When I was 13 years old, my best friend was killed. Gator and me was always together. If you seen him, you seen me and visa versa. One day a person came to me and him about a robbery (home invasion) of drug dealers so we took the offer. 

It was supposed to be simple and easy. No one was home and we had the key the person gave us. We went in, found the drugs and money and was on our way out when we noticed a group of dudes walking towards the house carrying guns. We ran down the steps and ran out the back door. When we got to the alley, I turned and looked behind me and seen the guys running out the back door towards us. I had a blue steel 38 my uncle bought for me, so I pointed and started shooting. They ducked down and me and Gator made it to the end of the alley and we separated, something we never did. 

I ran all the way home and I was sitting on the porch in the projects waiting on Gator to make it home. An hour went by. I went in the apartment and grabbed the AK 47 we shared and hid it in my coat. Then I went back to the other end of the alley where I could see the back of the house we had robbed with the lights on and I could see people walking around. 

I decided to walk the way Gator went when we split up. I walked all around the area calling his name out thinking he may have been hiding in one of the abandoned apartments. I checked those – and I checked under cars. He was nowhere to be found so I went back home thinking he may already be there. I made it back to the apartment and he wasn’t there yet so I laid down to wait on him.

I ended up falling asleep and when I woke up, I went in the living room and still didn’t see him. I looked out the window and on the front porch, his sister was crying but that was nothing new. I thought her boyfriend had beat her ass again so I went out on the porch, thinking me and Gator were going to have to beat this nigga ass again. When I walked out the front door, she looked at me and started crying even harder. I asked her what the fuck was wrong and she said Gator was dead. The words didn’t hit me that my best friend was killed. I laid up against the wall and stared off in space trying to collect every word she just said into my brain. 

I didn’t even notice his mother come up and put her arms around me. I didn’t know that that day I wouldn’t feel anymore pain. We got in the car and went down to the city morgue his where mother had to identify the body. When they pulled the slide out of the freezer there was a sheet with a body underneath. That was the first time I prayed that these people had it wrong. This couldn’t be my friend. God couldn’t do this.

When the sheet was pulled back my body locked up on me. I stared at the face of my best friend but only his face was all different. He’d been shot nine times in the face. It  was caved in, his right eye was gone. They said it exploded on impact from the first shot. His face looked like bacteria had eaten it away. I was so deep in thought I didn’t even notice his mother calling my name. 

All I knew was I was getting irritated by the sound of someone screaming — and until his mother hugged me, I didn’t realize it was me. 

I did things that summer I don’t regret. I wanted answers and I wanted the person who did it. I didn’t care who had to die for it – not even me – and still to this day I would do it all again. 

About six months into the street war, someone ratted out the person that murdered Gator and he was arrested. I went to every court date mainly because I was trying to figure out how I could kill the guy and if not him, the next best thing — his mother and his children so he would have to feel my loss during the trial. 

During the trial, I found out that Gator was found in a bush next to the alley. Also, the person who told us about the robbery set us up to be killed. I was at a loss for words. My mind went blank in the courtroom. So another person was added to the hit list. But funny enough how karma works, the person went on the run and three days later was caught at a red light and was shot nine times in the face. His girlfriend was killed with him.

And the man that was found guilty of murdering Gator, my friend and my brother, is on his way out of prison soon. And I will be honest. It’s been 26 years since it happened and seeing him bleed is the only thing that would comfort me.

Corey Perry #1047928

River North Correctional Center

329 Dellbrook Lane

Independence, Va 24348