, and forcefully shouted

“F--K these n****s.” grabbed half of the loaded arsenal, and took his frustration out on

Preston’s home, sending fleets of bullets across the street into the house.



Luckily no one seen him do it, and more importantly, luckily no one was hit. The

house was riddled with bullet holes, so Preston and his family had to relocate while the

house was being repaired. They were going to stay in a hotel , but when his mother went

to pay for the rooms she found that her account had been depleted, and she owed $7000.

Now she couldn’t pay the bills, or even buy food. This caused them to have to move into

a shelter. Woody and JR turned the Pack into a gang, and they were at war with the Block

Boys, and the Get Money Boys. Tello and Tonio kept to themselves, and went back to
sweeping hair.





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