Wednesday, January 16, 2013

All Money Ain't Good Money - Episode 10

Damon never wanted this life for Lamar. Watching him with a gun in hand, just saving his live, pisses him off. Deep down, he feels he failed. Both him and Elyssa, his mother.

“What's this lil mu'fucka doing? Tryin' ta prove his manhood by killin' his fam?” Duval laughs at them while shakingly standing up. Wilda is holding a nub that was her hand. She's too in shock and pain to do anything else.

Elyssa walks over to Lamar, taking the gun from his young hands. “It didn't have to come to this, Duval.”

“Didn't it?” Duval finally stands up, holding his shoulder and leaning against the wall. Battered and bruised, he still has fight left in him. “You came back without finishing the job. I'd say that's a breach of contract, miss.” Duval looks at a confused Damon. “Judging by my nephew, you didn't tell him he was the final payment."

Elyssa points the gun at Duval, who turns away. “My son missed, I won't. I told you, we're even. I did work for nine years for your ass, that's more than enough.”

“Nephew”, Duval says, still looking away. “Your boo here was supposed to kill you as final payment. All transgressions and debts paid in full. She'd get a clean slate.” Duval spits a bloody wad on the floor, then glares at Damon. “You just up and left my organization. You found out you were gonna be a daddy and you left to take care of this damn trick.” He looks at Elyssa, and like the jackal he is drops a bomb. “ I was fucking her at the same time you were. Oh yeah, she had to start paying for that loan somehow. Funny, how that lil nigga in front of you was born from your so-called dick. Ever get a paternity test?”

Damon says nothing. He looks at Elyssa, who's face is stone and glaring at Damon. Lamar's face says it all. Betrayal, shock, sadness. He pulls away from Elyssa and goes to Damon. For years, he's had some idea this could be true, that Lamar may not be his. Right now, he doesn't care. He just wants to get his son away safe and from the shit this town brings.

“You haven't said anything I haven't thought of before, Uncle. I'm leaving with my fam. Leave us the fuck alone. Come after us, I'm killing you and everyone you care for.” Damon pulls Lamar with him, then pulls Elyssa by the arm to come with him. She felt him hesitate, and she can't blame him. Too much truth has been said tonight, and if he left her behind, she wouldn't blame him. On the way out, Damon sees the bag of money that Duval told him to take earlier, and sees another bag of money next to it. A gray duffel bag.

Elyssa tries to hold Lamar's hand. At first, he hesitates, then takes it. Damon grabs the duffel bag and they're out the door. 

Finally some goddamn peace, thinks Duval. He stands up fully and feels his ribs move, and that's all right with him. It's been a long time since someone took a fight to him, and he still wants more. Especially when he hears his newly remodeled 1972 Gran Torino start up in his garage and peel out. Aches and pain prevent Duval from running to the door. It's more like a painful trot. He kicks Wilda out of his way, cussing and screaming the whole way. All he can do is watch his prized car haul ass down the driveway, then the road. He can't help but laugh.

“This round's yours, nephew.” Duval laughs despite the pain to his ribs. “Truth's out now. I still broke your family up, nigga.” Duval laughs loud and painfully. It's worth it. He knows this is his victory.


The ride is quiet as Damon takes Old Route 66 going west . El sits in the passenger seat looking out the window, Lamar is behind the driver seat, staring out the window. Damon's head throbs at the evening's events. So much happened in so little time. He keeps checking the rearview mirror to see if anyone is following. Nothing. Just the elks migrating on the roadsides, forcing him to drive the limit.

“I'm sorry.” El breaks the silence. “Yes, you were final payment. You were supposed to be my clear slate. Even though I sold all those drugs...”, she hesitates saying the next part as she glances back at Lamar, who's looking at her. “I killed people who he put hits on in his funky little grab at power. I did lots of things so he'd back off you and Lamar.” El tries to hold Damon's free hand, but doesn't hold back. Instead, he grabs the gun in the seat between them.

“He's mine, I know this”, Damon finally responds. El tenses, knowing it would come to this. “You knew the truth the whole time. Even if he's not mine, I love him and won't see him get hurt any more.” He looks at Lamar in the rearview mirror and grins at him. His little man, who he sacrificed so much for, and would slap the devil to protect him, smiles back. “You put us all at risk and you knew it. You couldn't come clean from the beginning and look at us now.” Damon's voice is still even, but they can hear the anger building.

“You agreed to this! Don't you even try to put all this shit on me”, she replies. “You take care of Lamar while I go repay the debt I owed Duval. When you called me to watch Lamar tonight, I did it to see him again. I love him and you. I'm the one who broke my deal! I never intended to follow through!” El looks at the gun in his hand. “My plan was to get Duval after I came home. Plain and simple. I didn't care what happened to me, as long as his ass was got. So...”, she taps the gun, “if you're mad, I can't blame you. Just make it quick.” She turns and looks out the window, not saying another word.

Damon quickly pulls over to the side of the road, avoiding the elk. He stares out the window then looks over at Elyssa, who's looking at him. His hand trembles with anger. He loves her, always has, and right now, he's not sure what to do. To kill her, or not to. Kiss her or sock her. Kick her out the car and make her walk, or just keep driving to see what happens.


Lamar's calming voice settles his dad down. “What son?”

“No more, please.”

Lamar reaches and puts a small hand on his dad's big shoulder. Damon stares at Elyssa, who's staring at Lamar. Damon puts the car in park...and yells. Lamar jumps back and covers his ears in fright, Elyssa looks at Damon and tears rolls down her cheeks. He punches the steering wheel for a few seconds, letting his anger out.

Then silence. Scary, motionless silence. 

Damon turns off the car and takes the keys from the ignition, steps out the car and goes to the trunk, popping it open. El and Lamar both turn and look at the opened trunk while Damon fusses back there for a minute. He closes the trunk, bringing something back with him; a large bag that he puts on the driver seat.

“Some things don't change”, El comments. She opens the bag and grabs 2 waters, handing one to Lamar. “Survival bag”, she tell her son. “Duval believes in having these in all his cars just in case he has to make a run for in. They have water, several changes of clothes, and snacks.” She pulls out a bag of beef jerky for him, and he starts to devour it.

Damon grabs a bottled water, pulls off his shirt and slowly pours the water on himself, rubbing the blood and grime off him. He air dries for a few minutes, breathes deep of the cool night air, then puts on a clean shirt from the bag.

Elyssa rolls down the window to breathe some fresh air, herself. As she looks up, a shooting star burns across the sky. She smiles and closes her eyes. At this point, she feels they have nothing else to lose. 

I wish we could go somewhere and start completely new. Go somewhere that's foreign to us, no one knows us, couldn't care about us. Just me and the boys. 

She looks at Damon, still standing outside, and knowing it's gonna take a long time to get things right with him again. She looks at Lamar, who's tearing up the jerky and his water. He looks up and smiles at her. She smiles back.

Damon hurries back in the car, starting the engine and peeling out.

“What's wrong? Someone coming?” she looks out the back window, but sees no headlights.

“We're going somewhere far away”, he replies with a devilish grin. “No one'll know us, definitely won't care about us. We'll blend right in, and it'll just be us.”

Elyssa looks back outside, winking at the now gone shooting star. A few miles down the road he pulls into a gas station to refuel, for them to use the bathroom, whatever needs to be done for the long drive ahead.

     Portland, Oregan 
     3 months later 

Rainy days never bothered Elyssa. After combing the southern states for Duval for years doing business, she's used to it. She prefers this over the snow, which by her guesstimate, that's what it's doing in Grande now. Her boys have gotten used to it already, especially Damon, since it was his idea to come here. Plus the coffee shops aren't bad, but she still prefers Starbucks, which is in walking distance from their house.

Their house. It still sounds weird her thinking it. But with three million dollars in drug money, you can buy anything cheap in Oregon. And with the right connections, new identities and lives. She called in several contacts from the old days, contacts she was still cool with. She paid them handsomely for new lives and they delivered. Lamar is back in school, her and Damon made investments that they live on.

Life is finally good for them. Life is safe. She could never do this back in Grande—sitting outside a coffee shop under a canopy, sipping on a straight black while enjoying the scenery. She puts her coffee down, and a pair of lips meets hers from behind. She knows the fullness, the somewhat forceful kiss of her man, and she's happy. He stops and sits next to her.

“You didn't have to stop.”

“Gotta save some sugar for later.” Damon looks around and smiles. “And ya gotta love the scenery. All of it.” He winks at her. Elyssa feels like a schoolgirl again on her first crush, topped with love. She takes his hand in hers and kisses it.

“Bet I can make you love something more.”

“Doubt it. Can't nothing make me love my babies more.”

She smiles and moves to stand in front of him. She grabs his hand again and places it on her stomach, rubbing it for him. Damon stares for a bit, mouth wide open.

“Well, say something”, Elyssa giggles.

Damon looks up at her, smiles, and says something that Elyssa can't believe she heard at first. Now it's her turn to stand still with her mouth open.

“Well, say something”, he laughs and stands up.

“I...I'm sorry. Repeat that again? You just asked me something that I've been waiting to hear since we met.”   

He rubs her belly while looking in her eyes. “”

“Yes” is her quick reply and she kisses him fiercely. Passerbys look and laugh, knowing what was just asked. They've seen it before. Some whistle, some congratulate.

Damon and Elyssa? They just keep kissing.

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