By Mwandishi Mitchell
We’ve all had events in our lives at one point or another that we’re ashamed of. A moment when our immature actions caused something bad to happen. I’d like to share one of those events with you that I regret. Just to give you an inkling of just how thrown off my thinking was back then in my hustling days. But as I look back on it today, I can actually say it was kind of funny.
In the summer of 2000 I received an inheritance of $6,000 from the estate of my grandfather, who had passed away the year before. The amount was of no consequence. I was grateful that my grandfather cared about me enough to remember me in his will. My grandfather, who was my mother’s father, was a staunch Jehovah’s Witness, and in that sect of Christianity, if you are not a practicing member, you are considered “disfellowshipped.” At that time I was twenty-seven and hadn’t done a thing with my life. I was into the streets something heavy, going ‘round and ‘round but staying in one place like a gerbil on one of those exercise wheels.
I had made a decision to “take my talents” (as LeBron James would say) to the city of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, as if it were some great epiphany. I had an associate there and he convinced me that I could triple the money I was making if I went to Harrisburg with him. So, The Prodigal Son left the city of Brotherly Love with his inheritance, ready to take on the world.
Once I got to Harrisburg my friend found a place for me to stay before I got one of my own. He had set me up to stay with a girl named Dee, who lived in a subsidized Section-8 apartment complex.
This girl, Dee, was smoking hot, let me tell you. Dark-chocolate with the prettiest black curly hair. Her body was slim, and her stomach – cut up like a washboard! She had two children, a son who was seven and a daughter who was three. But, man, talk about fringe benefits – I was in paradise!
The hustling racket was crazy! My associate wasn’t lying about the numbers either. A $10 bag of heroin from Philly sold for $20 to $30 in Harrisburg. Before I knew it I was making two trips a week to Philly copping racks of dope. Unfortunately, though, all that glitters isn’t gold, because had I not been in Harrisburg in the first place, I wouldn’t have been railroaded with this case they pinned on me.
At the time I had this huge ridiculous Cuban link chain, and another huge ridiculous “Jesus Piece” with diamonds that hung from the chain. I had moved out of Dee’s apartment and got my own near the strip I hustled on. There was another guy from Philly who was also living in the apartment building named Pamp, as in pamper. He was also a street pharmacist who couldn’t resist the good money Harrisburg had to offer. Anyway, Pamp came up to me with a pharmacy bottle filled with “eggs.” Eggs are what we call one milligram Xanax pills because they’re blue and in the shape of eggs. Two-milligram Xanax pills are referred to as “bars” because they’re white with lines going across them. Pamp was tall, about 5’11”, with a light-brown complexion. He had a medium build, and he was from Erie Avenue in North Philly. Coincidentally, both of our girlfriends had the same name, Sherry.
“You want sum’ o’ these eggs?” Pamp asked while we were seated on the front porch of the apartment building.
“Yeah, lemme get six,” I replied.
Pamp gave me the six eggs and I dumped all of them, washing them down with a swig of the beer I was drinking.
“Aw, man, you took all of ‘em?” he asked in disbelief.
“I got dis,” I replied as if I knew what I was doing.
“Mitch, lemme hold your chain, man. You might go do sum’thin’ crazy with all those eggs in you,” Pampa warned.
"Pamp, you must be crazy if you think I’m lettin’ you hold my chain!”
"A’ight, have it chur way,” Pamp said leaving the porch where we were seated and going into his apartment.
I had never in my life taken more than two eggs at one time. As I look back on it, I was definitely showing off. Xanax pills were also known as “dumb dumb” pills. Dudes high on these pills have been known to have things happen to them and not remember the evening or day before. Fortunately, for me, that never happened. But as I would find out within the next few hours, I would pay the price for the arrogance I showed toward Pamp.
The beer and pills were tearing up my stomach. The remedy for that was to eat something. I remember going to the corner Chinese store to order my favorite, General Tso’s chicken. When my food was ready I recall sitting on the steps eating and it was just starting to get dark. By then the pills were starting to affect me. It was a beautiful summer night with a slight breeze. I watched the traffic going up and down Derry Street as the collage of red and white headlights started to get blurry.
Out of my peripheral vision I saw two beautiful Latina caramel complexioned bunnies that I wanted to scoop like ice cream coming towards me. Most of the time I’m a shy guy, but the pills had any inhibitions of shyness in me suppressed. It was as if the pills had transformed me into Billy D. Williams! And you know how that goes, like Colt 45 it works every time! Now, I was showing off more than ever.
“Whut ch’all doin tonight?” I asked through slurred speech.
They had to be saying to themselves, this boy must be high!
Selena, who was the older of the two, wore tight-fitting J. Brand jeans that looked as if they were painted on. She also wore a black T-Shirt with the word “Missoni” printed across the front in white letters. Selena was twenty-five. Her almond skin glowed; she could’ve passed for Jennifer Lopez. Her cousin, Maria, also wore tight-fitting Chanel jeans with matching Chanel sneakers. Her T-shirt had the emblem of Chanel on it, two crossed C’s back to back. Maria was twenty-one, and she had the looks of Rosie Perez.
If I were in their positions, I would’ve seen me as a mark if ever there were one. Here is this guy who’s obviously bombed out of his mind, with General Tso chicken sauce running down his T-shirt, wearing a huge gold chain and Jesus piece. Someone who could be taken advantage of easily!
The girls told me they were thirsty, and of course I offered to buy them beer from the local watering-hole deli up the street. I walked into the deli like a superstar flanked by a beautiful girl on either side of me. My pockets had the mumps, as I had a little over $3,500 in my pocket at the time. I bought them wine coolers and beer, and their eyes nearly popped out of their sockets once they saw the grip of cash I was carrying around with me. There was a park around the corner from where I bought the beer, and that’s where we decided to go drink.
Now, the pills were really kicking my ass! I’m playing the mack-daddy role to the max, with a girl on one side and a girl on the other, and I’m feeling them both up. Selena’s cell phone rang and she began a conversation with someone whom I believe was her boyfriend on the other side of the line. I’m trying to remember if she told him where she was or not, but I really can’t.
I’m talking to these two girls, telling them I’m this smooth, slick, drug dealer from South Philly who’s making all this money in the small town where they were born and raised. I can assume they weren’t too thrilled about that, but they played to my ego by whispering in my ear, and feeling the long braids I had back then. Oh, yeah, I’m hittin’ sum’ skinz tonight! Two chicks at the same time! My thoughts were telling me.
About fifteen minutes went by since Selena hung up her cell phone. But me being so high, I didn’t even hear the guy walking up on me. The next thing I knew, I was looking at the barrel of a 9 mm pointed at my face! Oh, shiiittt!!! Flashed in my head.
“Tha chain and tha piece nigga! It’z a robbery, don’t make it a homicide!” The gunman spat in a grimy Sticky Fingaz voice.
I was too stunned to move. Even if I could’ve, I was too high to do anything about it. The gunman grabbed my chain, lifting it up over my neck and head. As fast as he came, he was gone. Like a mouse stealing a piece of cheese and disappearing into some dark crevice in the wall. Then I blacked out.
Only God knows how long I was out until I came to. I woke up with my neck feeling very light. My chain and piece were gone! Surprisingly, Selena and Maria were still seated in their same spots.
“What tha fuck?! Where’z my fuckin’ chain?” I asked them both.
“A guy came with a gun and robbed you,” Martha answered.
I hadn’t been able to remember what happened to me right before I blacked out. I was barely able to remember where I was and who I was with. I felt my pockets, and my money was still there. Why hadn’t they taken tha money if I wuz robbed? I thought internally.
“Bullshit! Both of you stand up!” I ordered as I began searching them, feeling their bras and their private parts. I found nothing.
I found out some months later that I had been set up. It was Selena and her boyfriend. In a small town like that, word spreads quickly. I looked at it as if I violated one of the rules of the game, so therefore, I had to pay what I weighed. I should’ve never let myself get caught slipping.
I was so embarrassed that night. I walked back to my apartment with my head hung low. The walk of shame, as I like to call it. I tiptoed up the steps so that Pamp couldn’t hear me come in. I knew he would never let me live it down without saying, “I told ju so!”
When I awoke late afternoon the next day, I was in a fuzzy haze. I could piece fragments together of what happened the night before, but not the whole picture. I wasn’t able to remember that I had been stuck-up by a man with a gun until days later. I told Pamp what happened and he couldn’t stop laughing. We almost fought over him laughing at me. I was that upset about the whole scenario.
Drugs mixed with ego and machismo is definitely not a good combination. What happened to me is just one of the examples of how drugs and addiction ruin lives. My story is minute compared to others. Some guys high on Xanax pills have committed murder, and woke up in jail cells not knowing how they got there! They’re in jail now for the rest of their lives and have no way of getting out. The courts tell them they shouldn’t have been high in the first place.
Sadly, we’re living in an age where prescription drug use is socially acceptable. If you listen to the latest rappers, Lil’ Wayne, Future, Two Chainz, Meek Mills, French Montana, and Rick Ross, they’re propagating Promethazine, Xanax, and Percocet use in the lyrics of their songs. They are preaching to a whole generation of children that pharmaceutical drug use is “cool”. This will most assuredly lead to more young men and women waking up in jail cells from crimes they committed while under the influence of these drugs.
I wrote this true story to be used as a deterrent for some young boy or girl. Hopefully, from reading it, it will touch them in such a way as to avoid them from falling into a trap. A trap from which there is no escape. If I reach just one, I have done my job. I am someone who cares about the future – even from behind this forty foot wall!
Mwandishi Mitchell GB6474
Graterford, PA 19426