Da Hood Lyfe

Tae Boog wasn’t eleven years old before he sold his first bundle of D-packs of heroin and Black tops of crack cocaine. Dope was the main candy the hood junkies in Harlem savored and shop was definitely open. Tae Boogie started out as a look out for the E.G.S. crew (Eastside Goon Squad) on 129th street.  Now he’s a lieutenant.

Stupid

Da Hood Lyfe

Tae said “Goon Squad fo lyfe coach” waving a Beretta 9mm, which had to have been bigger, then Tae himself.  I caught up with Tae as he was setting up shop in an alleyway and behind an abandon building.  I noticed him while driving through the hood, keeping track on my players playing in the local hood parks in the area. Tae played super biddy summer Rucker Basketball for me a couple of years ago.  Tae Boogie got his name for the dance he would do while bringing up the ball up the court. Tae was full of talent with a promising future as a point guard. When he played the fans would yell out “Boog” short for Boogie. Everybody loved him and he had a smile that your make you smile. He was nine years old, at the time and had disappeared from the scene shortly after his grandmother had gotten sick.  I rolled down my window and called out to him, got out the car and hugged him happy to see him.

“I don’t have time fo no basketball Coach. I gotta take care of my family”.  I asked Tae about school. “Are you going?” He replied, “ Nah, I’m making more money in the streets than school has to offer.” Tae added “ You better roll out before it gets rough out here. I don’t want my people to see you”. I looked around and noticed that Tae had 3 other workers, two on look out and one inside an abandon building holding the stash. Tae turned around and yelled out to the would be customers “Line up single file bitches. Nobody move or nobody gets served, you heard.”  As I walked away feeling that all was lost Tae yelled out “I’m pitching today and you motherphuckers better stick n move”.  As I jumped back into my car, I picked up the phone to call one of my junior squad coaches for backup. Tae ran up and knocked on my window. I rolled down the window and Tae asked me when was practice?

I smiled and said Saturday 9am sharp. Tae smiled and said that he’d been thinking about me and that he misses being in the gym. I told Tae that I miss him more and that I needed him back. “Come see me son, come home.” Tae smiled tapped the hood of the car said “aight” and ran back down the alley. I watch the junkies fall in line. These were obviously people checking out on life, trying to escape their reality, getting high to numb the pain and the expectations that love ones once had of them. Da hood life is not always the good lyfe cause as I pulled off I heard gunshots ring out.  Gunfire is normal in the hood. Sometimes the local crews would be on the rooftops drinking, smoking and having target practice.  I should have known better.

That Saturday when I opened up the gym to get ready for another day of practice my little brother entered the gym. I reminded him that his practice time is not until 11am. He had a strained expression on his face and informed me that Tae had been killed last night, shot in the face for selling burn bags.

My life was forever changed that day and there’s not a day that I don’t think about Tae-Boogie. Boog, I should have done more for you.

 

Harlem,

 

Heaven is at the foot of Mother…..

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