Chapter One : "The Sip."

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Tamir Ace Bryant

My breath got caught up in my throat as we dashed through the backyards of elderly people. We hopped over a fence that led into a front yard.

We quickly ran through the front yard and somehow ended up behind an old, abandoned house. I stopped myself from running, trying my best to catch my breath.

12tH Street coughed before sliding down to the ground with his back against the house.

Only sounds you could here was us catching our breaths along with the vanishing sounds of police sirens.

"Nigga, what the fuck?" I threw a cup that I found on the ground at him.

"Hold up, let me catch my breath." He coughed and slid his knees up to his chest. I shook my head and stood up straight, checking out my surroundings.

12tH Street was in an altercation that ended up being a shoot out. He wasn't strapped at the moment which was unbelievable because he doesn't leave his house without any weapon.

We heard police sirens coming our way so of course that, plus the shoot out, caused us to turn into some track stars.

"Here," I caught his car keys with my left hand. "Go get my car."

"Go get your own car. I'm going home." I returned his keys to him and started my journey towards my house.

"We're in Florence, remember? You stay a good lil bit away from here, bro? But hey, if your dumb ass wants to walk, go ahead." He lift hisself up from the ground while fixing his shirt.

I scratched the back of my neck and rerouted my route. I slowly walked behind 12tH to wherever he last parked his car.

I could tell it was at least ten o'clock at night due to the darkness and emptiness on the road. The humid weather made me feel uncomfortable as we continue to walk.

"Senior year, huh?" 12tH sparked up a conversation once we got settled in his car.

"Yeah, finally. Hopefully I'll be able to do some with my life." I mumbled the last part, looking out the window as we made our way out of Florence.

"I'on want to burst your bubble, but bro this is Mississippi. The Sip. Don't nobody make it out of this bitch alive. Don't nobody do somethin' with their life after high school either." He said, honestly.

He was right. Mississippi was a state that got little to no recognition. Yeah we have a few successful people from Mississippi but who really repping us or giving back to us?

Nobody.

"Well, let me be the first to make it."

"I believe you, lil' nigga." He glanced over me smiling before letting out a low chuckle.

12tH Street is what you call a young nigga with a mindset of an old nigga. America's worse nightmare. Young, black, and don't give a fuck.

He was only twenty, two years older than me, but he doesn't act like it. He doesn't let anyone know his age because he say niggas try to play him like he doesn't know anything due to his age.

12tH real name was Quincy but he go by 12tH Street, with a capital H, because that's. the street he rep. 12tH Street is in Pascagoula, Mississippi, where he was born and raised.

He recently moved to North Jackson after he graduated from high school.

"Aye, I was just playin' with you. I believe in you, Ace. You're smart and I believe you can make it out. Just don't do anything to fuck up your record because you're a black male comin' straight from the hood. They'll do anything to see you fall. Stay woke, aight?" He held his hand out for me to shake it.

"I hear you, bro. Appreciate it." I did the handshake with him, looking at the front of my house.

"All love. Where that pink panty wearin' bitch at?"

"Ass should be in the house," he referred to my sperm donor, Travis. "I'ma catch up with you tomorrow."

"Aight, tryna rob this house with me?"

"No nigga." I grabbed the handle to the door.

"Ah, scary ass lil' boy. Gone getcho' ass in the tub and get in the bed, baby boy." He teased out the window as I was walking up the drive way.

I stuck my middle finger up at him and grab my house keys out my pocket. He honked the horn at me and quickly sped down the road.

I shook my head and unlocked the door to my house. The creaking sound of the door alerted as I walked in. I smacked my lips and shut the door behind me, making sure I locked it as well.

I walked passed a sleeping Travis on the couch and made my way to my room. I kicked off my shoes while I closed and locked the door behind me.

My television automatically turned to the late night news since I had it set for that. I sat on the end of my bed to catch up on the news.

"Three men killed and one man taking into custody. Twenty two years old, Javeer Elliot, is being held at Florence Police Chief for the use of a deadly weapon and other charges that has been unnamed at the moment. His bond has not been set."

I shook my head at what the news lady just said. Javeer or Krit, was a guy that's affiliated with a gang called Crips. Which is also a gang that 12tH is affiliated.

These are prime examples of guys that chose the wrong path in life. It's hard to try not to be affiliated with anything illegal when that's all you see around you.

If it all goes well, Tamir Bryant might be the one to finally make it out.

Or will I?

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