This Is The Life

Meet Tanya, a 28-year-old hustler from St. Paul

CP: Where was this building?

Tanya: In the Highland area. These people, because of their habits, went from expensive apartments to this shithole building complex. That was what they were reduced to. They wanted to be where it was at. With that comes a lot of things. There was a lot of sex involved. The females would run out of money. They are strung out at that point. They are standing there saying, If anybody wants any type of oral pleasure or anything, just let me know.

CP: All your customers either lived in or came to the building?

James Dankert

Tanya: Yeah. It was like some underground secret shit that only traveled by word of mouth. But you know, the police would come every now and then. They never knew who to catch because of the way I carried myself and always looked. There have been times when they've done raids and I'm sitting there with my two quarter-ounces in each pocket in the hallway. And they are like, Get out of the way, Ma'am. And I've got my $300 Ralph Lauren glasses on. I ask, What's going on? I'm thinking this is the end. And they'd say, You better get out of here, we're getting ready to do a raid. I'd head down the street. They were talking to the devil herself.

CP: Where do you buy the pot you sell?

Tanya: Because I have family members that were always in the game it wasn't any problem. It was never any problem. I could go over to my cousin's house right now and be like, Hey. I am lucky because I come from a family of all cheddar go-getters. People who make their money. We are all not quite in competition because we all had our own clientele. But we had that one cousin that was always doing where we could get it for outrageously small prices. We ain't got no choice but to make our cheese.

CP: How much pot do you sell in a month?

Tanya: Maybe a half-pound right now. Actually, I do control what I do at times. I try not to get too big because I noticed my cousins, once they started hitting that pound and a little bit bigger, you're dealing with a whole other ball game. You are getting it from somebody who actually is under surveillance. And they are trying to get their shit shorter.

CP: So, you dropped selling crack because it was too dangerous?

Tanya: Yes. I just didn't like how the game went with that. Plus they are giving out outrageous time sentences.

CP: Do you think the police still care about busting pot dealers?

Tanya: It seems like they're after pretty much everything still. I don't want you to take this the wrong way, but from what I've noticed in the law system, your color and how you look determines your sentence. If you're some scraggly motherfucker with gold in your mouth and hair not combed, and you got pockets full of shit, you are going away.

CP: You spent some time living in the suburbs when you were younger, after being arrested for driving a stolen car. Tell me about that.

Tanya: When I was 18, I had done the crime. I was scared off the shit. They let me go in 24 hours because I had never been in trouble with the law before. Well, they did that and I dipped. I left. Immediately, I didn't have no money or nothing.

CP: So you wound up living with friends in Maplewood?

Tanya: I had homies I never would have dreamed I would have even talked to. These preppie kids who had parents who made good money and they would be gone from 8:00 in the morning until 11:00 at night. We would have big parties, drink up all of Dad's liquor. It would be one of these lovely houses with two and three refrigerators. One was just everything you could think of off the pop market, all filled up with nothing but juices. I didn't know there were people who lived like that. Two cabinets just dedicated to cereal. I'm like, This is crazy. They are like, Don't you have that kind of stuff in your house? And I'd be like, No, I live in a house with a bunch of potheads.

CP: How's it different, selling in the city and the suburbs?

Tanya: They still have the same kind of green, but everything is on the scale. Everything is taxed, outrageously. Like, if you spend 20 bucks out there, you're probably getting a dime and a jay or two. You spend 20 bucks in the 'hood, you are going to get like eight jays.

CP: Why is that, competition?

Tanya: It's not even competition. It's like two different worlds. The hood messes with the hood and the 'burbs mess with the 'burbs. No one ever crosses. Like you see in the movies, those suburbanite white boys that go to the hood to get their stuff? Oh, fuck no, that shit don't really happen. At least not in Minnesota.

CP: Have you come across BC bud, the really powerful pot from British Columbia?

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