I always liked writing and shit, but I never considered this as a profession until SoundWave went to prison. In the over eleven years that he spent on lock down I never went to see my dude. I don’t like prisons, or hospitals for that matter. I always felt a kind of way about going to see people in jail because I didn’t want to end up behind bars with my homey. I imagined that the warden wiuld be like, “Thanks for doing the legwork for me and bringing yourself in.” Is that ridiculous of me and cowardly? Hells yeah.
I kept in touch with SoundWave by writing him often and talking shit with him in the same way we did when he was home. I gave him the updates on the ‘hood and the encouragement that we were still on our journey to being millionaires. The funny shit that happened when SW was in prison is that a million dollars lost it’s value. SW, ThunderCracker, PoloTron and I were the get rich clique. We had dozens of capers between us but we were still looking for that big score. We never got it as a crew, but the fun was in trying.
I remember this botched bank drop job that Polo set up with the old butcher shop where he used to work. This job was going down on Jamaica Avenue in broad daylight two blocks from the police precinct. SW convinced us that it was doable with the thinking that a crime near a police station was safe since all the police were somewhere else. This was SW’s super power. Dude had a steely confidence, he could sell the tone to the phone. SW was just one of those smart-dumb niggas who had book knowledge and street knowledge and could interchange the two fluidly.
And yes, he was a bit of a lunatic, but not in the sense that I was. His lunacy was tempered with logic. When we used to run around acting stupid and kicking up dust SW was the dude that always kept an eye out for the emergency exit just in case we couldn’t get out of something the way we came in. Fam was definitely a rider though. He had no business riding with me to Baltimore in a stolen car just to visit my girlfriend at Morgan State for her school’s homecoming celebration. I think that part of the reason he went with me was because he bailed out when I drove to D.C. a week earlier in the car he and I stole from Greenwich Village. SoundWave wasn’t gonna let me have all the fun two weeks in a row. He also trusted me that I had his back.
The drive to Baltimore was one of my favorite trips evar. We were jetting south on I-95 and passing state troopers all the while. We would speed and slow down, each time talking to each other about the reason for the move. We were fucking idiots. Smart dumb niggas supreme. And yes, we were lucky that we weren’t arrested and made it back to NYC. I think of all the dumb shit that we have gotten away with and I realize why SW thought he could pull off a bank job. You won’t ever encounter someone who calculates the contingencies as thoroughly as SW does. I hate planning. No wonder I sucked as an architect. Planning is what prevents you from failing. Or so I thought…
SW planned this job with some of his homeys from VA. These weren’t dudes he had grown up with but he knew them from the times he would retreat to Virginia Beach to get away from the hustle and bustle of NYC. Theses dudes heard SW’s stories of the fifty ways we used to get money in the city and they wanted to add a chapter to the book. “Do y’all realize how often these banks get heisted?” was the theme of SW’s pitch.
The scene inside the bank was on smash and SW would commandeer the getaway vehicle. The plan worked too and they got away. Unfortunately for them they were pulled over in New Jersey. A monthly quota speeding ticket became one state trooper’s retirement portfolio. SW fucked up by being a stand up guy. While everyone else dropped dimes on each other SW’s silence bought him the stiffest sentence. He sat inside the Federal system for over a decade. While I continued to party and bullshit SW took the weight for my teenage years. ThunderCracker’s mom, who loves me dearly, once told me that I was the reason that everyone were so cautious and scared for all of us, because I was the one leading the boys down the path. I am still the Black Peter Pan.
SW is home now and frankly looks better than he ever did. He has adjusted to his time away and has no bitter resentment towards life or even the bullshit that I still get into. He has a brand new son who looks tremendous and a beautiful wife in Virginia. SW still has that gleam in his eye though. That maybe if I tried hard enough I could convince him to go with me to Mexico next year. Yeah, the homey is still a rider.