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Authors: Trae Macklin

Tags: #FICTION/African American/Urban Life

Flippin' the Hustle (2 page)

BOOK: Flippin' the Hustle
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Chapter Two

Derrick
sat poised in the tactical room of the Drug Enforcement Agency's field office. His eyes were fixed on a large screen as it displayed photos that were meant to enlighten. But it was nothing Derrick hadn't experienced before. The pictures of a battered and bruised body of a rival drug dealer, to those of a teenaged heroin addict's bloated body, a result of consuming a lethal dosage of the drug was nothing new to him. But one photo touched him. A picture of a thin, twenty-two-year-old woman who had been gunned down with three shots to her head in front of a Brooklyn police station. He had already known he had to bring the Black Tar Boyz down, but this photo of the innocent young woman was a harsh reminder.

Birthed in New York's crime-infested borough of Brooklyn, the BTB had gained their moniker and their riches through the sale of half-capsules containing the deadly mixture of horse tranquilizer and raw heroin.

The organization's leader, Robert “RJ” Jordan had somehow stumbled onto the potent mixture and its synergistic effect through trial and error. The corner of Grand Avenue and Fulton Street had definitely evolved along with the organization. The brownstone buildings and trees that lined the strip remained. But now, instead of careless hand-to-hand street dealings, the group's members had formed an elaborate state of the art ‘Drug Store' on the corner. There wasn't an abundance of information about the houses the crew occupied on Fulton Street, but Derrick was sure in due time he would get the full scoop.

Suddenly, some of the organization's financial proceeds popped up on the screen. The report stated the organization was generating nearly $1.5 million a week. However, Derrick immediately took into account how the government overestimated drug dealers' assets when estimating an organization's actual worth. Yet, when the screen switched to some of the crew's tangible assets, he could almost see why the government felt that the crew's yearly intake was almost $80 million. Outfitted in the shiniest rims and gadgets available, there were pictures of nearly every luxury import imaginable—everything from the traditional BMW to a Maserati and Aston Martin. The homes that were displayed could have easily belonged to professional athletes and entertainers. The crew was the only one in Brooklyn, and one of a handful in New York City, who managed to reel in the type of money that underlined the height of the crack era.

“So, Mr. Richards, as you can see, we have a real monster on our hands. Now, my question to you is can you bring it down?” Deputy Director Douglas Gold asked.

“Even monsters can be tamed.”

The director nodded.

With a cocky smirk, Derrick replied, “The question isn't if I can bring them down, but rather when would you like them brought down?”

Director Gold shot Derrick a curious look. “Mr. Richards, what exactly are your plans?”

Derrick leaned toward Mr. Gold and beckoned the man closer. In a conspiratorial tone, he said, “First of all, please allow me to reintroduce myself. I'm no longer Derrick Richards. My name is now Tree.”

“Tree?” Director Gold appeared somewhat confused.

“The BTBs are gonna love the big spender named Tree.” The nickname/streetname/moniker was what some people had called his brother, Ray because of his height. “And Tree is gonna take this entire clique down.”

******

Derrick pulled into the driveway of the two-story home located in a quiet community just outside of New York City. Before exiting his Corvette, he noticed the agency had fulfilled his request with the much-needed drug dealer accessories.

A white 760li BMW sitting on 22-inch Lowenharts was parked in the driveway. Also, a candy apple red Cadillac Escalade ESV riding high on 24-inch Niches sat in front of the residence. Derrick could think of nothing but his brother's lavish lifestyle. He had always wanted to be like his older brother, so he was tempted to dive into the drug game early on. But Ray had lined his pockets to quell his temptation. Nevertheless, Ray's death, due to the game, only illuminated Derrick's hunger for the streets. And the years of going undercover with wealthy drug dealers had been slowly reinvigorating his old thirst for the lifestyle. Looking at the luxuries in front of him only added to that undeniable feeling.

Smiling, Derrick made his way into the house to see what other surprises the agency may have dropped on him. Once he turned the key and pushed the door open, he nearly burst into a fit of laughter. The agency had furnished the residence in a drug dealer's stereotypical designs. With a black leather sofa and a large flat screen television, it was no question what type of individual occupied the residence. He waltzed passed the China cabinet into the larger dining room with a chandelier in the center of the ceiling. This was a place he could get used to. Flopping down at the dining room table, he cranked up some hip hop on the state of the art Bose system beside him.

After organizing the house to his personal liking, Derrick flopped down on his couch and answered his phone. “Hey Ma,” he responded to his mother's voice.

“Excuse me,” she said after a few deep coughs.

Derrick closed his eyes and sighed, imagining his mother as she lay in the hospital bed with her balding hair, succumbing to the effects of chemotherapy. A depressing image he had seen too many times.

“How's the job?” she asked.

Derrick looked around the plush home, contrasting it with the dismal atmosphere of his mother's hospital room. “The job's not important. How is my girl, doing?”

“I've seen better days. But I'm alive . . .”

Alive,
Derrick thought. His mother was still talking, but Derrick only focused on the guilt of his tranquil circumstances and her life of hardship.

“Do you hear me?” his mother asked before coughing again.

“Pardon me, my mind was drifting.”

“I asked you did the doctor contact you?”

“Yeah.” Derrick shook his head, thinking of the $10,000 he had to come up with to pay for the next phase of his mother's treatment. “Yeah, he spoke to me. Have I ever failed you?”

“I don't know what I'd do without you.”

“It's not worth pondering, because I'll always have your back.”

“I know, son. Well, I just wanted to call and see how you were doing on the job. I'll let you go now. This medication is making me sleepy.”

Derrick closed his eyes, frustrated. “I love you, Ma.”

“I know, son. I'll talk to you later.”

“Okay.” Derrick tossed his phone on the couch and let out a deep breath. He gazed through the window at the expensive cars outside the extravagant home. They were his to drive, and any one of them was worth enough to cover his mother's medical expenses for months. But he could not sell one to save her, and he had no idea how he would pay even the next $10,000 installment for her medical care, more or less another six months of bills. “I gotta do something fast,” he mumbled.

* * *

Derrick jumped in the 760 and headed out with his mind on making the other $9,000 he needed to pay for his mother's treatment. He knew that driving such an expensive car through the ghettos of New York would undoubtedly attract the attention of not only the have-nots, but that of the haves as well. This instinctively caused him to think of the powerful Glock 35 nestled in the small of his back. He had heard stories about notorious Brooklyn stickup kids. Infiltrating BTB was dangerous enough, and contending with other street thugs was something he didn't need.

He cruised the streets as if he was a normal hustler checking on his money. But he was silently taking in the lifestyle that came with bodegas on corners where gamblers rolled dice. New York had an aura that he couldn't define, but it was one that he had to get used to. As he passed streets packed with users and dealers, all eyes were glued to the snow white BMW with Virginia license plates.

Brooklyn was big, and he was mainly in the Bedford-Stuyvesant section where BTB was based. He knew his plush car and foreign plates would get people talking before sunrise. Therefore, he steered the BMW slowly as he nodded to a song by the Virginia group, The Clipse. Brooklynites had a history of hustling out of state, and Virginia was one of their destinations. So Derrick was sure the show he was putting on was only the beginning stage of his infiltration into the Brooklyn underworld.

He looked to his iced out Baume & Mercier timepiece, and contemplated his next move as he stopped at a light on Fulton Street. He didn't have any females lined up, but he knew within the next 24 to 48 hours there would be many. All he would need to do was take a stroll through a local mall, and then pop up at the most popular nightspot, and every hood bitch who wasn't in a committed relationship would be calling. Derrick smiled to himself and steered the BMW in the direction of the house he now occupied in Queens. He felt the irony of putting on a front to project the image of a lifestyle his brother Ray worked hard to steer him from. But Derrick was doing it to take down a crew of crooks like the thugs that killed his brother. This was his ticket to helping keep his mother alive, since he was the only family she had left in Virginia after Ray was killed.

******

The following afternoon, Derrick stepped from his car and into the chilling winds. Pulling the Andrew Marc fur-trimmed leather jacket tighter around his broad shoulders, he made his way into Fulton Mall. He picked out a few items before spotting a group of women fitting the description he had in mind. As they made their way toward him, the three fairly good-looking, curvaceous women began to put an extra twitch into each step, making their already flaring hips sway more.

Derrick looked the female in the middle up and down, but then quickly averted his gaze. He knew women, and he knew he had all of their undivided attention.

As the three women passed, Derrick made sure to keep his eyes averted. Mentally counting down from three, he knew one of them would speak before he reached one.

“Excuse me!” one of the women sang.”

Stopping in his tracks, Derrick spun on his heels only to see each woman standing in her own seductive pose. He nonchalantly answered, “Yeah, wassup?”

“Umm . . . do I know you from somewhere or something?” the female that Derrick had his eye on asked.

“I don't know. Do you?”

“You do look familiar. But you're not from New York, are you?”

“Nah. VA,” he replied in his deepest accent.

“Yeah, I can tell,” she stated, looking him over from head to toe. “But anyway, my name is Asia, and this is my girl Kita and her cousin Deshaun.” She pointed to each woman.

Derrick could tell that these sistas were deeply rooted in the streets. Their flamboyant style of dress, in addition to the sparkling trinkets they each sported, deemed them definite hood chicks.

Finally, he rested his eyes back onto Asia and licked his lips. “They call me Tree.” He paused as he grabbed his phone and eyed the tiny screen. “But it was nice meeting you all. Maybe we'll see each other some other—” Once again, he paused to eye his cell phone.

Asia quickly fumbled in her oversized Louis Vuitton clutch. “Look, why don't I just give you my card and maybe you can give me a call sometime,” she stated, pulling out a business card from her bag.

Derrick hastily accepted the card. “Yeah, that's cool. When I get a chance, I'll definitely give you a call. A'ight?” With that said, he darted off, knowing all eyes were glued to his 6′3″ frame.

Once he was out of the mall, he read the small card in his hand
: Asia Johnson/ Hairstylist.
Derrick grinned. He knew that a woman of Asia's demeanor was sure to have hood credibility, and he had the perfect plan for a woman of her caliber. She was the key to the task he had of taking down BTB.

******

Derrick lounged comfortably on his black leather couch while watching television. The newscaster detailed a gruesome double homicide in East New York. It was one of three murders that had happened in the borough in two days. The latest killings were said to have been the result of a $10,000 debt. Derrick thought of the $10,000 he needed for his mother's bills and realized that two people had died for the same price that could cause his mother's death. Derrick hadn't come up with a solution to his cash dilemma yet, so he decided to leave home and ponder a solution.

Derrick jumped up and headed to his closet. He began rummaging through an array of pricey clothes before settling on an outfit by ALX. He jumped in the shower, and while lathering under the hot jets of water, his mind reverted to the task at hand. He had to get in close to BTB. Time was speeding, and there was no way he could sit around and allow a Friday night to pass him by without making progress.

He hopped out of the shower, quickly dressed, and then made his way into the brisk night air. With the push of a button on his key ring, the Escalade's engine ignited. He slid into the cushiony leather seats of the SUV and watched as the vehicle's dashboard lit up while he plotted his next move.

******

Derrick pulled behind the long line of luxury automobiles in front of Club Cavern and eyed the entrance of the brightly lit hotspot. He steered from the line of cars waiting to gain entrance, and pulled directly in front of the club's entrance. A burly security guard with an evil scowl stormed in his direction. Derrick rolled the windows down and held out five crisp $100 bills for the security guard. This act immediately caused the big man's expression to transform into a broad smile.

After stuffing the bills into his pockets, the bouncer pointed to an empty parking space, and said, “Park right over there, then follow me.”

Derrick steered the gigantic SUV into the tiny parking space. He casually exited the truck and made his way back to where the bouncer stood.

The monstrous man's eyes scanned Derrick's body for any signs of a gun. “You holding?”

BOOK: Flippin' the Hustle
3.87Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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