Treading the Waters, Part 1
Everyone comes from a family that has house rules. Mother’s have house rules. I’m one that don’t believe in rules. I do what I want.
I feel like I did what I want.
My mother had eight kids, three girls and five boys. We really weren’t fortunate enough to get some of the things that we wanted in life, like my other friends, and cousin, and other family members.
So every day we come home from school. Me and my sister, we talk. And I tell my sister, “Man, you seen them tennis shoes the guy had on that was in school today. I like them bad boys.” Back then it was Dr. J’s tennis shoes, Converse All Stars.
My sister say, “Boy, them shoes cost 100 and somethin’ dollars.”
“Heck, my partner and them got ‘em,” I say. “They say they ain’t cost them nothin’, they just went in Footlocker and took ‘em. Didn’t cost nothing to them.”
So I went to thinking to myself, what if I go out one day and steal some shoes, or go hustle with them, whatever? Would I get caught, or would I get away?
I told my good friend that I come up with, “Man them boys, you seen them boys? Them boys must be getting some money out here somewhere. Because they be wearing some nice shoes. Man, we need to start getting our hustle on.”
He say, “Man, you ain’t gotta be gettin’ no money. Only thing you gotta do is go in the store and ask the people for the size you wear, and soon as they walk off, you put the shoes on and walk out the store.”
It sounded sweet to me. But at the same time I was kind of nervous.
So one Saturday, we hung out by the store, and I finally pushed myself up to do it. The lady come ask us, “Can I help y’all?”
I say, “Yes ma’am, I like to see a pair of your tennis shoes.”
“What size?” she say. I told her my size.
But in the shoe store it be real crowded, on Saturday and like that. So she said, “No problem. I go get ‘em and you can try ‘em on. You like ‘em, you can go ahead and get ‘em.”
My friend was standing on the side of me. I tried the shoes on. I looked at ‘em. I say, “Man, these look nice.”
He say “Boy, you look good in ‘em tennis shoes.”
I took a deep breath.
I whistled a little bit and say, “You ain’t lyin’ I do.”
“You ready?” he say.
“Ready for what?”
“Ready to walk out.”
I say, “Yeah…” and stood up. I went for the door.
Once I got out the door and nobody looked back, no one was behind us, I say, “Damn, you ain’t lying, that sure was easy. I’m ready now, I’m ready to go any store.”