Read Aftermath Online

Authors: S. W. Frank

Tags: #Literature & Fiction, #United States, #African American, #Romance, #Anthologies

Aftermath (35 page)

BOOK: Aftermath
5.24Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

She tried not to think about Shanda. Calls to her cell went unanswered and she gave up trying to reach out to her friend. Giuseppe of course, didn’t take the news well and fumed like a madman then flew out to New York. Shanda, the frightened heffa moved and didn’t leave a forwarding address and this set Giuseppe off. He had men searching the entire city for the woman and went so far as have
them
staked outside her brother and parents’ home. But, Shanda was gone. Vanished in thin air and the cryptic words at the airport rung over and over like the chime of a church
bell in Selange’s head.

You were always the optimist, the one who’d say, people can change their circumstances. Many are just too scared or lazy to try
…”

That was Shanda’
s
good-bye. Perhaps she couldn’t do it
,
have a child with
someone in the
mafia
and
feared her father
’s reaction and
decided to leave. Goodness, Selange wished
her friend
would have stayed to face
things
ins
tead of running.
What if Giuseppe
isn’t the father
, how w
ould
she know
unless they took the test?

Selange knew first-hand about
it;
she’d made a similar mistake not long ago.

After leaving the pantry she climbed the stairs to the living-room and walked to the patio doors. They were beautiful, stain glass in appearance but fortified with molten steel. She slid them back and let the flowery scent of the new landscaped garden drift inside the home. Alfonzo went crazy upping the security on this place and what he hadn’t thought of in
itially had become
part of the entire estate. The aerial detector, that was the most costly because it was linked to
PR’s satellite, military channels and the FAA. Anything upon approach he’d know and identify as friend or foe.

Jessica and Emilio had taken the kids for
the
day
,
giving Selange a much needed break. She heard the intercom buzz and walked back inside and
removed the high tech device the size of a cell phone from its cradle on a kitchen wall.  On the video screen she could see the security guard and simply spoke, “Yes?”

“There’s a visitor Ms. Diaz. He says his name is Mr. Johnson and he’s the father of your friend?”

Selange was given a visual of the man and there indeed was Shanda’s father, hands at his waist and an impatient scowl, “Okay let
him
in.”

The device returned to its place with
a
click, held securely once more
by a strong magnet.

She answered
the doorbell
on the second chime after taking a deep breath because she had an idea what prompted the unexpected visit and wasn’t eager to face
Shanda’s overbearing father.

As soon as
she
opened the
door the
imposing man scanned past her head inside the house searching for a sign of his daughter. There was no pleasant greeting, no hello Selange, how are you? What came from his terse mouth was, “Where is she?”

Selange stepped away from the door. H
e lacked manners, but she did not and invited him in. Mr. Johnson
was a big-wig in NYPD.
Work was his obsession and the years neglecting his family had finally paid off. The coveted position he sought came with the price of alienating his kid.

She sometimes wondered about the girl from Brooklyn who
thought she had everything
figured out
. Most of her plans went astray. L
ife steered her
on
an alternate road
and l
ove led her
here
. The man
she found actually found her. The package upon inspection was not the man she envisioned falling in love with. Hell. He was far better looking. The man like her father, holding down a 9 to 5 was
a
mafia son with
multiple businesses. Yet, the qualities that mattered were
there. He loved her whole-heartedly, was committed to family and generous. He was tough, too. Stubborn as hell but beneath the machismo, Alfonzo is a far better reality than her childhood fantasies and to think she almost blew it.

Her
aspiration to teach in the inner city and shape the minds of the youth
, shifted to making a direct
impact on
st
udents by giving them what they needed to bust through the finish gate
.
They required f
inancial support and
concerned people who actually believed in their abilities
instead of people
study
ing them like specimens in a lab.
Remove
the economic
barriers
and the youth who are
counted out
can shine
. The
privileged
students
wouldn’t appear so
special
then
, now would they?

Money
gives the illusion of
special.

Substandard
trea
tment and
low
expectations
is w
hat
occurs
when you don’t have any.
Rigid
people such as Shanda’s father never change
b
ecause they are followers of another
person’s
rules which
are
often
applied to the poor
.


How
are you
Mr. Johnson
?”
She
asked
graciously, although her mood was sour.

“Where
’s
Shanda
,
Selange? I know she came
here
and we
haven’t heard
from
since
!”

“She
came but never left the airport. S
he
said she had to return home because she was sick
.” Selange said and walked to the sofa
to sit.

Mr. Johnson was not going to rouse her. His intimidation may work with his employees and family but Selange was neither. There were guards a click away if she needed and she’d throw his ass out on his face if she had to.

He puffed out his chest.
Mr. Johnson was
accustomed to getting answers and when he didn’t like the
response, dug in deeper.
“Well she never arrived
.
I know you know where she is.”

Selange’s tone remained calm. Unmoved and unemotional. She once felt affection for
Shanda’s father
but today she was rigid in heart
and a
pillar of stone.

“Then you know
more than
I do
.

The man glared, “Maybe Alfonzo
may have knowledge about
my daughter
!

“I’m sure he doesn’t.
Your statement
is bordering on accusatory, be careful.


Are
you
so in love with
the guy you stopped caring about you
r
friend?

“I can love Alfonzo and care about Shanda. One doesn’t negate the other. It’s your implication that Alfonzo knows where Shanda is that I disagree with.”

“Then girl you’re a fool. The man’s a damn mobster. They make people disappear and my daughter’s missing and the last time I heard from her, she was on her way here.”

In the eyes of
some Alfonzo
was a criminal or infamous, it really depended on what color lens a person wore on any given day. To some he was charitable, a smart businessman, but to Selange he was more, he was an abstract painting. Her intimate knowledge of him made him a work of art.
He had nothing to do with Shanda’s absentia. She was sure of it and Mr. Johnson was far off base. But, hey most rigid thinking people are.

The offensive words did not move her body, instead her mind clicked and loaded a mental gun to its chamber and she fired a retort. “In your ignorance it never crossed your mind your loving daughter packed up and left
on her own free will
. You’re the cop, all you have to do is put the pieces to together if you’re smart. She broke her lease, disconnected her cell and quit her job
. This fool who doesn’t care knows that much.”

Mr. Johnson sputtered. He was unaware Shanda quit her
job;
he thought she took a vacation. But, he didn’t reveal this to the self-assured woman sitting there
. Alfonzo
may not have told her anything. Men like Alfonzo were not stupid, he’d not admit to harming her best friend
. If he
found out about
the recording device, he’d handle it as his kind did,
by killing
.

“It’s tragic to see you like this. You had so much going for you Selange and you’re throwing it all away for a man who’s not worth
a damn. I
was
glad my daughter had a friend like you around…” He scoffed, “I’d hoped you’d be a good influence and rub off on her, but eversince your mom died and you got with this hoodlum you’ve become somebody I don’t want to know or want Shanda
a
round.”

Selange’s eyes
stung from the
statement. The self-righteous bastard!


Okay,
um-hum. I knew that was coming.
It t
ook years to say it didn’t it? Funny, when my mom died
,
you had the chance to
show you c
are
d, but you didn’t. I was on my own. Poof, no emotional support from you, just police jargon about Alfonzo and nothing about how I’m doing. Nope. Yet,
Alfonzo
the hoodlum was there
.
My
tragedy
is
the
belie
f
you
cared.
Y
our daughter
hung
out with thugs and drug-de
alers and you knew it. She was at risk
every day, yet you turned a
blind eye.
The cop couldn’t see the evidence of his neglect right in his face.
I guess if you were my father I’d give a damn about your opinion but you’re not
. M
y father was loving
and
truly
cared. You, Mr. Johnson are not my father and your thoughts don’t
fucking
matter
!”


Your devotion to that punk is
going to get you killed one day.”

“We all die, even you.”

“Is that a threat, girl?”


If you can predict the future then it’s only fair I respond with
a known
fact
.”

“I feel sorry for you
Selange, I really do,

he said
disgust
ed
.

“Save the sympathy
for your lost soul
.
I’m not anybody’s victim. Feel sorry for the crack-addicted babies or the innocent children
shot dead
on the same streets you
r officers patrol. Don’t ever mistake me for a helpless victim Mr. Johnson. Matter-of-fact, when
you can
part the Red Sea, resurrect the dead and end world suffering,
then you can come here and preach
to me
.
Otherwise,
get the hell out of my home. You can go
standing or on
your head
, but you’re getting the fuck out of my face right now.
Estefan entre!” Selange scowled.

A man appeared from the adjacent room with his gun drawn and Mr. Johnson took a step back. He had no jurisdiction here and from what the FBI and DSS warned, the men working for Alfonzo were licensed to carry, none had felony arrests and most were Sicilian born.

This Estefan was massive
and
not on the
FBI
radar and he had a feeling there was a reason for this.

“S
h
ow Mr. Johnson to the gate, he’s overstayed his welcome, por favor.”

“No problema
Senora Diaz. Vamanos!” The bodyguard exclaimed waving the gun toward the door and Shanda’s father stepped toward it. There wasn’t anything else he could do. He’d come for his daughter and instead found himself
in a position
many in
law enforcement s
eek
to avoid
with
a
loaded
gun
p
ointed at his
head. The bonds he once had with the girl were officially severed.
As far as he was concerned Selange was an accomplice in Alfonzo’s criminal activity and when the time came to
bring
the bastard down, if she got in the way, he’d take her down, too
!

BOOK: Aftermath
5.24Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

Other books

Double Dare by Jeanne St. James
Run Away by Victor Methos
Only His by Susan Mallery
Runaways by Beth Szymkowski
Burn by Callie Hart
Ghost Warrior by Lucia St. Clair Robson
Project 17 by Eliza Victoria
Near a Thousand Tables by Felipe Fernandez-Armesto