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  Home > Young Adult/Teen > Stories > Old Enough To Be A Gang Member, Young Enough To Cry. ... (Part One)
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Old Enough To Be A Gang Member, Young Enough To Cry. ... (Part One)!
By Karen Lynn Vidra, The Texas Tornado   


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A 13 year old gang member shares his harrowing story.

Name's Rags.  Never mind my real name; I'm doing good just telling you my nickname.  I am 13 years old and live with my friends.

I don't really have a family to call my own: my dad ditched me when I was little, and my mom decided she couldn't stay off drugs, so she left me.  I was with my aunt for a while, but she and I had words, and I ran away.  Been on my own ever since, and found comfort (and a home) with the X-15's, my cousin's gang.  They're my family now.

I had a little sister, two years old, but an uncle raped her and I don't know what has happened to her, or whether she is dead or alive.  Her name was Amaryllis.  I loved her.  

Being on the streets, I have seen some pretty horrible things: people dealing (or doing) drugs, people being stabbed, hit, or shot, ladies or girls being fondled and sexually assaulted by men twice their age, prostitutes doing their thing on the street corners, and drunken bums or Veterans living on the streets, hoping to get a break or at least a handout.  Some things should never be witnessed, especially when you're just a kid, like I happen to be.

Anyway, I live with my family.  There's Big Nate (the leader, I suppose; he seems to be older than the rest of us, in his 30's), Senor Pancho (so named for his big belly), Tater (don't ask me how he got that name, but this is what we call him; maybe it's 'cause his head looks like a boiled potato; not a stitch of hair on it), Deuce, T-Paul (he's Cajun and he's as mean as a snake; not a good idea to get him mad),  OilCan (he likes to tinker with cars or trucks; he always smells like gasoline or engine oil), Baby (the only girl; she's about my age, maybe even younger; she looks no more than 10 or 11 on a good day; she's just a kid like me), and Coach (he's the one in charge of all our fights and stuff; he's the one whom we look up to, in addition to Big Nate).

So that is us.  The X-15's.  Our gang.  Our family.  We are tight; we are all very different from each other, but we couldn't really function without each other.

People wonder why I'm not in school.  Hell, I don't need to go to school.  I get my education from Big Nate and Coach; they know all there is to know; they are super-smart and know the world better than most.  I'd rather not go to school anyway; school is nothing but a waste of my time!  And I get bored real easy in school, so I don't even bother to go.  And neither does Baby, or T-Paul, Deuce, or OilCan, for that matter.

There used to be two more members of our gang, Grizzly and Chops, but they both got killed last year: Grizzly was hit by a car and Chops, he was caught in a drive by and was shot in the chest, right in front of me.  I saw it happen.  He died instantly, before he even hit the ground.  Even the paramedics and shit couldn't save him; he was way past gone by the time the ambulance had arrived.  He was like my big brother; how I cried!!

Ever since, I have had a healthy fear of guns and I do everything I possibly can to keep my nose clean; but Coach and Big Nate both tell me that I need to man up and learn to roll with the punches ... in other words, fight like a man.  Well, that may be okay for them, but I am not a fighter.  I hate violence and I hate it when my brothers fight!  I also hate seeing poeple getting hurt, but if my fellow gangbangers knew this, I'd be laughed right out (or beaten up to a pulp, anyway).

Well, I gotta run.  Coach seems agitated somehow; I wonder what's up ... I pray it isn't another fight .....

~To be continued.~



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