Authors: Shareef Jaudon
I found myself staring intensely at a brand new egg shell white Bentley Continental GT in the parking lot on my way out of the grocery store. It was like the car was calling me. It was whispering, “Drive me Peck. I wanna be with you baby. I belong to you.”
I envisioned myself blasting some music; leaning to the right like my arm was shorter than the other and grinning from ear to ear while I drove ever so slowly down the smooth California streets. Even though my luxurious dream wasn’t a reality, I began to smile because soon it would be me in the butter cream cockpit of that car. The days of me catching the bus were over.
I got the surprise of my life when Tyce and Sway showed up at my door a few months back asking me if I wanted to join the crew. At first I thought they were joking, but when neither one of them cracked a smile my attitude quickly shifted to a more serious one. I almost bit my tongue because I said yes so fast.
Finally I felt like I fit in. I felt like I was where I was supposed to be. I was riding with two men that knew how crazy I was and to them that was a major fucking benefit. At last I could get buck wild and get paid for it! I had Flash’s older brother Sim to thank for the recent promotion. He personally recommended me for the position to Tyce and I planned on not making him out to be a fool.
I was ready, I was hungry and I was willing to do whatever I had to do in order to earn my spot and carry my weight. I was white, I was in my early twenties and I really didn’t give a fuck. All my life I had to fight. I felt like Sophia on the Color Purple, except it wasn’t my family members I was fighting. It was everybody in the hood that fucked with me when I was growing up. It was all the dudes that jumped me on my way home from school. I fought everybody that thought I was a punk just because my skin was lighter than theirs. After I stabbed a few with a pair of scissors, sliced some up with a razor and broke my hand twice on a couple hard head ass niggas, they learned to leave me alone.
It was that coarse upbringing that made me perfect for my new job with the notorious Tyce Adkins. I was the third member of his crew and I knew that everybody who associated themselves with him were either dead, or rich.
Angelique sat down at the dinner table and let out a long sigh. In front of her was a plate of roast, baby red potatoes and an organic garden salad. She briefly looked up at me and then averted her eyes to her full plate. I switched my gaze to Khari, who was wasting no time stuffing mashed up potatoes and vegetables in her waiting mouth as she sat in her high chair. Carmela sensed what I was sensing and cleared her throat loudly in an attempt to break the tension in the kitchen.
“Would the two of you like some white wine with your dinner?” She held a bottle up.
“I could use a drink Carmela, but skip the wine. I want some tequila. Can you bring me a shot of Patron please?”
“Right away senora. Would you like the same?” Carmela pointed at me.
I paused a second. “What the hell, bring me a shot too and pour one for yourself.”
“Oh, no thank you.
I have to drive home in a few minutes, but then again, it has been a long day.”
“One shot won’t hurt you. Come on and have a seat. I’ll fix you a plate and you can eat with us for a change.”
“Well, if you insist how can I say no?”
Our house keeper took a seat as I got up from mine. I made her plate and poured three shots of liquor. Once the hot plate was in front of our guest and the shots passed out to each adult in the room, I sat back down and stared at Angelique.
“To good food and good friends.” I raised my glass.
We all drank to my toast and began eating, well, everyone except Angelique ate. She opted to take the bottle and sit by the pool instead. Carmela and I watched in silence as she exited the kitchen with yet another long sigh trailing her.
I looked at Carmela blankly.
“Is she on her period?”
She laughed. “I don’t think so.”
“What’s with all the sighing? Does she have asthma or somethin’? She’s around here huffin’ and puffin’ like she needs an inhaler.”
“Maybe she’s just tire
d. Give her a minute to herself. She’ll be fine.”
After dinner was over and Carmela left for the evening, I held Khari in my arms as I walked out to the pool. I found Angelique sitting in a lounge chair smoking a cigarette with a half empty bottle of Patron between her bare thighs. Yellow flip flops dangled from her feet as she bounced them nervously.
“You mind if we join you?” I stood over her.
“Sure.” She stared at the blue water in the pool.
I sat down in the empty chair beside her and placed
Khari next to me.
“Is somethin’ botherin’ you?” I put my elbows on my knees.
She sighed yet again. “You’re gonna rob an armored truck Tyce?! An armored truck?!” She glared at me angrily.
“Is that why you’re walkin’ around her
e all short of breath?” I leaned in closer to her as she exhaled the smoke.
“Bingo! You better fuckin’ believe it. You have
no business robbing that truck!”
I closed my eyes attempting to digest what was coming out of he
r mouth. When I told her about the job Sway and I had planned yesterday, I didn’t expect that reaction at all.
“I have n
o business robbing that truck?” I pointed a finger at my chest. “That
my business. I take care of my business for a living woman, or did you forget that?”
“Why in the world would you do that? Huh? Tell me that! We have millions of dollars, we jus’ starte
d a family and
don’t need the money…Sway does!” She flicked ashes into the air.
Who was this woman? I looked up at the night sky to see
if I could spot the space ship that dropped the gorgeous alien off at my pool.
“What is with everybody tellin’ me how much
money I need, or how much money I have? I can count. I know how much money I have and it ain’t enough. As far as Sway goes, he’s my brother and his family is my family. What kind of man would I be if I’m eatin’ good, but my niggas is rationing out food in their camp? Huh? We have millions of dollars partly because of Sway. When you were locked in the storage room who got you out? When you were bleeding on the bathroom floor who called the paramedics? Sway, that’s who, and now you want me to check out on him? That ain’t me baby. When shit gets thick you ain’t gotta look for me.”
Angelique stared back at me defiantly. “Things are not the same as they were Tyce. We have Khari now and we have to start thinkin’ differently. I don’t want anything to happen to you.
What about our daughter? Do you think she wants to visit you in prison, or visit your grave site?”
I looked down at Khari, “Ain
’t nothin’ gonna happen to me babe. You know I’m the best at what I do.”
Angelique snatched the bottle from her thighs and shifted her body t
o face me as she shook her head.
Tyce listen to me, we don’t need this. We don’t. We’ve dodged so many bullets and bad situations that I feel if we keep pushin’ it…our luck will eventually run out. I need you to be a different person for me
for Khari. I know this life is what you’re used to, but it’s time to grow up and be a man. We gotta start thinkin’ about us now. We can’t put our shit in jeopardy trying to help somebody else.”
That time I sighed. Here we go. F
irst a woman falls in love with the nigga that you are and then she wants a muthafucka to change. How could a lion change into a house cat? How could I ignore the principles that helped me survive on my own for years? How could I tell my brother who had my back that I had to be a different person?
I gently grabbed her hand.
“Sway had two kids and a wife, but he didn’t back out on me. Not only are you askin’ me to be a different person, but you’re askin’ me to be a bitch.”
Khalil sat with his second in command on a bench on the side of the basketball court as sweat poured down his dark face. The two of them had just finished up a game of one on one, which Khalil cheated at and won of course. He called feather touch fouls and timeouts whenever Roman scored more than three points in a row. As the boss, he thought it was necessary for him to always win to keep the order of things in place.
Roman popped the tab on a cold beer from the cooler that sat between his two hundred dollar basketball shoes.
“I told the other niggas what you wanted to do and they said jus’
say the word and it’s done. That shit was over a week ago cuz. What’s the hold up?” Roman put the beer to his dark lips and took a long swig.
“Take it easy nigga. I jus
’ put the squad on standby while I work some shit out. Tyce ain’t no damn Sunday school teacher. He looked out for a nigga when Silk got snuffed and I ain’t so quick to dismiss that shit.”
Roman spit on the court.
“Fuck that pretty boy punk! If he was so thorough why the fuck he flip on your cousin like that and help his bitch set her up for murder?”
Khalil grabbed a towel off the bench and rubbed his sweaty forehead.
“Don’t mistake caution for fear. I ain’t ten years in the game cuz I’m reckless. You gotta be careful when you jump in the middle of a love triangle. Everything ain’t what it seems Ro. Don’t forget, we talkin’ ‘bout the muthafucka that killed Armando and put Diego in prison. He’s the reason why we runnin’ shit right now. In this business you gotta have allies. So I gotta really be sure I gotta kill that nigga before I do it. I need to holla at Dallas.”
Roman scratched his
beard with the palm of his hand. “Blood is thicker than water, lover triangle or not. She’s your cousin.”
Khalil looked off in the distance. “Jus’ be cool for now.”
“If that was my cousin I’d cut that muthafucka’s head off, wrap it up in Christmas wrappin’ paper, put a bow on it and hand it to her. But that’s jus’ how I get down.”
Khalil looked his lieutenant in the eye, “You still might get a chance to decapitate
that nigga, but like I said, be cool. I’ll handle it.”
Roman sucked his gapped teeth with dissatisfaction. He hated being handcuffed. He hadn’t shot anybody in over a month and was starting to get restless. Tyce Adkins was one helluva trophy to add to his hunting collection. He knew he would get mad respect for gunning that infamous nigga down and maybe, just maybe, Dallas would thank him with a little gratitude pussy to show her appreciation.
“What’s the final count on the truck?” I lit up my second cigarette of the hour.
“They pick up all night
and by six a.m. they should have a little over three million.” Sway confidently stroked the light facial hair on his russet cheeks.
We were sitting on
his back patio watching Sunday night football as we went over the details of the armored truck heist. Ranae was in the kitchen fixing dinner while the kids played hide and seek in the spacious house.
I scratched my head.
“That’s a lot of money for a three guard detail.”
“That’s what I thought at first, but check their logic. They figure they’ll draw attention to themselves if they load up heavy on security. People might wanna find out what they’re really carrying. So the regular three guard routine seems normal even though the load ain’t.” That time I grinned. “So they’re trying to fly under the radar and move three million in cash without anybody payin’ them unwanted attention?” I relaxed under the shade of the awning.
“Yep.” Sway clapped his big hands together.
“How’d you find out about it?” I knew the answer already, but I just wanted to hear it again.
“Man you know I always wanted to rob an armored truck.
It’s like a fantasy of mine. I’ve been doin’ my research.”
I cocked my head to the side.
“See most niggas fantasize about winning the lottery or fucking Halle Berry, but naw, yo ass dreamin’ about jacking a money truck.”
Sway threw the football he was holding at me from acros
s the table. I caught it easily and then he tossed me a question.
’t never thought about takin’ down an armored truck?” He stared at me as he waited for my answer.
I had to be honest. “Shit, hell y
eah, every single time I walk near one!”
We both shared a laugh at our
similar thinking when it came to committing crimes. Sway and I were different, but alike in so many ways.
, look man, don’t talk to Angelique about any of this. Keep it between the crew. I’m issuing a gag order around this muthafucka.” I spun the ball in my hands as Sway shot me a puzzled look.