Sunday, September 16, 2012

All Money Ain't Good Money-Episode 6

Driving a bad ass metal beast in the form of a 2012 Mustang is always my idea of a good time. I've always admired power and finesse.

Doing a money run for Duval at 2-something A.M. on I-17 South going to Phoenix? It's a job that can kiss my entire ass. I'd rather be home with my kid than doing this shit right now.

My conscious feels better having sent Elyssa to check on my babyboy. Knowing him, he searched through my room looking for shit. I just hope he didn't find anything he wasn't supposed to. Look who his parents are; he's too damn smart for his own good. I'll worry about it later.

The radar's been quiet. It shouldn't worry me, but it does. It doesn't help that he sent one of his bitches to tag along. No, I don't like the cunt. Jackie and I have never seen eye to eye on shit. We came in at the same time long ago, but I left. She thought she'd rise up in rank after I left, and for sticking around after Jones did some time. Not the case.

Jackie stayed loyal, though. 

She kept things running on the outside, keeping his boys in check, still making that bank for him. Dumb bitch. Knowing her the way I do, she kept a little sumpin' sumpin' in case she needed to make an exit, stage right. That much she was smart about. How does he repay her for years of loyalty?

She has to be my bitch for the night, no goddamn questions about it, and no questioning me. I love it like homemade brownies.

Jackie's quiet, no doubt fuming about the order, but hot damn does she look good. She keeps herself in fighting shape, thanks to her kickboxing. She traded in her usual jeans and baby tee for black stretch pants, heeled boots, and a Baby Phat leather vest for this occasion.

“Stop eyeing me like a piece of cake.” She turns to glare at me: “Still can't believe he put you in charge of this caper. You're the ass who left, not me! The fuck am I gettin' punished for?” She rolls her window down to let in the warm night air. “And that shit-for-smelling body spray you have on? New brand, baby.”

Jackie's crybaby self-pity bullshit makes me laugh. “Never figured yo ass for a whiner. Bad as you act? I'm actually disappointed. Hell, you act more mannish than most men I know.”

“Fuck you! What the hell do you know, ya damn mutt! It's fuckin' insulting being shotgun on this ride.” She reaches into a vest pocket and pulls out a fat joint. She lights up and takes a big inhale that gets me high just watching her hit it. “It's yo ass that should be riding shotgun, not me” repeating herself through exhales. Yup, gonna be a long ride.

It's quiet while she finishes her joint. I know she's right, that's why I have the hush mouth. Jackie should be the one running this, not me. Don't need the hostility from her or others in Duval's crew. I just wanted to get in, make some cash, get out and get out this fucking state and start over with my mijo. I knew in the back of my mind that Duval would get used to me doing work for him again and would try keeping me in. Fuckface. I don't know if I mean him or me.


Several Impalas are waiting for us when we hit the Metro Center Mall at 3:30. I pull up and reverse to one of the cars, our trunks a few feet away from each other. The cars are surrounded by some of Duval's boys. Jackie jumps out the car and briefly shoots the shit with them. Good to see she's still an attention whore, and these fucks give her plenty. I pop the trunk from the inside and step out. 

“Nigga you almost hit me!” shouts one of his boys standing too close to the trunks.
“Not my fault your dumbass is standing close to the back.” That gets them all riled up, except for Jackie, who plays “good cop”. She stands between us, raising her arms and kicking in the sexy before they get closer.

“Fellas, he has issues. Little bit of the Dumbassification Syndrome. He's harmless.”

“I know who this nigga is.” A blast from the past emerges from the back. Bitch ass Lorenzo. He's older, still blacker than night, but doesn't have shit for sense. He was already a player for Duval, until me and my brother played the game better than him. Duval sent his ass down here to Phoenix to “wise up”. Looks like it didn't help.

“Yeah nigga, you leave then come back for the cash. No loyalty, no honor. That's why you left in the first place. You couldn't hang, bitch.”

I don't say shit. I grab the money bag, toss it at Lorenzo's feet, close the trunk. “You say I'm the bitch who couldn't hang, yet who's the trick still grounded to the valley. Who's the bitch?” I point to his monkey ass, and all he does is mean mug. His boys clown his ass with ohs and ahhs. Jackie walks towards me, glaring and talks in a low voice. 

“Enough! I'm still on the crew, I don't need you making shit worse for me. Let's go.” I'd argue, but I've been wanting to leave after hitting the city limits. First smart thing she's said all night.

Lorenzo's crew is silent as we get ready to leave, all of them listening to some kind of whisper coming from that fuck-up. All are glaring, none are happy. Don't know what the fuck he said, but they give Jackie the same look. First time I've seen her get nervous. She motions for me to drive, and we peel out of the parking lot, taking the exit to I-17 north.

           20 minutes later
Drive faster, goddamit!”

“Shoot more and stop shouting!”

Jackie fires her gun at the Impalas tailing us. Bullet holes make our once beautiful cars

Lorenzo and his crew followed us out of town. They waited until we got past Anthem to start their shit. Duval won't be too happy, but I don't think these fools care too much. They rammed our car from behind, trying to send us off the road, hoping to make us easy targets.

Jackie's quick to react, leaning out the passenger window and blasting with her gun, hitting the driver. The car skidded to the side, and the other four cars continued. I try to keep the car steady so she has easy shots, but her aim is off. She's emptying clips without hitting anything and wasting bullets.

Hit'em already! I'm doing my part, help keep us the fuck alive!”

The fuck you think I'm doing? I'm shooting at them to stay back!”

A hail of bullets shatter the back windshield. Jackie ducks down, I do my best to duck while driving, and something explodes behind me. I try to look in the rearview mirror, and see on the cars swerving all over the road. It hits one side of the railing, bounces off and hit the other side.

Behind Lorenzo's crew are three cars shooting at them. Duval must've had some of his boys follow us up. I'm not complaining. It's just past Cordes Junction where the last car is bumped off the road into a ditch. Duval's crew park behind the downed car, and I skid to a halt, pulling over to the side and reversing until I reach the action.

Fuck this, we need to get back to Grande!” Jackie looks back and forth between me and the crew. “Your uncle's gonna be pissed when he hears about all this bullshit! The fuck we stopping for?”

I dig in my jacket and switch my gun's empty clip for a fresh one. “Nigga's gonna give me answers, is what the fuck I'm stopping for.” I jump out the driver's seat and head to the last two people I'd expect to have my back: Miller and Shawn. Last motherfuckas I'd expect to see here.

Miller and Shawn are standing over that bitch Lorenzo, who's in bad of shape as his car. Shaun's right foot is standing on something that looks like his leg, but it's too mangled and bloody for me to see.

Miller's gun is pointed at Lorenzo's head. He nods at me and Jackie as we approach.

“What's good, old nigga? Figured you'd need some help when my boy Shawn heard you'd be dealing with this trick nigga.”

Y'all are the fuckin' tricks, ya punk bitches! All you motherfuckas lap doggin' behind your fucked up uncle!” He spits a wad of blood on Jackie's boots and laughs. She steps back in surprise, then stomps him a good one on his face. Shawn laughs and pulls her away, kicking and cussing.

I pump a round in his leg. Bastard doesn't have the decency to scream or cuss in pain. He just grabs his leg and laughs at me.

The money he's been sending us? Shit, we started are own empire down here. All us 'fuck ups', the ones who went to jail behind his dumbass and remained loyal? We've had it. Fuck him and all you backwood ass country niggas. We have our own distributors, everything!” He laughs some more, looking at us and flipping us off.

He glares at me, the hate filling his eyes. To me, he's still a bitch.

Gonna get you the best, ya fucken mutt! Gonna get you right at home! We've been watchin' yo ass for a while. Watched you come and go from your house. That boy of yours?” My stomach drops as he starts laughing again. “ 'M taking a page from the beaner familias, puta. Your son oughta be dead soon and his ho of a momma!” Lorenzo flips me off as he coughs up more blood.

I pounce on his half dead ass. I go wild on his face until the flames from the wrecked cars make his blood glow. Not my son, I've come too goddamn far to have this shit happen. Miller grabs me and pulls me off him, only to hand me his gun. I empty the clip in his body.

Grabbing my phone from my pocket, I speed-dial Elyssa, hoping to all hell she answers and her and our son are safe. Yup, another secret I've hidden from Lamar. I swear if we get out of this, he'll know the truth about everything.

Elyssa picks up on the fifth ring.

“What's up, D?”

“Get Lamar and get out the goddamn house! Duval's boys think we pulled a fast one. We've been set up. Get out the house now!”

“Plan A, just like you said. We'll meet you there!”

Hanging up the phone, I look at the surrounding area. Cars on fire, dead bodies, and Miller waiting for me to make some kind of command.

“Get back to Shawn and Jackie and drive far away from here and hide out. Get the money out of the trunk of that car”--I point to a car that's flipped on it's side, trunk smashed open--”and put it in my car. I got plans for that cash.”

Miller heads to Lorenzo's car, then pauses to look at me. “You know he's had beef with you. That's all he'd talk about since you came back. Just some way to get back atcha”. He goes to Lorenzo's car, grabs the cash and puts it in my ride.

Who else is involved?”

Miller nods in the direction of Jackie, who's still making a fuss about her goddamn boots. I walk to her and clock her on the nose, dropping her hard. Shawn's eyes bug out and looks like he's about to say something in protest, but my gun to his face makes him change his mind. I turn my attention back to Jackie.

Bitch, you knew this was a setup the whole time. Back in Phoenix, you said something to Lorenzo to set his ass off. The fuck did you say?”

Jackie sits up, holding onto her nose and fighting the tears. She mumbles something I can't hear too clearly. I pop a round off between her legs, making her jump.

I said you were a fucken snitch. That's a death sentence for anyone.”

So you added fuel to the fire and endangered my kid. Stand up, and get in the car.”

Jackie stands up and flips me off. “I'm ain't going NO fuckin'--”

I punch her in the face and she drops. She yelps like dog as a grab a handful of her hair and bring her face to face with me. “Bitch, if my son is dead, you better hope I kill you quick instead of what I have planned for you.”

I stand Jackie up by her hair and push her towards the car. I turn to Miller and Shawn.

Help your folks and get ghost. Start new lives, do better than this. Make it right for yourself.” They nod at me, and despite how we treated each other, we shake and give hugs.

Save your fam, Old Nigga” Miller tells me.

I get in my car and peel out. Jackie is still holding her nose and face. I bet she's wishing she never fucked me over. I ease off the gas and keep it just over the speed limit. Highway patrols are bound to be on the road now and looking for suspects. I think of Elyssa and Lamar and hope they're alive and okay.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

All Money Ain't Good Money-Episode 5

Lamar hears his dad leave in the middle of the night again. He waits a few minutes until he knows Damon isn't going to run back in the the house because he forgot something. When he know it's clear, Lamar grabs his flashlight and goes to his dad's room.
Lamar's on a mission tonight. He knows his dad is hiding something from him. A new game. Maybe new clothes. Something.

He starts searching through his closet, between clothes and on the bottom shelf. Nothing. He drags a chair by the door to the closet so he can search up top. He finds an open lockbox and searches. 

All that's in there are the birth certificates and bills and rent receipts. He puts the contents back, and as he's getting off the chair, he notices his dad's bottom drawer is slightly open.
Lamar goes to the drawer and begins searching. 

The first thing he finds is his dad's 9mm. Even Lamar knows better than to touch it. More searching, and Lamar finds several stacks of money. His eyes bug out; he's never seen that much money before. On one of the stacks he sees a note: “Very soon.”

“If you're gonna be nosy, you gotta get a dimmer flashlight, babyboy.”

He freezes. The woman's voice is soft with a hint of humor. Lamar turns to look at the black silhouette of the woman standing in the doorway. 

“I saw the flashlight through the curtain as I came up. Thought you had some unexpected company inside, so I snuck in through the back door with the spare key.” Lamar sees something in her hand by her side; a 9mm like his dad's.

“C'mon, close things up and back to bed.” He does as he's asked. 

“Who are you?”

“Your babysitter.”

“My babysitter.”

“Problem?” Same 'do what the hell I say right now' attitude just like his dad. He knows better than to mess with her, if she's his dad's friend.

Lamar shines the flashlight on her gun. She takes the hint and puts it behind the small of her back. He walks past her to his room, not looking up. When he gets to his room, he flicks the light on and turns to look at her.

She's his dad's type; dark-skinned and Mexican, long black hair pulled into a ponytail with several loose strands draping her face, and a beautiful face with full lips. But it's her eyes that catch him. Hazel, hawk-like eyes that show she's not to be fucked with. And something else. Her eyes look familiar.

“What's your name?” Lamar thrusts an open hand to her.

“Me llama Elyssa” she says smiling, shaking his hand. “Proper just like your papa, I like that.” She can't help but smile. Elyssa puts an arm around him. “C'mon mijo, time for bed.”
He climbs back to bed, feeling safe and relaxed with Elyssa there. She pulls his covers up and kisses his forehead. Just like a mother.



“Is my dad okay?” Lamar hesitates asking, but why would he get a babysitter this time of night? If he has a new job, that's cool. But to have a babysitter with a gun watching him?

“He's fine, babyboy.” Elyssa sits on Lamar's bed, gently rubbing his hair. “Your dad is trying out a new job tonight, a delivery job.” Lamar looks at her unconvincingly. She sees the look, and quickly smiles. “He'll be alright, and he'll definitely be home tonight.”

“How did you meet him?”

“You trying to avoid sleep, papa?”

“No, just wanna know how you know my dad.”

“You scared of me?”

“A little.” Lamar buries his face under his blanket a little. “But I also feel I can trust you.”

Elyssa smiles, taking off her jacket, tossing it on the floor and lays on her side facing Lamar. “I've known your dad for a long time, before you were born. Back when we were both wild and bouncing together.”

“Bouncing?” Lamar gives her a queer look.

“We were bouncers at a club,” laughing more at his look. So much like his dad. “He was working at the club already when I got hired on. I've always liked hanging with the boys, so I figured get a job with the boys while going to school, and where I could kick some nalgas.” Lamar laughs at that. “Not many people in this city have seen a girl be a bouncer, but many learned the hard way when it came to messing up in the club. Damon gave me a chance where others wouldn't. We had each others back hardcore back at that club, given this is a college town and those putos or putas never fought alone. We became know as the Dynamic Duo.”

Neither realized they were holding hands while she told her story. The more she talked, the more he felt at ease, and the more she felt...familiar.

Did you and dad date each other?”

We have a bond, mijo. I love your dad very much. He's always been good to me, and I'd do anything for him.” It's then she realizes that her and Lamar are holding hands, and she fights back the tears. “Including you.”

But you don't know me.”

I know enough. I've been around since you were born. My job took me other places, and couldn't see you grow up the way I wanted to.” Lamar sees her get sad. He holds her hand tight and smiles at her.

Things happen, right? Maybe you had to go away so you could find us again. Dad said if you love something, you have to let it go. And if it comes back, you know it's yours.”

Damon says that, huh?”


He got that from me.” Lamar smiles and doesn't let go of her hand. “I had to teach your dad to be gentle, when so many people used to treat him like crap back then and take advantage of him for being a good person. So I hope you know that no matter what happens in life, mijo, your daddy loves you. I--”

I wish I had a mom who'd love me the same,” Lamar cuts her off from nowhere, surprising her. “It's always been us, aside from my ex-stepmom. I thought she cared. She said we'd always be friends. She hasn't called me once.” Lamar's tears flow. A beast twists in Elyssa's soul seeing him cry.

You did nothing wrong, you hear me?” Elyssa's voice gets a slight edge to it. “Someone weak can't be with someone strong, and you and your dad aren't weak. Not by a long shot. It takes a real man to do what he's done. Taking care of a child is hard work, and he's done right by you. You did nothing wrong.” Elyssa wipes his tears and kisses his forehead. “She's missing out. Her loss. Understand?”

Lamar nods yes. “Still hurts, though.”

I know, mijo. Growing up sucks at times.”

Tell me about it.” Lamar hesitates asking her something and Elyssa sees it. She smiles at him, letting him know it's okay to ask. “Will you sleep in here tonight?”

Elyssa supresses a Joker grin, instead she kisses his forehead. “Gonna go make sure the house is locked up, okay? I'll be right back.”

Okay. Hurry, though.”

Elyssa's emotions run overboard as she gets up and moves around the house checking windows and turning off lights. After checking the front room door to make sure it's locked, she turns and sees a picture of Damon and Lamar on the wall, both a few years younger and smiling.

Elyssa runs her finger over the picture, dust collecting on the tip. Still not much of a cleaner, baby. She laughs to herself at that thought as past memories flood in; of a man who treated her right and protected her; their first kiss and love making together; her mess-up of asking Duval for a loan for school, and the means of paying it off to him for exchange of keeping it quiet from Damon and guilt behind it; the happiness she felt when they found out she was pregnant and the promise of the family she always wanted; the betrayal she felt from Duval when he told Damon that she's his employee for the next few years because of the loan, and the loyalty and boundless love that grew for Damon when he said he'd always be there for her, but had to make a life for Lamar, which she understood; the image in her head when she kissed and held Lamar one last time before leaving to honor her debt to Duval, and how much she absolutely hated herself for the next nine years for leaving them behind.

Elyssa didn't realize she was crying until she blinked her eyes and mascara blurred her vision. She goes to the bathroom to wash her face, hating the reflection looking back at her as she dries her face.

She goes to Lamar's room, pulls her cellphone from her jacket to see if there's any messages, then lays back down next to Lamar...who finally goes to sleep. She cuddles him and kisses his forehead.

Never again, mijo, her thoughts as she drifts to sleep. I'm back and not going anywhere. I love you and your dad too much. My family, my responsibility now.

           40 minutes later
Elyssa is having dreams of a wedding in the woods when her cellphone wakes her from her sleep and to a dark room. It's Damon.

“What's up, D?”

“Get Lamar and get out the goddamn house! Duval's boys think we pulled a fast one. We've been set up. Get out the house now!”

“Plan A, just like you said. We'll meet you there!” Hanging up the phone, she reaches for her gun lying behind her and places it in the holster to her belt behind her back. She quietly—yet quickly—puts her shoes and jacket on. Elyssa leans in towards Lamar, shaking him gently while talking in his ear.

“Wake up, babyboy. We gotta go meet your dad.”

Lamar stirs quickly and sits up. He rubs the sleep from his eyes. “Why so late? Is he okay?”

“Not so loud. You gotta talk low or whisper.” She reaches for his cross trainers and hoodie and helps him put them on. Standing up but still crouching, they make their way through the dark hall like thieves. She carefully looks around the corner where the kitchen meets a back door, and through that door, the laundry room and the main exit door. She notices the window in the laundry room is cracked open, and she hopes no one is outside waiting.

Elyssa pulls out her gun, looking at the window and back door for a bit longer. Nothing, all is quiet. Lamar's grip tightens. Elyssa looks back and smiles at him. That's right, girl. Let him know you're both gonna make it through this shit. A final look at the back door and she pulls Lamar along, keeping quiet and low.

They pause in the laundry room, her instincts telling her to look behind them. Lamar confirms those instincts; there's an outline of a human shadow outside the window. Elyssa feels her son shaking. She looks at him, eyes bugged out and mouth drawn tight. She motions for him to back up, but he doesn't move; he's too scared. Elyssa turns and puts her forehead to his, giving him a reassuring smile, which Lamar returns. She slowly backs them out of the laundry room and into the kitchen, hugging the wall on their way out.

Elysa almost drops her gun when she hears the front door knob jiggle.

Then the back door knob.

She carefully pushes Lamar into a corner and covers him. Elyssa has to force her hand from Lamar's grip, but grabs onto her arm. I'm sorry, baby. This isn't the reunion I planned. Elyssa screams and cusses at herself in her head as she reaches toward the bottom of her right pant leg, slowing taking the dagger out is sheath. She looks at the dagger that Damon gave her long ago, and the lesson behind it:

If I teach you how to use a knife, it's for keeps. It's more real that a gun. You pull a knife out, you mean to take someone's life, or to protect your own. A knife is personal. It means you're ready to kill for you family or someone you love. You still want me to show you what's up?


She holsters her gun and turns to Lamar, talking low. “I'm getting us out of here. I promised I'd do anything for you, and it's time. Curl up in a ball and stay still. Close your eyes and cover your ears. You're not watching this.”

“I don't want you to go! Please, stay with me!” Lamar deathgrips her arm, not letting go. “Don't leave me like Wilda did!” Elyssa fights tears and hugs her son. She hears the back door knob being jimmied. The beast twists in her soul again, and she's ready to fight, to kill for her family.

“Stop it.” Elyssa forces him back, glaring into his eyes. Lamar knows she's beyond serious and listens. “Eyes closed, ears covered. Time to be tough, that's it. We're getting out of here, but you're listening to me.” She hugs Lamar as he pulls back, curls into a ball, covering his ears and closing eyes.

Duval's boy enters the jimmied door, gun in hand, looking around. He spots something on the floor ahead of him, squinting hard to make out what it is. He walks forward, gun with silencer in hand and aiming at the object. He walks through the threshold, failing to see the other object on the ground next to his gunhand.

Elyssa kills him in 7 seconds.

She's poetry in motion, grabbing the gun and squeezing the hammer with her right hand, driving the dagger through his chin, his mouth, his skull with the other hand as she rises from the floor; rushes the invader to the wall while twisting the gun to his chest while gliding to the trigger and shooting once; removing the dagger from his throat and stabbing him in the side of his chest; before falling to the ground, Elyssa pumps two shots in his throat. Lamar jumps as the invader hits the ground, banging his arm into the wall hard.

The front door busts open, the door knob clattering on the floor and someone stands in the doorway. Elyssa aims the gun at the sound as a shadowed figure appears at the door and aims a shotgun at her.

There's a whisper in the air.

A shot rings out.

Then all is quiet...