You’ve changed your mind.

That’s allowed, you know. You can go in a different direction, pick something else, try another thing, have do-overs, or have two. Pencils come with erasers, few things are forever, and in “Once a Cop” by Cory Pegues, change may be good.

Born the second-youngest with four “much older” sisters, Cory Pegues grew up in a middle-class, mostly-Black neighborhood in Queens, New York. Though his father was largely absent, Pegues basked in the affection of an extended family and he was secure, until his mother began moving her children from home to more-run-down home.

At age 13, Pegues knew they were poor; he “was going around with holes in my shoes…” when he was taken under the wing of an older boy who was well-regarded in the neighborhood, and who taught Pegues to peddle “loosies.”

“Selling weed was easy,” Pegues says.

The next step was even easier: he sold crack and joined a larger group of dealers, some “serious players” who made crazy money but thought little of killing someone for small reason. It didn’t take long for Pegues to know that he “needed an exit plan, and I needed to move on it fast.”

For him, the army “was perfect,” so he contacted a recruiter. Three weeks after he left for basic training, his old dealing grounds were raided.

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