My life was never going to be the same. Like I was a flap jack flipped on it’s side all of a sudden. As my cigarette burnt out I threw it to the ground, stomping it out with the worn souls of the worn shoes that covered my always tired feet. It wasn’t always like this. No one used to call me royalty. They used to call me a bum, and who was I to argue. The streets were cold, dark, and damp – but they were my home.

I was in a large city out east for a spell. Playin’ games most of the time – no serious business. Didn’t have the moxy – didn’t have the contacts. Just wasn’t worth it. I was makin’ some money so I didn’t care. Seems like my luck was turning around – or so I thought.

One humid summers eve a few friends and myself left the local watering hole and headed out behind the elementary school. On those courts out back, men were made. Your mother couldn’t help you in the jungle. The jungle taught us more than any parent could – it taught us how to survive. But we didn’t account for outsiders. It was never a problem. But along with the drugs came the gangs, and that night would set us straight.

Games weren’t my thing – the sideline and the business of it all lured me in. I was gettin’ real good too. The lights around the place were always flickering and tonight was no different. It made any people walking around look like lightning striking the ground over and over. From around the corner came a group I’d never seen, all wearing black with dark wooden table legs and metal bats in hand. The fight broke out quickly. Not questions were asked. They didn’t have to be. The blood hit the floor fast and the fight was over as soon as it began. There were no cops. They didn’t dare come to this side of town. At the end I was the only one who crawled away.

Ran around that city for weeks trying to stay low. One night I visited my mother – she was worried about me, and rightfully so. She said I had options. I said bull shit, yet here I was. Across the entire country like that.

I walked off the plane and lit a long awaited cigarette – the air was cool and flowed through my clothes like the ghost of summers past. The taxi pulled up abruptly and without a beck or call. Out east we’d been taught to ignore such things – ya know, things that were too good to be true. But I figured, turning over a new leaf might do me some good – a trusting leaf, but a leaf nonetheless.

The cab pulled up early evening. The air was warm as a blanket fresh out of the wash as the sun hid under the rolling hills to the north. I turned to see the beginning of it all. To think, one day before I was nothin’. A low life. A broke son of a gun.

But not anymore. Nope. Now I will show them all.

They say these kinds of chances are rare, but I was finally there, to sit on my throne as the Prince of Bel-Air.

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