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everybody who's anybody in seoul has got a street name. some of the a.k.a's threaten danger, like mercy or li'l killa. others are kind of playful, like jiminie or suga. a few make no damn sense at all but sound cool like z-pop or quysm. kim namjoon became known as rap monster--rm for short.

and rm was out of control.

at the age of nine, rap monster ran away from his foster parents. at the age of thirteen, he got busted for trying to shoplift a pair of brass knuckles at the swap meet. at the age of seventeen, he got caught in the act of stealing a car stereo out of a mercedes. when the fifty-three year old woman who owned the car said "give it back," rap monster responded, "okay," and slammed the three pound metal box directly into the lady's face.

the radio's jagged steel edge ripped the soft flesh from the ladies lower lip, broke three of her teeth, and caused a gush of blue and black blood to pour from her gums, like a faucet turned on all the way. despite multiple plastic surgeries, this nice woman who had only stopped in at the local Target to get some laundry detergent was permanently stuck with a smile that made her look like a demented clown.

rap monster got away. the police description of an a korean male with brown hair grey shirt and jeans only matched about thirty thousand other men in the area.

not only didn't rap monster get popped by the police for his crime, he bragged about it. the attempted theft had been his first real mission, his first chance to prove he was down for the 'streets'. obviously he was.

across town in uncharted rival territory, someone passed little v a hit of weed.

"so what's it going to be?" a raspy voice asked in a tone of approval. it was late at night on the back stoop of an abandoned house.

the question was simple. for a guy like v, there was two ways to join a gang. the first was to get jumped in. that meant getting in the center of a circle and fighting your way through an attack by four to six other gang members as they stomped and beat and kicked and punched until you proved your worth by proving your heart. would you fight for your boys? would you represent for your boys? would you die for your boys? the circle was where you proved that.

but guys like v had another way in, too. they could be sexed in. that meant giving up a piece of lovin' to each and every member of the gang. but the leader, jungkook, was very possessive of v. and decided that if anyone was getting some lovin it would be him and only him. even before, the initiation, jungkook had forced himself onto v.

"so, like, what's it going to be?" the voice asked again.

he looked up. "both."

"both?" jungkook said with a smirk.

"you heard me" v said. "both."

v stripped off his skirt leaving him in a white crop top and his black leggings. they circled of malt and got ready to watch the action.

"yo, let me have some of that ass before y'all fuck him up." one of the guys shouted. jungkook glared at him.

"too late", replied on hardcore chola with nasty loom in his eye.

an overhand left flew and the ass whooping was on. v fought like a wolf. bloody and bruised fist flying everywhere.

the mandeok merks was a gang made up of both.

ever since the age of eight, all v has ever wanted was in. the merks were his idols, his role models, his ultimate fantasy. tonight was the night he had dream about. he sucked in school. people often calling him 'a blonde'. his foster mum was a drug addict and he has never met his father, causing trouble was the only thing he was good at. finally, it was paying off. he wasn't getting the shit beat out of him. he was getting a family. gangsta luv is what it's called.

over the course of the next year, he got even crazier. he started sniffing glue, putting in work for the gang and jungkook, and getting tatted.

jungkook and a few other members pinned v down while they tattooed 'daddy's princess' on his lower back. and a small heart on the back of his neck for whenever kookie choked him. he even got script all across his chest and the merk logo just above his heart, matching jungkook's tat.

smoking. drinking. fucking. fighting. dropping out. building a rep. running up a criminal record. in juvee hall. out of juvee hall. doing drugs. selling drugs. beefing with the sangdo. oh yeah, beefing big time with the sangdo.

the sangdo's where the archnemey of the merks. nobody could count how many teenagers had died in a year that they've been feuding, but the bitterness ran long and deep. even if there was only one merk and six sangdo men, a merk was expected to claim their hood and fight--pain and death be damned. the brawling had been going on for so long that those in the community didn't even try to interfere. random violence had become part of everyday life like stop signs and supermarkets

one tuesday afternoon, v heard the jingle bells of the ice cream truck pulling up to the curb by the park where he was hanging out and he decided he wanted something sweet other than jungkook's lips.

"may I have a chocolate bomb pop?"

"I'll be two dollars".

"here" he pulled out a $10 bill and put it on the counter.

"sorry, I'm out of singles," the ice cream man said.

"you have nothing smaller?"

"naw, this all I got. 'cuse me, you got change fo' a ten dollar bill? v asked a little kid nearby. the boy looked to be no older than 10.

"maybe..." the boy beamed.

as v waited to see if his ten dollar bill could be broken, a crew rolled up, creepin' style, in a green ford escort. they caught v slippin'

"no, it looks like I only have eight..."

"oh, shit!" v screamed.

"that's right, bitch..."


a semi-automatic handgun sprayed the little boy missing v by a quarter inch. rm had slipped on his aim, which, at that moment, he had meant to. the boy tried to run but only made it a few feet before his small chest was pumped with hollow points.

the ice cream man dove to the floor of his truck. little kids screamed and took off the playground. the small boy who tried to make change for v didn't have anything to do with the rivalry. he didn't know v or rm. all he wanted was to play on his scotter.

v gasped; wide eyed staring down at a little boy's warm body. he had never, before that ever seen a dead body. only in his dreams, and only distant gun shots and screams. jungkook never let him.

jungkook yanked the boy's arms running towards a traphouse across the street, vacating the playground.

And that's the story of how seo chang-bin died with eight dollars in his pocket. v witnessed his first killing. and rm fell in, love at first sight, with his opp.

STREETS ❦ vmon Where stories live. Discover now