Authors: Anna J.
“What you plan on doing with the coke?” Darnell asked Wise curiously.
“I was hoping I could team up with you and we could take over the whole villa. Tilden, Brownsville Houses, Sethlow, and Van Dyke. We’ll be billionaires, God!” Wise said, but what he was really thinking was that Darnell was a dumb-ass nigga.
Ain’t no coke. The coke that he’ll get is going to be Ruby’s, and once I get close to her connect, I plan to get her out the way, too.
This nigga think he going to be alive after this heist, he got another think coming. I’ma blow this nigga head off. Who the fuck he think he is? He do a little bid and think he’s going to come home and get rich in my hood?
“It sounds good. Yeah, God, we’ll be dumb rich.”
After a half hour, Darnell began to get real tired. His speech started to slur and his eyes got heavy. He shook his head, trying to wake himself up.
“Damn, a nigga feel real crazy fucking with that beer.”
Wise watched as his eyes began to shut. The sleeping pills Ruby gave him were powerful. He put more in the beer than what Ruby had told him.
“Put three in. He’ll be knocked out for hours. If you put too much, nigga fuck around and die.
” Wise put in six.
Darnell fell out of the chair and passed out on the kitchen floor. Ruby, dressed in a green velour Nike suit from Dapper Dan, and Monique, dressed in the same suit but in white with green trimming around the word Nike on her chest, came out of the bathroom after sitting in it for an hour. What Wise didn’t know was that both women were armed with black 9 mm Berettas equipped with silencers.
“I got Darnell, take care of Dumb,” Ruby whispered, calling Wise the name she and Monique jokingly called him.
“Search his pockets” Wise said to both women, walking to the bathroom. “I gotta take a piss.”
When Wise closed the bathroom door, Ruby whispered to Monique, “Mo, open the window right there.” Ruby pointed to the kitchen window.
While Monique opened the window, Ruby dragged Darnell’s limp body to it. Monique looked at Ruby, confused.
“What you doing, Ruby?” she whispered with confusion written over her face.
“Grab his legs. I’m throwing him out of the window.”
Monique shook her head while grabbing Darnell by his feet. Monique thought that Ruby was really insane. She’d be damned if she ever crossed her.
Both women shoved Darnell’s body out of the window, letting it drop nine stories to his death. People sitting around and walking around the projects heard a loud thump, then turned to see Darnell’s body slam head first into the cement and watched his brain pop out of his head. Women screamed and guys around the projects gaped at seeing their boss, friend, and some enemies to Darnell, splattered on the concrete.
When Wise came out of the bathroom, Ruby stood in front of the bathroom door as he came out. Ruby put her finger to her mouth, gesturing for Wise to say nothing. “We gotta get out of here,” she whispered.
“Where’s Darnell?” Wise asked, trying to look around Ruby’s shoulder.
“We threw him out of the window,” Ruby replied.
“Y’all did what?” he yelled, pushing Ruby out of the way. “Y’all bitches is crazy! We were supposed to tie him up! Then when he woke up make him take us to his stash!” Wise said. Wise walked to the door, pissed that the plan had somehow changed. “I’m outta here! Y’all bitches is stupid!”
Ruby and Monique followed him out the door. In the piss-smelling hallway you could hear Slick Rick and Doug E. Fresh’s “The Show” blasting from someone’s apartment.
Wise mumbled all the way to the elevator. He changed his mind, walking to the staircase with Ruby and Monique in tow. When they entered the graffiti-covered stairs, Monique and Ruby pulled out their silencer-equipped 9 mm, and as Wise descended, they both pumped bullets into his back and the back of his head.
As his body rolled down the stairs, Ruby stood on top of him and emptied the clip in him. Ruby didn’t hear the footsteps coming up the stairs, and she couldn’t see behind the walled staircase.
When Mecca came around the landing, she almost stepped on Wise’s body. Mecca jumped back in shock, and then looked up at Ruby and Monique, both with guns in their hands.
“Mecca, where are you coming from?” Ruby whispered.
Mecca looked at Wise, then back at Ruby, barely able to speak. “The…the elevator is broke.”
“You didn’t see where that life was headed then Mecca?” Lou stared at Mecca, shrugging his shoulders with his hands up.
“That had nothing to do with me.” Mecca snorted.
“I didn’t say it did, but you saw the evil that’s attributed to the lifestyle. After that, why didn’t you see it wasn’t worth it?”
“What other choices did I have? My aunt was everything to me. She was what I wanted to be. It was all I knew!” Mecca cried.
“I doubt that, Mecca. There were people in your life who didn’t live like that. There were people who wanted better for you. You turned your back on those people,” Lou said.
“Who? What people? I don’t remember anybody trying to change me. Most people I knew either was in the game and the ones that weren’t had they hands out for money for things they didn’t have,” Mecca countered.
Lou shook his head. “That’s why I’m here. You have a bad memory, Mecca. So I’ll remind you.”
Many waters cannot quench love; neither can the floods drown it.
Songs of Solomon 8:7
By the time 1990 came around, Mecca and Dawn were knee-deep in the drug game. They gave Ruby’s workers the packages of crack and collected the money. Dawn managed the spots in Coney Island while Mecca managed the spots in Brownsville.
Ruby had spots in each project in Brownsville. Each spot was making over $20,000 a day, and she paid the workers $2,000 a week. She put Stone in a rehab program with a promise to put him back on his feet if he completed it. When he completed the program, Stone made sure each spot ran smoothly. He was security, and Ruby paid him the same she paid Mecca and Dawn.
The spot in the Brownsville Houses was having problems with a local stick up crew headed by a guy named Tah. When Mecca was told about it from the workers, she remembered the name from somewhere but couldn’t put a face to it. When she informed Ruby, Ruby barked, “What the fuck do I pay Stone for? And what’s up with those punk-ass workers? None of them got crons?”
Mecca told Stone about the stick up crew and all he said was “I’ll handle it.” He never did. Word on the street was that Stone got soft and the young cats lost respect for him. Tah and the stick up crew took advantage of the word about Stone going soft and stuck him up at a block party in Brownsville houses.
“If I gotta go to them projects myself and handle these clowns, I’ll fuck around and kill them niggas, then I’ll kill Stone’s punk ass!” Ruby growled.
Ruby stayed away from Brownsville as much as possible. The gritty section of Brooklyn was too unpredictable for her. Stick up kids and killers were born and raised on the Brownsville streets every day, and she didn’t want to be some young hot head’s first of many bodies. When she did show up in Brownsville in her ocean green Sterling with BBS rims, it was usually in the early morning hours to see Stone and to remind the residents of Brownsville that she was still around, and she wasn’t hiding in the villa she bought in the Hamptons where she and Monique now stayed.
Ruby and Monique had become full-fledged lesbian lovers. Monique treated Mecca like a daughter. She loved Mecca as if she were her daughter, and she became concerned with Mecca being on the street. After a lovemaking session with Ruby, Monique expressed her concern as they lay naked on their king-sized, heart shaped waterbed with red satin sheets and pillows.
“Ruby, them streets are dangerous. You shouldn’t have Mecca out there. She needs to get herself a job or something or finish school. Niggas don’t care if she a girl or not, they’ll treat her just like a nigga when it comes to that money. She still damn near a baby.”
Ruby folded her arms under her head and sighed. “She’s young, but she got a old soul. Mecca knows how to handle herself.” Ruby looked over at Monique and continued. “Monique, you know that girl ain’t gonna listen. Her and Dawn are hardheaded.”
“Don’t let them work for you no more. They won’t have a choice but to get a job. Them girls are materialistic like hell. They ain’t trying to be broke,” Monique said with concern filling her voice. She knew firsthand how the streets would eat you alive and spit you out. She barely made it out of the very same streets Mecca and Dawn were now on, and she wanted better for them.
“All they’ll do is go to work for someone else, and they won’t treat them like I do. Or they’ll become strippers or hookers or something, and I’m not trying to hear that, Mo,” Ruby said in a matter-of-fact tone. Monique knew when to back off. The last thing a person wanted to do was piss Ruby off. She was liable to do anything with no remorse.
Ruby rented Mecca and Dawn an apartment in Sutter Gardens, an apartment complex in the East New York section of Brooklyn. The neighborhood was just as dangerous as Mecca’s Brownsville environment, but she would have it no other way. Her reason for staying in the slums was simple.
“If niggas think you hiding, they’ll come looking. If you in their face, they know you ready for whatever.”
Ruby also bought Mecca and Dawn Volkswagen Jettas. Mecca’s was china blue, Dawns was silver.
Mecca and Dawn pulled up in their Jettas at a basketball tournament in Miller Park in East New York. Even though there were hustlers out there with Benzes and BMWs, Sterlings, and Alfa Romeo Milanos, the two young chicks made everyone look in their direction.
They wore black body suits that hugged the curves on their well-developed frames. Mecca wore a pair of red snakeskin boots and Dawn had black lizard-skin boots. They both wore large bracelets that resembled Wonder Woman’s and giant doorknocker earrings. They both kept their hair laced with Anita Baker hairdos.
As Mecca and Dawn exited their vehicles, two cars pulled up behind them. One of the luxury cars blasted Big Daddy Kane’s “Ain’t No Halfed Steppin’” and the other blasted KRS One’s “My Philosophy.” They were a vintage, candy-apple red 1950 Jaguar XK and a sky blue Porsche.
The young cats that emerged from the vehicles were all decked out in the latest gear and jewelry. The driver of the Porsche stood out the most with his Gucci short set and sneakers. His diamond-flooded Figueroa chain with Mary holding baby Jesus was the size of Slick Rick’s chain. He had a high rise pinky ring flooded with ice as well. He and Mecca caught each other’s eyes and he smiled at her. Mecca looked away. At sixteen years of age, Mecca was still a virgin, unlike many of her peer group. Mecca was more into making money and fashion than boys. Also Mecca was afraid to fall for a boy after seeing how it had affected her aunt when Wise broke her heart.
Besides all that, Mecca had to stay focused. It took a lot for her to prove to Ruby that she could handle the responsibility that was given to her. When it came to business, Ruby didn’t take any shorts, and since she was able to convince Ruby that helping her out was a better choice than going back to school, she had no choice but to stay on top of her game.
“It’s not good to fall in love with no nigga because all they do is use you for sex. That’s all they want, they care nothing about your feelings. So to avoid being hurt, don’t fall in love. Use them for what you need the same way they do us,” Ruby had always reminded Mecca.
During the game, the guy in the Gucci short set stared at Mecca. She glanced at him as she walked around the park with Dawn. Other girls in the park glared at her and Dawn with envy. All the boys in the park were either staring at the duo or trying to get with them. Dawn flirted with some, then she stopped and talked to one of the members of the guy who wore the Gucci short set’s crew. She found out that crew was from Brownsville Houses and Dawn thought one of the guys looked familiar, but she couldn’t place his face right away. She figured if they didn’t know Mecca or Mecca didn’t know them, then most likely it was the stick up crew that was sticking up Ruby’s spot in the projects. Her suspicions were confirmed when the guy with the Gucci suit walked up to the guy she spoke to.
“Son, tell shorty to tell her friend I’m trying to get with her. Shorty look right,” the guy in Gucci said.
“Yo, Dawn, tell ya girl my man Tah wanna talk to her!”
Dawn took another good look at him and remembered his face from when they were in junior high. Her mind flashed back to the girl Tamika, who she and Mecca jumped and Mecca cut her face because she thought Mecca was messing with her boyfriend Tah. Tah had dropped out of school, and since Dawn and Mecca never went back to school after that, Mecca never got the chance to see what he looked like. Dawn thought better than to ask him about Tamika or explain why she asked. One of the guys in his crew could be related to Tamika and might want to get some payback for the lifetime scar Tamika wore on her face.
“Son, they from the ville,” Tah’s friend said to him about Mecca and Dawn.
“Word?” Tah asked, pointing at Dawn. “I knew you looked familiar. Where you live at in the ville?” he asked. Dawn just flashed him a flirtatious smile and sauntered over to where Mecca was sitting.
Mecca sat on the bleachers, drinking a wine cooler, watching the two teams, one in white uniforms with Brownsville written in black letters on the jersey and the other in purple uniforms that had East New York in white letters on the jersey, running a full court.
“Girl, you won’t guess who the nigga in the Gucci short set is!” Dawn said, sitting next to Mecca.
Mecca swallowed the drink and, still watching the game, responded, “Who is he?”
“Remember that chick Tamika? We beat her ass in school and you cut her?” Dawn asked as Mecca looked at her attentively. “That’s the boy she thought you were messing with,” Dawn answered.
Mecca looked over at Tah, and she found him to be attractive. He was a caramel-complexioned, brown-eyed brother who stood about six feet tall. He had a medium build, not too big and not too small. He wore a fade-style haircut. The top of his hair was wavy with the sides faded. Mecca laughed at the thought of Tamika approaching her about a boy Mecca never met.
“They from Brownsville Houses. You never seen them?” Dawn asked.
Mecca shook her head, looking at the crew to see if she recognized any of them. Mecca didn’t. “Nah, I don’t know them.”
“Well, the boy in the Gucci short set wanna meet you. He said you a cutie,” Dawn said.
She didn’t want to tell Mecca the guy’s name because she thought maybe it wasn’t the stick up crew. If it was, if Mecca got with him he would stop, and Mecca wouldn’t have to worry about the crew anymore because she would be dating the leader. Plus, she needed to get her cherry popped. Tah came and sat next to Mecca on the bleachers while his friend grabbed Dawn’s hand and led her off the bleachers to talk privately.
“What’s your name, shorty?” Tah, asked showing his bottom teeth that were covered with gold.
“Mecca,” she said tersely.
Tah nodded his head. “That’s a pretty name. It fits.”
Mecca smiled and thought
he can’t come up with something more original?
How many times had she heard that? She turned to look at him.
“You nervous or something?” she asked.
“Me?” Tah asked, pointing to his chest with a confused look on his face. “Hell no, why should I be nervous?” Tah asked, shaking his head.
“’Cause I know you can come up with something more original instead of my name is pretty, it fits!”
“You buggin’. I really meant it!” Tah said, sounding sincere. “I don’t need to borrow lines from no one, shorty. I call it like I see it.” Mecca ignored him and continued to watch the game.
“So what’s your name? What do they call you?” she asked.
“Oh, yeah, Tah. You’re Tamika’s boyfriend!” Mecca said.
Tah snapped his head back, surprised to hear his ex’s name spoken from a total stranger. He gave her a look like he was trying to remember her from somewhere else or place her face from someone he may have met in the past.
“That’s old news, shorty. How you know though?”
Mecca giggled. “I used to go to school with her and she thought I was messing with you, because I guess you looked at me one day when you picked her up from school.”
“I knew you looked familiar!” Tah said. “Oh shit! You ain’t the one who blast Mika on her face?” Tah asked, making a mock slashing with his hand. He remembered seeing Mecca in passing at school, but never saw her after the fight she had with his then girlfriend.
“She shouldn’t have come up on me like that,” Mecca replied with candor.
“Okay, shorty. You a wild one on the hush,” Tah said.
“I told you my name. Stop calling me shorty!” Mecca barked.
When she thought of his name again, it hit her. One of Ruby’s workers in Brownsville Houses said a crew led by a nigga named Tah was sticking them up. Mecca didn’t want to bring it up yet. If it was him, she didn’t want to wake him up to who she was. She had to investigate first. If it was him, she would have to formulate a plot on how to stop him.
, Mecca thought,
getting to know him could be part of my investigation of Tah and his crew.
“I’m sorry, Mecca. Calling you shorty is just a figure of speech. I’m not trying to be disrespectful at all,” Tah replied before asking, “Do you have a man?”
“No, I don’t,” Mecca replied.
“I hear you from Langston Hughes. That’s up the block from Brownsville. Maybe I can give you a call or come take you out one night. You know, a movie and a bite to eat,” Tah said.
The way her attitude was, Tah thought she would deny giving him the number and say she would see him around, letting him down easy. To his surprise, Mecca said she would give him her number for him to call later. Tah smiled, then reached in his back pocket and pulled out a pen. He reached in his front pocket, and pulled out a hundred-dollar bill to write the number on. Mecca thought he was fronting. She grabbed the money and wrote her number on it. She stood up, ready to leave the bleachers to find Dawn, and she gave Tah a seductive look.
“Hopefully, I’ll hear from you soon.”
Tah put the money in his pocket. “Oh, you will,” he replied, looking back at her and letting his eyes undress her.
When Mecca met Dawn, she grabbed Dawn’s hand, pulling her away from Tan’s friend. “Call me!” Dawn yelled to the boy as Mecca pulled.
“Dawn, I think these are the niggas robbing my aunt’s spot in Brownsville Houses!”
“Word?” Dawn responded as if she was shocked at the thought that she already had.
“Yeah, remember I told you the worker said some nigga name Tah and his peoples were robbing them?”
“I’m not sure, but I’m almost sure it’s them. I’m going to find out. I’ma hang out with that nigga, Tah,” Mecca said before the girls entered their own cars.
Dawn shook her head and thought,
Mecca is as crazy as her aunt, and if it is Tah and his crew robbing Ruby’s spots, and if Tah doesn’t catch on to what Mecca is up to, he’ll be dead within a few weeks.
Two days had passed since Mecca had given Tah her phone number. On the third day he called, and he and Mecca spoke for hours. They talked about the people they both knew in Brownsville. Mecca joked about Tah and Tamika’s relationship.
“What you did to her? She must have been really in love with you.”
They both laughed when Tah responded. “I don’t know. There’s something about me I can’t figure out. Maybe it’s my chain?”