Previously: Pt. 1, Pt. 2, Pt. 3, Pt. 4, Pt. 5
Just in time to wrap up the week, as well as to bless ya'll with some reading material during this Memorial Day weekend, the homie T just dropped his latest installation of "Chronicles Of A True Hustler". T, for real my dude, thanks so much for putting in so much of your time and life stories onto this blog. It's really appreciated from my end. To you, the reader, I now present to you, Pt. 5 of Chronicles Of A True Hustler:
Despite the new threats brought on by our move to build up DVP, I still had to commute across town to Bay View/Hunter’s Point for summer school, 21 Hayes to the 24 Divisadero. Phillip Burton Consent Decree Academic High School was an old school with a new name. Chicken, who grew up in HP went there when it was a junior high school named Pelton. He said he fucked his 7th grade teacher. Yeah right, and if so, I wasn’t so lucky. After my 9th grade year I was invited to leave by Mrs. Howell, the Principal, who very candidly explained that she didn’t see me succeeding there. I admit, I wasn’t taking school seriously. Mrs. Howell did me the favor of letting me transfer to another school to prevent her from having to go through the trouble of expelling me.
Galileo was where I should‘a been any way. It was where kids who attended Francisco Middle School graduated to. I wouldn’t have lasted long with a daily bus ride to enemy territory, so Gal was the move. But, had I not returned for that summer semester at Phillip Burton I would have never met Rachel. Rachel was Italian. With a last name like Guido, what would you expect? Standing about 5’5’’, thick-cut, thick brown hair, I thought she was cute. I sat directly behind her and Ice sat to my right. Ice was DVP and would be my dealing partner for a while. All three of us cracked jokes and made the time fly. Rachel and I hit it off. She wasn’t like other girls.
On our first date, I told her to meet me at the Valley at 8pm. When she got there, she was supposed to page me with the secret code I’d given her, which she did. But, by the time I got to the turf, there was a crowd gathered in front of Ed’s Liquors. Pushing my way through the crowd, I realized that Rachel was on the ground tussling with one of the young girls from the set; pulling each other’s hair with one hand and punching each other in the face with the other. I wasn’t about to get involved in that shit. Rachel came to the turf for the first time and was already hot. I was feeling how she was handling herself, though. She wasn’t afraid to throw ‘em. But, she was going to have to fight her way out of this one on her own. I wasn’t siding with her in a beef on our first date.
She was so gangsta. Sitting behind her in typing class I had no idea how deep her grind was. Even though I had seen my uncles either pimp or marry white girls I never thought I'd ever be with one. Either white people are just like black people, or Rachel was the blackest white girl I had ever met. Rachel’s stepfather, Sonny, mentored her in the art of paperhanging, what old school hustlers used to call identity theft. Sonny was a master. He had tutored many a white girl in the art of long drag; paperhanging plays could sometimes take weeks to set up. If you got a good run, it could last for months. She also cared for her two younger sisters while her mother served a bid on forgery charges. Sonny was old school, had to be in his 50s though he looked much, much older. His right hand man was another OG named Mohammed, who always dressed in a 3-piece suit, overcoat and brim…never said much. And when he did cosign Sonny’s crazy ass, you wouldn’t hear much more than a mumble. They were both hooked on heroin. Sonny had been addicted for so long he had a permanent curve in his back that kept his head low and made him lean forward when he walked. Even if you and Sonny were the same height, he always managed to seem like he was looking up at you.
Sonny and Rachel would buy a Spread, the remains of a stolen wallet or purse after all the cash had been taken; driver’s license, credit cards, check book. If the original owner bared even a remote physical likeness to Rachel she would assume the woman’s identity, opening new accounts at multiple banks. Next, they made cash deposits of their own money into the various accounts and allowed the money to season. This was called padding the account. Once the account was seasoned, checks and credit cards were issued and the shopping spree began.
Armed with a new, fully-loaded counterfeit Spread, they went from mall to mall, city to city; Stones Town Mall, Serra Monte Mall, Tan Foran Mall, Macy’s, Wilson’s Leather, Nordstrom. Focusing on big-ticket items they used fingernail polish remover to remove markings from receipts that identified the transactions as charge or check purchases in order to return items to the retailer for cash refunds. If that didn’t work, they sold items on the street at a discount. Rachel was the first person I ever knew with a Louis Vuitton handbag in 1986. Nordstrom’s was their favorite because of their high level of customer service and lenient return policy.
Sonny didn’t like me much. He complained to Rachel that I was a bad influence on her because I was a dealer. I distracted her from her hustle. It was actually the opposite. We were both very competitive. At the end of our respective grinds we’d meet up at the house and see who had clocked the most. I’d be pulling crinkled up, nasty smelly ass bills from out of my socks, all my pockets, secret stashes in my clothes…and I’d call it, $3,700 for the day. Rachel would go into her Louis Vuitton and pull out over $5,000 in crisp clean $100 bills.
Rachel was a hustler.