Friday, May 05, 2006

Shook Ones

Inspiration - "Shook Ones" Mobb Deep "you all alone in these streets, cousin/every man for theirself in this land we be gunnin'/and keep them shook crews runnin'/like they supposed to/they come around but they never come close to/I can see it inside your face/you're in the wrong place/cowards like you just get they're whole body laced up/with bullet holes and such/speak the wrong words to man and you will get touched/you can put your whole army against my team and/I guarantee you it'll be your very last time breathin'"

What I'm Listening To - "Food and Liquor" Lupe Fiasco

Question(s) I Asked Myself Today - "How the hell did I forget about this story?"

P was talking about near death experiences on her blog and that got me to thinking. I've had a couple situations go down that could have been the end of T's life. I had almost forgotten about this one so I decided to write about it to remember everything that happened, sort of a repressed memory recovery.

It was July 4th, 1994. I was a 19 year old former nerd who was just finding his way in the social world. In the previous 2 years I had just started going to parties and clubs on a semi regular basis. Being that I had to work at my part time job at the hospital that afternoon, I missed out on all the cookouts. So when my best friends Kareem and Tori stopped by after I got off, I was down for whatever. This evenings agenda was to go to a club called "Sam Bowers," affectionately known as "The Bow Wow." The events that would follow left me shook for a while.

Let me preface this story by telling you that I had a middle class upbringing. We were not rich by any means, but I was sheltered from the thug and drug dealing environment that so many Black males experience. The closest I came to ghetto life was watching "Boyz n the Hood" or listening to a N.W.A. tape. My mother did a great job of making sure that I was safe and not a victim of the cycle of Black on Black crime that was so prevelant in Savannah, Georgia. "The Bow Wow" was a whole different story. The place was frequented by drug dealers and had a reputation for violence. But as a dumb 19 year old, I thought I was invincible and decided to take a walk on the wild side. There were some warning signs that I ignored and almost paid for it with my life.

The first sign I ignored came from my friend Tiffany. I called her and told her that I was going to The Bow Wow. She damn near lost her mind. In no uncertain terms, Tiffany told me that it was not a good idea. She listed off 4 people she knew that got shot at that club. Being as stubborn as I am, her words went in one ear and out the other. Next, when we got into the car to ride to the club, all of a sudden the sky opened up with an ominous display of lightning. I mean it was freaky because it didn't rain, but the lights in the sky were foreboding. Still, we were undeterred. Finally about halfway to the club, Tori got a speeding ticket. The cop who pulled us over said "it's dangerous out here tonight. You might want to head home." Of course, we were on some "F the Police" stuff, so we sure didn't listen to his warning. We were 3 young knuckleheads on a mission.

We arrived at the Bow Wow and paid our $5 cover. In retrospect, I remember that no one searched us for weapons at the door. We found a spot close to the bar to post up and get our bearings. I did my usual scan of the crowd and saw girls in short skirts and Daisy Dukes. The guys were in the thug uniform of a white tee and black jeans. (I swear I think Savannah was the start of that whole white tee thing, before Cash Money started doing it or Dem Franchise Boyz made that song.) I saw a couple of guys wearing heavy leather jackets in the hot ass club. I paid them no mind though, cuz the girls were doing the butterfly and shaking they ass to some Luke. Tori was the most outgoing of the crew, and he pulled a fly honey on the dance floor while Kareem and I chilled watching the scene go down. After awhile the mixture of heat and weed smoke became overwhelming so I stepped outside through a side door to get some air. I was leaning against the wall in a B-Boy stance when I heard a ruckus coming from the club. Someone started throwing beer bottles and a fight broke out. Next thing I know, two dudes come barrelling through the side door that I was standing next to throwing punches like they were engaged in a fight to the death.

"Shit! What do I do now?" I thought to myself. I wanted to get out of the way, but I didn't know which way to go. I glanced to my left towards the parking lot, but a huge crowd had gathered to watch the fight. I glanced to my right but that's where the fight was. I was stuck. Just then one of the fighters reached into his leather jacket and pulled out a .22. I saw it happening in slow motion, but had no time to react. Pop, Pop, Pop. He let off 3 shots in my general vicinity. He wasn't shooting at me, but somebody forgot to tell the bullets. 2 shots hit the intended target, the guy he was fighting. But the third bullet went awry and whizzed by my right ear ricocheting off the brick wall I was posted up on. What happened next was bedlam. Everybody took off running but I was paralyzed by fear for what seemed like an eternity. Eventually I came to my senses and pulled a Ben Johnson 100 yard dash to a parked car with some other club goers( adrenaline is a mutha fucka.) Scared as hell, I thought about where Kareem and Tori were. I waited for about a minute before I got the nerve to stick my head up and look for my homeys. I saw Kareem and yelled at him to take cover behind the car, but Tori was nowhere to be found. The scene calmed down a little and we began our search for our other friend.

Just when we thought it was all over, the shit started up again. Only this time, instead of a .22, niggaz were letting off with semi automatic weapons from their car. I saw on the news the next day that it was an AR 15 assault rifle, but for all intents and purposes that night, I thought it was an Uzi. Needless to say we took off running again. Kareem and I made our way to Tori's mother's station wagon, which was our transportation for the evening. Unfortunately all the doors were locked, so I had the bright idea of hiding under the car until the shooting stopped. After about 5 minutes, we heard the police sirens and figured it was safe to emerge from our hiding place. I was never so happy to see the Savannah Police Department in my life. The only problem was that we still didn't know where Tori was. We were able to piece together that he was on the dancefloor when the initial fight started, but in all the confusion that ensued, we lost him. Finally, he came staggering towards his ride, with his Hilfiger shirt in his hand and blood on his white tee.

Kareem and I looked at each other with a trepidatious gaze. Did Tori get hit in the crossfire? We ran towards him and checked to see where the blood was coming from. Fortunately, he just had a gash from a broken beer bottle and the stampede that ensued. I grabbed the car keys as Kareem helped Tori into the car. I sped out of the parking lot like I was driving the Mach 5, and headed home.

Later I found out some disturbing information. 4 people got shot that night and one of them died. One of the shooters was the son of one of my co workers at the hospital. And she lectured me about going to those kinds of places. The irony of that was not lost on me, but I couldnt even be mad because she was right. I had no business going to the Bow Wow. The club was shut down shortly after that. Then a local urban legend started to spread about "Sam Bowers." The club was supposedly owned by a leader of the KKK. The story went that he wanted a place for Black people to kill each other and fall victim to various vices. I never beleived the story, but reading this article has made me have second thoughts. Anyway, this was one experience that left me and my homeboys shook and more careful of where we hung out.

It was written...


Blogger Mocha_Grl said...

Whoa T.
You had me holding my breath while I read that story. I'm so glad that you and your peeps were blessed enough to get out of there unscathed. It's amazing the signs that are handed out to us, that we so often ignore, especially in our youth!
It's funny how when we're young we think we're invincible and as we get older we realize how many close calls there actually were...

Fri May 05, 12:11:00 PM  
Blogger nikki said...

very enthralling depiction of the tale, t.

i'm glad you and yours made it through aiight.

@mocha...i think about that too, the invincibility thing. sometimes when i think of the things i experienced as a child, i gotta gasp. i did some really reckless shit. LOL

Fri May 05, 01:00:00 PM  
Blogger The Stiltwalker said...

I think we can all look back on some of the poor decisions we've made. But the smart person learns from them and doesn't continue to make the same mistake.

Fri May 05, 02:57:00 PM  
Blogger Unsaid said...

That's a damn good story (let me know if it's cool to use your real name cuz that's what my fingers want to type). Then that article... seriously though we get caught up in our slave mentality, the miseducation of the negro and perpetuate bullshit for ourselves. Glad you weren't shot, glad your boy was okay. It seems like a lot of your bad experiences that you've mentioned on the blog involve you and those particular boys lol. Hmmmmmmmmm....

Fri May 05, 03:59:00 PM  
Blogger chele said...

Dang T, that was serious. I am so glad that all three of you got out of there okay. I cringe when I think about the reckless stuff I got into at 19. What is it about that age?

Fri May 05, 04:01:00 PM  
Blogger Unsaid said...

Oh yeah are dead-on about the invincible feeling when you're young. I did so much shit...went so many places...with so many of the wrong people that I should really be dead lol. For real, people do the same shit I did all the time and end up dead (ie getting in the car with strangers, going to hang out at some strange dudes crib lol)...seriously I must have a greater purpose because I had no earthly sense!

Fri May 05, 04:01:00 PM  
Blogger SistaGirl said...

There were a lot of places like that in Savannah that were all about violence and mayhem. When I was young I felt invincible too, hangin with the wrong people never helps. Sorry you have that story to tell but it sounds like you've learned alot. It sounds like a story that ought to be told at a juvenile hall for delinquents..." This is what almost dying is like young men, don't be like T"...LOL.

Fri May 05, 04:18:00 PM  
Blogger ChezNiki said...

Dang! When I go to the club, I worry about where the fire exits are, making sure no one puts any foreign substances in my drank, and watching for drug busts in the ladies room...but gunplay? Thank God that hasnt really been an issue for me. Thank God you and your friends made it out alive.

Sat May 06, 08:40:00 AM  
Blogger "N" Search of Ecstasy said...

Whoa, what a damn story! I agree that a lot of time young people think that they are invincible and that nothing can really happen to them sometimes. Some of them are not as fortunate as you were. Thank goodness you guys were alright.

Have a great weekend!

Sat May 06, 03:46:00 PM  
Blogger Miss Ahmad said...

what a great story, how fortunate and blessed you are to have made it out alive and not a statistic.

God protects fools and babies is what my mother would always tell me when I was younger...i never realized I was one.

Sun May 07, 02:15:00 AM  
Blogger T. Cas said...

@ mocha - that night was ominous to tell the truth, I knew then I shouldn't have been there, but aint nobody was gonna tell me what I couldnt do.

@ nikki - thanks, I really did think that death was something that happens to other people. I came too close

@ stilt - yeah, I learned from that, for the most part

@ unsaid - Kareem and Tori were my best friends since middle school. It took a lot for me to realize that they werent necessarily the right influences on me.

@ chele - For me, age 19 was the age when I came into my own. I just started getting into my social scene and wanted to try anything and everything

@ sistagirl - Savannah was kinda rough at times. I should tell about my Yamacraw Village adventures.

@ ChezNiki - yeah, the gunplay was no joke, I should have known better.

@ N search of ecstacy - this one hit home b/c I actually kinda knew one of the shooters. The Black on Black violence victimized a lot of brothas back then

@ Miss Ahmad - I'm glad God was protecting this fool.

Sun May 07, 12:11:00 PM  
Blogger i like liquor and tv said...

Whoa, that's crazy! Yeah I used to actually BARTEND at a crazy club like that. I have no idea why I worked there. I think it's because the drug dealers were big tippers. I mean people were getting raped in the parking lot and everything. I think I left after the 3rd shootout.

Fri May 12, 02:52:00 PM  

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