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Authors: S. W. Frank

Tags: #Drama, #American, #African American

Associates (9 page)

BOOK: Associates
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What the hell was that woman smoking?

Sergio promised when he had children, they would have normal names, like Rory, Lance or Violet. Yeah, classy names which weren’t cause for ridicule or labeling. Poor Nasarius, if he ever went to the dictionary to read the definition of his name he’d cry. His loving mama named him after a mud snail, ignorant woman.

He pressed the elevator, listening to the boisterous youth discussing the latest new sneakers which was more than their rent. Getting jacked for expensive kicks occurred regularly in the ‘hood. Dumb ass kids.

The elevator arrived and when he boarded, he anxiously anticipated the fresh air. Nico asked why he hadn’t relocated. He wanted to, but he couldn’t afford a nicer place. Rentals in New York were pricey and his aspirations were to move the hell out of the city entirely.

Thirty-five minutes later, his joyful stride carried him up the stairs of the brownstone on Sterling Place in Bedford-Stuyvesant. He pressed the buzzer for the first floor and rocked on his heels as he watched the traffic rolling along Fulton Street. A Saturday night in Bed-Stuy had the excitement of the city on speaker. The cars rolling by with their music pumping was New York’s bass.

The door opened and instead of the chick he met earlier in the week a dude answered the door with his face twisted in distaste and a threatening glare. “Who the fuck is you?”

“Is Dee here?”

The dude rubbed his bald head. Sergio noticed the skull tats on his hand and thought,
goddamn

“Yo Dee, there’s a pretty muthafucka’ out here askin’ for you!”

Sergio took offense. He didn’t mind being called pretty, shit women called him good-looking a lot; it’s the
motherfucker
part he took issue with. The dude calling him pretty signified he considered Sergio a wuss. “Yo, I bet they thought your ass was
pretty
bent over upstate didn’t they skull bitch.”

The dude tossed back the door. The large nostrils flared like an enraged bull and he advanced on Sergio but never crossed the threshold because Sergio uppercut him so hard the smack talking motherfucker’s legs shook. He tried reaching for the doorknob, missed and crashed to the floor on his bitch ass!

Sergio didn’t wait around for him to stand up and hauled tail to his vehicle and sped along Sterling Place.


Man that felt good
!’

Sergio was fed up with being knuckled in the face, first by Chip and then that bastard Giuseppe. Well, he wasn’t letting anybody get off licks again without striking first!

The blood pumped hard through his body, straight to his head. He relaxed when he got to Atlantic Avenue. Whoever the chump was didn’t matter because he had no intention of hitting up Dee again. And when his cell began humming, he figured it was her calling to curse him out or the dude he snuffed sending a warning. Anyway, his plans were a bust. Maybe, he’d stop in on his sister before heading to Chip’s. On Saturday nights’ Chip was in Canarsie at the Platinum Door. The honeys in that place were fine. He could use a lap dance with the money in his pocket and a drink. He would have spent some on Dee anyway, and he might as well use it on himself.

He turned left on Grand Army Plaza to Eastern Parkway, passing the Brooklyn Museum, chuckling because he envisioned Tonya and her doctor boyfriend strolling through the halls with the rest of the art nerds. Several blocks later he made a right, another
left and double parked outside an immaculate brownstone. No parking. “Shit!”

He called his sister and she didn’t answer. “Alright, how you gonna’ just cut off your brother like this Tonya? Damn, I said I’m sorry, I’ll pay the money back!” He said to the answering machine before he chucked the phone to the passenger seat. Sergio sighed; he missed his baby sister. Growing up they were really close and were able to talk about almost anything. Now, they were estranged and Sergio accepted the blame. After their mom died and the bills started pouring in, he took more risks, lost a lot of money and the whole nine. Desperation can make a man do things.

The insurance money he used for a combination of debts or else he’d have his head knocked in. Bad deals, bad business partners, bad schemes and bad judgment had him so broke; the bums in front of the liquor store probably had better credit. “Ah, man, I need to clean up my life. Look at me. I’m destitute and driving a fancy BMW. ”

He sat straight when he spotted Tonya’s boyfriend walking toward the building. The man had to be his age, give or take a year or two, but he had his shit together. He graduated med school and
was now doing a residency at a hospital in Brooklyn. He walked with a confidence of an older man. When he first met Tyree, he subjected him to a thorough interrogation. What he learned was the guy managed to triumph despite adversity and beat every damn obstacle tossed at a black man. Their eyes connected. Tyree’s gaze was strong, x-raying the purpose of Sergio’s visit. Undoubtedly, he knew about the rift, living with somebody makes it kind of hard not to hear things.

Sergio noticed Tyree did not approach the car to talk after he rolled down the window. He guessed Tyree didn’t want to come in contact with a thief and a lying sonovabitch!

“Your sister’s not here Sergio.”

“Can you tell her I came by?”

“Didn’t she tell you to stop coming around after what you did?”

“She’s my sis and as long as I’m living I’ll still check in on her.”

Tyree had an over the shoulder computer bag. His fingers slid down the strap near his spring jacket and Sergio noticed he wore scrubs. “Then act like a brother and not a dumb thug!”

“Fuck you man, mind your business.”

“Tonya’s my fiancée, she is my business.”

Sergio blinked. Tonya and Tyree were engaged. His little sister was getting married and she hadn’t mentioned it the last time he called. Wow!

Tyree walked away, jogged up the stairs to the brownstone, unlocked the front door and disappeared inside.

 

 

                       
     
~

 

Tony watched the patrons from a darkened corner. Saturday nights were always busy. The bouncers did their jobs, letting in the regulars and keeping the riff-raff out. An occasional newbie was allowed through the door. Tonight there was a coming of age introduction for a kid who just turned twenty-one. Two of his friends were semi-regulars who knew the rules. No rowdy shit in here or get escorted to the door.

The sultry music reverberated from the walls. The clinking of glasses, people talking, dim lights and laid back atmosphere were strategic to the seduction of men’s money and loins. Nina was late, very late. On stage, in a studded G-string, stilettos and a few props was Naughty-Nice. She slid down from the silver pole headfirst, slowly spreading her legs and when she touched the floor with her back flipped her legs over her head and showed the audience her luscious sparkly ass. There were sharp intakes of lust, moans and reactions form the patrons he heard many times before. His eyes watched as some of the guys held their dicks and listened for offensive slurs or anything inappropriate which was grounds to get kicked out.

He leaned his elbows on the table. He never drank on duty. The liquor was ingested when he got home. Tony had to stay sharp. His head turned at the sound of his name. The security guard posted at the employee entrance stood near the aisle and gestured toward the backrooms on the main floor. “Nina’s here. Do you want me to send her to you?”

“Yeah.”

The man was gone and a few minutes later he returned with Nina. Her eyes were glassy. She sniffed and wiped her nose several times in the span of a minute. Tony’s eyes narrowed when she apologized profusely. “Sorry Tony. I’m not feeling too good. I think I’m coming down with a cold or something.”

“Yeah?”

“Um-hum,” she answered. Her speech accelerated as did the twitches of her hand. “I took Nyquil this afternoon and fell asleep and woke up after nine.”

Tony let her talk. The more she spoke and fidgeted, his suspicions were confirmed. Nina had fallen victim to the sordid trappings of an exotic dancer’s life. Tony sent the guard away and then extended his hand for Nina’s bag. She knew the rules. No drugs on the premises. “Give me the pocketbook.”

She didn’t protest. Tony wasn’t the type to fuck around. When she placed the bag in front of him, his fingers searched through the inside pockets and discovered an aspirin bottle which he confiscated and removed the cap. The salicylate drug was nowhere in sight. What he did find was small capsules which he surmised were filled with another drug, not for inflammation or pain reduction but to get high.

“Tony, look, please don’t tell Chip. I’m sorry, I…”

“Shut-up,” he said. Nina was Chip’s headliner. She also warmed his bed whenever the urge struck him and Tony didn’t give a damn what she did as long as it didn’t get done with him around. “Splash some cold water on your face, get your ass ready to go on in an hour. If you fuck up, then I’ll tell Chip about what I found, got me?”

The woman nodded.

Tony shook the bottle. “Get out of here, before I change my mind about letting you perform!”

She scurried to the dressing room and that’s when Tony saw Sergio coming toward the table and wondered why the bouncer let him in. The pill bottle went discreetly in his pocket. He was about to summon one of the bouncers when he observed Caminello and his Capo enter. Caminello’s burgeoning gut poked from the expensive suit and his eyes went straight to the stage. The wide smile forming occurred when Naughty-Nice extended her leg
over her head to give a peek of her goodies, accented by diamond stars.

Sergio sauntered over and said, “Hey, what’s up, is Chip here?”

“What do you want with him?”

“I heard he’s giving out jobs and I’m here to interview.”

Tony looked past Sergio’s shoulder as he rose to his feet. Caminello and company were engrossed in the entertainment; otherwise he’d realize the usual greeting by the establishment’s manager had been delayed. “Look, the job offer’s been rescinded, besides it wasn’t for you.”

“I know, but since he’s being charitable,” Sergio continued, “I figured he’d extend some if it my way.”

Tony scoffed at the statement. “You don’t know when to quit do you?”

The act was almost over and Tony shifted in place. He’d given Chip back the five grand and said he didn’t find Sergio and here the guy was looking to get him in deep shit. Maybe, Mohawk was right and he should’ve kept the money and bounced like Tigger right out of the woods, but he hadn’t, mainly because it
wouldn’t have looked good. Besides, he didn’t get around to giving the cigar to anybody to check. Mohawk remained unknown. Until he learned who the fuck Mohawk was, there’s no way he’d take advice from the mystery man.

Caminello suddenly looked around. “Listen, go home and stay away from the club,” he advised before going to welcome his customer.

Sergio decided to get a drink and catch the rest of the show. He’d paid the cover charge. To hell with Tony!   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CHAPTER NINE

 

 

“Si mama,” Alfonzo said as he tossed back the covers and climbed in bed. He had her on speaker while Selange enjoyed a relaxing bubble bath. He could smell the jasmine scented candles and hear the soft music playing in the background. He thought to join her; however he decided to give her the peace and quiet every mother deserves. Sometimes, alone time rejuvenated the spirit and allowed a woman to appreciate a man who can understand.

“Bruno is flying with me to Puerto Rico in a few days for the fundraiser. I am very excited.”

Alfonzo’s face twisted in irritation at the mention of Bruno’s name. Lately, his mother included Bruno each time they spoke. Bruno this and Bruno that had become a repetitive song. First, religion had overshadowed her life and now it was an arrogant multi-millionaire, Alfonzo still had reservations about. He
sneered as she continued. “Do you know hijo; he bought me a very nice SUV?”

“Why mama, I’ve given you a car?”

“Oh, I know, but, this car fits my needs. It is a SUV and I can put the children in it and the groceries and it is spacious.”

“Why didn’t you tell me you wanted a SUV, mama?”

“Alfonzo, I love the car you have given me. It is…it is…”

“It’s what?” Alfonzo asked feeling a strange pang of jealousy that Bruno had stolen his mother’s affections. The Mercedes he’d bought for her birthday was outfitted with reinforcements for her safety and here she was bragging about an SUV, which was probably some shitty looking minivan.

“It’s too flashy…that is all I mean. I love it and will drive it on special occasions.”


Special occasions, what the hell did that mean, hardly ever?’

Alfonzo sucked in his hurt. To hell with it. He’d have Domingo check out this SUV she loved and take it to his guy to add the necessary safety features. He changed the subject. Any talk
of Bruno upset his nerves. “I’ll be in New York on Monday, I might stop in.”

BOOK: Associates
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