Tanya sits on the steps of the El Train at Kensington and Somerset.
Tanya: Uh, I escorted since I was 18 years old with a, uh, like an agency. Um, I only been out here for about a month… on the streets. Um, but, all together, I’m 25 now. So, 18 to 25, you know, I been doing this for, like, um… a couple, a lot of years.
$181.00 for food stamps, you know? It’s like… you know. So, once all that’s gone, you know, I gotta come out here and make as much money as I can, and I don’t like doing this, like, you know, this, like, I don’t like being on the street if I’m not on Xanies, you know, because, if, like, I’m… I’m more, like, not that, that, that, that afraid, if you know what I mean… to do it. You know. But… I am afraid. You know, you never know what can happen.
I do a bag of dope before I leave my house. If I have money at that point, um, I’ll do like, one or two bags of dope. I get ready, I get a shower, I come out, you know, catch a date, and you know, after I catch a date, well, I go get my drugs and then I catch another date, and then another date, you know. So… It’s kind of, it’s kinda rough out here. You gotta watch the cops 24 hours a day, you know what I mean? You gotta watch what car you get into. You know, I just, you know, I don’t like being out here. I hate being out here, you know. When I got out of Detox, I went into Detox in February, I was clean for 5 months. Those 5 months that I was clean, I couldn’t get a job at all. Like, I went so many places, like so many places, like Kmart, Pathmark, you know what I mean. Like, anything you can think of, I went to it. I even went to the mall to see if they had jobs, none of them were hiring.
Kevin (pictured left): I’m uh, an inner-city kid, my name’s Kevin. I, uh, I actually grew up in this neighborhood that I’m back down in now which is Kensington. I moved up to the North East and now I’m back running the streets down in Kensington. Addicted to uh heroin now but it started out as uh, uh a Percocet addiction. Percocet turned into Oxycontin, Oxycontin eventually turned into heroin, which turned into snorting uh powder cocaine. And then you find out when you shoot the powder cocaine that it’s a much bigger and better high. So now we’re shooting coke instead of snorting it and my life is a disaster. A living hell. Wake up in the morning, you don’t want to live no more, you just wish that when you go to sleep at night, its kinda crazy but you ask God not to wake you up in the morning. So… Imagine living like that. It’s kinda crazy. I’m uh, I’m 25 years old. 25 years old. Went to a private high school, top athlete in the city, first team all Catholic, soccer, baseball, uh, scholarships to Temple, Rhode Island, Arizona State, University Connecticut for baseball. I was in baseball showcases. That chopper is flying across from us, overtop of us, we call that the ghetto bird. The ghetto bird is looking, uh surveillancing maybe for drugs, drug corners, drug blocks, watching people buying drugs, they’ll walkie-talkie to the police letting them know where the activity is going on and then they’ll run and sting the block. Umm… That’s uh, that’s how they do it. Umm… I was caught down here in a sting the other night. I wind up walking. Let me tell you a story about how crooked these cops are. I get caught in a sting. The sting is they uh, they go and they get buyers and they get the sellers. So here they had four buyers, I was one of the buyers but when I bought my drugs, I stuck my drugs in my ass, right so they didn’t find it. So I wasn’t positive for heroin. They take you to C and Allegheny, which is a Rite Aide, they put you in the paring lot, right, and they identify everyone that was positive for heroin which are the buyers and then they get the drug dealers who had the drugs and then they match the bags of heroin, there is a stamp on the bag, there are different names on the bags like Viagra, High Power you know different bags, so that’s how they match up and know that you bought the drugs off of them drug dealers. Anyhow, they didn’t find the drugs off me so when the cop let me outta the back of the cop car, took me outta handcuffs, there’s Suboxone, Suboxone are these orange pills, its like Methodone, they uh, they help you get off of drugs. So the cops had seized some Suboxone off another kid, but he had also had Heroin on him so the Suboxone’s on the back of the cop car. This cop took me outta the back of his cop car, told me to take the Suboxone, off the back of his car and told me to beat it dude, the cop gave me the Suboxone, it was crazy.