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Authors: Trae Macklin

Tags: #FICTION/African American/Urban Life

Flippin' the Hustle (6 page)

BOOK: Flippin' the Hustle
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Derrick ate and listened to RJ, trying to figure him out as the Brooklynite talked in ambiguous language about his wealth and the operation responsible for it. Derrick would sporadically interject with something that grabbed RJ's attention and caused the hustler to smile. He was breaking down the wall RJ had erected. Derrick knew that it would take a while, but RJ was interested in doing business with him, and eventually his business in Brooklyn would be revealed. BTB would be infiltrated and eradicated.

* * * * *

Derrick had spent a lot of time with RJ over the weeks that followed their introduction in the restaurant. Derrick had informed his superiors at the agency of RJ's desire to set up shop in Virginia. It was a Monday night when he found himself in the same restaurant along with the same goons that had previously flocked to RJ.

“So you ready to get this money, or what?” Derrick asked.

RJ nodded slowly. “So you ready to open up in VA?”

“That's my question to you.”

“After you work with me out here.”

“Oh yeah?”

RJ nodded. No use in you getting all that money by yourself and me doing my thing solo.”

“So we combine our efforts?”

“That's my line of thinking.”

“So what exactly do you bring to the table?”

RJ began to break down his operation's innermost details. He even mentioned his connect a few times, which Derrick knew was a definite ‘no no' in the drug trade. Derrick listened closely as the man broke down his order of operations, which began to enlighten Derrick on why none of the locals were able to infiltrate his empire. When RJ was finished breaking down how his business was run, Derrick asked, “So where do I fit into all that?”

RJ replied, “Well, that depends on you, playboy.”

Chapter Seven

I
t had been nearly two months since Derrick and RJ had their meeting of the minds, and Derrick was no closer to actually witnessing RJ in any illicit activities than before. Even though he was receiving a kilo of the infamous ‘Black Tar' heroin via Damien, not once did he deal directly with RJ. Derrick was building a solid conspiracy case, but the agency wanted more. Derrick grew frustrated, because he didn't understand why. Plenty of drug dealers had been sent to prison for lengthy amounts of time on conspiracy charges.

Derrick paced back and forth in front of his bed, thinking about how his mother's life lay in the balance and of his superiors wanting to prosecute the perfect case, when they had a solid case already. Added to that was the fact that Derrick's life was in jeopardy the longer he stayed undercover with the deadly clique. He pulled out his cell phone and dialed Marvin.

“If it isn't my favorite agent.”

“It isn't, the way you guys are treating me.”

“Why the sour grapes, Derrick?”

“Why the overkill is the question. We got RJ good, but good is not enough. You guys want magnificent.”

“What's good to you, a conspiracy charge?” Marv chuckled. “RJ is a big fish, and when we make our catch, it won't be with a bullshit reel. It'll be in a massive net.”

“I watched the judge sentence a guy I arrested to 188 months on conspiracy charges. Doesn't sound too flimsy to me.”

“Derrick, trust me when I tell you. RJ is not the average kingpin.”

“What's that supposed to mean?”

Let's just put it like this, this guy's got some serious bargaining chips,” Marv said.

“And?”

“Sammy the Bull walked away scot-free after confessing to over twenty murders. Why? Because he knew how to bargain.”

“Sammy was the small fry. Gotti was the big fish. In our case, there is no fish bigger than RJ.”

“You'd be surprised. And this fish swims in our pond.”

“An agent?” Derrick blurted as he stopped pacing. “You can't be serious.”

“I'm going to seal my mouth at this level, and I suggest you do the same.”

Before Derrick could respond, Marv hung up the phone. Derrick couldn't believe it. RJ was sitting on information about some dirty cop or agent that he could use as a get out of jail free card. That meant all of the good police work Derrick had done was being compromised by some dirty cop or agent. Derrick felt disrespected. He was trapped. He and his mother were immobilized by the corruption of someone on Derrick's team who had taken an oath to uphold the law.
Cash rules, not the law
, he thought. As he pondered deeper about what he had just learned, Derrick realized that he had to devise a scheme that would bring him closer to his ultimate goal.

* * * * *

Damien felt he was on his A-game as he rode through the streets of New York, leaning extra hard in the Mercedes. It seemed as if every person loitering the corners of New York looked to him in awe.

Damien was en route to drop off Derrick's regularly scheduled brick of heroin when he noticed an undercover police car make a U-turn in his direction. “Fuck.” He straightened his posture behind the wheel and continued to navigate the car in the direction of his assigned drop-off.

Nearly a mile later, he also noticed a marked city patrol car tailing him. Smoothly, he jammed his Glock into the middle console and watched it disappear along with the bag of heroin.

Just as he was about to turn onto Atlantic Avenue, the patrol car's bright lights and siren blared to life. Damien pulled the Benz over. What he thought was a routine traffic stop instantly became chaotic, as cars swarmed from every direction. Officers rushed him with guns drawn.

“Get the fuck out of the vehicle, now!” a cop yelled as his partner opened the door, snatched Damien, and threw him to the ground.

With a sinister smile on his face, Damien yelled, “You motherfuckers just got y'all a fresh lawsuit!”

Once Damien was transported downtown to DEA headquarters, he began to understand the seriousness of the situation. His cockiness transformed into passivity, once the agents produced the bag of drugs and the gun that he'd hidden in the secret stash compartment in the Mercedes.

* * * * *

“Mr. Gregory, how are you doing this afternoon?” Agent Peter Latham asked, sitting opposite Damien.

Damien shot him a dumbfounded smirk and remained silent.

“Look, Damien, I'm not going to bullshit you. You're in a hell of a situation. Not only did we find 1000 grams of heroin and a semiautomatic handgun, but at this very moment agents are en route to the address that's on your driver's license.” Pausing to judge Damien's reaction, he added, “All I need is a name, and I can make them take a U-turn right now.”

The thought of federal agents crashing the house he shared with his kids' mother filled Damien with anxiety. He fidgeted with his hands in the handcuffs. He tried to think quickly, knowing his house was filled with drugs, guns, and money.

“Damien, all it takes is a name, and I'll make the phone call right now,” Peter Latham added in a persuasive tone.

Looking down at his shackled feet in dread, Damien blurted, “Tree.”

“Tree?” the agent repeated. “You gotta do better than that.”

“You said a name. I don't know his real name. They call him Tree.”

The cop shook his head.

“Damn!” Damien blurted. He took a deep breath, and then began to disclose everything he knew about the man he called Tree.

Unbeknownst to him, the man known as Tree was in the very next room watching him through a transparent glass. Derrick's plan had worked perfectly. After Damien had given up Tree and the Atlantic Avenue address, a raid was staged. However, not before Derrick made a quick call to Lil' John to warn him of the impending danger. He still needed him to stay his course of action.

Derrick knew that Lil' John and some of his soldiers would witness the fiasco unfold from afar, and they would be the ones relaying this information to the streets. Derrick had arranged for Damien to be put on Diesel Therapy. For the next six months, he would never be in one place long enough to use the restroom, let alone a phone.

* * * * *

“How you know he did it?” RJ asked as he looked Derrick in the eyes.

“My mans and them seen son get popped! Then like forty-five minutes later, detectives were running up in the spot looking for me. So you do the math!” Derrick explained.

RJ's disbelieving stare caused Derrick to pull his phone out and tap a phone number. Pushing another button on the intricate device, the phone could clearly be heard ringing on the intercom.

“Yo, what's up?” a male answered in an aggressive voice.

“Lil' John, this is Tree. I'm with RJ, and I want you to tell him everything that you told me.”

“You ain't gonna believe this shit, RJ.”

“Try me,” RJ responded.

“Damien is sour. Straight rat.” Lil' John began to detail the events of that afternoon. Finally, he said, “I'm telling you, RJ, this dude is talking.”

RJ sat there stone-faced, listening intently to every word. But only after Derrick hung the phone up did RJ speak. “They got to be coming for me next then,” he surmised in a dreadful tone.

Exactly what I want him to think,”
Derrick thought. But as he took in the atmosphere, he had an eerie feeling about the house that he, RJ, Lil' Roy and Eli were assembled in. Not only was the residence sparsely furnished and seemingly vacant, there was a dank stiffness present. As they sat around the kitchen in rickety old chairs, Derrick was curious as to why he'd been brought to the location. His first instinct was that these men had somehow found out his true identity and were planning to murder him. Although his infiltration had worked to precision, thus far, there was the possibility that things could spin out of control.

The snugness of his Teflon vest, and the bulge in the small of his back put him at ease.

Suddenly, a soft tap at the door garnered everyone's attention. Rising from his seat, Lil' Roy ambled his small frame over to the door. He looked through the peephole, and then immediately began to unfasten the locks.

Once the door was open and the tall dreadlocked man entered, RJ stood and announced, “Ox! What's up, yo?”

“Noting, star,” he replied, carrying a large Louis Vuitton bag over his shoulder.

Derrick eyed the Lennox Lewis look alike closely. From the sound of his thick Caribbean accent, and his short locks, he guessed that the man was Jamaican.

“So my lil' man couldn't make it after all?” RJ asked, retrieving the bag from the tall Jamaican.

“Nah, but dem mon Tony send dem respects and says em ah link yah soon.”

A'ight. That's cool,” RJ said, dapping the man up.

Once the Jamaican was out the door, RJ made his way back to the table where the others sat. He tossed the designer bag onto the top. “Fellas, there's going to be a few changes.” He looked each man in the eyes. “As all of you know, Damien got busted a few days ago. Up until now, he hasn't gotten at none of us. And on top of that, the Feds amazingly kicked up in the spot he was supposed to be making the drop off at,” he stated, pausing to judge his crews' response. “Now, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure shit out. So here's the deal. We're no longer going to use this spot for any business, besides introducing niggas to Thunder and Lightning. Other than that, we no longer use this spot. In a couple of days, I'll have a new location for us to meet up and mix the dope. Oh, and one more thing. Meet the newest member of BTB. Tree.” He gave Derrick a pound and smiled.

Derrick caught the awkward glare of Lil' Roy. He knew that he'd face some resistance on the inside of the organization, and he was fully prepared to deal with it. For now, he would allow the man to stick around and not face the same dilemma as Damien.

* * * * *

An hour later, as RJ and Derrick drove through the city, Derrick replayed the entire meeting through his mind. The identity of the strange Jamaican man was puzzling. Was he RJ's heroin connection? If so, then who was Tony! These questions and many more were eating at him. Nonetheless, he knew that it would be foolish to bluntly ask. However, there was one thing he could ask RJ and not seem unusually inquisitive.

Turning to RJ, who was behind the wheel, Derrick decreased the volume on the radio, and then innocently asked, “Ay yo, son, who the fuck is Thunder and Lightning?”

Smiling deviously, RJ replied, “Let's just hope you never have to meet them.”

“Like that, huh?” Derrick grinned.

RJ nodded. “You see that bag in the backseat?”

Derrick turned and spotted the Gucci knapsack.

“Grab it,” RJ said.

The bag felt light as Derrick lifted it and put it in his lap. But not so light that it couldn't be a kilo. Derrick's heartbeat accelerated as he pondered if this was the moment he needed to bring RJ down. There would be no trump card he could pull to save him from the repercussions of directing an undercover agent to pick up a kilo of heroin from the backseat of his car.

RJ said, “Open it.”

Derrick tried his best to remain calm as he unzipped the bag.
Oh shit,
he thought. He couldn't stop his lips from expanding apart as he stared at the contents inside.

“That's all you,” RJ said.

Derrick continued gazing inside, finding it hard to believe RJ's words. “You're giving me this?”

“Consider it a welcoming gift for joining BTB. You don't have to count it. It's fifty G's.”

Derrick salivated over the cash. His first instinct was to turn the money in. But he knew this was not the type of evidence that his superiors needed to bring down Derrick. Then, there was the reality that he needed money to pay his mother's hospital bills. With his eyes still glued to the rubber-banded money in the knapsack, he peeked at RJ through his peripheral vision. He couldn't help but rationalize the reality of the agency being a hindrance to his mother's health and RJ being a solution.

* * * * *

After leaving RJ, Derrick headed home. He burst through the door with the knapsack full of money in his hand. He made his way to his bedroom, and then emptied the bills on the bed. Staring at the cash, his mind flashed back to his mother's doctor, and then to Marvin. He picked up a roll of twenty-dollar bills. “Fuck the agency,” he mumbled.

Derrick began counting the money until he confirmed it was $50,000. He flopped down on the bed and laid back in deep thought. He was considering what it meant to steal from the DEA. What it meant to take blood money from a crook. There was an avalanche of guilt weighing on Derrick's mind, but the more he thought of his mother, the more the guilt resolved.

BOOK: Flippin' the Hustle
7.82Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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