May 15, 2017
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Subway cars shuffle past, and commuters hop on, heading to their city jobs. The sound of the city up above resonates throughout my body as I turn my music up. The scar on my hand from the previous night fuels my headache, and the pain distracts my thoughts. I clutch my skateboard as tightly as I can as I try to relieve some of the pain. As I wait for the next subway car train to approach, I feel a hand touch my shoulder unexpectedly. I quickly turn around and see it’s just my friend Will. Or at least, what used to be my friend.
“Yo, Corey! You still hurtin’ from yesterday, son?” He slurs at me.
I respond with anger, “I can’t believe you came back to ask how I’m doing. I’m doing terrible if that answers your question. I don’t ever wanna see your face near me again.”
As the subway car approaches, the statement lingers in the air, and I hop on as quickly as I can, trying to avoid Will with all my might. The subway car rolls out of the 21st Street-Queensbridge station. It takes about fifteen minutes to travel from Queensbridge to East Side Community High School in Manhattan, so I listen to some Mobb Deep while I wait. After seven more station stops, I arrive at 6th Avenue and start walking towards East Side.
Being seventeen, I have very few responsibilities, and the ones a typical person my age may have are negated by living in Queensbridge, New York. I don’t own a car; the subway takes me everywhere I need to go. I don’t have a girlfriend yet, and I don’t plan on getting one until I get to college. What I do have to worry about, however, is getting caught by the cops. Unfortunately for me, I became friends with Will Caison. I met Will through skateboarding, a common interest of ours. We all boarded down Lafayette Street after school, blaring hip-hop music as we cruised. One day, Will invited me over to his apartment in the Bronx and told me not to bring my phone. I was suspicious, but the innocent sixteen-year-old-me trusted him. When I knocked on his apartment door, the first thing I saw were pills on top of pills, scattered on the coffee table. Looking to the left, marijuana covered the shelf; To the right, a pile of cocaine caked the dresser in a white haze. Further into the apartment, cases of liquor stacked on top of each other like Jenga blocks. I had never seen anything like it, and I wish I had never seen it at all. I tried to escape, but Will coaxed me into staying.
“Come on, man, you can try anything you want,” he tempts me like Satan.
“I don’t know, man. I have a bad feeling,” I respond with a nervous tone.
“What’s the worst that could happen?”
With that, I found out about Will’s secret business, moving drugs in Queensbridge, and I started working with him.
Unfortunately for me, my mom is one tough nut to crack, and she found out quickly. She told me, ”Another dose, and you could die! Don’t let me catch you ever again, or I will make sure you get locked up in a correctional facility.” Contrary to what she thought, I never became addicted. The people I did business with were the addicts, not me. And generally, the people I made deals with were good people. Of course, there was the occasional person who wouldn’t pay, but no deal was like this one, the one that almost cost me my life.
“Deal number 227, you ready?” Will asked me, as if he didn’t already know the answer.
I nodded, and we grabbed the pills and walked out--The apartment we went to was close enough to walk to. My phone and wallet were in one pocket of my jacket, and the pills in the other. The stomping of my Nikes drowned out the nervousness that I felt. I had never felt bad about a deal, but something about this one was nerve-racking. There have been some bad deals, but it mostly involved monetary issues. Shaking my head, I continued to walk on toward the apartment complex.
Right off the bat, my suspicions were somewhat confirmed when I saw the windows, or what used to be the windows. Shaken, I pressed on, opening the door to the complex and hoping that the broken glass was not in the room--that we were heading to. The button with an upwards signal illuminated when I pressed it, and the elevator door opened. The inside of the elevator was decorated with dust, and the floor buttons looked as worn as my favorite T-shirt. The light inside flickered as the floor indicator told us we had arrived at our destination on the third floor. We walked down the hall and approached apartment number 342. Anxious of what was ahead, my shaking hand knocked on the door.
The door swung open with a swift force, and a six-foot behemoth of a man stood in front of me. I asked him, “Is this Terrence’s apartment?”
“Yeah, I’m Terrence. Who the hell are you?” His face bulged with veins. I realized right then and there that we had made a huge mistake, and that I should have trusted my gut instinct and left. Will and I started to turn to leave, but Terrence turned us back around and repeated his question.
“I said, ‘Who the hell are you?’” He seemed even angrier the second time.
I replied nervously, “I’m Corey, and this is Will. We got a call about doing a deal with Terrence in apartment number 342.”
“Ah, I was wondering what took you so long. Come on in and sit down.” He seemed to have calmed down, but I was still fearing for my own life. The question of “Who the hell are you” still filled the room. Terrence suddenly stood up and said, “I’ve gotta go get something from the kitchen. Make yourself at home.” I was a bit suspicious, but I wasn’t ready to say “No” after what had already happened. I stood up and started looking around the room. Pictures of his relatives took up every space on the fireplace. But behind the picture was a giant blue S, and immediately my palms turned clammy. Frightened, I looked close at the pictures on the mantle. I saw the others in the photo, but they didn’t look like Terrence’s relatives. I looked at Will with shock. I turned around to see Terrence looking straight at Will and I, just as angrily as he did when we first entered the room.
“GET OUT OF MY APARTMENT! I saw your bandana in your pocket, and you and I both know what that means.” He screamed at me. One of The Snakes had something in his hand, but I couldn’t tell what it was.
Shaken, I walked towards him, extended my hand and asked, “Well, I mean a Mongoose and a Snake can still make deals together, right?” I already knew the answer the moment I asked it.
I reached out my hand to meet his, but I was met with a switchblade, creating a chasm in the palm of my hand. Terrence screamed for the last time, “If you don’t get out my apartment right now, I’ll cut something else!” With that said, Will and I rushed out of the room and ran down the stairs of the apartment. I used my left hand to cover the bleeding--now both my hands were covered with blood. We ran at full speed out to the nearest convenience store for bandages. I wrapped my hand up as quickly as I could, and I immediately felt a little better. Will turned to me and said, “Corey, I’m sorry. That guy offered a ton of money to do this deal, and I couldn’t say no.”
Coming to, I realized what he had said, so I asked him quietly, “So you knew?”
Shaken, he asked, “What do you mean?”
Bluntly, I stated, “YOU KNEW THAT GUY WAS A SNAKE! You held that from me so you can get me to do this deal! Well, you know what? I’m done with you.”
I stood up, turned away, and stormed towards the sunset--and towards my apartment, hoping to never see Will again. The sounds of Wu-Tang in my headphones blocked out all of Will’s yelling.

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