Any Given Day An excerpt from Kev Mac’s new memoir Sprung
Each day the backyard rendered its own vibe; it’s own twist, and a unique story. You could walk into the yard on any given morning and hear the latest gossip, dirt, rumors, and the most glorious moments of individual experiences of the night before. There was always someone who either had a fight with the Hoovers, Eight Tray Gangsters, Grape Streets, or School Yard Crips. There were fascinating stories of close calls, arrest, jail stories, fights, break-ups, robberies, burglaries, and occasional shootings. It was like breaking news in the midst of comedy and entertainment.
The comedy was hilarious, the items sold were better than the goods in any Recycler, and the comradery was surreal; we all went to war for each other like a baseball team after a hit batter rushes the pitchers mound. You couldn’t convince me that there was a better way to spend time in South Los Angeles. Money was so plentiful in the hood that I would borrow and loan homies tens of thousands of dollars, and I would trust them with my life. Not with my wife, but my life.
In February, I wouldn’t be so trusting of others as I had previously been. I left moms house one afternoon dressed in blue corduroy house shoes, light blue khaki pants, white t-shirt, and a forty inch blue khaki belt with the anodized tip like Marine’s wear with my beeper attached. I was once again headed to Big Cal’s house, this time I was a little tardy as the crap session had already began. As I approached the stop sign at the corner of 60th and Keniston Avenue, I noticed the block was overly crowded.
I was forced to park near the corner, several houses away from Cal’s house. I anxiously got out of the car with tunnel vision and walked towards his house. By the time I made it to Cal’s house an older blue Oldsmobile Cutlass came screeching around the corner speeding in my direction. The passengers were visibly wearing Seattle Mariner Caps with blue handkerchiefs covering their faces. That was very stereotypical of the homies during that time so I didn’t think anything of it.
The car came to a rolling stop as we met where the sidewalk and driveway meet.
“What’s up Cuzz?” The passenger asked.
“What’s happenin’ homie?” I replied while flashing gang signs.
“This Sixties!” They simultaneously yelled.
The passenger in the back seat on the passengers’ side emerged from the window with a handgun shooting at me. The front passenger also started dumping on me. I quickly dove in the dirt portion of Cal’s grass and began crawlingalong side of parked cars in the driveway. Grass was coming up out off the lawn, cars were being hit, and glass was shattering everywhere. I was pretty sure I was going to die as I crawled toward the backyard.
There was a long pause filled with silence before the homies stampeded to see what was going on. One by one they came out looking for the assailants as I stumbled passed them in the opposite direction and into the backyard. I was out of breath and holding my side tightly with my right hand. I kneeled down in the dirt on one knee as Islowly regained my composure.
“You alright?” Cal asked.
“I don’t know Cuzz, but somebody has to pay for this one” I responded.
My ears had a raspy, blown speaker sound when I came to my feet.
“Nigga you alright, ain’t no blood on your shirt or nothing!” S-Mac yelled at me.
When I lifted my shirt up S-Mac was right, all I had were a few scratches from the concrete rocks on the ground and the broken clip from my pager. I was relieved that I escaped the ambush. I never did find my pager; obviously one of the thirsty homies needed it more than I did. At a time like this I expected everyone to stick together, not use it as an opportunity to steal something so fruitless. That’s what I call the true definition of a vulture.
As compulsive of a gambler I was though, with twentystacks in my pocket, there was absolutely no way that I could gamble without a resolution to getting busted on. That moment I found out who my real homies were. Of the fifteen or so dice shooters, only two were willing to assist me in my retaliatory acts. Though I know what it means to chase paper, I was always told the hood came before money (This was obviously just a saying that was only used to benefit the non-hustling ass negroes).
Then again, I don’t know who was winning or losing, maybe I would have kept shooting dice too. Either that, orsomeone in the backyard set it all up, knowing I would be coming soon. I don’t know, and I didn’t care at the moment, all I know is the shooters had a desire to kill me. Luckily they were terrible shooters, but lucky for I didn’t have my pistol on me. Had I been packing a gat I’m certain I would have broken them off something proper because I frequented the shooting range before a flurry of gun cases.
One thing worth noting is the fact that at the time of this shooting the fabric of our neighborhood was beginning to be torn apart due to inner-turmoil. I couldn’t rule out the shooters being from the turf, but the extra blue handkerchiefs, the S Hats, and the screaming seemed a little extra’d out. Then after onlookers informed me the car continued towards Inglewood, I was convinced it was the 65th or 68th Street Centinela Park Families.
My father called me– concerned with the direction my life was rooted in. He begged me to come visit him in Cincinnati, where he had temporarily relocated. The thought of getting on the plane with a kilo of cocaine turned me away.
“No offense dad, but have one of your hoes do your dirty work.” I said to him.
“I bring work back all the time; they’re not going to search you.” He tried to explain.
“Click!” I hung up the phone.
“I got dollars in my pocket and I’m from Rollin’.” I shouted, as “Ain’t No Future In Your Frontin’” By M.C.Breed vibrated my room walls.
The telephone rang between songs. When I answered I got the bad news, Big Casper was killed. I felt shock and disbelief because he had just come home from prison.
“Nah. He couldn’t have.” I responded.
On August 25th a group of us went to the Fox Hills Mall in two separate cars. I was driving, and Sliproc followed me up there. The intensions were to kill some time until there were enough people for a big crap game. I went to splurge on clothes with my winnings from the day before. I brought a pair of bright blue suede Adidas, to this day I never seen a pair like them. They were the freshest pair of tennis shoes that I had ever seen, and I was fixated on finding an outfit to go with them. Sliproc and Kaboo had already made their way to the clothing store ahead of us. The homie and I were minding our own business as we walked out the Foot Locker, and were confronted by a group of Neighborhood Pirus from Inglewood.
Long story short, a resident of Keniston Ave and I were arrested for a shooting in Inglewood. All I could think about was missing Casper’s funeral, and the crap game. Gang detail was adamant about my car being used in a rash of shootings, so the Judge issued a court order banning the two of us from Inglewood. When I arrived to the county jail they sent me to 4800, that’s where I met Puppet from R100’s Bloc Crips. He knew who I was off the dribble from kicking it with Lil Looney and I on the streets.
I was transferred to Wayside Max where I stayed while I briefly fought my case. I hired Earl Broady to represent me, while my passenger bailed out and was represented by Sammy Weiss. Besides Poppa from West Boulevard Crips, and Blacc from Rollin’ Sixties, the dorm was full of Hoover Crips and Gangsters. I called home and got some disturbing news— one of the younger homies was out to get me. Rumors spread that him and a crew of up and coming soldiers were plotting to rob me and steal my car.
At court the Judge referred to our lawyers as Bat Man and Robin. That could only be a good thing. The group of flamed up Pirus led by Na’Gai Anderson showed up as witnesses against us, but resorted to intimidating and threatening us in court. Case dismissed. When I got released I went straight to Big Cal’s house. Not much changed in the few months I was gone; everyone was still in the backyard shooting dice. Big Cal, S-Mac, Bay-Bay, Vee, A-Roc, Big Bam, Lil Bam, Devil, JT, Eddie Boy, G-Bob, Sleep Roc, Mad Dog, Lil No Good, Sliproc, Lil Swanny, and a few others were there when I walked in. Everyone got quiet like a ghost had appeared.
“What you doing here?” Cal asked.
“Tha hell you think I’m doing here, I came to gamble.” I answered.
“Wasn’t you just with Big Duke?” He asked.
“Yeah. We was kicking it like a mug…” I happily answered.
“How come you not in the hospital with Duke?” S-Mac asked.
It seemed as if they felt some kind of way, questioning my character, and pressing a frivolous issue. Come to find outthe Hoovers stabbed Duke, leaving him in critical condition after I left. I had no idea what had taken place because when I was released they didn’t send me back to wayside, they released me from downtown county jail. After we cleared that up, another homie pulled me to the side and told me my soon to be son’s mother was trying to get with him, pregnant and all. I was beginning to feel like I couldn’t trust anyone at that point.
It was sinking in; I proposed to the life of sin and married her at the altar. The crapshooters weren’t the only ones against me; I also had the pleasure of battling a bad habit, the streets, the devil, rival gangs, and the occasional crooked cops. The world and everyone near me seemedagainst me, I couldn’t even look them in the eye anymore. I was suspicious and ashamed, but equally as addicted to the streets as I was gambling.
One day Turtle pulled up to Cal’s house in an old Cutlass to try his luck. Turtle was a young, cool, up and coming homie who had been getting eaten up for about one week straight. He was with the bullshit but maturing and determined to be a big baller. Unlike the majority of hoodstas’ his age Turtle gambled and did licks like the older homies. He would walk in the backyard holding approximately one thousand dollars in his hand each time he came, but that was like bringing a knife to a gun fight.
I’ll never forget the last time I seen Turtle, he walked out of Cal’s backyard with his head down, looking as if he had no idea where his next dollar would come from. After the cold hearted, greedy and ruthless Loc’s left him broke, the expression of his face appeared to be as if he didn’t have a friend in the world. I could see myself through him and it wasn’t good, so I sat him down on Cal’s front porch.
“Look homie, I know what you’re going through, but it’s too much money back there for you to think you can break up a game, and no one’s going to sympathize or apologize for taking all your money. So kick back, slow down, let your money pile up and when you come by here— just say hi and keep it pushin’.” I told him.
“I understand, but I wanna ride around in nice cars andhave pockets full of big faces like y’all.” He responded.
The following day we were in Cal’s backyard gambling when someone walked in the backyard and told us the bad news. This time it was Turtle and Baby Crip Crazy, theyhad been killed in a botched robbery at a jewelry store in Santa Monica. It felt like I was having a bad dream. I bent forward with forearms on top of my upper legs, and my hands locked together with my forehead resting on top as if I were saying a prayer. I wished I could have spoken to Turtle one last time.
Just like that, my young gambling partner was gone.
Sprung is available on Amazon.
About the Author
Kev Mac is a Sports Handicapper, an activist, Gang historian, and Founder of Allhood Publications (2005), the magazine that once took Urban America by storm. He’s written for the American Pigeon Journal, National Birmingham Roller Club, and has also appeared as a Creative Consultant for the movie Bastards of the Party. He has traveled the United States to speak publicly to thousands of at-risk youth, coached several inner-city baseball teams, and has been featured on a variety of gang segments which include, but not limited to C-Net Cable News, Streetgangs.com, and Public TV. His input has always been well received and his opinions are often sought after. His writings are at times brutal but comical in his description of various women that he’s encountered. Real life experiences reflect in his passion and views of todays world. Kev makes no excuses for the dark path he chose in life. Though his faith has often been questioned he remains relentless in his pursuit of happiness through this insane employ of gambling and the lifestyle attached to it.