What is the quickest way you've seen a friend fuck up their life?

My childhood best friend, Chris.

I remember when we were teens, we grew up in a relatively isolated area of a bad city (it was a cul-de-sac and off the beaten path), this afforded us the ability to be sheltered while surrounded by crackheads, drug dealers, prostitutes and a general public which was quick to violence.

However, being kids, we were curious monsters who wanted to explore the world and all it's wonders- so inevitably we encountered the odd gang.

The older kids in the "street" wanted to make their own gang, of which we were smaller members, I was a year older than Chris but known for having a weaker stomach so Chris was better received, all Chris wanted to do was to play Runescape but I can't deny that he liked the attention.

Years pass, I'm more outside the group than Chris by a mile, but we hang out still- he has a surprising clarity when he speaks to me turning from "hardened street gangster" talk to rather eloquent and coherent speech, we talked a lot about things that bothered him, about his feelings that he couldn't share with his new friends. It was only these moments that reminded me that he was still a person and not a husk of a teenager.

Then, one day, while we're talking and fishing along the canal, a bunch of thugs came up to us with the older kids, the gang leaders from our street all bloodied up- they instructed Chris that the steets gang was now part of their gang and there would be an initation, since they didn't believe that I was not in their little clique I was forced along too, I remember being quite scared, but I run fast and I was used to getting the snot kicked out of me. Killings were rare and I was subservient enough for it to be a bigger problem to be chased by police than the pride or angry release of killing me. So, calm for me. Chris was worried, as were the other boys and I could feel that.

Anyway, back to the "initiation", what they did was steal a white van from a local high rise parking lot.. (this one) and drive around the area, it was getting kinda late, it was the middle of summer and the sun set around 9pm, but by the time they'd stolen the van and everyone was ready to go hunting the sun was setting. They'd also decided that they liked my fishing gear and were playing games with the maggots.. including forcing the older boys to eat some of them.. they never vomited though so, there's that.

So, we stole a van, great! initiation over?!.. no, now we have to kidnap someone, so, the van rolled around the area until they found someone worthy, Chris, me and one of the older boys was in the back with 2 of the other gang, the leader of the other gang was driving and had another gang member on the other side near the passanger door, and the leader of our streets gang was in the middle of them (divided from the driver by the gearstick), after a while they pulled up and the three people in the front seats got out, we heard a muffle and a scream as if someone was being gagged and hit. "Fokin' bitch" was shouted and then the back opened, and a tall blonde woman was pushed inside. I still remember the smell of her perfume quite clearly my heart was racing (it's racing a lot now actually remembering this, my hands are trembling), her head was covered by the leader of the other gangs shirt, her hair was in a ponytail, you could see it poking up and the hair was long enough to exit the bottom of the shirt. She wasn't moving.. the leader grabbed a roll of duct tape from a bag which had some tools in it, I think it was a plumbers van, or a mechanic (it was clean inside though), he then ensured that she would be unable to move her hands, and sealed the make-shift hood by strapping it underneath her jaw around her neck.. it stuck to her hair too and I remember thinking that it would hurt to remove. The smell in the van was pretty bad, I guess everyone was pretty scared. It smelled like P.E./gym class.

I remember people asking what do we do with her, that she hadn't seen anyone's face, suggestions of locations, "we can't go back to Samuel Vale" (the apartment complex linked above)

I feel the haze I felt then now, this sort of shift from reality, like there is a fog in front of you and your body is numb. The smells, the sights, everything was so abstract.

My beacon in those moments was Chris, I felt nothing, but Chris was shitting himself, I took his lead as how I should act. I didn't feel much of anything, I was terrified, even that might be too light a word. The leader of the Streets gang knew a place where we could stash the van but it was another apartment block. There was never anybody on the ground floor since it was a bad area. I dont' remember the name of the complex, I never want to go back there it's here if you really need to see it.

We stashed the van, carried her to the lobby which was unlocked, pushed top floor on the elevator... cue the longest elevator ride in history, with a bunch of sweaty teenagers and a guy who must have been pushing 25.. we get to the top, climb a set of stairs to a locked door which is kicked open (after the 6-7th attempt) and everyone panting and wheezing on the top of a windy roof in the middle of Coventry. I look at Chris when I hear the woman wake up.. she must have been gagged because it was all muffled.

The other gang leader, unphased, declared "right then, on with the show" as he cut open her jeans with his stanley knife which must have been used slighty on the street leaders face.

I declared for the upteenth time that I was not with the street gang, I was never with the street gang.. as a new wave of clarity hit me, this was really happening, this woman was about to be forcibly violently raped and not only was I there the whole time, I was a witness, I was "complicit" and I was going to be forced to do the same.

Gang leader went first, street leader followed, until each of the older lads had finished their task. Finishing inside, no condom of course.. then they turned to me, squeamishly Chris took my turn.

I watched my best friend, my childhood friend forcibly rape a woman on the roof of a high rise in the middle of my City. I could see my house from there.

They decided they didn't need me to do anything "but if you ever talk, we'll do the same to you and your family". The leader pulled out his stanley blade again and said "damaged good, good to nobody" and removed his shirt from her head while stating "and you wont be taking this with you n'either" I heard the woman crying, I had blocked it out before but I heard it now, I saw her face.. she saw mine, a flash of recognition.. she knew me, I knew her.. she looked around gasping with disbelief until she saw Chris..


His eyes widened, his draw dropped.. the woman was crying harder than before.. much harder, still muffled.

The street gang leader lived next door to Chris and stated rather heartlessly.. "Oh yeah, that's Chris' mom". The other gang leader said "Whoa, that's heavy man, did he know? that's fucking cold!" while laughing. it wasn't funny. Chris took a swing at the street gang leader, it didn't work, everyone grabbed him and threw him against the raised edge of the roof. his eyes were filled with tears and his face filled with an unbent sadness.

He climbed over the wall, we heard nothing for a moment then a crunching smack. followed by a "oh my gohhhhhhd" I ran the fuck away as there was nobody near me. Down the stairs, fuck the elevator.. tripped a few times, busted my nose.. kept running 32 floors, nobody chasing me but I wasn't sticking around to find out if they would.

Ran passed Chris.. what was Chris.. it wasn't like in movies, he wasn't mush and he definitely wasn't fine, it looked like his head was in a hole in the pavement, half above ground, half not.. surprisingly little blood. But then, I only glanced.. I ran home.. ran.. sprinted.. the whole way, locked myself in my room and didn't come out for a week.

Found out later that they had sliced the throat of the mother, his father and brothers and sister are doing fine, the details weren't in the news.

I saw the gang members around a few times after that, they would sort of bully me. I guess they knew that if I talked it would be over for them, people don't talk in Coventry but the skittish ones sometimes do. They managed to successfully convince me that I would be just as culpable. So, they got away with it. And my friend died, after doing the most horrible thing in his life.

Also, I know Immortal Technique rapped about something similar to this, unfortunately it happened before he released that song and I was a fan of his at the time. I can't listen to that song.

/r/AskReddit Thread