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Authors: Trae Macklin

Tags: #FICTION/African American/Urban Life

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BOOK: Flippin' the Hustle
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Once Derrick made it to his car, his phone began to buzz nonstop. “Talk to me.”

“I need something,” the voice said over Derrick's phone. “I got a business to run,” he mentioned, referring to his drug operation.

“Have I ever failed you?”

“Not so far, Tree.”

“Then act like it,” Derrick said, before setting up a time and place to meet with his illicit client. After he answered a few similar calls from heroin hustlers around the city, he knew that his street credibility was growing. He checked his missed calls and noticed that Asia had called him as well. However, at that moment, his reputation in the streets was far more important than his relationship with her or the lack thereof. Therefore, instead of calling her, he pushed the button on his phone, which connected him to the Brooklyn dealer who'd be more than happy to hear that the bird had landed, literally.


RJ, Sherm, Damien, and Eli sat around a table in RJ's home making fun of Lil' Roy and his past relationship with Asia.

“You remember when shorty kicked his ass out with his boxers on, yo?” Damien joked.

“Yeah. But what about when she keyed that nigga's Lexus?” Sherm added.

“Man, y'all got to lay off my nigga. Besides, Saturday he got to face her wit' her new man,” RJ stated in a voice laced with sarcasm.

“Fuck that nigga, yo! He can have that sloppy pussy bitch!” Lil' Roy countered.

“Aw nigga, you wasn't saying that when shorty was around here pushing yo' shit up and down the Ave,” Eli commented.

“Shit, I called the nigga crib plenty of times, and Asia answered the phone like it was her shit.” Sherm instigated.

“Damn, lil' homie, it sounds to me like shorty was definitely on wifey status,” RJ said with a smirk on his face.

Lil' Roy jumped to his feet, and blurted, “Man, fuck you niggas. And son, that bitch Asia is a wrap.”

This brought a round of laughter from everyone present, especially RJ. He enjoyed when his crew was able to relax and escape the rigors of the game. Just as his mind became at ease, there was a light knock on the door.

Lil' Roy, who was already standing, eased over to the door and peered through the peephole. Looking back, he gave RJ the ‘OK' signal, and then began to unlock the heavily armored door.

As the visibly distraught man entered the house, he instantly turned his attention to RJ. “Robert, man, I know I fucked up. I know I did, but if you'd just give me a few days, I can make shit right. I swear,” he said.

RJ looked at the man through sympathetic eyes for a moment. “Bobby, you always been my nigga. And had I not known you since we was young, I'd murk you right now for playing with my money. But I'm gonna give you the benefit of the doubt and give you another chance. A'ight!” RJ said.

Bobby's face regained its color after he realized that his life would not only be spared, but RJ was willing to part with another package of heroin. “Good looking out, RJ man. I swear I got you man. I swear!” he stated.

RJ nodded, and then turned to Lil' Roy. “Open the door so Bobby can go downstairs and grab one of them packs out of the freezer.”

Lil' Roy casually began to fumble with the locks on the door that led down into the basement.

Bobby stood patiently as Lil' Roy unlocked the many padlocks that lined the door. Once Lil' Roy unlocked the final lock and the door swung open, Bobby gave RJ a questioning look.

RJ smiled and said, “Yeah, go ahead and grab one from the freezer. I trust that you won't steal from me.”

That in itself should have set an alarm off in Bobby's mind, yet the monkey on his back was talking so much louder.

Bobby slowly began to walk toward the door. Once he reached it, he took one final look back at RJ, who warned, “Remember, Bobby. One.”

Bobby turned to RJ and gave him a reassuring nod and then walked back toward the blackness of the basement and peeked inside the room. He slowly turned to Lil' Roy and asked, “Where's the li—” Before he could finish, Lil' Roy's foot was in the small of his back pushing him into the darkness.

Instinctively, Bobby grabbed his other leg, which caused Lil' Roy to fall flat on his bottom.

Sherm, Damien, and Eli jumped from their seats and converged on a hysterical Bobby. As he hung onto Lil' Roy's leg for dear life, the rest of the gang rained blows down onto the man.

Bobby screamed uncontrollably, as blow after blow crashed onto his head. Determined to live, he gripped Lil' Roy's leg with a vengeance.

Eli, a real live wire, pulled a pistol from his waist. He quickly calmed his cohorts from their physical onslaught by motioning them to stop. Then he placed the barrel of the gun to Bobby's head and pulled the trigger. The gun sounded off. Bobby's body went limp, crashing into the three feet of murky water covering the basement floor. RJ had the slough built to house two baby alligators that he had bought while vacationing in Florida. The amphibians had grown to monstrous lengths, and this is how RJ had begun to feed them. Once the splashing water settled, all that could be heard were the chilling sounds of crackling bones. This assured him of two things: Bobby's body would never be found, and his pets had enjoyed their dinner.

Chapter Five

couldn't believe his luck concerning the case. He'd managed to get invited to a party his suspects were giving, and his reputation in the streets was growing tremendously. It usually took much longer than the two months that he had been in the city to get inside of an organization as intricate as the BTBs, yet here he was.

As he eyed himself from head to toe in the full-length mirror, he had to smile at the image reflected before him. The Salvatore Ferragamo attire that draped his body clung to his long frame immaculately. He slipped the sleek, orange chinchilla from the closet and made his way out of the door. As he carefully walked down the brick stairs in his Mauri Ostrich shoes, he eyed the shiny black Bentley Continental GT that had replaced the 760 BMW. He knew that once the BTB got a peek of him in the Bentley GT, their interest in him would be at an all time high. This would only make his infiltration that much smoother.

As soon as Derrick pulled in front of Asia's apartment building, she exited wearing a dazzling dress that left little to the imagination.
Damn, she bad,”
he thought.

With the grace of a queen, she made her way into the passenger seat. She placed a wet kiss on Derrick's cheek, and then caressed the potent smelling leather interior seductively. “Tree, you're going to have to make me your woman sooner or later.”

Derrick wanted to yell “
!” Instead, he smiled and said, “In time, ma. In time.”


RJ and his entire crew stood on the deck of a luxurious boat docked off the coast of Long Island, New York. The whipping winds that bounced from the chilling waters of the river seemed not to affect them. They each sported various styles of fur coats that would thwart the iciest winds. Ironically, the quintet wore enough of the sparkling ice
in their gold and platinum jewelry
to freeze a small city. Each man sported their customary BTB emblems in addition to their personal pieces of jewelry, which ranged in color from yellow to blue. There wasn't a stone in their entire crew that was less than VST in clarity.

As the men milled about, greeting guests as they boarded the boat, the deep roar of the V-12 engine that Derrick gunned down the street garnered their attention. When the black Bentley came into view and wheeled into the parking deck, each man began to wonder who could be driving the elaborate vehicle, and whether that individual was attending their gathering.

“Who is that, RJ?” Sherm asked nonchalantly.

Before RJ could respond, Derrick and Asia emerged from the parking deck, heading directly toward them. Instead of replying to Sherm's question, RJ looked to Lil' Roy, whose mouth hung agape, and smirked.

Sherm smiled. “Looks like Asia is back with a vengeance, and shorty's got a NBA baller.”

In an irritated tone, Lil' Roy grumbled, “Fuck that bitch, and her fake ass NBA nigga!”

As Derrick and Asia walked across the short gangplank onto the vessel, Derrick met the menacing glares from the men with an ice grill of his own.

Derrick began to put each man's face with their governmental names. DEA had given him every vital piece of information on each man, and according to DEA reports, the men who were currently present were
Robert ‘RJ' Jordan, Royal ‘Lil' Roy' Bradley, Damien Gregory, Sherm Robinson, and Elijah ‘Eli' Troy.

RJ broke the intenseness of the situation as he stepped from his crew and greeted them. “What's up, Asia? Long time no see,” he stated smoothly, while eyeing Derrick.

“Ain't nothing, Robert. I'm just trying to party with my girl.”

With his eyes locked on Derrick, RJ asked, “Who's your friend?”

“Oh, this is Tree. My . . . um . . . my man,” she stammered, shooting Lil' Roy a look filled with contempt.

This brought a light chuckle from the men huddled within earshot.

RJ ignored his crews' lack of hospitality and extended his hand. Cordially he said, “Robert, but my friends and associates call me RJ.”

Derrick gripped RJ's hand firmly and looked him square in the eyes. “Nice to meet you, Robert,” he said. Then Derrick shot a murderous glare to the crew of snickering men that stood behind him.

“Well, I'm glad you all could make it. Asia, Trina is on the upper deck with the girls. And um . . . Tree, if it ain't too cold for you out here, you could chill with me and my boys,” RJ offered.

Derrick turned to Asia and gave her an assuring smile. “Go ahead. I'll catch up to you later,” he told her.

Reluctantly, Asia stood on her toes and planted a soft kiss on his cheek. As she turned and strutted away, she captivated each man's attention with the sway of her sexy hips.

Once the final guest boarded the boat, the captain blared the loud horn and guided the vessel out into the dark waters. After the small talk had ended, the men made their way inside.

RJ was now curious as to how the Virginia native would carry himself once he relinquished his crew on him over a few drinks. Although he did have a slight inclination that the smooth Virginia native could carry himself well.

Leading the pack into a private room with a bar on the second floor, where countless bottles of champagne were scattered about, RJ grabbed a bottle and flopped down on a small couch comfortably. Tossing Lil' Roy a glance that said everything he needed to, he sat back and watched as his lil man went to work.

Stepping over to where Tree sat, Lil' Roy asked, “So where you from in Virginia, man?”

“I'm originally from Richmond, but I've been in the North Carolina area for the last few years,” Derrick replied.

“So what bought you out here, to New York?”

“Shit. Money,” Derrick answered flatly. “That and the fact that shit got hectic out in Carolina.”

“Yeah. So you Asia's man now?” Lil' Roy asked with a hint of sarcasm.

Looking to Lil' Roy as if he was insane, Derrick said, “Come on, son. Get real, B. You know how shorty get down.”

“So she isn't your bitch?” Lil' Roy blurted inquisitively, which caused everyone to burst out laughing.

Through chuckles, Derrick replied, “No more than she is yours.”

This caused another round of laughter to ensue. Lil' Roy stood dumbfounded, casting contemptuous glares at his boys who were all doubled over in laughter.

Derrick said, “If shorty is your joint or something, I'll gladly lean back.”

Speaking up for his man, RJ said, “Nah, man. That lil' nigga was just bugging out. I think he seen shorty and got a flashback or something.”

“Man. Fuck that bitch. You can have that money hungry bitch!” Lil' Roy blurted as if he was a child being berated for some forbidden act.

“Well, fellas! Let's pop a bottle to that!” RJ held his bottle of champagne high.

As the music blared from the sound system, Derrick made his way through the third floor landing. Eyeing the packed dance floor, he scanned the area until he found Asia lounging on a couch. She smiled with a champagne flute perched in her hand.

Once she noticed Derrick coming toward her, she began to yell his name as if they'd been separated for eons.

“Hey, baby! I was just telling Trina and Naria about you. Girls, this is Tree,” she said.

Derrick recognized RJ's girlfriend, Trina, as she extended her hand toward him. But once the other female stepped from the back of the couch, Derrick's breath was lost in his throat.

The woman's colored eyes locked onto his. She was nothing shy of beautiful. The short ‘boy' cut she sported fit her perfectly. Derrick made the physical comparison to that of model Eva Pigford. However, after she rounded the couch and her curvaceous body was revealed, along with her strikingly bright skin, and other features, there was no comparison.

“Hi, I'm Naria. I've heard so much about you. It feels like I already know you,” she stated sarcastically.

Derrick smiled, but then tossed Asia a quick dagger-throwing gaze, only to be met with an unpleasant frown. Apparently, Asia's womanly instincts had picked up on the sparks that flew between him and Naria.

“Asia, let me have a moment in private with you,” Derrick said, reaching out for her hand. Derrick turned toward the other two ladies. “If you two would excuse her, I'll only be a minute.”

Visibly fuming, Asia stood and followed Derrick into an adjacent room, where the music wasn't as loud. “How you just gonna disrespect me, looking all in her face like you want to be here with her!” she stated as her neck rolled.

Derrick used every ounce of strength not to burst out laughing. He applied reverse psychology on her. “Why didn't you tell me that your ex-boyfriend was going to be here with all his boys!”

Asia's demeanor went from mad to defensive. “I . . . I didn't know, Tree,” she whined. “It doesn't matter though. I want to be with you,” she said in an earnest tone.

“Asia, we've only known one another for a month. We really don't know one another,” he explained, as if his spirits were downcast. “And tonight, you introducing me as your man was way out of bounds. Was I just somebody to get you over the hump? I mean—”

“No, Tree!” she crooned. “It wasn't like that. I mean, I didn't want him to . . . I just wanted to . . .” She dropped her head as her voice trailed off.

“Make him jealous,” Derrick surmised. He turned and walked from the room as if he'd been crushed.

Soon thereafter, he rejoined the BTBs on the second floor, popping bottle after bottle of champagne with fat Cuban cigars wedged between their fingers. Derrick took a seat amongst the crew and thought,
These guys think that they're gangsters for real!

Before the night ended, and the Pride of New York was docked safely back in the inner harbor, Derrick had succeeded in doing a number of things. Although he hadn't personally exchanged information with RJ, it went without saying that the two would soon meet again. But RJ's lieutenant, Sherm, eagerly exchanged numbers with Derrick and promised to connect soon.

Derrick's instincts informed him to keep a keen eye on the overly ambitious man. Growing up in Richmond afforded him something the government could never teach. Instinct. If it was one thing Derrick knew how to do, it was peep a snake's eye, and Sherm had two of them.

BOOK: Flippin' the Hustle
11.62Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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