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Ready To Live

So people did see blood on you?

They started telling me, "Your head! Your head is bleeding." But I thought it was just a pistol-whip. Then the ambulance came, and the police. First cop I looked up to see was the cop that took the stand against me in the rape charge. He had a half smile on his face, and he could see them looking at my balls. He said, "What's up, Tupac? How's it hanging?"

When I got to Bellevue Hospital, the doctor was going, "Oh my God!" I was, like, "What? What?" And I was hearing him tell other doctors, "Look at this. This is gunpowder right here." He was talking about my head: "This is the entry wound. This is the exit wound." And when he did that, I could actually feel the holes. I said, "Oh my God. I could feel that." It was the spots that I was blacking out on. And that's when I said, "Oh shit. They shot me in my head." They said, "You don't know how lucky you are. You got shot five times." It was, like, weird. I did not want to believe it. I could only remember that first shot, then everything went blank.

At any point did you think you were going to die?

No. I swear to God. Not to sound creepy or nothing-I felt God cared for me from the first time the niggas pulled the gun out. The only thing that hurt me was that Stretch and them all fell to the floor. The bullets didn't hurt. Nothing hurt until I was recovering. I couldn't walk, I couldn't get up, and my hand was f*cked up. I was looking on the news and it was lying about me.

Tell me about some of the coverage that bothered you.

The No. 1 thing that bothered me was that dude that wrote that shit that said I pretended to do it. That I had set it up, it was an act. When I read that, I just started crying like a baby, like a bitch. I could not believe it. It just tore me apart. And then the news was trying to say I had a gun and I had weed on me. Instead of saying I was a victim, they were making it like I did it.

What about all the jokes saying you had lost one of your testicles?

That didn't really bother me, because I was, like, Shit, I'm going to get the last laugh. Because I've got bigger nuts than all these niggas. My doctors are, like, "You can have babies." They told me that the first night, after I got exploratory surgery: "Nothing's wrong. It went through the skin and out the skin." Same thing with my head. Through my skin and out the skin.


Have you had a lot of pain since then?

Yes, I have headaches. I wake up screaming. I've been having nightmares, thinking they're still shooting me. All I see is niggas pulling guns, and I hear the dude saying, "Shoot that motherf*cker!" Then I'll wake up sweaty as hell and I'll be, like, Damn, I have a headache. The psychiatrist at Bellevue said that's post-traumatic stress.

Why did you leave Bellevue Hospital?

I left Bellevue the next night. They were helping me, but I felt like a science project. They kept coming in, looking at my dick and shit, and this was not a cool position to be in. I knew my life was in danger. The Fruit of Islam was there, but they didn't have guns. I knew what type of niggas I was dealing with.

So I left Bellevue and went to Metropolitan. They gave me a phone and said, "You're safe here. Nobody knows you're here." But the phone would ring and someone would say, "You ain't dead yet?" I was, like, Damn! Those motherf*ckers don't have no mercy. So I checked myself out, and my family took me to a safe spot, somebody who really cared about me in New York City.

Why did you go to court the morning after you were shot?

They came to the bed and said, "Pac, you don't need to go to court." I was, like, no. I felt like if the jury didn't see me, they would think I'm doing a show or some shit. Because they were sequestered and didn't know I got shot. So I knew I had to show up no matter what. I swear to God, the farthest thing from my mind was sympathy. All I could think of was, Stand up and fight for your life like you fight for your life in this hospital.

I sat there in a wheelchair, and the judge was not looking me in my eyes. He never looked me in my eyes the whole trial. So the jury came in, and the way everybody was acting, it was like a regular everyday thing. And I was feeling so miracle-ish that I'm living. And then I start feeling they're going to do what they're going to do. Then I felt numb; I said, I've got to get out of here.

When I left, the cameras were all rushing me and bumping into my leg and shit. I was, like, "You motherf*ckers are like vultures." That made me see just the nastiest in the hearts of men. That's why I was looking like that in the chair when they were wheeling me away. I was trying to promise myself to keep my head up for all my people there. But when I saw all that, it made me put my head down; it just took my spirit.

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