Thug Life: Just Another Hood Love

By: Jontu

Chapter 1: I Get Around

“Ayo, Dolo, fade ‘em up, my nigga,” said Tyson, one of the workers in the Las Vegas location of Big Ink.

Big Ink was Dolo’s shop that he co-owned with his older cousin Quinton. Big Money was the street name that their squad had taken on in their youth when they were running the streets being reckless. There were really only four of them in the Big Money squad: Dolo, Quinton or Q, as they called him, Josh and Gio, but Q was the only one that kept the Big Money moniker throughout his adulthood.

“Man, my shit already rolled up. Throw that shit in rotation, little nigga,” Dolo said as he took another pull from his blunt and then passed it around the back office where he and two of his friends who were also workers in the shop were sitting around after a long day’s work. Ace and Shanti were Dolo’s friends from back home in Oakland that had also moved out to Vegas a few years ago to get out of the hood. They were both super talented when it came to ink and that’s why they were placed in the Vegas shop right off of the strip because it was definitely the moneymaker out of the three shops that he and Q owned.

Dolo grabbed the blunt from Shanti and stared at it. “Yo, nigga, what the fuck is this shit? This little ass blunt. You niggas still rolling up .4s in the blunt and I’m throwing in nothing less than a gram. All that money y’all getting and you still shorting blunts?” he joked, throwing the blunt on the table in front of him still lit.

“Nigga, so what. Shit, you always coming in here disrespecting our sessions. How about you just supply the weed, roll up and spark that shit and we smoke for free on Big Money since our shit is always a problem, bitch,” Ace said, laughing.

Dolo laughed and sparked another blunt, passing it around as well. As he sat back and let the weed enter his system, he began to think about his life and he had to thank God for sparing him. Six months ago he was sitting in the backseat of a bucket bleeding profusely, thinking that he wasn’t going to make it. That night was just another one of those moments he put under his belt. It came with the street life and he accepted it as part of the game. When you feel those bullets hit you, you never know how bad it is until you open your eyes afterwards. Dolo was from Oakland, though, the toughest of the tough and if you could survive in Oakland, then you could survive anywhere.

The night he woke up in the hospital after being shot, he couldn’t do anything but be thankful for another chance to get it right. When he lost consciousness in the back of the car that night, his life didn’t flash before his eyes. He didn’t see the faces of his loved ones. He saw the streets. He saw all of the blocks that he had hustled on in the Town. Flashbacks of his life in the streets is what flashed before him. His high school days of going to Oakland Tech, catching the 82L bus in East Oakland, the old school functions and house parties, hitting up the Sobrante Park weed man for that good doaty, 88th for pills, all of the sideshows and all of the bitches he had run through. Dolo was certified. There were niggas from Oakland to Frisco that could vouch for him so he knew that if he were to die, he would definitely die a real nigga. Sitting here now, Dolo knew that God had other plans for him. He had lived to see another day. Pam had also survived her wounds and had recovered quickly and just as Dolo had, she had chalked the experience up as part of the game and jumped right back into the streets like nothing happened. Since that night, Dolo had been trying his best to stay out of the way, keeping himself busy with the shops in order to keep out of Oakland. Being in Vegas was easier said than done when the money was calling, but Dolo had a baby on the way and Q down his throat every other day about keeping his ass out of the streets but just like Dolo, Q knew that when the streets called, a real nigga would more than likely answer.

Dolo had been traveling like crazy between Oakland, San Diego and Vegas. He was tired as hell trying to keep up with all of the things going on in his life.

Tyson stood up and grabbed his phone off of the leather chair that he had been sitting in. “Aight, man. I’m out this bitch. I will catch you niggas tomorrow,” he said as he dapped up Dolo and Ace and walked out of the room. Shanti hopped up out of his seat and followed Tyson out.

“I’m out, too. I better hurry home before wifey get to flashing on a nigga.” Ace said and Dolo nodded as he was left in the room alone.

As soon as the door closed, it opened back up and Grace walked in. She was the front check-in assistant for the shop and how she was still working there was a miracle because she barely did any work and all she really wanted to do was be up in every nigga’s face all day. Grace was a rat to the fullest and although Dolo knew that she wasn’t shit, he had no problems fucking her whenever he felt the need.

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