Authors: Anna J.
Lou grinned from ear to ear before giving an answer. Mecca had a dreaded feeling of what he was going to say, though she would have used a different term for “Eternity.”
Everybody was making a lot of money. Within that year, Mecca’s stash reached six kilos a week. Tah traded his ’87 Porsche for the up-to-date one. Mecca copped the 1991 SL500, forest green with chrome Antera rims. Li’l Shamel copped a gold Land Cruiser and leased an apartment in the Sheeps Head Bay section of Brooklyn.
Before Mecca made her move, she knew she had to get another connect once Ruby’s connect was properly disposed of. Li’l Shamel was instrumental in providing Mecca with another connect. He introduced her to a Cuban cat he met on Rikers Island where he had been laid up for a few months for a gun charge before going “up north” to do a two-year sentence.
“This Cuban nigga got some shit, Mecca. He lives in Queens. They got that raw shit out there.”
Mecca began to re-up from the Cuban who called himself “Heck,” short for Hector. She wanted to establish a good rapport with Hector to be sure that she could trust him, because at the end of the day she didn’t want to be totally assed out on a supplier. Tah, in the meantime, helped Mecca with her situation with the connect they would no longer be using. He had worked with him in the past, and knew this connect was always hungry for money.
“Papi, I need eight of them,” Tah said on a pay phone in Brownsville Houses. Ruby’s connect smiled on the other end of the phone as he stood on the corner of 156th and Amsterdam Avenue.
“Listen, Papi, I’m not trying to come uptown for it. It’s been crazy hot up there lately. We can meet in Brooklyn; it ain’t that hot out here like it is up there,” Tah continued.
If it were someone else, Papi would have found the request truly out of line. Brooklyn wasn’t the place a nigga in his right mind would bring three kilos of cocaine to sell to some nigga from out there. However, Papi trusted Tah because Tah made him a lot of money. He even gave Tah consignment and Tah brought him his money with no shorts. Tah even offered for Papi to come into business with him in Brooklyn. Papi thanked him for the offer, but he wanted no business dealings in the borough of crooks and killers. Papi asked Tah where he wanted to meet him after he agreed to coming to Brooklyn.
“Under the Brooklyn Bridge.”
Papi showed up under the Brooklyn Bridge in a gold Lincoln Town Car, which was a cab driven by an old, fat, gray-haired Dominican man. To the surprise of everyone who lay in wait, Papi showed up by himself with no backup. He really trusted Tah. Niggas who ran with Tah didn’t trust him, but Papi didn’t know that Tah was from Brownsville, and was one of the neighborhood’s most notorious stick up kids.
Not wanting to look suspicious, Papi wore a Yankee pinstriped jersey, tight blue jeans, and a pair of white Nike Air Max sneakers. Tah showed up in a Black Chevy Caprice with no hubcaps on the wheels; the crew’s hooptie. The same one they used to go on missions with. He wore a sky blue Nautica sweat suit with a pair of white and sky blue canvas Air Force Ones.
Tah got out of the car with a black duffel bag. Papi carried a large brown paper bag that had the words in big print on it, “BIG BROWN BAG.” He walked over to the Lincoln town car that parked behind the Caprice under the Bridge. The streets were empty on the cloudy day. The smell of garbage and human waste was strong here.
When he reached the destination he placed the duffel bag on the trunk of the town car. Tah and Papi turned quickly, hearing footsteps and the sound of metal smacking into metal. They saw a homeless man pushing a shopping cart filled with soda cans. The homeless man had a long, beige, filthy trench coat, and a dirty, red, yellow, and green wool Jamaican hat. He walked with his head down.
He picked up a can on the ground and threw it in the shopping cart, taking a short glance at Tah and Papi. Tah waived off the homeless man, and Papi turned back to him and put the brown paper bag on the trunk. Tah looked in and saw the eight kilos of cocaine tightly wrapped with duct tape.
Tah and Papi heard the footsteps of the homeless man stop behind them. When they turned to look, the homeless man was picking up a small brown paper bag that had something in it. The homeless man looked in the bag curiously. They turned their attention away from the bum again and didn’t see him pull a .25-caliber automatic out of the bag.
The old man in the Lincoln looked at the homeless man and his eyes widened in shock when he saw the gun. “Mira Carlos!” the driver yelled, trying to warn them that the man had a gun.
The homeless man put two bullets in the back of Papi’s head. Tah reached in his pocket, pulled out his .380 automatic, ran to the driver’s side of the Lincoln, and pumped five bullets into the old cab driver’s head and neck.
Tah and the homeless man jumped in Tah’s Caprice and sped off. Two members of Tah’s crew parked down the block in a blue Acura Integra saw Tah pull out from under the bridge, and they pulled out after Tah and the homeless man drove by them.
“You can take the hat and that nasty-ass coat off. That shit stinks.” Tah snorted. When the homeless man took the hat and coat off, Tah smiled at the person who wasn’t a man, but his pretty girlfriend, Mecca.
Tah stopped the car in front of an apartment building that had a green dumpster in the alley. He grabbed Mecca’s homeless costume and the duffel bag filled with newspaper and tossed it in the dumpster. He jumped back in the car and with the tires screeching, he sped off.
Lust not after her beauty in thine heart, neither let her take thee with her eyelids.
Li’l Shamel, actually Shamel Jacobs, was twenty-one years old in 1995 like Mecca. He got his name from Ruby. No one called him that except her. He never knew why Ruby called him that, but he always thought it was a joke because for his age he was built like a thirty-year-old running back.
During his time in juvenile and adult prisons throughout New York, Shamel did nothing but read books and work out. He had been in and out of group homes and jails all of his life. The coppertoned, wavy-haired, hazel-eyed Shamel was born and raised in the East New York section of Brooklyn. His mother and father were alcoholics who lived in Cypress projects. He grew tired of their alcohol-induced abuse on him physically, as well as watching his father beat on his mother, so he chose to stay with his grandmother in Sutter Gardens.
Sutter Gardens was a two-story housing complex that was a little cleaner and less dangerous than Cypress projects where Shamel had lived with his parents. But Sutter Gardens was far from safe. Already trained and equipped to brawl, Shamel had to prove himself the same way he did in Cypress, and he did. Shamel never lost a fight in Sutter Gardens and he gained the respect from the neighborhood tough guys by beating all of them one by one. Shamel always said he was no “stranger to danger,” and adjusted well to the change that took place in the streets once crack hit the hood. That danger was guns.
Shamel got his first gun when he was fourteen years old. It was a .38 Special he found in a vacant lot where he and a few guys from the hood stashed their packages of crack. The first time he used it was when he was fifteen. He went to Empire Roller Skating Rink in Crown Heights strapped with his .38. When he and a friend got to the rink there was a group of guys from the Heights Ebbets Field projects in the front and they didn’t look like they just came to skate and have a good time. They looked like trouble.
Shamel wore a black Woolrich coat, and a black Champion hooded sweater with a pair of black Girbaud jeans and a white and gray pair of New Balance sneakers. He had a gold nugget watch on his wrist and the watch caught the attention of the Ebbets Field crew. Shamel’s friend held the .38 in his beige Woolrich. There was a crowd of mostly females waiting to get in the roller rink and cars blasting music were pulling up in front trying to find parking. The music blasted from the inside of the rink so it was hard for Shamel and his friend to hear one of the guys say for him to give up his jewelry.
“Yo, money, run that watch!” Shamel and his friend kept walking and that angered the Ebbets Field guys.
“Yo, duke! You ain’t hear me? Run that watch!” one of the guys ran up and yelled in front of Shamel and his friend. Shamel looked the guy up and down, noticing he didn’t have a weapon in his hand. Shamel turned to look at the other guys and none of them had any weapons.
“What you say?” he asked.
“Nigga, run that watch,” the guy yelled again, this time getting more pissed off.
Shamel looked at his friend who gave Shamel the “What you wanna do?” look. Shamel smiled at his friends who were still looking at the dude.
“I’ma give duke the watch, so we can bounce!” Shamel took the watch off and handed it to the guy who was smiling at his crew behind Shamel.
“Y’all good?” Shamel asked. “We ain’t got no money,” Shamel lied, tapping his pocket.
“Get the fuck outta here, pussy,” the guy with the watch said while putting it on his wrist. Shamel and his friend took a couple of steps past the guy who was admiring the Rolex with his crew standing around him.
“Pass me the biscuit, son,” Shamel whispered to his friend. His friend slowly pulled it out of his jacket and handed it to Shamel.
The Ebbets Field crew had their backs to Shamel. Shamel turned around and walked up behind the guy with the watch. The music blocked them from hearing his approach. It was dark outside except for the light around the skating rink.
Shamel placed the gun to the neck of the guy with the watch and squeezed the trigger. The loud boom and seeing their partner fall face-forward made the Ebbets Field crew take off like a flock of pigeons flying off when someone approaches. Being that Empire Roller Rink was down the block from where Shamel shot the guy, the line of people in front of Empire did not hear or see him shoot, then take his watch off of the now dead guy’s wrist. Still standing over the guy, Shamel put his watch back on after tucking the gun in his coat pocket. He walked over to his friend and with no show of emotion they kept on with their night as planned.
“There’s mad bitches in that joint. Let’s go.”
His friend shook his head. “You crazy, son.”
From that point on, Shamel did not hesitate to pull the trigger on anybody who even slightly disrespected him or any of his friends. He caught his first body when he went to Cypress to visit his mother. The Ebbets Field guy didn’t die; he was paralyzed from the neck down. When he got to his mother’s apartment, he heard her screams from the hallway.
“Stop, Brian, you’re hurting me!”
When he entered the apartment, his mother’s face and naked body had blood and bruises, old and new, all over them. Shamel’s father was standing over his mother (who was curled up on the couch covered with a dirty fitted sheet stained with alcohol and piss) with a two-by-four of plywood in his hand. Shamel immediately reached for the .38 he had on his waist and without saying a word he emptied all six shots into his father’s head and body. When his father slumped to the dirty, brown carpet, his mother jumped off the couch on top of her husband and cried.
“Baby, no! Don’t die, baby! He didn’t mean it!” Shamel’s mother cried while cradling his dead father’s body. She looked up at Shamel with tears flowing down her face.
“Why you do that, you mu’fucka!”
Shamel realized his mother was drunk and decided he’d come back when she was sober. He left and went home to his grandmother, not even bothering to answer, and left her there, drunk and crying.
“Grandma, what’s wrong?” he asked, hugging her. Her entire body was shaking like a leaf.
“Baby, your mamma called the police on you! She said you killed your daddy.”
“She called the police?” Shamel asked, holding his grandmother at arm’s length.
“Baby, you gotta go somewhere because she told them you’re here!” She nodded, pushing him toward the door. Shamel never made it out of Sutter Gardens.
The police were all over the place when he stepped outside. He gave up with no incident. He was a juvenile at the time and the courts were lenient because Shamel was emotionally distressed when he saw his mother being abused. He was given eighteen months in a juvenile lockup in upstate New York.
Ruby and Mecca took a liking to Shamel. He was loyal and he was about making money. He treated Mecca like a sister and when cats in Sutter Gardens tried to approach her to get some play, Shamel would quickly scold the offender verbally and sometimes physically. After a while no guy in Sutter Gardens came within two feet of her.
Secretly, Shamel had the biggest crush on Mecca. Even though she thought Shamel was good looking and he was a “real nigga,” she loved Tah, and off the strength of Mecca, Shamel showed Tah love when he came to East New York, even though East New York guys and Brownsville guys didn’t get along.
Mecca suspected Shamel had a crush on her when her twenty-first birthday came around; Shamel bought Mecca a pair of Channel boots and a five-karat tennis bracelet. Then to put the icing on the cake, he threw a surprise pool party for her at the Pader Gut in Canarsie. All the hustlers from Coney Island, Brownsville, and East New York attended.
When Mecca showed up, Shamel had a red carpet rolled out for her. She was impressed and at the same time sad because Tah never did anything like that for her. His birthday gifts were predictable. He would buy her a pocketbook, take her to the movies and an expensive restaurant, then to the Waldorf or Plaza Hotel to spend a weekend having sex.
When Mecca arrived in her SL300, Shamel opened the door for her and walked her down the red carpet. He had one of his soldiers throw rose petals at her feet as she walked. She wore a full-length white mink over a white linen, one-piece dress by Giorgio Armani. The black, Gucci, five-inch-heeled shoes matched the black handbag by Christian Dior perfectly.
“Damn, Mecca, you’re a star!” Shamel told her as she walked in.
“You look damn good yourself!” Mecca smiled, holding on to Shamel’s arm. He wore a white linen suit by Armani, and a black Bossalini with a white silk band around it. On his feet, he matched the hat with a pair of black gators with a gold buckle. He adorned his wrist with an oyster perpetual Rolex with diamonds on the bezel and a four-karat pinky ring with a platinum setting. As they entered the pool area, where no one was because no one came dressed to get in a pool, Shamel looked around as if looking for someone in particular.
“Where your boy at?” Shamel asked.
“Who, Tah? Please, that nigga found it more important to be out of town than to be here for my birthday,” Mecca replied, looking at the ballers and girls who showed up at her party. She recognized some of the guys from Brownsville and Coney Island, but the guys from East New York she didn’t know personally. She knew who some of them were by face and reputation. Most of them were infamous stick up men who took down some of the biggest drug dealers in the city. Shamel knew all of them and they respected him. He impressed Mecca to the fullest extent when the big-name guys sent him over bottles of Cristal and some hugged him as he went by while wishing Mecca a happy birthday.
Shamel spent the whole night with her. He danced with her fast and slow. When Mary J Blige’s “I Never Wanna Live Without You” song from her
album came on, Shamel hugged Mecca real tight while they slow danced. Mecca could hear his heart beat as she rested her head on his chest. His muscular chest felt good to Mecca and she wondered what he looked like naked.
What kind of nigga would be out of town for his girl’s birthday? Especially a girl like Mecca? This nigga must not realize what he got. She is a bad mu’fucka, and her body is off the hook. To top it off, she a soldier! A nigga couldn’t ask for better
, Shamel thought.
The surprise Shamel had for Mecca didn’t end at the pool party. He and his East New York crew all chipped in and copped Mecca a candy-apple red Lexus GS400. When he pulled up in front of his building, the Lexus was parked in front with a red ribbon around it.
It was four o’clock in the morning, and the crew was supposed to be there as part of the surprise, but they got tired and took off for the night. Still in all, Shamel pointed to the car and said, “Happy birthday, Mecca. That right there is yours.”
Even though Mecca could afford to buy the Lexus herself, the thought that Shamel would go this far for her birthday made tears well up in her eyes. She hugged Shamel tight.
“Thank you, Shamel. Why you doing all of this?” Mecca asked, a little confused and hating that he wasn’t her man. Shamel held Mecca back so he could look in her eyes. Mecca looked at him and thought this nigga looked real good.
“’Cause you deserve it. You and your aunt are like the family I wished for.” Shamel looked away from Mecca out the front window of the car. “I don’t understand how this nigga ain’t around for your birthday. You deserve better, Mecca.”
Mecca thought about what Shamel said all night. When Tah’s birthday came, Mecca went all out to make his birthdays unforgettable. She cooked big dinners for him and his crew, and gave him the best sex he could ever come by, and he had the nerve to not even be around for hers.
“What’s better, Shamel?” she asked, grinning. Shamel hopped out of the driver’s seat, walked around and opened the door for her, and grabbed her hand.
“C’mon with me.”
“Where are we going?” she asked as she held his hand.
“My crib. I wanna show you something.”
“Ain’t we going to wake your grandmother up?” Mecca asked, but didn’t hesitate to follow him. Shamel kept holding her hand while walking to his building.
“My grandmother went down south two days ago.”
Mecca had been inside Shamel’s house before, usually to drop off packages for him to give the workers. She gave him consignment. If she picked up six keys, she would give Shamel two and charge him twenty thousand. She would profit two thousand off of each key.
Every time she came to his crib, he fought the urge not to make a move on her. His rationale was that he didn’t want to put her in an uncomfortable situation with Tah. Shamel also didn’t want to ruin their friendship and business venture. He figured he’d just wait until Tah fucked up. Now the opportunity presented itself and he wasted no time making the move he had wanted to make since the first day he laid eyes on her.
When he and Mecca entered the apartment, Shamel cut the light on and the nicely decorated two-bedroom apartment came into view with the smell of potpourri in the air. He got right down to business.
He held Mecca’s face between his palms. She looked at him confused until he put his lips to hers and parted her mouth with his tongue. For a moment she hesitated, then gave into his advances. The kiss was sensual and Mecca felt the wetness begin to develop between her thighs. She acknowledged to herself that this nigga could kiss and his lips were soft. For the first time, she didn’t have to taste cigarettes in her mouth. Shamel didn’t smoke, while Tah smoked like a Navajo Indian.
Shamel lifted Mecca up with ease and carried her into his bedroom that had a queen-sized bed, a fifty-inch Sony television, a surround sound system along its side, and a
arcade game in the corner with stacks of sneaker boxes lined up on the wall beside it.
Posters of the Notorious B.I.G. were everywhere along with pictures of guns torn out of a
Guns & Ammo
magazine. There were clothes thrown on a folded metal chair in front of his closet.
His strength turned her on. He made her feel special. She felt like a princess. Tah never carried her into the bedroom. The sex with Tah was good, but Tah was the only person she ever had sex with, so how would she know the sex was good when she never experienced sex with anyone else? This was her opportunity to find out if Tah’s sex was indeed good.