Gang Life

One day I was with my boys, my gang, when that punk came up to us to make the deal. His name was Jerome he was 22 and I wish I never had met the kid.

He was a thug as was I when the deal went bad. My partner in the gang ended up shooting and killing the kid. It was not as if that was unusual but, this time I was asked to get rid of the body. I was the one left with blood on my hands. I have a feeling the gang was ready to get rid of me too.

That is when I changed my identity and I  became Jerome Martin. Sitting there dead, he looked somewhat lonely as if he were alone in life. I disposed of his body and kept his wallet. That is when I got out of Compton far, far away. I noticed the picture on his driver’s license looked a lot like me. I wanted to escape gang life; I stole his identity. What else could I do? Sometimes I feel bad about it but I am not sorry about it.

Jerome turned out to have been in the foster care system and had no living relatives. His father shot his mother in cold blood and then he killed himself in front of his little boy, Jerome. Jerome was lucky it was not him his father shot but no wonder the kid was so messed up. He had no ties to any family members and he had done it himself a favor trading drugs he was a dealer and he was not in debt.

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I spent a week learning all I could about my new identity from public records, to calling in as him. Jerome’s social security number and information where in that lifesaving wallet of his.; I even applied for a credit card in his name.  When it was approved, I realized I could escape my gang past. For I had seen one too many terrible things.

Homeless on the streets of Santa Monica hiding from my Compton gang members I took his Jerome’s credit card and alright credit and got myself a small apartment, I then enrolled in school I was always bright in middle school but had dropped out before reaching high school. I took all the remedial classes at the community college. I then got a part time job and was always careful to wear clothes that covered my gang tattoos. I did not want to be recognized for who I was.

After a year of having changed my identity successfully I had become a dishwasher in a local restaurant was on financial aid and attending school. When I got that loan to have the tattoos removed. I knew it would financially hurt me but it could potentially save my life.

The day the tattoos were finally invisible was the day I officially became Jerome. I graduated community college with a B+ average and I went to North-ridge law school.

Today I am married. I have a beautiful wife and two kids. She does not know me as my former gangs self. I am Jerome Martin a successful lawyer with two young boys and no debt. I managed to survive. I have not been caught for what I have done. I hope it never gets out but for some reason I feel horrible about being Jerome. Everyday my new self reminds me of a boy I had to dispose of and then become.

It is crazy what life does to a person. It is insane that I am who I am today, but it is a lesson that you can get away from gang life even if I did it in a super illegal way, I may have disposed of a life but I carried on a legacy. For, Jerome Martin saved my life. For that I am forever thankful for I would have been left for dead if I had not gotten away with what I had done. I was in trouble with the gang and I had a feeling they were ready to off me after I got rid of Jerome.

I saved my life and made a life for Jerome. I am not sorry for what I did. I did not kill Jerome. I only became him. I am happy one of us got to live a full life, when it seemed like neither of us were headed for good.

In a way Jerome survived too, his spirit lives on inside of me as I have become Jerome Martin.