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Paid Dues

Updated: May 2, 2022

"My lights would've been then got cut off if the dues wasn't paid" Eight Ball & MJG featuring CeeLo


Around about 8th grade I learned that a big part of growing up would be about learning to live with the losses in life!

Before graduation, my class was made aware that a classmate of ours who had been pushed forward to high school because of his age, had been killed. His name was Pete, and he was my friend/brother in whom I looked up to.

He was the first person I met when I transferred to the city gramma school from my suburban one. Introducing himself by asking me my sign, which of course was strange to me, but come to find out our birthday's we're days apart. He was a few years older of course, but at the time we shared the same classes. Pete also was the reason I tried out for the basketball team, he had been the star of the team before I got there, and remained the star until he was forced to leave.

As he got more into the gang affiliation that we once all dabbled in, our close friendship grew apart. He really became about that life full time, although his mother did her best to keep him away. He was the big brother trying to make me tougher, so to speak, but the gang thing was recreational at best for me. I never could get with brutally hurting or killing someone for that reason.

Unfortunately, my brother was a little too real with it, and he was transferred to a high school and neighborhood that held opposition to his position. Not long after he transferred we got word that he had been jumped and had bats put on him. His cousin had been with him at the time, but it was nothing he could do to stop it from happening, although he was affiliated with the other side. I can't imagine he stood and watched, although that's what was reported!

Knowing Pete, we all knew that he wouldn't back down. If told to straighten his hat he wouldn't, and his tone and attitude was sure to be disrespectful. I remember winning basketball games at rival schools and the whole team having to run for the CTA Bus to get back to our school.

He and a few of our teammates had been banging, throwing up signs at guys off the court while we were playing the game. They put targets on our heads that whole season, and it didn't help that we were pretty damn good and usually blew their basketball teams out. As much fun as it was at the time, we all knew that it could've went differently for us all.

In the end, Pete survived the beating he'd gotten when he was with his cousin.. he was said to be murdered by some guys from his own block. I had a hard time understanding how your so called enemies would allow you to survive a beating from them, but the ones who are supposed to have your back would kill you!

That showed me what I felt about the gang life was right to begin with, and sadly down the road it happened to another close friend of mine.. The flag he waved had been opposite of Pete's, but the outcome was almost exactly the same...

To be cont!

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