S. Diggs “Ascension”

Chapter 1

Enrique sat in a chair. His consciousness returned as he felt a throbbing pain that seemed to be shooting throughout his body. The pain was so great that he couldn’t identify where the pain started from. His arms felt bruised and cold like tenderized beef as the muscles involuntarily flexed. He attempted to lift his head and an agonizingly intense pain shot up from the back of his neck to the crown of his head. His head begin to throb as if he were having the worst migraine imaginable. As he battled through the pain, he became aware that his vision was obscured. He attempted to open his eyes and realized that he couldn’t as they were swollen shut. He went to rub his face and found his arms to be bound behind him. He kicked out his legs and his seat wobbled wildly until he felt himself fall and land on his left side with a loud thud.

“Ahh shit!” he exclaimed as he lay on his side. He then heard the rhythm of several footsteps coming towards him in varying speeds. The voices were unrecognizable as the footsteps stopped near him and seconds later felt a series of hard kicks to the groin. Enrique howled in pain and rolled on the floor as his assailants laughed at his predicament. Another set of footsteps could be heard faintly, indicating that the man was a distance away. The laughter stopped abruptly and Enrique was pulled to his feet and slammed down into a chair. Still confused about the situation, he decided to get answers.

“Who are you people? Do you know who I am?” he stated loudly. “There are hundreds of men looking for me right now AS WE SPEAK!!” Enrique was breathing hard as he ended his tirade. How dare these men kidnap him? He was a well-connected man in Miami. He ties to several criminal organizations as well as some friends in law enforcement. Any move of this caliber against him was just stupid. Who would be foolish enough to make such a move? No one welcomed death in such a way, Enrique thought to himself as he smiled. This was going to be his most brutal retaliation yet, he said to himself.

“Mr. Morales, your actions have left your house a little dirty,” a calm deep voice told him. Enrique’s hubris then turned into petrifying dread. No one knew his name — his real name at least. Only those from his native Nicaragua knew him as Jorge Morales. In the United States he was Enrique Chavez, a well-connected middle man in the Choloma Commission. Jorge Morales was someone else… something else entirely. Enrique heard the legs of a chair scrapping the floor. The sound stopped right in front of him. He inhaled and smelled the sweet cologne the man wore.

“Mr. Morales… your circumstances have become dire due to your overzealousness. You were the right hand of the operation and decided to take from your left. Not to mention the other crews you’ve shaken down and put out of commission.”

“Who sent you?” Enrique asked.

“I am here providing a message for Mr. Juan Carlos Mercado.”

Enrique’s suspicions were confirmed when he heard the name. Juan Carlos was the new head of the Choloma Commission. They were cell mates in prison together. Juan Carlos was the reason that Enrique was who he was in the United States. He even gave him his name.

“Me and Juan can talk this out. Just get him on the phone and this can be solved.”

“See Jorge that’s the dilemma. I am not here to negotiate a return of what it is you took. I am here to clean up the mess that was made.” Enrique felt his body tremble with terror as he heard the word clean.

“Okay… okay… please. I will tell you where the money is. You can have it for my freedom.”

“You mean the money in the concrete beneath your barbeque pit by the pool? The money in the wall at your girlfriend’s house?  Or the go bag that was in your trunk? I mean eight hundred grand is a hell of a new start.”

Enrique couldn’t open his eyes due to the swelling beyond a small slit, but he looked through it and saw what he assumed was the bag at his feet. How in the world did they know where to get the money?

“Who told you about the money?”

“You did. Or at least you told Tiffany.”

Suddenly it all came rushing back to him. Tiffany. Tiffany was the girl he had met at the bar the night before. She was a gorgeous young Dominican girl. They shared a few dances and she mesmerized him with her hip movements and sensuous charms. They then shared a few drinks and some laughs and then some kisses. He remembered leaving the bar with her and then they arrived at a house. She brought him inside and made more drinks. She kissed his neck and stripped him out of his shirt and… he couldn’t remember. Everything from that point forward was a blank until he awoke in the location where he was.

“Where’s Tiffany?” he asked his captors.

“Oh… you mean the girl. She just finished making the trip to your girlfriend’s house for that collection. Your wife helped us dig up the concrete because we told her that there was a gas leak in the area. Crazy thing is you don’t even have a gas line!”

Enrique hung his head in defeat. They already possessed his only bargaining chip. The men then decided to end the charade. The leader of the crew stood from his seat in front of Enrique and stood in front of him. One of the other men handed him a handgun with a silencer on it. With no words or hesitation, he placed the gun over the left side of his chest and pulled the trigger twice.  Enrique’s body twitched as the bullets entered his chest and tore through his heart. Though already dead, his body gave an involuntary cough as it released the trapped carbon dioxide inside of it, followed by a mixture of blood and bile escaping from his mouth. The leader then pulled out a cell phone and placed a call. After three rings, there was an answer.

“Yes?”

“The place is clean. Do you want me disinfect the kitchen and bathroom?”

“Of course! It’s not cleaned if the germs are around.”

“Of course it isn’t,” he agreed as he ended the call. The men had wrapped the body in a plastic sheet and then placed him in a body bag. They then carried it over to a black van that was waiting for them. After placing the body inside the rear of the van next to another body bag, they closed the doors and cleaned the blood up from where they had shot Enrique. After about 15 minutes of thorough cleaning, they all met back by the van.

“Hey man, you got the rest of the money?” one of them asked the leader. The leader dug into his pocket and pulled out two white large envelopes. He handed one to each of them and opened the rear doors of the van to let them step inside with the body. Minutes later, they all drove off. As they got comfortable and discussed what they were going to with their money, the van came to a stop at a red light. It was early in the morning and no one was on the road. As they laughed and talked about the fun they were going to have, each was met with bullets to the head. As their bodies lie slumped over the body bag, the leader of the crew drove away as the light changed. He continued to the west end of the county where there were only big country club homes and secluded wooded areas that led deeper into the Everglades. As he drove into a small city called Tamiami, the road started to shrink from six lanes to two and the cell phone reception began to wane. The man driving counted off the right turns as he approached 197th avenue. At the fourth right turn, he maneuvered the van in that direction.

As he drove through what he thought was a wooded area, he was shocked when he was suddenly surrounded by rocks, gravel and sand. He proceeded on down his path until he saw several black Town Cars and large black SUVs. He drove the van directly towards the convoy of vehicles until a man stood in front of him holding up his hand, signaling him to stop. The van came to a stop and the other large SUVs all drove in a circle to surround the van to close it off while the Town Cars formed another wall of protection. The man counted the SUVs. There were six of them. One of the SUV doors opened to his left and he saw the man he had come to see. Juan Carlos Mercado. Mr. Mercado and his men got out the SUV and waved him out of the van. As a sign of respect, he allowed Mr. Mercado and his men to take the lead on how the protocol was going to be as long as no one got violent. He got out and handed the keys to one of Mercado’s men. The man then walked to the rear of the van and opened it. Two others approached with flashlights to shine inside the cargo space of the van. When they saw the sight they all let out a chuckle.

“Chu Chu murió como una perra !!” one of them yelled.

“Jefe vienen vistazo a este cerdo !!” another said to Mercado.

Mercado walked to the rear of the van and looked at the three bodies. He then turned to the man that had been driving.

“Is it all done?”

“Yes… everything you wanted is inside.”

“You took nothing?”

“I gave a piece to his wife. They have a daughter.”

Nodding his approval, the men shook hands. Mercado then turned to his men.

“Hey , conseguir estas piezas de mierda y llevarlos a la astilladora de madera y luego ponerlos en la mezcladora de cemento!”

The men complied with his request as they took the bodies and put them in wheel barrels before walked them to the wood chipper. The sun was starting to come up, so they turned on the equipment and ran the bodies through the machinery. The other men around flinched and turned away from the sight. The man driving stood there and watched as each body went through and came out the other side as a mixture of mush and crushed bone powder. Mercado looked at the man with minimal shock.

“So as per our arrangement, I am going to supply you with what you asked for,” he told the man.

“I thank you for that. There will be more business in the future.”

Another SUV pulled up outside the security wall of the Town Cars. Mercado walked the man over towards that direction and helped him inside.

“Llévalo a donde quiera ir.”

“Jefe Bien.”

The SUV took off and drove back east into the city.

****************************************

Two figures were measuring one another in fight stance, one larger than the other. The larger man threw a lightning-quick jab that landed in the smaller man’s mouth, causing the smaller man to drop.

“Get up! You want to be a warrior, right?” the larger man asked.

“Yeah…”

“Well you got to learn how to get hit and keep going forward!”

The man helped him off the floor.

“Now tell me how do you know that the punch is coming?”…

James opened his eyes staring at the ceiling in the dark. He looked at the clock on the side of his bed and saw it read 10:23 am.

“Wow… a whole four hours!” he said to himself as he walked into the bathroom and relieved himself. He then showered and dressed himself in black cargo pants, black T-shirt and black Bates combat boots. Arming himself with a Springfield XDM .40 caliber pistol, he walked down the steps from his apartment into the space of an abandoned storefront. He walked out the back door into an alley after seeing that no one was around. He walked a couple of blocks where he saw a crew of young men on the corner. One of the young men looked up and saw James coming.

“Ahh shit!” he cursed to himself.

“Pie… Pie come here!” James called out to the young man he saw staring. Pie walked over towards James away from the group.

“What’s up James?”

“What you doing out here?”

“I was just chillin’.” James looked at his watch.

“It’s almost eleven. You supposed to be in school bruh, plus practice today.”

“Man I need that bread though.”

“Where your Mama at?”

Pie shrugged his shoulders. “Shit… you tell me!”

James shook his head. Pie was a very talented athlete. Any sport with a ball, he excelled in it. But his mother was always strung out, leaving him with the responsibility of raising and providing for his little sisters. James did what he could to keep Pie out of trouble.

“Why didn’t you tell me or one of my guys?”

“I told Thomas… he told me to come out here and post.”

James rolled his eyes at the mention of the name. Thomas. When Theo went to prison nine months earlier, he chose James as his successor. Thomas had been in the crew longer than James and was more adept at selling drugs, so for James to be selected as the leader bugged him. So every chance he got he would bristle and show defiance to James’s orders. One of those was that Pie and his sisters were untouchable. James dug into his pocket and felt the knot of cash he was carrying.

“Take a walk with me,” he told Pie.

“Okay where we going?”

“To your house.”

They arrived in Town Gardens, a community of town houses that were built for the purpose of injecting economic life into Overtown, but most were purchased by amateur house flippers for the purpose of investment and most of the residents that actually stayed there were either receiving government assistance or working menial jobs to make ends meet. They took the walk as various people stopped James to question him about working for him and to ask him for help with everything from bills to family trips. Like a campaigning politician, he listened to everyone and promised to talk to them about it at a later time. They then reached Pie’s home. Pie used his key to unlock the door and they walked inside. There was a musk that left the house as all the stale air inside was seeping out. They walked around the small townhouse together, with James observing. The living room was cluttered with toys and clothes in various piles on the floor. James looked over at the entertainment stand on the far wall and saw that the television was missing.

“That flat screen she got you guys for Christmas was there right?” James asked. Pie nodded his head sadly.

They walked into the kitchen and James was surprised at how clean it was. He opened the refrigerator and saw it was empty except for a jar of grape jelly, peanut butter and a nearly empty bag that had less than half a loaf of bread in it.

“So y’all have been just eating PB &J?”

“Yeah.”

James shook his head. He walked around the house and made mental notes on the things they needed. They then walked outside and across the street to another townhouse and rang the doorbell. An older woman answered.

“Ms. Jill what’s going on?”

“Hey James… I see you hanging out with Pie.”

“Yeah I am. Listen, are you busy today?”

“No why what you need?”

“I need you to run Pie to Winn Dixie and take him shopping.”

“Just Winn Dixie?”

James turned and looked at Pie, waiting on a response. Pie turned his head as tears filled his eyes. The young man was ashamed.  Jill took him by the chin and looked into his eyes.

“Baby it ain’t nothing to be ashamed of… we all need help from time to time.”

“Yeah but I am tired of always needing help.”

“Honey without God we would all be in bad shape. James here only came over because he cares about you and those precious little girls. We all do… so don’t ever hold your head down. You are stronger than that.”

Pie lifted his head and nodded. James reached into his pocket and peeled off ten $100 bills. He gave five to Pie and five to Jill. A car pulled up in front of the house. Justin, James’s right hand man stepped out on the driver’s side. “And that’s my cue to leave. Ms. Jill, call me if you need anything. Pie, call me directly from now on when this happens.” Both of them nodded as James walked down the walkway to the car and got inside the passenger side. They drove away moments later.

“Deidra pulled one of her stunts, huh?” Justin asked, referring to Pie’s mother.

“Yeah… she left them in the house with just peanut butter and jelly.”

“Damn… but we got some more business with The Island.”

“What the fuck do they want?”

“I don’t know but this dude Thomas is happy and all giddy.”

“Yeah he probably has been telling George about shit going on over here.”

“Why George?”

“Because George is his brother. They got different mothers.”

Justin shook his head at the revelation. “That’s why he acts the way he does. Being all bitchy and shit.”

“When are they arriving?”

“They are coming here in a week.”

“Yeah well drop me off to the warehouse. Gotta make sure all the paperwork is in order.”

Justin wheeled the car into Wynwood, a neighborhood just north of Overtown with a knack for attracting artists and people looking to indulge in the bohemian lifestyle. James had purchased a local delivery service in the area called Luxury Parcel Express a few months back with some help from Sydney Miller, a local business magnate. The company was just now starting to turn a profit after all the financial hell is was in before he took over. They specialized in exclusive door to door deliveries high end clientele and businesses. They walked into the office and there was Hector, Juan Carlos’s number two man.

“Hector, how long have you been waiting?”

“Not too long. I gave you some time after last night. Is your man going to stay for all of this?”

“Of course… your man is staying isn’t he?”

Hector smiled as his man revealed himself by walking out of one of the dark corners of the office. “Juan said you were the best,” he said while smiling. James returned the smile and sat down.

“So from what I understand, there will be cargo brought into Perry Airport. From there my men will take ownership of the packages while the location is to be determined while mid route. Am I right so far?”

Hector nodded his head in response.

“Then we will drop the cargo at agreed upon location while payment will be delivered minutes after confirmation of package reception.”

“That all sounds good. So in a week we will do our first drop.”

The men all shook hands before Hector left. Justin sat in front of James’s desk.

“So we are moving work for the Cholomas?” he asked his best friend.

“I don’t think it’s the Cholomas that is making this request.”

Chapter 2

“Okay everyone, let us begin. We are now in a dubious place in Miami as crime has reached its lowest point in ten years so that’s something you all should be proud of!!!” Assistant Police Chief Nick Morales said in the morning role call to his officers. They all cheered as their boss passed around platitudes to all of them.

“And especially thanks to our newly formed Robbery & Homicide division… headed by Captain Jacob Hirsch!”

There was more applause, yet considerably less than before. Captain Hirsch was not a popular figure in the police department. He was a great cop and an even better commanding officer, but his stature in the department was always dubious. Captain Hirsch sat as Morales continued to praise the officers for their fine work.

“Hey Nick, who gives a better speech than you?” Hirsch asked him when they finished roll call.

“Gotta fire the troops up right?” he replied as they walked into Hirsch’s office and closed the door. “How is Ashley doing?”

“Good thank you for asking. And how is Nicolette?”

“Good… I mean she is the third Mrs. Morales so if this goes sideways then I’m out the game!”

The men laughed. Morales was Hirsch’s one true ally in the department. All the other high ranking officers never gave him the time of day though his division spearheaded this drop in the crime rate in the area. The men talked a little while longer and decided to have lunch later in the week. About half an hour later, Sergeant Montgomery walked in.

“Good morning Sergeant. What brings the County police to the city department?”

“Good morning Captain. I am just here as a courtesy to tell you that we are working a case in your area. We are looking into this guy named Toon. He supposedly has a connection with the Russians bringing in girls from Europe.”

“Okay, you need any backup?”

“No me and my guys can handle it. Just wanted to give you the courtesy of knowing what was happening in your backyard.”

The men shook hands before they both walked out of the office to differing destinations. Montgomery drove over into Overtown to the Longshoremen’s Union Hall. He walked in and saw the various men inside. He flashed his badge and someone led him into one of the offices. He sat across from Peter Mazack, one of the union reps.

“So where are we?”

“Hirsch is going to stay away.”

“Good I will let Toon know where to make the pickup.”

Hirsch drove over to Miami Beach. He got off the Julia Tuttle Causeway and drove north to 78th street where there was a flower shop. He parked and walked inside the shop where he was immediately greeted.

“Hey Jacob…. It must be 11:30,” the woman on the cash register said. She was a red head with milk white skin and stood all of five foot nine inches tall.

“Hey Elaine… Is Ashley in the back?”

Elaine nodded as Hirsch walked through the store to the back office. He walked inside to see Ashley talking on the phone. Ashley saw him walk in and held up a finger signaling ‘one minute’. Hirsch smiled and sat patiently in the chair. Ten minutes later and Ashley ended the call.

“Hello you beautiful man,” Ashley told him as they kissed.

“Hello to you too… so what are we in the mood for?”

“There is this fusion place that just opened on 71st street.”

“Okay let’s go.”

The two men walked out the office and continued on their lunch date. They arrived in the restaurant and Hirsch surveyed the place. He spotted some men in black sport coats sitting near the window speaking in a foreign tongue. On the other side were four other men in similar dress, all with deep brown hair combed in a slick back kind of style. He continued looking around the restaurant at the employees and saw the pained expressions on their faces whenever one of them would glance in the direction of the men.

“Ash… you wanna go somewhere else to eat?” he asked as they walked further into the restaurant. There were about twelve tables with chairs and a café bar with about eight stools. Pop music played at a low level while there were two midsized televisions in opposite corners showing the local news in English and Spanish.

“You only have an hour… plus with traffic and everything else, we would be pressing it.”

Hirsch cursed as Ashley’s reasoning set in on him. He walked in and sat at the bar with Ashley. They ate and talked about their days at work.

“So when are they going to give you a case that’s worthwhile?” Ashley asked him, almost knowing the answer.

“I don’t know… Ever since I came out, I have been benched. I cracked the same amount of cases that Morales did but he is in line for Chief of Detectives while I am languishing,” Hirsch lamented. 

“Is it as bad as it was in New York?”

Hirsch and Ashley moved to Miami together ten years before from New York. Both men were ostracized from their deeply religious families for their sexual preference, particularly Ashley, whose father was a Rabbi. Hirsch’s father was a police officer and wanted nothing to do with his son. Once Ashley got a good deal on the floral shop, they left New York City and never looked back.

“Nah… I am a Captain but I just don’t have anything really to do. Robberies and homicides are actually down and they won’t assign me a task force to command so I sitting on my ass reading bullshit reports from the Mayor’s Office.”

Ashley reached over and held his hand. “Things will work out.”

They continued to eat and talked about going to the Rainbow Room to unwind later. An hour later, they drove back over to the floral shop and Hirsch drove back to Miami.

*************************************

“Okay George, we are here.” James had gone with Thomas to meet with The Island, a loosely connected group of Caribbean gangsters who had a foothold on the drug trade in South Florida. James had looked at his watch and saw it was almost eleven p.m.

“Well James… I have been talking to a few people in the organization and they are uncomfortable with the idea of an ‘outsider’ running the operations here. I understand that you were Theo’s chosen man, but we feel…”

“Is it they or the two of you?” James asked bluntly. The men looked at one another and then at James.

“I speak for The Island.”

“Well… when Theo was in charge you never spoke outside of pleading to get your brother his own trap house… or paying off strippers to get abortions. Profits are up and peace is good with the other crews so where is the issue?”

“Tommy is a known islander.”

“And in your own words, Tommy is stupid and will get himself killed soon enough without guidance.”

Thomas looked shocked at the words James said.

“And as far as me giving up my seat to you two clowns… No way in hell!”

James got up and left the house with Thomas and George watching him leave. He continued on to The Dump, where Justin, Marcus and twenty of his men were. He went through the ritual for entrance and walked inside once the gates were opened. Inside the house, there were three men on the ground floor while the others were upstairs arming up. James found Justin and Marcus among them.

“So what did Georgie have to say?” Justin asked.

“Just what I expected… that the Council wants Thomas in charge because he is one of them and I am not.”

“Well what did you say?”

“What you think I said? I told them niggas to go to hell!”

“Damn… So there is a looming war from within now?” Marcus asked.

“As I expected. These muthafuckaz are cowards at heart so they would never let peace prevail. They have to prove themselves to them dudes across the water. Thomas has never performed a hit and George hasn’t in ten years. And when he did it was sloppy work.”

“Look you know we are with you a hundred percent. We are war ready.”

James looked at Marcus and Justin, knowing that they would follow him into the chasms of hell to slay Satan if he ordered them to. The men continued to arm up and went out to the other guys to go over assignments before Hector called with the rendezvous point.  James looked at the clock and saw it was time. “Let’s go… if we are already mobile then we can be ready to move in any direction. Alright, we will have four five-man teams. I will take one, Just you got one, Marcus you have one and Meagan you have one as well.”

Before they could load up the vans, the call finally came in with the location. They all went out to the vans and pulled out, each van traveling in a different direction. James took the most scenic route while he gave Justin the most direct route. Marcus and Meagan took routes that had their arrivals minutes after one another. They drove down south into Naranja and found the address. Justin met with Hector and his band of men. They all looked to be Mexican.

“Where is your Boss?” Hector asked.

“He’s on the way. Just spoke to him.”

“Okay… Well, everybody is inside… we need to move now.”

“Me and my guys are ready… the others will arrive soon enough. You say you and your men are ready to go now, right?”

Hector nodded as he looked back at his guys, all of them speaking in Spanish to one another. He then signaled for Justin to follow him to the side of the building to park. They all parked and got into their positions. They ambushed the building, which was a old convenience store, from a side entrance. They popped the door open with a crowbar and Justin led his men inside the building. What met them was a barrage of bullets as they were fired upon almost immediately. All six of them were hit with the rapid fire bursts as they all fell. Hector and his crew remained on the outside as all this happened. Suddenly another window opened at the rear of the building where Marcus led his crew inside gun blazing while Meagan and her crew came in from the front shooting as well. As they got the better of their opponents, Hector and his men made an appearance to show support and bag up all of the product. Once Meagan and Marcus’s teams had defeated the guys that got the jump on Justin’s squad, they helped Hector and his crew bag up the drugs and money that was scattered in the firefight. Meagan walked over to Justin and checked on Justin and the others that were still lying on the ground. There was no response.

“Okay we got all we need… we can go,” Hector said to them as his team made their way out of the convenience store.

“What the fuck happened to them?”

“They went in first and the guys were ready for them. Not much we could do…”

“Yeah I noticed you punk muthafuckaz didn’t shoot till we had shit handled!” Marcus interjected.

“Look we can talk about this shit later… I have to get back to my boss with this product!” Hector said as he turned his back and walked out the entrance his men had left earlier. Meagan raised her gun to shoot Hector, but Marcus stopped her. They looked down at their friends still on the floor, blood pooled all around their bodies. Angry at Hector they led their teams out the entrance he came in to find a surprise… James had Hector and his whole crew bound and tied on their knees. James had his crew holding them at gun point.   

“James what the fuck is this?” Hector asked, frightened at what appeared to be his impending demise.

Ignoring him, James looked at Meagan and Marcus. “Get the stuff in your vans and meet us at Pointe Three.”

They nodded their understanding as they got their teams to pull all the bags from near Hector while two of their men all went to retrieve the vans they rode in.

“JUAN WILL NOT STAND FOR THIS… YOU WILL ALL BE DEAD!!!” Hector screamed as James gave the head nod to his gunmen, signaling them to open fire. Three seconds later all the bodies hit the floor. Meagan and Marcus then turned around and saw Justin and his crew come out of the convenience store. All of them intact and no bleeding wounds. Before they could ask, James answered.

“Bulletproof vests and blood bags.”

They all gathered the bodies and put them into one of the vans. They took a drive to a chop shop in Perrine where they had a cleaner in place.

“Just leave the van. I will take care of the rest,” he told James as James handed him a backpack that had his fee inside of it. The crew then went to The Dump.

“So when did you know that Hector was gonna pull some bullshit?” Meagan asked. “Cause I was ready to kill his ass right there on the spot!”

“The moment after I heard the plan and location. Hector has been plotting a move against Juan for a while. He was going to sell all of this to the Russians for big profit and blame us… and with our current issues with The Island, we would’ve been fighting a war on three sides. For now we only have two.”

“Two?” Justin asked.

“The Russians are gonna make a move since we stopped this. And now we are headed to Club Square on South Beach.”

“Club Square? Never heard of it.”

“It’s where Volkov runs things from.”

They then put the product and money in the proper places before going to South Beach. Though everyone was apprehensive about going into the teeth of the Russians’ operation, they also trusted James implicitly. They crossed the Causeway and drove to South Pointe. There was Club Square, a euro-style nightclub where they played EDM, 80’s style rock and roll and disco records. All the men at the doors were in dark suits. James dropped the whole team minus Meagan and Justin off in an alley a block away while he went to the front. It was near four in the morning, so the nightclub had closed.

“So what’s the move?” Meagan asked James as they approached the front door of the club. James nodded at Justin. Justin opened fire at the men while James and Meagan simultaneously ran towards the door, getting the drop on the guards. Meagan pulled the keys off of one of them while Justin shot both of them. They walked into the nightclub where they were met by more Russian men.  James raised his gun and fired at them, with Meagan and Justin did the same. The three exchanged gunfire with the ten or more Russian gangsters. Marcus and his team made their way from the backdoor to the main floor and cut their adversaries down. They all advanced up the stairs where they found three men looking to escape with some duffle bags.

“Gentlemen… let’s do this the easy way. Hand over the bags and everyone sees the sunrise,” James said. He signaled for his men to take the bags. The men gave up the bags. “Tie them up. Search this place for whatever you can find… go!!”

The team scattered and came away with more money and drugs that they also put in bags.

“Volkov will have your asses!!!” one of the men said.

“No he won’t. He will have yours!!”

The men trembled at his words as they knew he was right. Regardless of retaliation that came at James, these three wouldn’t make it pass the weekend.

“Kill us… KILL US NOW!!! WE ARE ALREADY DEAD!!!” another one of them screamed out.

“No I am a man of my word… we will not harm you. Honor amongst thieves, right?”

Chapter 3

Sergei Volkov sat on the balcony of his condo in Sunny Isles Beach fuming. He had just got the word about what happened to his nightclub and that Hector was a no-show with the product that he had paid for.

“Boss… there is a man on the phone. Claims to be police,” his bodyguard Arcady told him. Volkov took the phone. “Who is this?”

“It’s Sergeant Montgomery… I’m on a scene where there are a lot of dead bodies.”

“I had nothing to do with it!”

“No… I was calling to tell you to meet me at North Beach Park. I think we can help one another with this situation. So can we meet?” Volkov thought about it for a moment.

“Okay… one hour I will be there.”

Montgomery stood outside his unmarked car waiting for Volkov to show. Minutes later, a dark grey Lexus sedan pulled up next to him. The window rolled down revealing Arcady’s face.

“Inside!”

The rear door opened revealing Volkov in the back. Montgomery got inside while Arcady and the driver stepped out and walked to the hot dog stand that was nearby.

“So what happened this morning?”

“I was cruising through to the docks to check on things with my guy there when I got the call over the scanner that there was a massacre down south at an abandoned convenience store. I get there and CSI is all over the place.”

“What was it that was taken?”

“They took what looks like about 70-100 kilos of white heroin and who knows how much else. I know you had a deal worked out to get some product and this happens.  I don’t believe in coincidences so I reached out.”

“Neither do I… ironically my club was also hit last night. A lot of my on-hand cash was taken.”

“I thought you had men that would take care of such things?”

“Apparently they were taken care of… they claim these people stormed the club from every way imaginable and were in and out in under five minutes. They all wore masks and moved efficiently. You have any knowledge on who these people could be?”

“No one that I know of… the only crew that can boast of such power is either The Island or The Cholomas.”

“But I was in contact with a lieutenant in The Cholomas.”

“Was he on the up and up?”

Volkov thought about it and realized that Hector was probably running a skim off The Cholomas himself. This looked like Hector was caught in some shit and the Square was hit to send him a message.

“I will look into all of this. How is everything with Toon and the docks?”

Surprised he knew about Toon, he answered. “So far no hiccups down there. Every ship gets passed through with no problem.”

“As it should. I pay a lot of damn money to make sure there are no problems.”

“And I guarantee you there will be none.”

The men shook hands before Montgomery left the car. The driver and Arcady came back holding a couple of hot dogs.

“Boss we got one for you. Sauerkraut and mustard, the way you like it,” Arcady told him as he handed the hot dog to Volkov.

“Reach out to the Cholomas. We need to set up a meeting.”

*****************************************

James pulled up to his grandmother’s house in his “low-key” car, a black Honda Accord. It had been a week since he had seen her. Mrs. Michaela Reynolds was a withering 78 years old. She was diagnosed with kidney cancer, causing her to have to be given dialysis treatments three times a week. James also hired a nurse to care for her full time at home. He got out the car and walked up the steps of the porch, unlocking the door and walking inside. He saw his brother Joshua sitting on the couch.

“Josh what you doing here?” he asked as they exchanged pounds and hugs.

“I came to check on Grandma… what about you?”

“The same. Where is she?”

“She in her room sleeping. Keisha just put her to bed and went to the store.” James then heard a noise in the kitchen. “Who else is here?”

Joshua looked at the ground as the weight of his brother’s question got heavier on him. By the reaction, James knew who it was. He walked into the kitchen and saw his mother Jamie sitting at the table eating a sandwich.

“Why are you in my grandmother’s house?”

“Look James I just need…”

“You need to just be leaving. Go to your own Mama house!”

“James, look… I was in the area and I wanted to see you and Josh. Since I know that you won’t come to my house, I came over here. I was also hungry so I got a sandwich. Even you wouldn’t let me starve James, would you?” Jamie looked at her son square in the eye. This was the trick she used to get Joshua to let her into the house.

“Jamie what did I tell you the last time you saw me?” I told you to go as far away from me as possible. This is my area. This is a restricted area for you.”

“So what you gonna do James? You… you gonna kill me like those other people you done killed? Like you killed Charles?” she asked with a smile as she continued to look him in the eye. But what surprised her was the shade of darkness that she saw in his pupils.

“If you know that much about what I do… then why do you continue to push your limits?” he asked her, seeing her shake in fear. “Jamie I am going to ask you to leave. Take your sandwich and go.”

“Well I need some money because my light bill is due.”

“Okay go get a job! Now get your shit together and get the fuck out!!”

Jamie gathered her things and walked out the kitchen. James walked her to the door. “You just like your damn Daddy! You a low-down nigga!!” she said as she seethed. James smiled as he leaned into her face.

“But the difference is that he loved you too much so he couldn’t kill you. I don’t love you enough not to!!!”

James slammed the door shut in her face and locked it. Joshua looked at his brother and saw a look of anger and fear.

“She still our Mama bruh.”

“I know that is why I make sure that her bills are paid and that she has food. She has no reason to be over here outside of whatever nigga she is currently fuckin’ pushing her to hit people up for money. She ain’t come over here once when Grandma first got sick. Didn’t do nothing for nobody once in her life and always got her hands out.”

“Damn bruh you starting to sound like the Old Boy.”

They laughed as they walked into the bedroom to check on their grandmother. They opened the door and saw she was still sleeping, bundled up under her covers so they left her to continue resting. When they came out to the living room, they saw Keisha, the nurse coming through the door.

“Hey brothers,” she greeted them.

“What’s up Keisha,” Joshua said.

“Yeah what’s up Keisha” James also replied. They both looked her up and down. Keisha was a great looking woman. She stood about 5’ 7”, weighed 150 lbs., and had caramel brown skin and a short blonde cut.   

“If you guys are hungry, I bought one of those rotisserie chickens and some veggies for your Grandma and since I figured one of you would be here, I bought some rice and mash potatoes.”

Both brothers looked Keisha up and down as she walked into the kitchen and set the table.

“Could you guys go wash up and get Ms. Mickey’s table together near her chair so she can eat?”

The brothers did what she asked as she walked into the room and got their grandmother’s vitamin dosages together. Once they were done with their tasks, Joshua helped Keisha with their grandmother as she walked to the living room to her chair. Ms. Mickey fussed as they made her get up from her bed and walk out to the chair. Once they got her into her chair, they gave her a glass of pomegranate and cranberry juice mixed with water and her vitamins. She took them all in a couple of gulps. James then returned with two marijuana joints and a lighter.

“Now here is my real medicine,” Ms. Mickey said teasingly, making all of them laugh. James lit the first joint and they watched her inhale slowly.

“All my life I would tell people this was the devil. Now I wonder why I lived so long without it.” They all chuckled as the marijuana always made her cheerful and talkative. Once she was done, Joshua walked in with her food on the plate. She ate her food and then lit the second joint. After that, she watched some television, but was too tired from her dialysis to do anything else. They all helped her back to bed and sat with her till she fell off to sleep. Once the light snores echoed, they tiptoed out of the room. Joshua got a phone call from some of his friends.

“Hey bruh, let me hold your car so I can check out this breezy,” he told his brother.

“When you go be back?”

“Prolly around like one or two.”

James handed him the keys and watched him leave. Once they saw him pull away, he and Keisha sat on the couch on opposite ends.

“Why are you so far away?” Keisha asked him. James smiled and sat closer to her and kissed her. Their kissing intensified quickly.

“Wanna go in the room?” she asked as she felt him loosen the tie on her scrub pants.

“Yeah…”

They got up and walked into the bedroom down the hall from Ms. Mickey’s. The moment they closed and locked the door, they moved to the bed and kissed one another.  They undressed each other and lay on the bed as their hunger for one another took over. He slipped his hand between her legs and found her moist folds, running his fingers up and down her wetness. Keisha bit down on his shoulder as his fingers slid inside of her, causing her to moan. He slipped down to his knees and slowly stroked her wetness with his tongue, Keisha’s body shivering the entire time. Keisha put her hands behind his head as he worked her clit with his tongue. Keisha grinded on his face as James pushed his tongue into her core. The heat of her center combined with the coolness of his tongue made Keisha’s orgasm grow all the more powerful as spasms ripped through her body with considerable force. Her juices coated James’s lips and chin. He planted another kiss on her lower lips before rubbing his face in the new grown hairs on her pussy. He lifted himself onto his fists while Keisha slid underneath him and took his dick into her mouth. James, half standing, half leaning on the bed, let the warmth of her mouth and tongue massage the shaft of his dick.

“Wait baby wait… I gotta sit down for this,” James told her as she giggled and they switched positions. Keisha took a hold of the shaft and slowly slid her mouth over the head. James’s eyes rolled in the back of his head as the warmth of her mouth spread through his loins. She continued to pleasure him slowly, taking her own pleasure in the groans and pained expressions on his face. After a few more minutes of the sweet torture, she paused to roll the condom down his shaft with her mouth. Once she completed that, James pulled her up towards his face to kiss her while his dick and her pussy grinded against one another. James reached between them and positioned himself at her wet entrance. Keisha felt where he was and slid down on his dick.

“AAAHHH!!!” she howled as his dick filled her core in one massive stroke. Keisha’s hips gyrated and grinded down on James at a frenetic pace. James responded by pumping his hips upwards into hers.

“Fuck me Daddy… fuck me good!!!” she whispered in his ears. James reversed their positions and started to go missionary.

“No… no baby. You know how I like it!” she told him as she pushed him off of her. James complied and turned her over on her stomach and slipped inside of her, causing her to moan loudly. James took hold of her small waist and slammed against her big brown ass cheeks. Keisha used her inner muscles to squeeze down on his shaft, making his slam into her at a more violent pace causing the headboard to bang against the wall. James then slowed his pace as he remembered his grandmother was in the other room down the hall.

“I want it harder baby…” Keisha moaned as James continued his slow assault on her pussy. She responded by grinding her ass against him when he pulled out. “I want you fuck me harder.” Her angelic voice on his ears, her tight pussy on his dick and the tingle in his legs told him to comply.

Fuck it, he thought as it became too much. James grabbed a hold of her right leg and slammed into her with reckless abandon. The mixture of pain and pleasure forced Keisha to bite and scream into a nearby pillow. As James continued to plow into her, her body did a familiar spasm as she jerked forward and her legs locked as her lower body shook and quivered from the orgasm. James’s speed increased as well when he felt his own orgasm tear through his loins powerfully. Both of them were sweaty and out of breath.

“I hope we didn’t wake her up,” James finally said as they both laughed.

“Remember the other time she caught us?” Keisha asked him.

“When, a few weeks ago or a few years ago?”

They both laughed again as Keisha remembers losing her virginity in the same bedroom they were currently in when she was 16. Ms. Mickey walked in on them lying naked in the bed. She told Keisha to get dressed and beat James with the broomstick for sneaking a girl into her house.

“Yes… she hit you about thirty times with that broom!”

They laughed at the memory. “You know that’s the only person I let hit me.”

Keisha slapped him on the shoulder. “What you gon’ do, nigga?”

“Aiight keep playing… remember what happened last time when I slammed you up…”

They stared at one another and kissed again. James got out the bed and walked to the bathroom. He took off the condom and flushed it down the toilet before relieving himself. He walked back into the bedroom and found Keisha sleeping. He lay down and pulled the covers over them.

******************************************

Joshua was leaving Cheetah’s Gentleman’s Club in Hallandale Beach. One of his boys that played in the NBA had come to town to hang out and chill. What was supposed to be a couple of buddies catching up turned into a strip club V.I.P. Room extravaganza. They had at least thirty women in the room with them and all of them danced and drank. Some even had sex with them, with Joshua receiving some oral sex from one of them. He had stopped drinking about an hour before he left the club, refusing offers from everyone else to drive him home. He got in the car; driving onto the southbound extension of I-95, headed towards his grandmother’s house. He checked his watch and saw it was after four in the morning. Feeling some hunger pains, he got off in Miami Gardens and drove towards the nearest Checker’s. When he got his sandwich meal, he drove back towards I-95 and once again got into the southbound lanes. Not knowing if it was paranoia due to his inebriation or what, but he got the sense that there was a car following him. He drove down past another exit and looked in the rearview mirror and saw it on his left side, yet still a distance away. So he drove on to his exit and got off. As he drove through the intersection, relieved he wasn’t pulled over by the cops, someone rear ended the car. He looked up and saw it was the same car that he saw on the highway!

Joshua sped away and turned down Little River Drive with them on his trail. He took the curve and figured he’d lost his assailants when several bullets struck the car. Joshua felt two searing hot objects burn through his flesh as he spotted the dark sporty coupe speeding away. Joshua turned down another street attempting to give chase to the car. As he made it to the main intersection, his vision started to fail him. The harder he fought to see, the more his other motor skills failed him. His fingers locked onto the steering wheel and his heart rate rose along with his adrenaline and pulse due to the amount of blood he’d lost. Battling his body with his motivation to catch his assailants, his vision finally gave way and the car came to a crashing stop into one of the mini plazas on 17th avenue.

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