The Façade 4
“Ay Joel I’m in baggage claim Esse, where are you?”
Joel weaved through traffic as if it were a sport pushing Marco’s fresh off the lot Audi 3 while eyeing his Movado watch and the road. He could still see the triple black Crown Vic in the rear view that seem to be following him all morning, so he sped up.
“I’m a be pulling up in a second Bro.”
“All right, I’ll be in section 2D, hurry up Holmes.”
Marco trudged through the busy everyday hustle and bustle of the infamous LAX airport out into the inviting eight four degree weather of Los Angeles. Nothing beat home, especially after spending two frigid nights in the US crime capital of Chicago. Marco welcomed the heat as he sparked up a cigarette inside the smokers’ booth. He took strong pulls from his nicotine stick trying to drown out an insufferable migraine trying to surface. The throbbing worked its way up to Marco’s left eye vibrating the two black tear drops tattooed in the corner, intimidating those passing by. That didn’t hinder him from watching his surroundings. Marco never stayed out in the open in unguarded territory. It came as no surprise to him that he was a marked man; it went hand and hand with getting money. Before the paranoia could set in Joel pulled up along the curb. Marco flicked his cancer stick in the street and briskly wheeled his bag to the trunk. After putting the contents inside, he trailed his vehicle inspecting for any nick, dings, or scratches. Joel let down the tinted window, his thin goatee outlining his smile.
“What the fuck are you doing Bro?”
Marco threw up one finger pausing his right hand. Joel’s round face disappeared behind the 5% as he let the window back up. After Marco was satisfied with his partner’s last forty eight hours of driving he hopped inside his sporty navy blue coupe ready to ride. The two cronies slapped hands before Marco turned down the blaring lyrics of Pitbull. Marco felt safe behind the contours of his whip as he melted into the firm hand stitched waffle cone interior. Joel hated riding in silence, but judging from his guy’s expression he could tell something was brewing so he left the radio alone. Marco’s gloomy mood only further implied exactly what the Familia’s journey to Chicago entailed. Joel quizzed Marco in hopes to find out what really took place, and furthermore discover why he was ordered to stay behind.
“So I take it that yall didn’t get him?”
Marco made a disgruntle groan. The last thing he wanted to discuss was Yarnell Combs or his streak of good luck. He rationalized that luck had to be the only explanation for the oxygen
still pumping through his enemy’s lungs. Marco couldn’t fathom how else Yay could have slipped through his greasy palms yet again. His heavy conscious wouldn’t allow him to make eye contact as he spoke.
“Someone tipped him off…had too. We trailed that pinche cabron to his place, then he just vanished.”
Joel didn’t try to make sense of his homeboys’ obvious shortcomings. Yarnell Combs was big fish and Joel was glad to be left behind for a change. His size nine felt good on his feet thinking of the large shoe’s Marco was expected to fill, he wanted no parts. “So…..have you talked to Bennicio?”
A wind of frustration escaped Marco’s lungs as he pondered on conversing with Bennicio in the midst of all the lingering tension in the air. They hadn’t spoken since the Gamboa boss had confiscated all of Marco’s lucrative property. Marco understood from over a decade of mentoring from Bennicio that he was big on money, image, and family. If he took you in there were certain laws that were to be abided by, those who didn’t comply were dealt with accordingly. An outsider bringing harm to your doorstep and living to tell the story was admissible in Bennicio’s book. Yarnell was in compliance for his disrespect to Familia and Marco as a business partner. The situation needed to be resolved in a manner that didn’t threaten the structure and appeal of Marco as Bennicio’s heir. But thus far he had proven to be incompetent which caused Mr. Gamboa to pull away from his protégé and godson.
Marco’s outlook on the situation was totally different than what he could have called and confirmed with a man that had been like a father to him for over twelve years. His interest didn’t lie in what was better for him and his organization. He had crossed the line of business into personal territory, letting his emotions dictate his judgment. Every night Marco struggled with sleep in fear of when he closed his eyes he would see his cousin Clone’s mangled face. The pictures Detective * showed him had haunted his dreams ever since. His only comfort came from envisioning Yarnell’s features decorated and dismembered in the same fashion. Marco refrained from speaking his thoughts, opening and closing his legs at a rapid speed. Joel realized how zoned out his homie was, the car suddenly warmer.
“Ay Marco you alright Esse?”
Marco bit his bottom lip still in deep thought. “I’m cool, just thinking about how to get back out here in the field.”
“Yeah Holmes, how long you think we gon survive like this?”
It was at that moment that Marco realized what he would have to do. Yay had managed to kill his cousin and his relationship with Bennicio with a single bullet. His stubbornness and pride wouldn’t allow him go and grovel to the Gamboa Alliance for handouts. Marco wanted the whole industry to recognize him and his foot soldiers would eat regardless. He felt the game needed him just as much as he needed it. And since his untimely departure the streets of Long Beach stretching all the way to Compton were lost without him. With no quality product the avenues were rotting in crime. Workers were doing whatever it took to make a buck whether it was home evasions or robbing the competition. Fiends had to steal and kill to get their hands on more money to feed their insatiable habit on weak crack that required more usage. Hypes went from copping two times a day to five. Bennicio’s coke was always referred to as the triple P…pure, profitable, and plentiful. So Marco intended to end the rash of insanity filling his stomping grounds…without his mentor.
“Joel…get all the vatos together. I’m having a sit down tomorrow.”
“Just name the time and place and I’ll hav’em there.”
Marco put fire to his blunt, his mind racing at the possible outcome of his next move. Joel broke his concentration with thoughts of his own.
“Ay Bro…tell me we gon talk about getting back out there after this sit down. All the brothers believe its best you get back in connection with Bennicio.”
Marco blew rings of smoke into his reflection wondering what else the brothers had been discussing during his absence. “So you’re telling me some motherfucker thinks they can head this organization better than I can?” The stone cold glare on his face made his displeasure known.
Joel threw his partner an assertive grin unsure what Marco was drawing from his statement. “That’s not what was said. Bottom line is you got a long list of names who tryna make numbers and we can’t do that without Bennicio. It’s no secret that he’s not fucking with you so whatever the fuck you two got circulating dead that shit Holmes.”
“I’m going to get us a different connect Cuz.”
Joel eyes briefly drifted from the stand still traffic. He didn’t think things could get any worse, but Marco had just confirmed that it could. Joel puffed on the Granddaddy Kush till he started coughing. “What the fuck are you think Bro?”
Marco had a slight smirk, Joel was always Mr. Cool and never blew his smooth. But had water been in his mouth it would have been splashed all over the windshield. He knew Joel read betrayal and suicide in his statement. So Marco had to clear the air despite all the OG, as traffic slowly started to disperse.
“It’s not like that; Bennicio will understand exactly what I’m doing. Everything I know I learned from him.”
“Marco pulled the plug on this one Holmes, nothing good will become of it. Bennicio needs you right now. He can never have too much money, especially not with that fat pig Rossi doubling up on him.”
Marco’s nostril’s flared causing him to turn the Reggaeton back up on blast. It wasn’t as if his headache was going anywhere soon. His flesh heated against the snug leather, underneath the hugging fabric of his denim pants. Digesting thoughts of how quick the game could flip, Marco didn’t sympathize with his mentor. Gabriel Rossi was the most instrumental key to the Gamboa Alliance. His duties contributed to Bennicio’s organization evading law enforcement and the new generation of uncouth dealers, Rossi was also the highest paid corrupt DEA agent on the entire West Coast. For the past four years the Gamboa Alliance had managed to maintain Rossi’s unlawful services for a taxation of two hundred thousand dollars a month, which was nothing to a boss. But with time came age and with age came caution. Marco continued to listen as Joel explained were the treachery began. He entailed how Gabriel saw the risk of what he was doing and the red flags had begun to rise. And with two college tuitions and a graduation fee looming over his balding head the DEA pig sought out for more paper. Joel continued to ramble on about how Bennicio had no choice but to submit to another agreement with the dirty copper. It did nothing to deter Marco’s decision as he hushed his friend.
“If I know Bennicio he’s taking care of that problem.”
Joel carelessly switched lanes cruising up the now open lanes trying to wrap his mind around Marco’s nonchalance. So he couldn’t help but press which was something he rarely did. As second in command Joel made it a seldom occasion to interrogate his homeboy, but there was a time for everything. “Ay Marco I know what you sayin…but Bennicio will never go for it.”
Marco hated to be questioned stemming from a piece of his ego that grew with his bank account. His glassy red eyes scoured over at his compadre and Joel threw his hands up in surrender, but it was too late. Marco began to vent…loudly. “I’m not asking for anybody’s fucking permission okay! Nothing gets in the way of my money, not Bennicio, not that puto Yarnell, or these fucking cops. Make sure everyone comes to the sit down Holmes. An absent is an automatic violation. Let that be known!”
Joel witness the thick green veins outlining Marco’s redden skin. Feeling the atmosphere getting heated with Marco’s chastising tone, Joel chauffeured in silence for the remainder of their forty five minute drive. When the two pulled up to one of Marco’s many town homes the friends spoke briefly before Joel disappeared inside his own classic Cadillac powder blue 86 Deville. Marco retreated to his back door headed straight for the bedroom he shared with his fiancée Ava expecting a much needed massage and blow job. But when he pushed the master bed’s door open, analyzing the venomous dip in his woman’s thinly arched brow his shoulders slouched. Ava stood tapping her yellow toes, her dark sexy curls and cute dimpled cheeks concealed behind a wall of attitude. Marco dropped his bag, then his light wash Levi’s.
“We missed you Mami.”
“Usted ignorante bastrdo desconsiderado que me pones enfermo!”
Ava stomped off in a rage snatching her prenatal pills and ice water off the tall dresser. Marco pulled up his jeans to go after his girl when he stopped dead in his tracks. He paid further attention to the appearance of their bedroom realizing it was just about as naked as he was. All the drawers were wide open an empty, the same applied to his custom built nine by ten walk in closet. Even the television, entertainment system, and Ava’s vanity were gone.
“AVA!” Marco dashed down the carpeted stairs, his short legs moving off pure impulse. But instead of being greeted by his pregnant wife to be he was met by a bunch of boxes and Ralph Lauren suitcases piled to the ceiling inside his living room. “Ava…Ava! Why the fuck is all my shit boxed up huh?”
Ava appeared out of the bathroom yelling in her heavy Hispanic accent courtesy of fifteen years across the border. “Both of our things are packed! We have to leave here!”
“What the fuck are you talking about?”
“Please Papi let’s just go-.”
Marco gazed around the room in amazement. He knew even without Ava being almost six months pregnant she wouldn’t have been able to pack their entire home in two days. Anger took over and Marco found himself leaping across the room, seconds from high fiving her beautiful face.
“Who the fuck did you have in our home?”
Ava blasted off in Spanish fear taking over as Marco held on to her collar as if she were a toddler. She continued to yell about the men only being movers, but Marco still wouldn’t let up having no regards for the tears dripping from her pale face. He released his baby’s mama and she fell to the soft cushion of a recliner.
“Baby I love you, but I can’t take this anymore. All the guns, drugs, and drama I don’t want it Papi. I just want to go home, we have to leave here!”
Marco’s disinterest showed as Ava continued in fury.
“All you talk about is money this, kill that…dinero, cocaina, dinero, cocaina! If it’s not that it’s the Yarnell guy. Yarnell is gonna die. That’s all you care about. Your business! I will not bring a child into these states and have to worry every single day will someone try to kill him. I won’t do that to myself. And what about you eh? You just got out of jail Papi, what will happen to us if you go back?”
Ava waited for Marco to say something but he never did. “I don’t know what I’m going to do. You don’t even care I don’t know why I waste my breath!”
She stormed away, the sight of her man at the moment too repulsive to remain in his presence any longer. Marco glared back at Ava watching her walk away, agape by her sudden inquiry toward the strength of their relationship. He wasn’t mentally prepared to go for a spin on her hormonal coaster. With a ton of things on his brain, leaving hadn’t crossed his thoughts one time. Nor had the affect of what he did outside the house could disturb what he had going on inside. The stress associated with the hit trip from Chicago had finally found its target. Marco’s voice bellowed ricocheting off the eggshell colored walls striking his woman’s ears at thunderous volumes.
“Ava get your ass back here! I’m not running to no fucking Tijuana every time your fucking sisters spit bullshit in your ears and you’re not either! I’m sick of this shit. One day you’re crying about money then the next it’s how I make my money, now we need to leave.”
Marco had finally reached her and more boxes still raving and ranting. “Fuck that! Go upstairs and rest. I don’t want to hear any more of that bull, you hear me? And take this shit with you!”
He threw a handful of clothes behind Ava as she sauntered away in woes. As soon as he heard what he assumed was the bedroom door slam, the doorbell chimed a welcoming melody. Marco two stepped toward the foyer, his ratchet and trigger finger ready for whatever stood on the opposite side of the wood. He looked through the peephole, but the person’s head was turned hiding their face. The bell rang again and Marco heart slowed.
“Who is it?”
“Its Felix fool, open the door.”
Marco let down his guard as he took a step back and opened his home inviting his loyal left hand inside. The two walked to the living room and Felix fell onto a cream chair like a huge stain dressed in a black V neck and Levi’s jeans. He kicked back propping his boats in another chair.
“Ay dude are you retarded, get your fucking shoes down eh. Show some respect.”
Felix fanned Marco off ravaging a fresh pear out of the silver center piece. But that was the dynamic of their partnership, agree to disagree. Whenever they were around each other there was an argument somewhere in the making. Although their disputes never escalated into anything physical Marco found himself always having to remind his ally who was in charge. But regardless of the circumstances both men knew who had their back. Felix tossed his fruit then broke off into a conversation about the trip.
“Shit…you should have sent me to take him out Cuz. It’s not like I was doing shit else.”
Marco starred into Felix bushy brows and sun kissed tint knowing exactly where their exchange was headed. “Yeah…did uh Joel tell you about the mandatory sit down tomorrow? I’m going to address the situation with the connect. In a week’s time business will be operating as usual. Till then everybody needs to be cool.”
Felix nodded patting the sweat starting to gather on his forehead. “So what’s next for your little friend in Chicago?”
The annoyance in Marco’s scowl drifted into his speech. He didn’t like the way Felix seemed to be forcing the issue after he’d informed him twice that Yarnell was no longer up for discussion.
“There’s no need for you to worry about that, I have it under control. First thing I need to do is talk to Bennicio and get my fronts back.”
Felix chomped down on another pear managing to speak with his mouth full. “You know Marco…I was thinking…maybe it’s time somebody else deal with ole Benny. Maybe I should pay him a visit on behalf of Familia…you know. Gain us a little respect or something.”
Marco didn’t know any positive way to look at Felix’s disrespectful comment. Every pattern he drew up read threat and disregard and he couldn’t help but fly off the hinges. “Ay Chico it’s not your place to deal with Bennicio. You show up at his home uninvited and you may as well put a bullet in your own fucking head!”
Marco had two fingers indented in Felix’s temple for emphasis. He knocked them down unpleased with his family’s combative tone.
“Look Bro, all I’m saying is if he won’t talk to you and you too stubborn to call him-.”
“Ay Holmes baja el tono de hombre maldito. Have some respect. I said I will handle this. I don’t want you talking with the Gamboa’s, understood?”
Felix let what Marco said drift through one ear out the other, not one to be dictated too. “Alright Loc, I hear you.”
Both men flinched at the roaming vibrations of a loud crash above their heads. The noisy smash was followed by a slew of profanities from Ava’s mouth that flowed as if she were rapping them. Marco was about two babosos and one son of a bitch before he shot up the stairs like a thief in the night ready to put an end to Ava’s cry for attention. Felix scoffed while making his exit back to the safety of his ashy gray Tundra.
Felix Sanchez popped a piece of gum in his mouth and chewed it for one minute before spitting it out the window. With his gun on his hip, he got out of his truck making baby tracks toward Bennicio’s vacation home. Felix expected the massive estate to be gated or at least flooded with guards and sharp shooters, but it was neither. The quiet neighborhood emanated something off the cover of Architectural Digest, with smooth streets identical to football turf. Nerves on edge, Felix knocked on the colossal mahogany wood door then took a step back. He peeped over at the gold plated fountain situated in the center of the well kept lawn with grass he bet cost as much as the landscaping surrounding it. Inside the obscured glass in the middle of the door he could make out the long slender legs of a woman. The entry became slightly ajar, then Felix was greeted by an intoxicating fragrance and a devilish grin. The beauty opened her red lips but he couldn’t hear her for taking a journey through the beau’s jaw dropping magnificence. Her face reminded him of an exotic car, something he could never get tired of looking at. Her long lashes were attached to a pair of different color eyes, one brown the other green. Frame the epitome of femininity, with a set of coconuts breast that pressed against the silk fabric of her garments.
“Hola Mami, my name is Felix. I’m here to see Bennicio.”
“Is he expecting you?”
The woman looked behind the door, a Goliath of a man whispered into her ear. She turned back toward Felix then invited him inside the mansion without saying another word. He glanced around the breath taking vestibule. It was obvious Bennicio was deeply into Latino Pride. The walls décor was lined with the Mexican flag and a slew of deadly Hispanic men like, Ismael Garcia, El Chapo Guzman, and of course the one and only Pablo Escobar. The woman with the gorgeous set of legs snatched apart two stained glass sliding doors and Felix came face to face with eight of Bennicio’s security guards, all screw faced with assault rifles.
Forcefully the house’s head security Paco instructed a husky Mexican gangster to recover any weapons on him. A nervous Felix placed his hands up as the intimidating chulo snatched the baby dessert he had on his hip and tossed it on the black card table. Another stocky guy took the clip out of it.
“State your business.”
Felix looked Paco dead in his beady eyes, a deep shade of brown and black.
“I need to speak with Mr. Gamboa, he knows me. I’ve done business with him through Marco and the Familia.”
“The Gamboa Alliance is no longer an associate of Familia, Marco-.”
“I am no longer affiliated with the Familia either.”
All the men in the room had their eyes fixed sternly on their intruder. Nothing was stopping them from pumping Felix full of hot slugs, but yet and still he stood amongst them breathing. Paco radioed Oscar, Bennicio’s general and he chirped his approval to Felix’s great relief. In a matter of seconds he was being escorted through the layers of the house out the back door. Three men marched, hands glued to their assault rifles through a dark grassy passage leading Felix to what could possibly be his death. The thought made him contemplate what he was doing, making his feet stutter step. Felix could see the lights of Bennicio’s guest house flickering from every window. Marco’s words did the salsa on top of his brain with every tread closer he took with Bennicio’s men. With a slight push and a few more paces Felix stood before the man of the hour. Bennicio emptied the room with the snap of a finger. His daunting scowl alone almost bulldozed the little courage Felix had left. Mr. Gamboa’s miraculous six one stature only added insult to injury. The cuts and definition in his arms disguised his forty years of wisdom. He looked Felix up and down then cut right to the chase.
“Who the fuck do you think you are? You show up to my home demanding to speak to me with a weapon on your hip. My time is more valuable than your life. You want to talk to me, you pay. Empty your fucking pockets cabron!”
Felix eyes grew double in size sure that in the distance the mouths of two SK’s were aiming directly for head shots if he refused to comply. He pulled out the fifty six dollars and eight four cent he had on him, his wallet and money clip inside the glove compartment.
“Please Mr. Gamboa, I mean no disrespect. I came here to speak with you on behalf of your godson.”
“I see Marco is still taking the coward’s way out of everything. Never wants to do his own leg work…he’s just like his father.”
“With your blessing Mr. Gamboa I’d like to present you with a lucrative proposition.”
“I don’t conduct business with members of Familia. They’ve portrayed nothing but incompetence and disloyalty to me. It’s a threat to my business…Marco is the only reason Familia breathes.”
Felix knew he didn’t have the words to dissuade Bennicio’s ill feelings, so he took a different approach. “You know…you’re absolutely right. The Familia has flawed over the course of six months. Since coming home, Marco has dispersed what once was. If you go into business it will be with Joel, myself, and Marco, no Familia. We have established a list of clientele that would like to purchase large sums of product. We will no longer dabble with street level dealings; we intend to move weight on a much bigger scale Sir. Marco is willing to give you full ownership of the Billiard just to let bye gone be bye gones.”
Bennicio sat on the edge of his desk absorbing the man standing before him inside his office. A part of him could appreciate the set of balls Felix possessed. But an even larger chunk read inconsistencies. If the game had taught him anything it was to never underestimate the underestimated. Bennicio rose to his feet.
“Take a walk with me Felix.”
Felix strolled along side of the cocky middle aged king pin; his darker complexion illustrated his origins of Latin and Native American. At the end of the hall, lights peeked from underneath a closed entrance. Felix hesitated, his sweaty palms buried deep inside his pockets. Bennicio twisted the knob coercing Felix to go inside first. The room was the exact replica of a Fortune 500 company setting, from the fifteen person table and wheeled office chairs. Oscar Puente stood briefly to greet the man he knew as Marco’s associate and muscle. For a skinny five foot six full blooded Mexican, Felix took notice of his firm handshake. Oscar walked over and whispered into Bennicio’s ear. During that time Felix gave notice to the only other gentlemen in the room. Seated behind a plate of lobster tails, stemmed asparagus, and baked potato sat a man simply known as Sangee. He didn’t acknowledge Felix until Bennicio and Oscar rejoined the table, Mr. Gamboa at the head of course.
“Where are my manners, I am entertaining so Mr. Sanchez I’d like to finish with my guest Sangee before you and I go on.”
Felix nodded that he understood and took a seat. Bennicio recited that it was time to celebrate a joyous occasion. Oscar disappeared from the room to retrieve a bottle of wine upon his boss’ request. Bennicio conjured what looked to be a smile as he glanced between Sangee and Felix. He offered his new guest a plate, but Felix politely declined leaving the empty plate in front of him. Oscar returned with a forty three thousand dollar bottle of Massandra Sherry red wine cradled in his arm like a newborn baby.
“Best on the shelf Bennicio.”
Bennicio reached out for the bottle and corkscrew. He gently placed them both on the table and sat glass flutes next to everyone’s plate. When he made his way back to his throne Bennicio asked that everyone have a seat. Oscar pulled up a chair beside Felix causing him to clear his throat uncomfortably as the leader of the Gamboa Alliance spoke.
“Very few receive the opportunity to say I gave toast and prepared a home cooked meal for them.”
Sangee raised his empty flute tipping the crystal toward its owner gratefully. His mouth too full to speak still enjoying the seafood feast. Bennicio continued with his toast leaving the table to stand behind Sangee.
“You deserve this feast; enjoy the fish before you swim amongst them.”
There was an unnerving silence after as Sangee’s fork drop to his plate. Then without warning Bennicio smashed the luxurious bottle of wine across his gullible recipient’s cerebellum. Felix jumped up in confusion and Oscar grabbed a hold of his shoulder pushing him back down. Sangee was passed out cold, his face lain on top of his food. Bennicio stepped over the broken contents of glass picking up the stainless steel corkscrew. Full of retribution he rammed the instrument through Sangee’s right hand. He immediately regained conscious bellowing out in pain as the spectators cringed in their seats. It was as if his screams triggered something off inside of Bennicio because he began to yell in Sangee’s desperate face.
“I fucking told you over and over again you stupid mi’con! Kill him quickly and quietly then law low, rapida y silenciosa, rapida y silenciosa! You remember now you fucking gringo pendejo?”
Bennicio pulled Sangee back by his short black hair, all he could do was nod. Nausea and vomit burned the pit of his stomach watching the blood spill from his palm through claret filled eyes. Sangee could not move, the corkscrew having him pierced to the table making even the slightest movement of his wrist labor. Bennicio went on, his flaring temper under mild control.
“Rossi is all over the fucking news and paper! You cut off his fucking arms and legs! Stand up!”
Sangee groveled knowing his reach would pull his severed hand from the table if he stood. Slowly he climbed to his feet and Bennicio practically threw the chair from behind him. The agony made Sangee fall to his knees; he could actually feel the muscle separating from the bone.
“Please Mr. Gamboa…I thought you would be pleased.”
“I didn’t pay you to think. I paid you to dispose of Rossi and get the fuck out of dodge, not leave him to be found by the public and be ostracized by the media. That brings heat to my doorstep and I don’t need that shit!”
Bennicio raised a massive leg and kicked Sangee in the back with his Izod loafer. His flesh tore with every move his punisher made.
“Please Mr. Gamboa I’m sorry…please let me fix this for you!”
Felix looked at Sangee with empathy not knowing how much more he could stand. He turned to look away and Oscar’s big ass .45 instructed him to turn back around. Sangee confessed to dismembering agent Gabriel Rossi for his own sick pleasures and to prove a point amongst the GA’s other hired killers. That only added propane to Bennicio’s gas grill.
“And where did you disappear to Sangee?”
Sangee could barely whisper, but he managed to mumble Miami at the same time as a mocking Bennicio.
“And how did you draw attention to yourself in Miami…let me tell you. You’re fucking Philippe Salazar’s sixteen year old daughter!”
Felix was well aware that things could get worse, but his virgin eyes were not ready for what Bennicio had in mind. With his skeletons out of the closet, Sangee brought his chin to his chest somewhat ashamed that he found pleasure in such ungodly acts. Bennicio took out his Swiss Army knife that never left his pocket and maliciously sliced off Sangee’s trigger and middle finger as he squealed. The assassin endlessly howled in misery finally able to dislodge the corkscrew from the table falling completely to the floor. Bennicio had an ominous leer stretched across his face.
He tossed the two fingers on the plate in front of a sickened Felix and he almost jumped out of his goose bumped skin. If this was a test to prove the worth of his manhood, Felix knew he had failed miserably. He leaped to his feet pushing the plate of finger food across the table on to the floor. Oscar pressed his shottie to his debtor’s head sending a type of fear Felix didn’t know existed, jolting through his nerves. He sat back down with an emotionless disposition plastered on his face. Oscar strolled to the other side of the table helping his general sit Sangee back in his chair. Trembling, he held on to his dismantled hand gazing over at Felix who appeared to be just as helpless as him. But Bennicio wasn’t done with his subordinate yet.
“Philippe Salazar is enemy and we don’t lie with the enemy. But you take my money and wine and dine that mascanema’s beitch daughter.
Tears ran down Sangee’s face, in his heart he knew this would be the last he’d ever shed. Blood rushing from the gap in his palm, his only regret that he never got the chance to profess his growing feelings for Penelope Salazar. Oscar snatched a thick cut, wood handle, nineteen inch machete off a mount on the wall. Passing the oversized blade to Bennicio, he twirled the dangerous knife in his open palm.
“Any last words before I slit your throat?”
Felix could feel the sweat making his clothes stick to his moist flesh. He didn’t want to witness someone die right before his eyes. His shaky knee bounce nervously frighten by what was about to take place. Now was do or die decision making time and with only one option rendering a positive outcome, Felix prepared to stand. Oscar laid out a thick blue tarp across the region of the floor where Sangee’s execution would take place, dousing the mat with gasoline. The fumes took over the scent of the room, no longer the delectable aroma of appetizing cuisine. Bennicio motion Sangee to his deathbed instructing him to level on his knees. The cold blooded killer did as he was told feeling the gasoline seep through his pants into his pores. The Gamboa boss put the machete to Sangee’s throat.
“Freeze Bennicio! You’re under arrest, don’t you fucking move!”
Felix had his petite black and gold Bersa aimed for a kill shot at a powerless Bennicio. He tossed his badge on top of the table cover in wine, blood, and lobster.
“Read’em and weep asshole, you and your partner will be spending the rest of your days locked away in a cage for twenty three hours a day!”
Bennicio glanced over at Oscar whose gun already had full man coverage over the undercover cop and began to laugh.
“Are you fucking serious puto?”
Felix held on tighter to his weapon pointing from Bennicio to Oscar. He had been undercover for close to two years and all his hard work had finally begun to pay off. He hated scum like Marco and Bennicio who gave their culture a bad reputation.
“Drop the fucking machete Gamboa it’s over!”
Felix turned to Sangee with a malevolent grimace.
“I don’t know what the fuck you got going on with the Gamboa Alliance, but your time is coming. Get the fuck outta here!”
“He won’t make it pass my security guards.” Bennicio barked cockily.
Sangee took his chances dashing out his death chamber into the darkness of nightfall scrambling amongst the shrubs of the shadowy grassy passage. With him gone Felix’s focus went back to his two perpetrators.
“Oscar put the gun down or I will put a bullet through your boss’ fucking skull!”
When Oscar doesn’t budge Felix cocked the hammer back on his .45, the dreadful sound like music to his ears.
“Oscar I’m only going to ask you one more time. Put the fucking gun down!”
The level of tension was growing by the minute and the environment was beginning to become too much for all parties involved. Bennicio spoke up not wanting to place his life in the hands of a wild card like Oscar.
“Oscar put it down.”
He mugged his affiliate but obeyed Bennicio’s wishes tossing his .45 across the table to Felix. The covert cop places the semi automatic handgun inside the small of his back with ease. He lifted his pants leg exposing his left calf gun holster where he detaches a set of zip tie handcuffs. Walking from around the table, Felix growled out commands ready to let justice prevail.
“Both of you get down on your knees and fold your hands flatly on top of your heads now!”
The two gangsters did as they were told kneeling on top of the gasoline drenched tarp. Felix walked behind both men using his foot to separate their knees. He went to arrest Oscar first sensing him as the more violent offender. Felix locked the plastic around Oscar’s wrist in front of him pulling them as tightly as they would go.
“Ay you fucking (dickhead)-.!”
Oscar spit in Felix face which prove to be a costly mistake. He flipped his pistol striking his nemesis across the nose. Oscar dropped like hanging ash from a cigarette cupping his bloody nose. Then Felix pointed his weapon toward Bennicio to keep him from getting any bright ideas. While Oscar nagged about his broken nose Felix went to vehemently grab Bennicio. He couldn’t help but feel heroic as he went to slap the steel cuffs on the drug lord and murderer.
BOOM! POW POW POW!
Felix dropped instantly as one of Bennicio’s guard came through the door blasting blindsiding him literally, catching him in the eye. Bennicio stood to his feet brushing the dust from his six thousand dollar suit, being sure not to touch the gasoline staining his pants legs from the shin down. He grabbed the broad shoulder of his young gun looking him eerily in the eyes. Bennicio always made sure to have one man stand guard at the back of his premises. So he always figured he had one unknown safety net. He didn’t ponder on what had taken the sharp shooter so long, but he was better late than never. Bennicio planted a masculine kiss on his lookout’s hot cheek.
“César you just made yourself a millionaire muchacho.”
Bennicio was eternally gratefully as he took his night watchman’s .9MM Ruger into his own hands, deciding against the AR-15 strapped to his back. He gawked down at Felix’s spiritless body still spilling blood with a head the size of a basketball. Bennicio positioned the cannon between Felix’s legs and let off three quick shots in his crotch emptying the clip. César looked away while Oscar rolled further away to avoid the bullets. Bennicio handed the murder weapon back to Cesar looming with a calm demeanor over his tense physique. He sauntered over to get the machete off the table but not before kicking Felix’s remains twice.
“Roll him up into the tarp and burn it at the location.”
Cesar shook his head and began fulfilling his duty. Bennicio walked over to help Oscar cutting his zip tie first. The plastic band snapped effortlessly freeing his infuriated counterpart. Oscar rushed to the bathroom to check his damage. He return to see Cesar still doing his best to roll Felix into the canvas properly while Bennicio twirled the fallen officer’s badge in his fingers. Armed with a ferocious glower, Oscar snatched his blood covered .45 off the floor next to the tarpaulin.
Bennicio watched as Cesar hit the floor in a loud thud. Then he jumped up and got in his lieutenant’s face.
“What the fuck are you doing cabron?”
Oscar turned to look at his partner but he didn’t respond. Bennicio pushed his lifelong friend with as much power as he could muscle.
“Oscar what the fuck did you kill him for?”
Oscar stood to his feet.
“So I could do this.”
The first piece of lead caught the Gamboa boss in the throat, the second one struck him in the forehead. When Bennicio concaved, Oscar still was unable to let his arm drop. He had been patiently waiting for the opportunity to rise and after eleven years Oscar relished in the glory of Bennicio’s body hugging the hardwood. When his high started to mellow Oscar began to bounce on his tip toes to get the adrenaline flowing. Squeezing the hairy trigger Oscar let off one final shot. The ammo sent a singe of fire through his shoulder making yelling inevitable. Woozy, Oscar dropped his tool and fell into a chair trying to wrap his mind around the pain of his self inflicted wound. He applied pressure using his hand before he could stand to his feet. The pain had become unreal when Oscar decided to leave the room. He staggered out the front door trailing the dark path on legs unwilling to exceed two miles an hour. The passageway seem as though it would never end, so when Oscar finally made it to the back door of the main house he collapsed. Before he could hit the floor he was met by two of the security guards who helped him to a kitchen chair. They began yelling for their superior and Paco enter the room in a controlled panic.
Oscar struggled with the pain.
“Go to the guest house, it’s a blood bath. Felix was 5-0. He killed Bennicio and Cesar. Then I killed him.”
Paco’s face shifted to a shade of something none of his codefendants had ever seen before. He ordered his henchmen to take care of Felix’s body and take proper care of the other two men of honor. They would be embalmed for the preparation of their funerals, Felix wouldn’t be awarded such lavishness.
“Is there anything else you need Mr. Puente?”
Oscar wanted to get the bullet lodged in his shoulder out, but he was qualm to expressing his level of agony.
“I want Familia dead, all of them…anyone who was affiliated with them….gone. Then bring Marco to me alive.”
All the men in the room went their separate ways to handle their assignments. Only one man was left to stand guard at every entrance of the mansion for the safety of the remaining GA boss. When no one was within ear shot Oscar picked up his phone and began dialing.
“Marco this is Oscar…where are you?”
Marco could hear the sporadic breathing patterns in Oscar’s speech but figured it would be best to answer a question before asking one.
“I’m home, is everything cool? Did Bennicio tell you to call me?”
“Marco…Bennicio put a contract out for you. Felix was 5-0.
Marco gasped in disbelief. Instantly he thought back to how sure Bennicio was that Eriq was a rat. He couldn’t help but be indifferent.
“That’s impossible, I’ve been dealing with Felix for two-.”
“MARCO, fuck that! Pack your shit and get you and Ava the fuck outta the country.”
“But why would-.”
“Marco do you want to die?”
“Then do as I say, there will be no talking…Bennicio is dead.”
With those last words Oscar hung up the phone. Marco sat up in the bed in a dumb founded stupor. Then he hopped up waking Ava in the process.
“Ava get up and get dressed Mami, we’re leaving.”
Marco was loading his pistol when Ava turned on a lamp. Just by the look on her man’s face she began to panic.
“Ava I don’t have time to explain, get dressed. You wanted to go so now we’re leaving.”
In a nano second Ava was dressed, hand and hand with Marco. They departed in her red Mercedes C class ready to put the border control in their review mirror.
Ten Hours Later
Sangee slow dragged through the long hallway doing a horrible job of walking in a straight line, his injured hand held close to his chest as he struggled to find his apartment keys. The painkillers were beginning to wear off and it was time for his bandage to be changed. Sangee stood in front of his door and just placed his dampened forehead against the frame. He was glad to have finally made it. Sticking the key into the knob he twisted the handle opening the door cautiously. When he pushed the entrance foward he was elated to see his home empty as his stomach. He closed the door and wrapped the corner to the bathroom starring into the exhausted features of his olive face, one side bruised and cut. Without further a due, he pulled open his medicine cabinet and popped two thirty milligrams of Oxycodine and gently changed his bandage. Sangee wet an oversized face towel and reopened his bathroom door headed for his bedroom, sleep his silent escape. He placed the heated towel over his bludgeoned eyes and blistered lip using only his memory to lead the way. Once his foot pierced the threshold his legs seem to fold from underneath him. Ambushed, Sangee felt as two pair of hands grappled his throat and legs in one fluent motion carrying him across the room. His rag hit the floor when he was tossed into a beige recliner. He was at a loss for words starring down the barrel of a pearl handle Dessert Eagle. Sangee gaped into the menacing pupils belonging to three men of Hispanic descent before one spoke, his voice more coercing than his stature.
“Where is Penelope Salazar?”
Sangee glared hopelessly at the wet bar paces away from him. He knew today would be the day he met his maker. But he didn’t plan to make his death an easy task.
“Can I have a shot of Tequila?”
The darkest of the three individuals connected a professional left hook throwing Sangee’s jaw. His lips quiver as blood seeps from the corner of his mouth. He spit the red secretion to his right.
“Now can I have shot of Tequila?”
The men chuckle amongst themselves before the leader grabbed a hold of Sangee’s weak hand.
“WHERE IS PENELOPE SALAZAR?”
Sangee realized that Bennicio had sent the men before him to capture and kill their enemy’s daughter. His feelings for her wouldn’t allow her demise to be on his behalf. He breathed heavily eating up the pain.
“I don’t know where she is! Please…you have to believe me.”
Sangee shook like he was standing in twenty below. One of the intruders fixed him a shot of top shelf Tequila with no ice. Sangee reached for his glass and the goon spit inside the cup before passing it over. Sangee sat the drink down on the table refusing the gesture. He and the bartender exchanged mean mugs as the leader spoke.
“So you don’t know where she is?”
“No.” Sangee plainly stated with little emotion, his flesh matching the blood on his mouth.
The goon snapped his fingers and all the men began to fall out in a single file line. Sangee hopped up and locked the door and chain behind them, glad to have dodged another bullet. He made his way back to the bar to pour himself a stiff one. He threw back his AsomBroso in one gulp, his hand instantaneously feeling soothed. Next he went to his bedroom to begin packing more so he could locate Penelope and get the hell out Miami. Sangee tried locating his Android to contact the woman he loved, only to find it dead inside his suitcase. He put the phone on charge and headed for his closet to retrieve his other luggage. Sangee slid the door back and never saw the hollow points coming. He glanced into the eye of a silenced Beretta, his last breath caught in his throat. Then all the pain was gone. The assailant stepped over Sangee’s slumped carcass placing his cellular call.
(“Mr. Salazar she’s not here, but the man is no more.)”
Myesha unraveled her arms from around Joffre’s neck inviting her ex boyfriend inside, forgetting that she wasn’t properly dressed underneath the fibers of her purple cotton robe. She grabbed a Kleenex off the coffee table dabbing the few smudges of mascara staining the rich milk chocolate of her cheek. Unnerved Myesha offered her guest something to drink and eat, Joffre declined with the shake of his head. Gratefully Esh jetted to the comforts of her bedroom locking the door behind herself. So many thoughts escalated through her mind. Mixed emotions made it hard for her to stop pacing the room. When she heard the light taps outside her door Myesha threw on a pair of leggings and a T shirt then returned to the living room. Joffre was standing inside the kitchen at the counter when his ex wifey wrapped the corner.
“Oh boy you scared me!” Myesha held her chest, her heart pounding rapidly. Why are you in the kitchen, you don’t want to sit in the living room?
Again Joffre shook his head no. It was then Myesha acknowledged the cuts and scratches on his lower jaw and neck. She went to gently caress Greedy’s wounds and he grabbed her hand.
“What happened to you?”
Joffre hung his head low. Slowly he began to lift his hoodie over his head; his V neck was next to go until his entire top half was bare. Esh covered her mouth as a lonely tear streamed down her face. Joffre was covered in lacerations across what once was the sexiest set of pecks and abs Myesha’s lips had ever grazed. His right shoulder that was tattooed with the words life and loyalty were erased leaving behind nothing but pink and white flesh. The other shoulder appeared stiff, bandaged from front to back along with Joffre’s lower neck. Directly underneath his Adam’s apple, the white strip of adhesive stretched across Greedy’s entire throat. He ran his hand around the surrounding area looking Myesha directly in her deep brown eyes. His lips moved but she couldn’t hear a word he said. Joffre put his shirt back on and Esh walked him over to the couch avoiding his hurt shoulder.
“Joffre I can’t hear you, you gotta speak up.”
Frustrated Greedy picked up a pen off the end table as he went to sit down and began looking for something to write on. In the center of the glass sat Myesha’s Bible with what looked to be a piece of paper hanging out the top. Joffre slid Shawndrell Ford’s obituary from between the pages.
“No don’t write on that!”
Myesha snatched the last piece of her new love out of his best friend’s hand before it registered what she had done. When she realized her indiscretion Esh flipped the memorial over and slid it out of reach. Joffre frowned feeling slightly hurt and disrespected. He picked up Shawndrell’s obituary meddling through it with a heavy heart. On the ending page was the last picture the befriended brothers had taken together at Greedy’s album release party. The silence was unbearable so Myesha turned on the television. Joffre cut it right back off. He walked over to the kitchen yanking a few sticky notes off the refrigerator. He didn’t look pleased as he slammed them down on the table after laboriously returning to the couch. When he began to scribble on the pad Myesha remained quiet pulling her knees to her full breast sitting Indian style. It wasn’t until Joffre slid the pink note over that she moved. It read, “My shit kind of fucked up right now so this how we gone communicate.” Instead of replying with something the both of them already knew, Esh slid the sticky paper back to him.
“What happened to you?”
Joffre writes, Caught two in the shoulder, one went through the other one grazed me.
“What happened to your neck?”
Greedy pulled another tab off, this time a blue one making it difficult to see what he had written. But Myesha made out, When I hit the ground I fell on a bunch of broken glass and shit. I fucked up a nerve when it went through and paralyze my left chord. I got sixty four stitches inside my neck and thirty nine going across.
Myesha read the post it holding onto her neck as if she could feel his pain. Self conscious Greedy took the note back informing his ex that his condition was only temporary. Myesha breathed a sigh of relief but had no clue as to why. Of course a huge piece of her heart went out to Joffre for what he had physically endured. And she even went as far as admitting to herself that she still loved him. But across from her sat the same arrogant, cheating, liar she tried to give her all. The same man that rapped about his lack of respect for these bitches, but expected her to believe he had the upmost for her. Myesha had to look pass Joffre’s vulnerable appearance to address that man in order to contain her sanity.
“What made you come here Joffre? Of all the places you could of went…why here now? And why is it that after you shit on me for everybody else, when you get shitted on look where you at? Why is that?”
Joffre pulled an orange tab and smiled remembering that it was Esh’s favorite color. In all capital letters he wrote, I missed hearing your voice. Myesha found the sentiment sweet but battled within herself whether or not to crumble the irrelevant sentence.
“That’s not telling me anything Joffre. I don’t think you understand how bad you hurt me. I played the dummy for you to many times to just be Johnny on the spot when you want me to be. Why are you really here? Is it to apologize, or to grieve, or are you here in fear…hiding out from whoever the hell did that to you?”
Myesha’s arms were folded as she glared over at Joffre waiting for him to start writing a response. He stood and left the couch disappearing around the corner of Myesha and her best friend LaBria’s spacious two bedroom. Esh was off the couch following him desperate for answers.
“Tell me something Joffre….or…or I’m gon have to ask you to just go cause I can’t do this shit. Every time-.
Greedy came out of her bedroom carrying a stack of white printing paper. He waved it in her face gradually making his way back to the soft firmness of the loveseat. Feeling a twinge of pain in his arm, Joffre sat the paper in his lap resting his arm against his thigh. His wrist moved from left to right over and over again but before Myesha could speak he was flipping the long sheet of paper over. When Joffre finally gave it to her the searing in his shoulder had staggered from a three to a seven on a scale from one to ten. He pulled out a sandwich bag full of pills and swallowed two without a sip of water. Realizing he had an audience Greedy motioned for Myesha to read what he had written. Her eyes studied the page for a brief moment taking in all his words.
Esh I’m here because I missed you like crazy, I know that’s what you want to hear anyway. I’m sorry I hurt you cuz them wasn’t my intentions, so I do sincerely apologize and I hope you can forgive me for my past foolish ways. I’m here cuz when I got shot the first nigga to cross my mind was you. I thought I would never see you again and real talk that scared the fuck out of me. Now I ain’t gone lie, I do need you to help me get back on my feet but that’s only because I know ain’t nobody gone look out for me the way that you do. So you were right I did have somewhere else to go, but there’s nowhere I’d rather be. And I ain’t hiding from shit. I really and truthfully want to give us another chance. Sitting here looking at you now let me know if I fuck it up with you permanently then I fucked up the best woman that ever came into my life. I swear to you I’m a changed man and ready to do right by you. So what’s good with us?”
Myesha folded the paper and gently tossed it on the table. Her heart understood everything Joffre meant, but her head wouldn’t let the ink dissolve their bitter past. She grabbed a hold of Greedy’s rough hand searching through his brown eyes for his heart before speaking.
“Joffre…I love you and I would never turn my back on you in a time of need. An hour ago I thought you were dead and it hurt me beyond words. But I stop being in love with you a long time ago when I realized you didn’t give a damn about me. When we first started out you asked me not to break your heart but you stomped all over mine doing some fucked up shit. So I don’t know what’s up with us because you took what we had and lost it along the way and I don’t know if we’ll ever be able to find it.”
By the look on Joffre’s face Myesha could tell her words had punched him hard, but she had to continue.
“So most importantly I thought I should be honest with you. Anything you need… a place to crash, a hot meal, a clean pair of drawers, I got you. But me and you, together, in a relationship….let’s just say we’ll work on that. First we have to rebuild the backbone of any relationship which is trust.”
The hardship on Joffre’s features demonstrated his disapproval of Myesha’s words, his high cheek structure outlined in thin sideburns, the only facial appearance indecipherable. Underneath everything she was saying all Greedy heard was rejection and he knew exactly what that meant. He tenderly pressed on each end of his bandages insuring that the stitching in his throat didn’t move. Then Joffre spoke scarcely above a whisper.
“Were you fuckin him?”
Esh was unexpectedly thrown by her ex’s bold and daring accusations. She was well aware of who Joffre was referring to as him. She contemplated on how to attack the claim deciding whether or not it was in her best interest to tell the truth or be honest, a big difference between the two. The truth was yes she had been pushed into the arms of his best friend and business associate Shawndrell Ford, whom she had come to have deep feelings for. Feeling that stimulated from days filled with pleasure and nights capped with pure ecstasy. But with him gone, Joffre could be a wonderful replacement of himself if he could be the man Myesha knew he could. Her blank stare turned into a catastrophic glower as she decided to be candid.
“Him who Joffre? If you asking me about who I think you asking me about you need to keep it one hundred with yourself. You was slipping and other niggas…Shawndrell included seen that you were passing up on a good thing and like any nigga he put his bid in. Now I’m a be honest with you….did I want to fuck him…yes. But did I, no. He was a shoulder to cry on and he listened, he listened for weeks to me complain about you. I’m woman enough to say I was catching feelings. But the fact of the matter is I never entered into the danger zone out of respect for you. And that’s me being honest. If you don’t believe me that’s on you.”
Joffre pulled another piece of printing paper from his stack and jotted down a quick sentence. It read, That’s all I needed to know. He caressed Esh’s thigh easing the friction in the air. His familiar touch still sent shivers up her spine and an even more memorable sensation trembling through her cat. Myesha promptly dismissed the notion watching Greedy press his bandage again.
“Can I trust you?”
Esh had to read Greedy’s lips to make out what he’d said. She found his question odd being that it was something he’d never asked her before. It was always an unspoken truth that they both understood.
“Of course you can trust me Joffre where did that even come from?”
Painfully clearing his throat he writes, I don’t want anyone to know I’m here. Most of the camp got murked so I won’t have any visitors. Me and Drell had a meeting with this out of town nigga and it turned out to be a set up.
Myesha read the note in shock as is if she didn’t already know Yarnell had a hand in killing her lost love Shawndrell. Joffre went on to inform her of the act of vengeance he intended to extract as well. Immediately Esh felt badly for her besty’s nephew Everen, he would subsequently grow up without a father in his life. Seconds later Greedy handed her a laundry list of the things he needed and wanted done asap. The first thing that stood out amongst the list was a request for twenty composition books. Myesha folded the to do list and tucked it inside her purse along with Joffre’s credit card attached to it. Her eyes secretly twinkled at the possibilities of a private shopping spree at Saks 5th in downtown Chicago. Joffre locked eyes with Myesha momentarily melting.
“I’m alive…and I’d like to keep it that way.”
She understood perfectly that time, slipping her flats on prepared to run the errands asked of her. Greedy relaxed on the couch watching Myesha’s ass wiggle in the thin cotton that could barely contain all her cheeks. He closed his eyes when Esh announced she’d be back, then the doorbell rang. Despite his plea of pain Joffre moved with a swiftness reserved for athletes shuffling across the room with his fire at his side. He fanned Myesha back peeking out the curtains of the front window towards the door. Esh whispered could she answer it and Greedy put one finger to his lips, the others wrapped around his ratchet. The bell chimed again causing Myesha to jump. Joffre looked through the peep hole then guided his girl over. Esh tip toed over to the door in agitation.
“Joffre this is crazy, if it was somebody coming to kill us why the hell would they ring the doorbell?”
Myesha shooed Greedy back and pulled the door open and on the other side was her downstairs neighbor giving away neighborhood watch flyers. She walked out into the hall shutting the door behind her and Joffre watched from the window as she pulled off. He leisurely left the living room headed for Myesha’s bedroom. Joffre looked at the freshly made bed then he glided the queen sized mattress onto the floor careful not to disturb his decrepit shoulder. He scoured the outline of the Serta for any punctures of holes. Next Greedy examined every cut and corner of Esh’s bed and bath rooms. Stiff and tired he glided the bed back onto the box spring after twenty minutes of lurking, then retired to sleep. Scratching his head he couldn’t help but think.
Where the fuck is it?
Three long hours had passed when Myesha stumbled into her quiet apartment with a handful of bags. When she didn’t see Joffre perched on the couch where she’d left him, she knew exactly where to find him. Esh pushed open her bedroom door and the thirty two inch screen’s light gave off a dim glow. She couldn’t help but smile gazing over at her ex still snoring the plaster off the wall from underneath the calming baby boy blue paint. Myesha stood in front of her dresser starring into the mirror as she removed her few pieces of jewelry. Her plans were to tidy up, cook, bathe, then go to bed, Esh’s main plans was to steer clear of any more intense contact with Joffre. From the bottom corner of the mirror her plan was foiled when she seen Greedy watching her with a smile.
“I’m sorry I didn’t mean to wake you up. I’m a cook us something to eat and you can chill and sleep in here. I’ll lay in the other room.”
Joffre didn’t press the decision Myesha had made, it would keep things from becoming more complicated than they already were. She returned to the room carrying everything she felt Greedy would need in arm’s reach including the black and white composition books. Joffre picked up the first one on the top of the pile and wrote Greedy’s Raps on it. Myesha slowly backed out of the room leaving her roommate to his own thoughts and rhymes. After cooking baked leg quarters, loaded garlic mashed potatoes, fried corn, and string beans Esh wasn’t up for any conversation. She kissed Joffre on the cheek and wished him a good night. When she closed LaBria’s bedroom door she exhaled, glad to have successfully completed one night. Cogitations of Shawndrell rushed in a whirlwind form start to finish. Another exhale escaped, this one followed by a single tear drop. She missed his smile, his scent, his stroke, his laugh, she just couldn’t shake the memory of him. And she was afraid that having Joffre around would only make her think of him more. Myesha reflected back to Shawndrell’s last words to her.
“After I handle this shit with Rasul and his bitch me and you gon holla at G and nip this shit in the bud. I wanna be with you, so shiitttt it is what it is.”
Myesha recalled the soft kiss Drell planted on her pouty lips before he left to meet Joffre. And that was the last she saw of him until his funeral. Esh could finally understand how LaBria felt when she lost Cinque, her first love, and it hurt in the worst way. She wasn’t one hundred percent sure what happened to her man, but in her head and heart she distinguished that it had something if not all to do with the new era Bonnie and Clyde, Erie and Yarnell. Myesha laid on her back in nothing but a T shirt and black shear panties clinching onto a pillow replaying the episode in her psyche.
“So that’s it?”
Shawndrell didn’t know what else to do to better his affairs with his right hand’s woman, so breaking it off was their only resort. He looked over at her, but thought about his manz.
“That’s it…it is what it is, but I’m a always care for you. True shit.”
“What if I told you that I had some information about Erie and Yarnell that could be…let’s say very useful?”
Myesha shook her head mulling over how she not only betrayed the code of friendship by blabbering about secrets LaBria had entrusted her with to Shawndrell. But she’d also put Erie in danger, something she knew her homegurl would never forgive her for if something bad happened. Esh snarled at the mention of Erie, but she wasn’t worth losing LaBria. She felt bad for not withholding the information Shawndrell had taken to his grave.
“Useful like what Myesha?”
“The Rasul guy you already know is Yarnell, but what you don’t know is his baby mama Erie is the one that put him and his guy Foo aka Jarrod on to you and Joffre’s spot. Now who her source was I don’t know. But you and Joffre were doing business with her first husband Antonio Petigrew Jr.”
Shawndrell snapped his finger like the name rang a bell, but Esh cut him off.
“Baby listen, all I’m saying is you won’t get to Yay without going through Erie because she is two things men like you always tend to misconstrue.
“And what’s that?”
“Calculating and cold as ice. My best friend LaBria that you met at the restaurant is Erie’s younger sister. She’s missing and Erie knows Yarnell is behind it. This is why I couldn’t tell you all this before. I love LaBria like a sister so if she found out I ever told you this I’d lose her friendship and I don’t want that. Erie is trying to get her hands on Yarnell; you tell her you can make that happen you get them both on a silver platter.”
“That’s some deep shit, this nigga kidnapped his bitch’s sista and Shorty gone deal with him on her own. Then you telling me this same bitch had me on her radar and I didn’t even know it. Humph.”
Myesha didn’t like the smidgen of interest Shawndrell was taking in Erie’s conniving character. And she certainly didn’t like the level of respect his tone seemed to bestow. It gave Esh all the more reason to despise Erie.
“Drell that bitch is a cold piece of work, don’t be the next dumb ass nigga to find out the hard way.”
Those where Myesha’s last thoughts as sleep gain control over the battle, forcing her eyelids shut.
Erie sat behind the wheel of Pontiac contemplating her next move parked conspicuously between a champagne Range and mustard colored Toyota FJ Cruiser. She clasped on tightly to Yarnell’s Blackberry reading every single text message he had received from a Shala Reed. Erie could feel the fire in her eyes as she scrolled for a good fifteen seconds of nothing but in boxed messages from this woman to her man. She clicked on the last message which came through over an hour ago, and didn’t come alone. Erie opened the attached photo and threw the expensive gadget in the passenger’s seat.
“Stop playing and come let me put it in ya life.”
Erie couldn’t erase the words from her mental nor the picture of Shala’s legs spread eagle with her fingers parting her black pussy lips exposing her harden clit. Erie was three stages past livid and didn’t want to waste more time than she already had. She pulled down her overhead mirror admiring her long reddish brown curls and the after birth glow that hadn’t left her since her and Yarnell’s son Everen’s birth. It made Erie sick to her stomach to realize she had dolled herself up for a dinner date with the man she loved and had killed to be with, only for him to be in a hotel laying the pipe to some groupie type chick. Erie reapplied a second coat of MAC and toyed with her naturally long eyelashes. She wanted to make a statement when she came face to face with the other woman.
Yep, the baddest bitch in the building.
Erie was getting turnt up bouncing around in her seat thinking about how the confrontation would go down. In her private thoughts she wanted drama being the action junkie she was. Erie pushed her feelings for Yarnell way back to her cerebellum.
Stupid ass nigga…hope this bitch’s face not as ugly as her pussy.
Erie snatched down the door of the glove compartment arming herself with her prized pink.380 her ex boyfriend Jarrod had purchased for her. She took the tiny clip out trying hard to humble her deadly alter ego. But in actuality she already knew who she wanted to catch the first bullet. Reminiscing about the argument she and Yay had back at the Travel Lodge struck a chord. The way he left without so much as kissing their son opened mental doors separating the thin line between her love for Yarnell and the one in her chamber. Pistol in her Louis Vuitton clutch, Erie popped the trunk trading in her cute ALDO steppers for her sky blue Air Max. She yanked the strings tying them tight.
Just in case I gotta beat this bitch ass.
Before she could close the trunk Erie glanced at a blue and white Nike bag jammed near the spare tire. Then like rain on an April afternoon it came to her. She threw the black strap along her shoulder and sassily waltzed inside the Hyatt. Erie took her time checking the scene taking notice to the privy surveillance cameras poorly disguised as decorative light fixtures. She rang the bell on the marble and granite countertop then seconds later was greeted by a tall glass of gorgeous. The desk attendant’s dreadlocks were pulled neatly out of the smooth brown sugar of his face. His sideburns connected around soup coolers as sexy as Neyo’s with a small peach fuzz dangling from his juicy bottom lip. The shirt and tie he wore did nothing for his wide shoulders. Erie imagined what the handsome specimen looked like outside of his work uniform. She seductively licked her lips starring into the clerk’s soft green eyes making what she had to do that much easier.
“Hi how are you?”
“Fine. What can I do for you today?”
Erie took a step back and shook her head flirtatiously. “Fine…I can see that.
The clerk blushed, his perfect teeth making his smile ten times more alluring. Erie put on her best fuck me accent letting her slightly exposed breast rest on the countertop.
“My name is Dorrice Valentine and I’m with a group known as Flirty Girl Fitness. We specialize in helping women become more comfortable with them self while learning the sensual exercise of pole dancing. I was hired by the acquaintances of a Ms. Shala Reed for a training session today.”
“Oh not a problem Ms. Valentine…let me get you an elevator pass.”
Erie grinned as Mr. Attractive sauntered off to get an elevator key and was instantly turned off by his extremely fitted slacks. When he returned he put the small white plastic card stamped with the hotel’s logo in her hand. Erie blew a sigh of relief elated by the ease. She grabbed her clutch and turned to walk away when the desk jockey asked her to hold up. Erie assumed he was coming from around the table to get his mack on. But she would have preferred that as oppose to what Cameron said next.
“Before you take off I have to inform Ms. Reed of your arrival, then upon her approval I can give you her room number and grant you entrance. Just minor hotel policy stuff.”
“Oh I completely understand.”
Erie strolled back to the counter sweating bullets under her unruffled exterior. She busied her panicky hands brushing absolutely nothing from her burgundy and silver Dash party gown. When Cameron put the receiver to his ear, Erie adjusted the gym bag strap on her shoulder prepared to walk away.
“Hello Ms. Reed you have a visitor at the front desk. Is it alright if I send them up?”
Shala was glad to hear that Maverick had arrived so promptly. Without thinking twice she gave the concierge permission to send Erie up.
“Well Ms. Valentine here’s the room number and you enjoy your day. If I can be of any service to you don’t hesitate to let me know Beautiful.”
Erie sarcastically thanked the man who couldn’t hold a candle to the one she had set out to reclaim as her own. She tuned the elevator music out and didn’t blink before she’d reached the eighth floor. The double doors chimed and opened giving Erie access to an empty silent hall. She places her clutch under her armpit and strutted up the multicolored carpet as if it were her own personal runway. Erie’s heart fluttered as she stood in front of room 847. Curling her pointing finger, she tapped at the wood. After thirty seconds without a response she instinctively fiddled with the brass lever and miraculously the door unbolted, cracking wide enough for her to see a painting on the wall. Erie stepped out of the serene tranquility of the corridor over the threshold into the tumultuous racket of Shala’s room. She took cautious steps down the short narrow hall two thousand watt surround sound system. The radio overpowered Erie’s screams for Yarnell. She took a step further into the indigenous space that exceeded an entire section eight studio. Her heart skipped and tripped over a few beats as she spotted her baby’s daddy True Religion shoes, jeans, and drawers sprawled out across the floor lead by a tiny pink shirt.
Erie snatched the stereo’s chord out of the socket tired of being ignored. She wanted her presence to be known and felt, dropping her Nike bag in the middle of the room. Walking around the glass table she pushed the leather chair toward the patio doors out of her way. The beautiful view overlooking Chicago’s Lakefront and the Navy Pier’s Ferris wheel only weakened Yay’s case.
So I’m at home with the baby while this muthafucka trick off with anotha bitch!
Erie thoughts screamed continuing her to yell coming across the only other closed door inside the room roughly jiggling the knob, but found it locked. She beat on the barricade with her opened palm demanding whoever was inside to come out. Shala rose from the edge of the tub closing the bathroom door drowning out Yay’s howls as he sat submerged in a tub full of ice cold water.
Who the fuck is that?
Nervously Shala placed her .25 inside her waistband fingering away beads of sweat along her temple. Forcefully she snatched open the bedroom door coming face to face with Erie.
“Who the fuck are you?”
“No bitch the question is who the fuck are you and why you keep texting my baby daddy?”
Erie snobbishly looked a petite Shala from head to toe unaffected by her pretty features. Her even butterscotch tone and long arched brows made the woman a dime piece in her own right. Wandering Shala’s appearance for flaws, Erie mentally acknowledged her small breast and slight overbite insulted by Yay’s downgrade.
“Bitch…I don’t know who the fuck you suppose to be but you got about half a second to get the fuck out my room before you get yo shit split.”
Erie scoffed at the big bark on such an itty bitty bitch, but she quickly introduced Shala to who she was fucking with. “Naw you got me fucked up, I ain’t the one! So unless you wanna wear a face mask for the next three months you got less than a second to tell your boo thang to get his black ass out here now!”
“Yay where he wanna be, so you-.”
“I would be too if I had a desperate bitch throwing pussy at me all day every day like you been doing. Get a life! I don’t know why I’m even standing here talking to you. YAY!”
Erie tried to go for the bedroom door again blocked by Shala. The door opened but not before the five foot diva pushed her uninvited stranger back. Erie shoved Shala in retaliation sending her flying onto the bedroom floor.
“Hoe is you crazy? Don’t ever put yo fuckin hands on me!”
Shala struggled to her feet reaching for the fire in her pocket, impulsively Erie did the same. Guns aimed, both women starred into the fearless tenacity behind the others pupils. Shala was the first to break gaze empowering an experienced gun toting Erie.
“So what you wanna do…tell me the dick worth dying for?”
Yay could hear the commotion going on outside the bathroom but he wasn’t sure what or who it was causing it. The blistering chill of the water inside the Jacuzzi felt like rocks against the chunk of meat missing in his shin where Shala had shot him with his own gun. Yay’s entire right leg felt limited and his left collar bone oozed blood giving the water a rust colored tint. He didn’t know how much more pain he could fathom.
If I could just make it to the toilet I’d be straight.
Yay stretched his right arm along the outside of the massive tub trying to pull his stocky frame from the trenches. He fought through the surges of fire shooting through his torso with each movement, gritting his teeth until his feet touched solid ground. Once Yarnell felt his toes brush against the Shag rug the rest of his body followed behind him. He slid against the nearest wall under a pole draped with white linen towels. Reaching over his head Yay snatched one down trying the best he could to dry his wet flesh. He drugged himself across the chilly bathroom tiles and the toilet seemed to move further away. Tracks of blood smeared the black surface in crimson streaks forming a trail. Weaken, Yay finally reached the porcelain and grabbed the open seat, his fingers dangling inside the fairly clean bowl. He didn’t dare to move his wounded neck and shoulder as he brought his left knee to a bend using his lack of height to his advantage. Yay maneuvered from the stool to tugging a death grip on the back of where the toilet’s lid and seat meet. His teeth pierced his bottom lip as he motivated himself to stand against his body’s will. Breathlessly Yay panted balancing himself on his good foot leaning against the wall. He lifted the lid off the back of the toilet carelessly letting the ceramic pottery crash to the floor. Then he closed the toilet seat before reaching inside the commode for the zip locked bag placed adjacent to the flushing lever dropping the wet plastic on top of the toilet’s roof.
Anxiously Yay ripped his trusty Lorcin 9MM from the sandwich bag along with the suppressor that got him out of more obstacles than he cared to remember. He silently thanked himself for conveniently placing his tool inside the safe haven the day he’d purchased Shala the room. Winded and wheezing Yay moved from the commode to the sink rummaging through the medicine cabinet and like magic a first aid kit was the only thing inside. He tore open the ace bandages and used his teeth and right hand to tightly wrap his wounded collar bone. Yay didn’t tamper with his shin in fear of the caliber moving before he slithered back to the floor with the large drying towel wrapped around his waist. He could still hear the voices behind the closed door and feared Shala would return any minute. Determined Yay glided himself from one end of the bathroom to the door.
Erie and Shala stood within arm’s length, guns still raised in the middle of the bedroom. Erie’s eyes saw everything in the room despite being fixed on the woman she didn’t know existed until hours ago. Her heart galloped inside her chest underneath the clip that belonged in the gun she held. Erie knew she had to bring things to a close.
“Where is Yay? I know he here…that’s his shirt on that desk chair!”
Shala didn’t flinch as she nervously glanced over at the bathroom door. Erie peeped game and tried to make her way toward the dark wood panel.
“Don’t even think about it bitch. I told you Yay right where he wanna be.”
Erie’s panther eyes continued to scan the room spotting blood splatter on the wall.
Shala smirked. “Your man’s…I shot him twice.”
Erie batted back tears thinking the worst possible outcome. Something wasn’t adding up, this was not how a usual you fuckin my man confrontation went down. She anticipated a little name calling and maybe some boxing, but as she aimed her useless .380 she couldn’t help but wonder. Her heart became heavy as her voice cracked. “You stalking ass bitch…I knew yo thirsty ass-!”
“Shut the fuck up! You the thirsty and desperate one …and for a nigga who obviously ain’t yours. At least my shit was an act! I don’t want that muthafucka. In a few minutes he gon be dead anyway.” Shala continued unable to hold back tears. “He took the love of my life and deprived my kids of their daddy. Mekell was my everything and meant a lot to more people than… It don’t even matter cause when Maverick gets here…its lights out for ya man.”
Erie was speechless, oblivious to who and what Shala was babbling about. She had heard Yay mention the name Maverick but it was only for a brief moment and she couldn’t remember the details. Then the bathroom door crept open behind Shala and the soul mates locked eyes as Yay braced himself in the door frame. His cannon beamed directly at the back of Shala’s dome.
“It crazy how I didn’t even know you had a baby daddy when you was on yo knees with my dick down yo throat.”
Shala stiffened at the bass behind Yay’s raspy voice.
“Toss my shit on the bed before I sleep yo hoe ass!”
She did as she was told snarling at the pompous grin slinked across Erie’s mouth.
“I didn’t tell you to talk bitch…now back up slow and slide me that chair wit my shirt on it.”
Shala wheeled Yay an all black leather office chair, her short legs feeling like putty down to the bone. Steadily Yay positioned himself in the firm seat and Erie read the relief he tried not to present. He scooted across the room to Erie’s side taunting the woman who tried to seduce and kill him. Erie looked on in silence as blood stained the carpet in front of Yay.
“I see you met my baby moms…she always got a nigga back. That’s how real bitches get down.”
Shala let the tears stream down her cheeks like a waterfall. She knew she had failed the love of her life and their children. She dropped to her knees in front of Yay, her hands clasped together. For the first time in her life Erie felt something she didn’t know she could posses for a woman fucking her man, empathy. Yay continued to toy with Shala’s mental before Erie cut him off.
“Shut the fuck up Yay cause none of this shit would’ve happened if yo black ass watched where you stick your dick!”
“Erie now is not the time for-.”
“Now is not the time my ass Yay! Look what the hell you done got us into. And put some fucking clothes on!”
Yay didn’t like the direction Erie was going with their discussion. He couldn’t appear submissive to her in front of Shala no matter how mad she was. He had to get a masculine hold on the situation.
“Ay man you see I’m hit…how the fuck I’m suppose to put on some clothes. You need to calm the fuck down and stop tweakin, murk this bitch, then let’s get the fuck up out this jam.”
Erie sarcastically chuckled in disbelief. It seemed as though whenever she tried to keep her hands clean Yay always wanted her to do his dirty work. The more she thought about it Erie knew she was looking at the equation from the wrong angle. Erie let her pink torch fall in her man’s lap.
“You do it, ain’t no fucking bullets in there.”
Yay watched in confusion as Erie walked off pass Shala into the bathroom. He couldn’t believe that she’d picked a time like this to get on her feelings. Shala got up from her knees sniffling with her head sunk into her chest.
Shala looked like Ray Lewis as she bulldozed Yay over in his seat knocking him, his protection, and herself to the floor. She rolled off of him and made a bee line for the mattress when he snatched up her ankle. Shala threw her foot back like an angry stallion kicking her former lover in his injured limb. Yay shrieked out in agony, struggling back to his seat as she neared the bed. Erie jumped on Shala’s back in midstride knocking the gun off the bed. The two women tussled mercilessly exchanging jabs as they toured every inch of the Postrapedic. Erie couldn’t believe the strength behind such an undersized woman. Shala was giving her all with a strong grip wrapped around her opponent’s throat. Well seasoned in the technique of being yoked up, Erie grabbed a hold of the first thing she seen, a pillow. Shala enhanced her grip, nails gnawing into Erie’s neck as she evened the score lowering the pillow. Erie started to feel the pressure loosen and Shala wobbled and kicked violently trapped underneath Erie’s one hundred and fifty seven pounds. Yay’s arm stretched across Erie’s as his silencer smooched the pillow blowing Shala’s face wide open.
And like that it was over. Yay withdrew his pistol from the head rest as feathers floated freely surrounding the floor and mattress. The single bullet hole vanished beneath clots of Shala’s blood while what was left of her face leaked endlessly. Erie got off of the stiff body and locked herself in the bathroom where she planted her face in the stool. Yay rolled to the door and patted on the opposite side.