Sabaydii all,
	I've finally finished up my little story. I forgot what day I
signed up for, but I think it was 12/11 or 12/09. So, I'm either a day
late or a day early. Whatever the case, here is my story. I had started
to write 3 different stories on this topic and kept going back and forth
between them. That was why I had so much trouble finishing. After 2 hours
debating with myself, I decided to go with this one. Here goes...


SatJaDham Presents...
		by alisak sanavongsay

	Today is a day that I will never forget. Today is my 
twentieth birthday. Today is the day I get my Associate's 
degree. Today is the day I get to go home.
	But, who will I go home to? Both of my parents are
gone. They were both tragically killed during a drive-by 
shooting... Killed by a stupid kid with a gun.
	I've gone through a great deal of change since my 
parents' deaths. Who would have ever thought I would get a 
college degree? Me, who dropped out of high school after the 
first year?
	It took the death of my parents to make me see that I 
needed to choose a different path from where I was headed. 
During the 5 years that I was away, I had plenty of time to see
that I was sliding down the wrong edge on this razor blade
called "life".
	So, I decided to do something about it. I enrolled in
a special GED program. After getting my GED diploma, I enrolled 
in another special program.  Now, I'm receiving my Associate's
degree and will be continuing at one of the top universities in 
the country.  As I stand up here, tears running down my cheeks, I 
can't help but think about my dark past.
	I was a trouble kid from the start. No matter where my
parents moved me to, I would always find some bad kids to hang
around with. I would always get kicked out of school for fighting 
or something. I even set some kid on fire once.
	Things just kept getting worse and worse. At age 10, I
joined a local street gang.  We did lots of stuff that I thought
were fun at the time. Things like stealing and fighting never
seemed wrong to me.
	My parents did the best they could to try to steer me in
the right path.  They always tell me that they love me and buy
me stuff and take me places.  They were the best parents anyone 
could have ever had.  I just took everything for granted.
	I guess my own strong will turned out to be my weakness.  
It was this strong will that led me astray.  I was always so 
determined to show my parents that I could take care of myself. I
demanded respect from everyone.  Any sign of disrespect had to be
dealt with in a manner I deemed suitable.
	For my fifteenth birthday, my parents planned a surprise 
party, but I had already planned to go out and celebrate with my 
gang.  As I was going out, I had an argument with them  and just 
took off.
	We were heading to our usual pizza joint when 10 members 
of our rival gang showed up. Right away, they spotted us and 
walked over toward us.  We exchanged words, then punches. There
were just too many of them and just 5 of us. They beat us up 
badly.  If the cops hadn't showed up, they would have killed us.  
Everyone just fled the scene. Even though we were badly beaten, 
we managed to muster up enough strength to flee.
	We all knew this would not end there.  As if we knew what
the other was thinking, we assembled into our positions without
a word. The two 16-year-olds got in the front seat. The rest of
filled up the back seat.  We drove toward the pizza joint to see
if they were inside.  After spotting them inside, we turned around
the corner and waited for them to come out.
	Since it was my birthday, the gang gave ME the "honor".  I
was chosen as the trigger man.  We waited about 30 minutes until
they finally came out.  We drove up slowly and I started shooting
just before they turned the corner. I thought to myself, "This is
it, you punks.  No one disses me and gets away with it!"
	I just kept shooting and shooting. It was like a wild rush
of power running through my veins.  I was on such a power high 
that I didn't care that there were innocent by-standers on the 
sidewalk.  By the time I ran out of bullets, I had wounded ten 
people and killed three.
	Cops were on the scene right away and caught us after a 15-
minute car chase. All five of us were arrested. The police were 
able to contact all our parents...All, except for mine. They had 
gone to look for me.  They were two of the people I had just killed.  
I was the stupid kid with the gun.  We were all sent to different 
detention centers. 


Hak phaang,
Alisak Tetsuo Sanavongsay        
Elgin, Illinois, USA