Dirty Money

So I’m driving around Compton, down South Willowbrook to pick up Blue Jay on the corner of Alondra.

I light my Camels cigarette and I’m driving chill down the avenue, bumping some old school rap, Run DMC to be specific, ‘Down With The King’ to be exact, drinking a red cup full of Heineken, old school rap was when rap was for real, the shit they make these days is gay.

Driving around these parts of Compton is bad for your health, if you don’t belong around here, or if people here don’t know you, and if you’re on the wrong street, wearing the wrong color.

Me? My Crip Cab is well known by the natives. It’s a 57 Chevy, back when cars were real cars, made of real metal, instead of this faggoty fiber glass shit, blue paint, blue interior, yellow ‘taxi cab’ in Old English, black and yellow taxi sign on top, and a decent sound system in the trunk.

Being a self employed cabby is cool, no boss, set your own hours, make money, and you meet interesting people.

I pull up to the curb. Blue Jay is dressed formal, in a two piece suit. I get out of my cab.

“Sup Vin,” he says to me.

He gave me the grip and a fist bump.

“What’s crackin big Jay,” I said. I nodded my head in approval, “You clean up good Nigga.”

He shoots me a smile. I pull out my Camels and offered him one. He lights it and takes a drag.

Jay is a big boy, 23 years old, six feet three inches, built body like a bull, dark skin, short trimmed hair, looks like floating white teeth at night, he looks like the type you don’t want to fuck with, and you don’t, he’s born and raised in the hood, everybody around Compton knows Blue Jay, he’s trying to make his way out of the hood. He’s got a look to him though, exotic, due to his ancestry I guess, model-like. He got stopped by a talent agent walking around Downtown LA. So we’re going down to get his head shots, so he can sign up with this modeling agency.

“I hope they take me man,” he said.

“I don’t see why not. Ain’t like people need a high school education to look like a model man.”

“Yeah. You right,” he laughs. “Ay, stop by Lamar’s pad before we take off man. I gotta pick up some shit.”

“Right. I got Heineken in the cab bro, red cups. Come on.”

So we get into the cab. He’s pouring his Heineken in his red cup, “Lamar’s got some skunk man.” He flicks his half smoked cigarette out the window.

“Ha. For reals. That’s gunna fuck up my new car smell man,” I pull from the curb, got back on the road.

“That shit’s legal now though. I ain’t never think it’d be in my life time,” he said.

“You know! California be gettin pretty liberal these days.”

We make a few turns to Lamar’s place, a block away, and pull up to the curb in front of his house. Lamar’s out on the porch drinking a 40 ouncer.

“Hot damn nigga! Look at you dawg,” Lamar says to Blue Jay. “Where you going–”

Jay gots this embarrassed smile on his face. We walk up to the porch, exchange grips and fist bumps.

“Going to get his face shot in LA,” I said for Blue Jay.

“Get my head shots for some modeling agency,” Jay says.

“Model? Is that right? I’ll be damned.”

“Ay, let me get some of that skunk nigga,” Blue Jay hands Lamar some cash.

“Alright. Come to my office real quick.”

“I’ll be out here,” I spark up another Camels and sit on the porch as the two of them walk inside the house to Lamar’s room.

We take off a few minutes later with a fat bag of skunk weed. Man, the smell is so strong, that shit reeks through the plastic bag and fills the whole cab up in a stink.

So I’m driving my way back out to Imperial Highway so I can grab the 110 to LA. Blue Jay’s rolling us a fat joint in the passenger seat. I took a few quick tokes of the joint, but not too much you know, cuz I gotta be driving and shit, and I’ve already been drinking, and I gotta get our asses up to LA, so this nigga can be a model.

By the end of the day we get his head shots and body shots and had them printed. We drove down to the modeling agency late in the afternoon and turned Blue Jay’s shots and negatives in. They give him the contract to sign right there on the spot. I told him they’d take him. Like I said, he gots that look.

He had a big grin on his face all the way home.

I dropped him off at at the corner and tell him I’ll catch him later during the week, cuz I gotta go to LAX and pass out business cards and fliers all day to promote my cab service. He left my crip cab one happy nigga.

***

I spent the whole day passing out business cards and fliers to people, taping my fliers everywhere I can tape them.

I take my lunch break at noon. After lunch, I like to walk around the terminals to hit on foreign chicks.

There’s something wrong with our American girls, how they act all stuck up, like they too good to talk to you or something. But them foreign girls: they’re not only beautiful, but genuinely friendly. They love Americans.

I look for Russians. Russian girls are probably the hottest females on the planet. Russians and Brazilians. I like those Brazilian fat female asses. But sometimes, not even a big fat ass compares to the beauty of a fine blonde Russian girl with big tits.

So I’m chilling after my lunch break looking for Russian girls to spit game on. I got an excuse to go up and talk to the bitches too, cuz I drive a cab and shit, and most often, they need rides.

I see this fine ass Russian girl waiting around by herself without her luggage. So I go to hit her up and shit.

“What’s up girl,” I says to her. I gave her my taxi card, “You need a ride girl? I’ll give you a ride, you know what I’m sayin?”

She didn’t understand the American innuendo appended to my statement. That’s the only problem with foreign girls. They speak English good, but they ain’t savvy savvy with the vernacular parlance. So I adapt my vocabulary and way of talking to how they talk. Talk like a nigga around niggas, and talk professional around professionals.

She says to me, “Oh, no thank you,” in a Russian accent, “I’m waiting for my sister. I’m picking her up.”

Cute girl. In her late 20s. Blonde hair, tight blue jeans, holster top, and heels. Hot bitch. Curves, tits. Pretty green eyes.

“Sister. Is that right? So you live here?”

“Yes.”

“So, does your sister need a boyfriend. I own my own business. I can take care of her.”

She laughs, covers her mouth, and says to me, “No, she has no boyfriend. What kind of business you own?”

“Taxi cab business,” I said. “My name’s Vincent Kelley by the way. What’s yours?” I give her my hand to shake.

She shakes my hand and says, “Varinka Sabaneyeva.” She gives me a smile.

“Varinka. Beautiful name. What’s your sister’s name?”

“Annushka.”

“Annushka. Tell you what Varinka. I have to get back to work. I’ll give you my number. You give it to your sister, and tell her I’ll show her around California.”

“Okay.”

So I gave Varinka my number, and went back to work passing out fliers.

An hour later, I get a call on my business phone. I got two cells, one personal and one for the taxi business.

“Vincent’s Taxi Service. Vincent here. You need a ride? I’m at LAX right now.”

“Perfect, so am I. I found one of your fliers. Where are you parked at Vincent?” The guy sounded like he was from the East Coast, New York or Bostonian accent, I can’t tell. Strong deep voice. I can tell he was a businessman from his commanding voice. He’ll probably be in an expensive suit.

We communicated, and eventually found each other. Yeah, businessman, professional, expensive suit, six feet tall, greying blonde hair, White dude.

“Ed?” I asked the guy.

“Vincent?” he reached his hand out, and gave me a strong grip.

“I’ll help you with your bags Ed. I go by Vin.”

“Vin it is. That won’t be necessary Vin. I don’t have any bags. I travel light.”

The guy hands me $200, two crisp unfolded hundred dollar bills, from out of a long wallet inside his suit jacket.

I take the money, “Shit. With this, we can go anywhere in Southern California you want Ed.”

“Great. Sounds good. I have a lot of places to go. I like working with the same face. Are you going to be available for the next few days Vin?”

“Yep. You got my number. I’ll pick you up wherever, whenever.”

“Excellent. Let’s stop by and get a drink first in Downtown LA somewhere. I’m going to need a couple suits.”

“Gotcha. I’ll take you to a bar in LA. Cool place. We’ll head down to Wilshire after. There’s a few places that have suits.”

“Sounds good Vin. We’ll get along fine,” Ed gives me a smile and pats my shoulder.

We start walking to my cab. He’s chewing gum. He’s got this relaxed and confident look and attitude to him. His head doesn’t move around a lot, sign of a man with high status. His eyes move around, checking people out, and he has a constant smile on his face. Says hello to random people as we walk out the building to the parking structure.

So I took this guy to the bar I was telling him about. He buys the both of us drinks, then buys everyone in the bar drinks, and passes the barista $200 dollars. This guy was loaded.

Says he’s from New Jersey, come to visit his sister. After the bar we drive down to Wilshire to get his suits. On the way there I was seriously contemplating driving him down to Compton, me and the niggas rob him and shit, take his shoes and everything. I’ll play it cool though and feel him out for a while.

As I’m waiting outside for this guy Ed to buy his suits, I got Blue Jay on the phone, telling him about this dude, how he’s fucking loaded, gave me two bills, spending bills left and right and shit. Blue Jay says to bring him down. I told Blue Jay we’ll do it later, I gotta get a feel for him first, see what he’s up to.

Ed comes back to the cab with large bags. Suits inside. I put the bags in my trunk.

“Where’s your hotel Ed? The sun’s going down soon.”

“Didn’t book one. I was thinking of staying at a Casino. Have a little fun, before we head down to my see my sister.”

“Casino Morongo? It’s way out in the Reservation. About 70 miles from here. One and a half hours.”

“Let’s do it,” he hands me another bill.

On the way to Morongo we small talk. I don’t like pushing people to talk about their lives, if they don’t talk it themselves. Some people, like this guy Ed, live private lives and you gotta respect that privacy.

Ed just talked about golfing in the cab, and about the places he’s traveled to, and the beautiful women he’s been with in different countries. We were debating on which country had the most beautiful girls in the world. I told him Russia.

Ed says, “Russia’s second. Have you ever been to Sweden Vin?

“Nah, never,” I said.

“After you’re done with me, take a vacation and visit Sweden,” he says to me, “the ugliest girls there make our 10s look like 5s. Friendly girls. The girls that work in their corner convenient stores look like super models. And they all speak English. They love Americans. Friendly. I was riding the bus once after I got off the plane to go to my hotel. Met a beautiful thing on the bus. After talking with her for a few minutes, she left with me to my hotel and let me fuck her. They’re friendly Vin.”

I gave him a smirk, “Sweden huh?” I nodded in contemplation. Yeah… I’m gunna have to give Sweden a visit.

After the drive to Morongo I ended up liking Ed. He turned out to be a cool guy. Not because he was giving me bills left and right, but cuz there was something about him that was genuine and cool. Nah… I can’t rob him.

So we book rooms at Morongo. I took off to get some dinner at their food court. Ed disappeared into the floor somewhere. Said he was going to play cards all night. I smoked a Camels and people watched for a while. I was never into gambling. I’m checking out the girls walking around. Thinking about Sweden.

Tomorrow we gotta drive all the way down to Las Vegas, where Ed’s sister lives. They were going to meet up at Circus Circus of all casinos. So I went up into my room early to book us two rooms there.

I never asked Ed about what he did for a living. He didn’t talk about it. But something about him and this whole thing was off. Why do you meet a sister at a run down casino and not her house? And why does a guy with so much money to burn travel with no clothes and shit?

I text Ed and told him I was turning in early for the drive tomorrow. He said I was a wimp in his text back to me, and said he’ll turn in later after a few more drinks and rounds.

***

So I’m driving down to Vegas. Ed is asleep in the back seat. He stayed up all night I guess at Morongo. Party animal. I’m smoking a Camels with the windows down. It was a hot summer day, hot dry wind passing thru the cab. A few little white clouds in the sky. Endless fields of mesquite for miles and miles. I had the radio on, on some alternative music station Ed liked. What a weirdo. He’s around 50 at least and he likes that shit.

We finally made it to Vegas, and we make our way to Circus Circus to check in. Ed crashed in his room and said he’ll be up tomorrow. So I figured I’ll walk around the strip, hang out at the Stardust all day, and go visit a cathouse later for some pussy. Might as well, since I’m here. I don’t gamble.

The next day, I’m waiting in the cab in the parking structure at 1PM as Ed had instructed. I saw him walking over to me with a large leather duffle bag. He was wearing one of the suits he bought in LA, a dark blue one. He had on a different suit before meeting up with his sister. Why did he change suits? He opens the door and gets in.

“Let’s go on the strip,” he says to me. He throws the duffle bag in the back seat.

I didn’t ask him what the duffle bag was. I knew what he’d tell me: his “sister” gave it to him. Yeah right. I didn’t ask him what was in it either. My gut instinct by now had told me I was in something big and dirty and I was just the driver.

He didn’t look confident anymore. His head moved around, looking around, as if he was paranoid.

“You alright Ed? Want a cigarette?” I offered him a Camels. I noticed small spots of blood stains on his fingers.

“Yeah…” he took one, lit it and took a long drag, “I need to stop by the Yucca real quick. To have a talk with my sister’s husband.”

He took out a wet-nap from his jacket pocket, tore the little packet and wiped the blood spots off his fingers, then threw the wet-nap outside the window.

Then a large zip-lock bag. He pulled it out of his inner Jacey pocket. It had a knife in it. A very blood stained knife. He put on some latex gloves, removed the knife, and used more wet-naps to clean it, wiping the blood and handle clean of finger prints. He threw the knife outside as we drove to the Yucca, some piece of shit motel.

“Let me see your lighter,” he said. “Pull over real quick.”

I gave him my lighter and pulled over. He opened the door and went half way out, and began to burn the zip-lock bag and latex gloves.

I’m trying not to watch or stare. Just keeping my eyes on the look out. I know I’m for sure unknowingly involved in something. I can smell the odor of burnt plastic, and see black smoke rise. He steps on the burnt plastic. I can hear he’s rubbing the shit into the dirt.

“Let’s go Vin. Yucca.”

“Right.”

He get’s in, closes the door, I take off to the Yucca motel, it’s a shitty motel out in the desert, I’ve stayed in it a few times, Ed’s reaching into the back, and I hear him unzip the bag, and I’m thinking he’s probably gunna pull out a gun on me or something, my heart’s pounding, I keep my cool.

“Heads up,” he says, tossing at me a bundle of money into my lap.

It was a bundle of fresh brand new $100 bills, $10,000. I looked over at Ed nodding with a smile on my face, “You know what Ed, you alright man,” I said to him. I meant it too. I put the bundle in my pocket.

“You’re gunna visit Sweden right?”

“Fuck yeah, now that I got my vacation money,” I tap my pocket and look at Ed whose smiling back at me, “I’m buying a ticket as soon as we get back to Cali.”

“Got another cigarette Vin.”

I pass him one and my lighter, he lights it up and takes a drag. He’s calmed down and back to his regular confident self, doesn’t look scared anymore. I ain’t too worry about getting busted for being an accomplice to a homicide, I’m just a cab driver. I don’t know shit.

So we make it to the shitty motel and Ed tells me, “Don’t park. Keep the engine on. I’ll be back in a second.” He opens the door and puts a foot out.

So I says to him, “Right. I’m gunna turn the car around and get ready. Ed…” Ed looks back at me, and I gesture with my head to the glove compartment, “I got a glock 9 in the glove.”

He opens the glove compartment and looks at the glock and nods with a smile, “You know what Vin, you’re all right,” he says, “already got one though. But you see Igor in that black car? Fuck him up if he follows me into the room.”

“Gotcha.”

Ed closed the cab door. I turn around. I’m watching him in my rear view mirror, he walks casually toward a motel room, still smoking his cigarette, he juts his chin at Igor, who returns the gesture, they’re all probably acquainted business partners, if you know what I mean.

Now I really, really know I’m involved in something big. I got a duffle bag full of $10,000 bundles in my back seat, a rich New Jersey guy who probably knifed a woman to death back at Circus Circus, and now they’re Russians involved. The dude in the parked black car behind me, looks Russian, he has a light brown beard.

This place is a dump. The motel building itself looks like shitty homes built during the 50s or something, just tan in color with ugly brown doors. Interestingly, it’s in between the Little Chapel of the Flowers and some “adult movies” shindig.

I’m watching Igor in my rear view mirror, whose watching me and smoking a cigarette. He takes his phone out and I see the motherfucker take a picture of my cab. He’s got my license plate number now. Motherfucker! I reach over into my glove compartment and pull out my glock 9. I’m gunna get that phone or poke hole in him. I don’t want Russians on my door step, they probably have a program or crooked cop who can trace those numbers.

As I grabbed my glock, I heard seven quick gun shots: pop pop… pop pop pop.. pop pop!

I said, “Fuck!”

I’m thinking Ed got popped.

I gotta take off!

Igor ain’t following me either. Fuck that shit.

So I put the crip cab in reverse and step on the pedal. I’m backing up right into Igor’s door. I’m gunna knock him out so the motherfucker doesn’t follow me for the money. That shit’s mine now! Ed’s dead.

BAM!

My rear drove right into the black car driver section. I put the cab in forward and take off, looking at the room Ed was in just in case he was still alive. I’d wait for him. Nobody came out. I’m gone. The black car had a big dent in it, and Igor’s out cold.

I make my way onto the freeway, but I’m headed in the opposite direction, going to Mesquite which is a little town by the Utah border of 2000 people. I don’t wanna take any chances of Russian mobsters chasing me down and gunning me on the freeway. If there are more of them, they’ll think I’m headed for California.

So I pulled up into a quiet street in Mesquite. I’m gunna hang out till sun set and head back to Cali in the darkness of night so no Igors see me. The crip cab is pretty distinct.

I light a Camels and take a drag to calm myself. My nerves are jittery. I’m a little nervous about looking in the duffle bag. I still got my glock in my hand.

I step out of my driver seat and walk to the back seat, open the back door, and looked around to make sure nobody was watching me, and I sit in the back next to the bag, and I look inside.

Nothing but cash.

A fucking bag stuffed with freshly cut $10,000 bundles. I took out 10 bundles, that’s $100,000 right there… and there was more, a shit ton more money in the bag. At least a million. I grabbed the $100,000 and walk to my trunk, and hid them inside my spare tire compartment.

I couldn’t contain myself. I screamed out, “Whoo hoo! Fuck yeah!” real loud.

Man, I love being a cabby. I flicked my unfinished Camels to the ground, a huge grin’s on my face, I’m dancing around the sidewalk and singing, “Charlie don’t surf and we think he should, Charlie don’t surf and you know that it ain’t no good…”

I went back into the back seat to search the bag some more, there were zippers on the inside. I unzipped a section of the bag and found a hard drive of a computer and 3 flash drives. In another zipped compartment I found several passports, four of them, I’m looking at the passport pictures and they’re all of the same woman, each passport had a different name, saying she came from a different country. There wasn’t anything else in the bag.

Okay. So I’m trying to put the pieces of the puzzle together. I walk out of the cab, close the door, and pace around outside along the sidewalk. Ed’s from the East Coast, he killed some woman with multiple identities, I don’t think the Russian mob has female members, and I don’t think they can produce fake passports, I’m thinking she’s a spy of some kind, not Russian cuz she didn’t look Russian, Ed didn’t look like he was mob affiliated, must have been a spy too, but Igor was Russian, maybe Russian mafia?

Who cares. My mind’s thinking of the mess I left back there at the Yucca. I should have taken Igor’s phone so his people can’t find me, they’ll be looking for their money. Ed’s phone has my number. Fuck. When the cops get to the crime scene they’ll have that shit. I’m not too worried about that though: I’m a cab driver, I heard shots, I got scared, I took off. That’s my story.

And then Ed calls me.

Or his phone called me. Okay… now I’m worried. My heart’s pounding.

I’m thinking if I should answer it… third ring.

“Vincent’s Taxi Service. Need a ride?”

“Hello Vincent,” it wasn’t Ed. Some dude with a thick Russian accent, “I tink you hyav sometink dat belonks to us. Can you turn around. We hyav your license plate number.”

“What? You mean the bag in my back seat?”

“Yies, da bag.”

“Oh, no, no. That’s Ed’s bag. He told me to deliver it to somebody.”

“Who?”

I hung up.

Now I’m nervous and scared. There’s more of them. They got Ed’s phone. And my license number. Shit just got fucked up.

I get into my cab. I ain’t gunna stay around. I get back on the road and make my way to the freeway. I’m gunna drive into Utah until sun down, then turn around and head for Cali.

So I took my personal phone out and made a call.

“Hey Blue Jay… remember that dude I picked up at the airport?”

“Sup Vin. Yeah… what happened?”

“He’s dead–”

“Dead?”

“Yeah. He got wacked by the Russian Mafia. Dude left a duffle bag with a million dollars in it–”

“What the fuck!?”

“Hey I’m in deep shit. They just called me. They want their money back. I’ma head back down to Cali in 5 hours. They’re looking for me. They got my license plate number.”

“They gunna trace that shit?”

“Most likely.”

“Ain’t no biggy dawg. We’ll take care of that shit.”

“Cool. I’ll stop by your pad with the money.”

“Cool. I’ll call some of the niggas over later.”

“Yeah. I gotta go man. Be there in 5 hours.”

“Right right,” Jay hangs up.

So as I’m driving into Utah, I get a call from Ed’s phone again.

“Vincent… we know where you live. We’ll be there soon.”

“Cool. Yeah come over. I’ll give you a call back and give you directions later to pick up the bag if you want it. I’m too far into California to turn back.”

“Okay. Good,” he hangs up.

After driving into Utah until dark, I turned the cab around and drive back to Cali. To Compton. I don’t care who you are, mafia or whatever, it’s perilous for White boys to be walking around certain parts of Compton.

So back in Cali, I pull up to Blue Jay’s pad and parked inside his parking lot. Blue Jay lives in a run down apartment complex. The complex is full of niggas. All crips. All from the same gang.

I plopped the duffle bag on Blue Jay’s coffee table and opened it, then sat on the sofa and took a drag of my Camels, “Look inside dawg.”

“What the fuck!?” him and his girl said together.

“Over a million bucks, I reckon. $10,000 a bundle.”

“What the fuck. What’s going on?” his girl said.

“I don’t know. The guy Ed said he was gunna talk to his sister at Circus Circus, he knifes her, I saw the knife and the bloody spots on his hand, then he goes to some motel and talks to some Russian, next thing I heard 7 gun shots, Ed’s dead, and I got this bag. The bitch he wacked was like a spy or something, she gots four different passports in that bag. There’s a hard drive and three flash drives too.”

“Baby get your laptop,” Blue Jay said. So Jay’s looking at the bitch’s passports and the computer shit.

We popped the flash drives into the laptop, but couldn’t read anything. It was all encrypted.

“I told the Russians I’d call them later to give them direction to pick up the bag,” I said.

Blue Jay snickered and look at his girl, “Yeah, White guys in the hood. Bring them down here man. Let them take their bag. Like we gunna give up a million bucks without a fight nigga!”

“I’ll call them up right now then, yeah?”

“Yeah, do it. Tell them we’ll meet them on the corner of west Indigo and Alameda Street West. Google it if they need directions. This ain’t no place for Russians to be getting lost in.”

I nodded, “Hey, pass out some of the money to the niggas and tell them to be at that corner for back up.”

“Right right.”

So I called the Russians over and gave them directions, Blue Jay took the bag outside into the complex to distribute the cash, I joined him outside after the call, and me and Blue Jay raise ourselves an army of gangbangers.

There was a grip of us in blue, most are strapped, and we make our way to hang out at the corner of Indigo and Alameda for our guests to appear. There’s some empty fields there, and a warehouse.

It’s already dark, and I’m tired as fuck, but I’m too nervous and excited to feel tired cuz my adrenaline is pumping. We’re drinking 40 ouncers at the corner, talking shit, and scoping the place for cars that pull up.

After an hour, some car with four guys parks at the curb by the warehouse. They walk out of their cars in civilian attire. They looked Russian. Two of the men had shaved heads, one was big and buff, the other was some skinny geek with glasses, probably the dude who messes around with the hard drive and shit. Stupid motherfuckers.

They’re looking around. They notice their surrounded by 60 niggas, all around them.

“Sup man. You lost!?” One of the niggas yelled out. There was a burst of laughs.

“We’re here to see Vincent,” one of the Russians said, “We just want the bag, and we leave. No problems guys. We’ll give everybody some of the money.”

“Come and get it,” Blue Jay said out loud. He drops the bag at his feet. He’s got a glock in his hand.

The Russians looked at each other, and didn’t move.

“I told you motherfuckers to come and get it,” Blue Jay says, “cross the motherfucking street and come get the shit man!”

“Look, we don’t want any trouble guys–”

I charge at them, “Jump ’em!”

Next thing you know niggas ran into the four Russians from every side. We’re yelling, and the Russians are eating a rain of fists.

“Drag the motherfuckers in the car,” Blue Jay says, “blindfold them, take ’em to the pad.”

So we shove them in two different cars, blind folded them, took their car, and took them back to the apartment complex. They were fucked up, face all bloody, nose and mouth bleeding.

We take them to one of the niggas pad and shove them to the floor in the living room.

“Look guys, we don’t want trouble. You guys keep the money. We just want the hard drive and flash drives. Look, we can get more money. More money guys. A million more,” one of Russians with the shaved heads said.

“More money–” me and Blue Jay said.

“Yeah. More money. I can bring more money. You take the money and give us the drives, and we forget this all happened.”

Everybody in the room nodded their heads.

“Alright,” I said, “You got till sun rise to get that money here. When the sun comes up and you ain’t back with the money, your three friends are dead, and we’re destroying the drives. You hear me?”

“Yes. I hear you. I’ll come back.”

So I check his pockets, take out his wallet, remove his drivers license, this guy was a resident, he spoke better English with a light Russian accent. I take a picture of his license with my phone.

“You live at this address on your license?” I said.

“Yes.”

“If you get the cops involved, or bring down more of your boys, we’ll go to your house, ass fuck your wife in front of you, ass fuck your daughter in front of you if you have one, shoot their heads off, cut your dick off, make you suck on it, and then kill you. You hear me?”

“Yeah. No funny business. I’ll get the money.”

“Right then. Let’s do it yeah?” I look over at Blue Jay.

“Yeah. I’ll take this dude with some of the niggas and go with him.”

“Cool.”

They left with the bald Russian. I’m babysitting the other three. I spark up another Camels, and sit on the sofa with some of the other niggas. I small talk the Russians.

“You know, I have some respect for your criminal enterprise. How you guys control and influence the Russian government. It’s a beautiful thing. Reminds me of what’s happening in Mexico with the drug cartels. Some day it’ll happen here too. Just a matter of time. It takes a lot of money and a whole political system to suppress human instinct. When that money and system weakens, crime will just grow, and the most criminally organized group will take control of the system. It’s fucking beautiful.”

So three hours later, Blue Jay and the bald Russian come back. With another bag of money. Jay tosses the new bag on the sofa for us with a big smirk.

“Let ’em go,” Blue Jay says.

We untie the other three guys.

I hand them the drives, “We all cool fellas? Nobody retaliates or kills anybody? No problems?”

“Yeah. No problems. No retaliation. We’re cool.”

“Right then. You’re car’s outside,” Blue Jay says.

The four Russians leave.

We’re standing there, looking at the new bag, and each other, big grins all around.

“God fucking damn!” Blue Jay yells out. The rest join in the cheering.

“I’m going to Sweden after this!” I said.

So we divvy up the two bags of money the rest of the night amongst everybody. Smoking blunts and drinking. The living room is packed with homeboys getting their share.

At some point, before sunrise, after we divvied everything and were talking about our money and what we’ll be doing with it, Blue Jay’s girl said something.

“Hold up… hold up,” she said. She had one of those pens that checks for fake money, “oh hell no! Nigga this money’s fake!”

We all looked at her, then at our money in our hands. Then everybody looked at me.

“What? Come on guys. How was I supposed to know?”

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