Writers Name: Rosey Denise White
Title: The Street Game Has an Expiration Date
The following is true story.
How does a drug dealer adjust to normal life after years on the block? Is it even possible? The honest answer is: it depends. It’s not an easy thing to do. Just ask my friend who we will call “Billy.” Billy was once a big timer on the streets of Detroit. He was known for fast money, faster cars, beautiful women and a stylish wardrobe unlike any other. Pretty much everyone in the city knew who Billy was and that his job was narcotic distribution. He was heavy weight. Far from your average nickel and dime man, he was a major hustler who made big money doing the things he did. Like most street pharmacists, after years of selling dope his hustler ambitions came to an end. Billy was spared though, sentenced to only twenty years for his crimes. At the age of 50, Billy was reintroduced to society as a free man.
With a drug felony on his record, the adjustment to normal life was far from ordinary. Even though it was years later and he had served his time, Billy’s mindset remained the same. He was still obsessed with living the good life and at a lost for a legit way to get it. I asked him a few times what he was doing for income in order to survive. He explained how his family and friends were helping him out. Many of whom had benefited from his choice of lifestyle while he was at the top of his game. I admit, Billy was very lucky because he still had the appearance of a major player on the streets. He had a nice car, nice clothes, and a decent home in one of the city’s affluent neighborhoods. Because of these luxuries, Billy did not care to think about how he would survive in the near future. He was fully dependent upon others for every bare necessity in life.
When Billy and I talk about his life today, I often ask him what his next steps will be. I remind him that his friends and family won’t be able to take care of him forever. I tell him his life is all based on an illusion that no longer exists. He speaks of getting a job, but he and I both know it is very difficult finding work especially with a federal felonious record for drugs. Certainly, he has had subprime job offers at local food restaurants, cleaners, or other local businesses who are willing to help him get back on his feet. But he does not want this type of life. Billy is used to fast money and has no desire to start his life from scratch the right way. He doesn’t want to put in honest work to rise up like everyday people do. Billy’s mind is still stuck on how things used to be; he has not adjusted to the realities that are before him. Although he has stayed clear of drug dealing since being released, for the last ten years, Billy has no clue of how to go forward with his life. He isn’t interested in being rehabilitated and it’s unfortunate that he is not alone in his way of thinking. A lot of former felons have a hard time adjusting to life because they are still stuck in past living. There are numerous programs available for people like Billy but they have to be willing to work toward good living on an honest level. Billy knows the street life for him has expired, but despite the consequences he would still rather live the good life in his head.