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Authors: Jordan Belcher

Tags: #urban fiction, #kansas city, #street lit, #felony books, #love and hip hop, #paper plug

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BOOK: God Don't Like Haters 2
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I punched him twice.

He ducked lower to pull my legs from under me
but I had them spread too far apart for him to grab both. I brought
hellish elbows down on the back of his head and one-two'd him until
his neck got weak and he collapsed at my feet.

But he was still of conscious mind, enough to
grab and hug my leading leg to keep me from moving. Monifa had done
this to me once—but she had started biting into my calf until I
bled and she tore my plantaris tendon located just below the
gastrocnemius muscle (the bulging shape of the calf). This guy was
just hugging, but it was still hurting.

"Hey, break that shit up!"

I looked and saw one of Yayo Love's security
guards—the same one who nearly threatened me and Gee in the
bathroom—yelling at us from down the hallway but coming our way
with the rest of his team; well, minus two members—one security
guard stopped with Yayo Love to keep him away from us. I kept
trying to pull my leg free to go after the camera man when I turned
and saw two things: (1) the brotha who Gee had clawed laying on the
ground unconscious, and (2) Gee approaching the backpedaling camera
man who had just stuffed the camera phone in his hoodie pouch, only
to retrieve a gun.

It had already been cocked and
loaded. 
Bang! Bang!
 Gee went down after the first
shot, but the camera man kept firing.

Bang! Bang! Bang! Bang!

Then he took off running.

I was speechless.

 

GabbyTV:
I've just received confirmation that
there was a shooting at a Yayo Love concert in Kansas City,
Missouri! We're still waiting on further details, but it apparently
happened backstage at the Sprint Center arena in the city's Power
& Light District. This isn't the first time there's been a
shooting at one of Yayo's concerts, but this is the first that has
taken place backstage, which leads us to believe that he was the
target this time. There's no word yet if Yayo Love was hit, but you
know I'll find out. After all, this could have been a publicity
stunt to bring attention to his downward spiraling career. STAY
TUNED, my little Gabblettes!

Chapter 11

Kirbie Amor Capelton

 

I couldn't see a thing because of the blindfold, but
as Mark helped me out of the backseat I could tell by the sounds in
the air that we were in an alley.

"Kirbie, are you okay?" asked Archie, who was
somewhere nearby blindfolded too.

"I'm fine," I said.

"Sorry, yall," said Mark. "Yall know I
wouldn't be doing this if I didn't have to. And just so you guys
know, right now I'm holding each of you guys' hand as we walk.
Don't pull away from me and walk carefully. The concrete's not good
back here. You'll be going into a restaurant the back way through
the kitchen. It's closed to the public today, so you'll be having
dinner with the boss alone."

"Will we be able to take our blindfolds off
once we get inside?" Archie asked.

"No. You'll be wearing them the whole
time."

I coughed out a sigh. "Are you serious,
Mark?"

"Very serious. Julian Beltrán doesn't want
you to see his face."

Mark led us forward. Every step I took was
uncertain; I wasn’t sure the ground would still be there when my
heel landed. I thought I heard Archie trip, and I was sure he did
when Mark accidentally tugged on my arm to accommodate Archie's
misstep.

"Be careful, you guys."

Then, several feet later he let my arm go,
and I assumed he let Archie's go too.

Mark knocked on a screen door. It sounded
like it had metal bars attached to it also. The door creaked open
and I heard a new voice speak Spanish, and Mark spoke it back. Then
Mark said to us, "Okay, yall, this is as far as I go. I'll be
waiting here when yall get out."

He's not coming with us?
 I
thought with a pinch of worry. I wondered if Archie was as
concerned as I was.

Suddenly, I felt hands grab my arms from
behind and guide me inside the restaurant. I was already missing
Mark's style of leadership; this guiding me from the back shit was
scary—I felt like I was about to run into something. And with the
guy behind me gripping my upper arms so tight, I could only hold my
hands out halfway from the elbow down.

And even scarier was the changes in lighting
from dark to darker to not as dark and back again, as we made our
way through the kitchen—where I heard plates shuffle and people
speaking Spanish and an oven door slam so hard it startled me—and
into a hallway and ultimately into the eating area.

My guide sat me down at a table.

I heard Archie being seated next to me. At
least I hoped it was him. It smelled like him.

"Archie?" I said.

"I'm here." He grabbed my hand under the
table.

This was one of the many reasons I never
wanted to deal with cocaine. There was so much secrecy that was
involved, so much more of a heightened sense of danger because more
money was at stake, that it was almost not worth the migraine. I
felt like someone was going to walk up behind us and shoot us both
in the back of the head.

Then I heard footsteps. From behind. Several
people casually walking closer. I actually turned my head as if I
could see who was coming. Soon, those footsteps came around us and
ended up in front of us. Three chairs were pulled out, and then
they sat down. My nose caught whiffs of new body odors.

"Do you two speak Spanish?" said a male
voice.

Me and Archie both said no.

Same voice: "You need to learn then." A
pause. "My name is Julian Beltrán and I am the man behind the
cocaine you wish to purchase. You'll be dealing with my nephew Mark
Beltrán directly, but every now and then I like to meet our
partners to get a sense of who we deal with on every level."

"Thank you for having us," Archie said.

I started to say the same thing as Archie,
but I didn't want to sound like a parrot so I said, "Nice to meet
your acquaintance, sir."

"Likewise. To the both of you." There was a
smile in Julian's voice. Then: "I don't make it a habit to meet
everyone, of course. Some people don't deserve my presence. But
Mark's had a lot of good things to say about you two. He's been
selling you pills for years, apparently, and not once has he had
any hiccups with timely payments or dishonor. I expect the same
respect with the powder, nothing less."

I nodded, and I hoped Archie did too.

Julian went on to explain to us that he and
the people in this room knew what we looked like. Indirectly, he
had threatened to kill us if we ever did him or his nephew wrong.
Meal time was the weird part (if being blindfolded wasn't already
weird). When our plates arrived, I was having trouble getting the
fresh seafood soup—someone in the room called the
dish 
caldo de mariscos
—in my mouth with my fork because
I no longer had hand-eye coordination. A few of the unseen men
laughed every now and then, and I knew they were laughing at me.
But all in all, the food was delicious; it was loaded with spices,
and the steaming fried rice was one-of-a-kind.

I heard Julian's chair scoot back, and from
the sound of his voice I knew he was standing. "Dinner was a
pleasure," he said to us. "But I must go. My men will lead you out
back and Mark will take care of you from there. He'll let you know
when you can remove your blindfolds."

I thought Julian had left, but then I felt
his hand touch my chin and it jolted me. He nudged it—and then I
felt his lips press against mines ever so gently.

"Farewell, 
novia,”
he whispered
to me. His breath was cool and inviting. His presence was as big as
life. "
En otra vida
 ..."

Then he was gone.

"Bye," I said softly.

 

***

 

We were on our way back to Missouri with kilos of
cocaine in the trunk. Archie was driving, singing along to a
Jazzmine Short throwback playing on the radio. He was happy.

He had his coke.

I was in my feelings. I had my window down,
and the wind was blowing my hair as I stared out at nature as it
passed me by. I was thinking about music and I was sulking a little
bit because that life was behind me now, but I was also thinking
about the kiss Julian laid on me. It was sweet. But there were no
fireworks like there was when I kissed Coras. I nearly melted into
a puddle after feeling Coras's lips. But Julian's kiss did feel
good, just different.

I was trying to understand the feelings I was
going through right now, the inappropriate way in which my body
tingled pleasantly from the lips of other men, both Coras and
Julian. I had never strayed from Archie, but I was wondering if
this strange desire to be touched by someone new was a sign that I
wasn't ready to marry him. Was 19 years old too young? But I really
did want to be married to Archie.

I loved being loyal.

"What's wrong?" Archie asked me.

I turned. "Huh? I look upset?"

"No, but I know something's on your mind
because you're not on your phone."

I sucked my teeth. "Real funny, Archie." But
he was right.

"Are you worried about whether or not we can
get rid of all this cocaine?"

"No. I know we can. We never have any
problems hustling together. True hustlers can hustle any product
and I'm motivated."

He smiled. "I raised you well."

"The only thing I'm concerned about is how
long is our run gonna last. The coke game is wide-open now because
the Feds just swept the city in another mass drug conspiracy ...
but will we be round up in the next sweep? Seems like every three
or four years in Kansas City there's a new team that gets taken
down. I don't wanna get caught up in the next indictment handed
down by the federal grand jury."

"The law only catches wind when you involve
too many players," Archie rationalized. "It's just gonna be me and
you at the top. Same program as the pills, and look how many years
we went without getting caught. If you want, in four more years we
can switch up the hustle again."

"I don't care what we sell. I just wanna win,
Archie."

"And we will. We 
are!
 See,
those public indictments don't talk about who got away, who beat
the system. There are people in the city that have hustled cocaine
through many indictments. And I'm not talking about snitches. I
know a few real ones still doing well. I know what I'm doing,
Kirbie. Have I ever steered you wrong?"

I thought about the fake robbery and how he
allowed a man I never met in my life to put his boot on my
face.

"Have I?" he asked again.

"No," I said.

We were driving in peace for a while when I
finally decided to pull my phone out. Archie tossed out a slick
comment about me being a social media junkie and made a playful
grab to take my phone, but actually I wasn't logging into The Site
right now. I was doing an internet search to find out what Julian
Beltrán had said to me. 
Farewell, novia ... En otra
vida
. I learned that 
novia
 meant "fiancé"
and 
en otra vida 
meant "in another life." I was
confused. Did Julian tell me he'd marry me under different
circumstances? Or was the kiss a customary sign of respect and he
was simply congratulating my engagement to Archie?

"Did Julian kiss you?" I asked.

Archie's face was weirded out. "What did you
just say?"

"Did Julian kiss you? You know, like a sign
of respect that mafia people do."

"Fuck no he didn't. I would've flipped the
table over and went Denzel on them niggas. Did he
kiss 
you?"

"Yes."

"On the lips?"

I should have kept my mouth shut. Archie was
really starting to grow upset.

"No," I lied. "Just on the cheek."

"Oh okay. If he had, I would've whipped this
bitch around so hard and shot back to that restaurant so fast
..."

I giggled. "Assuming we know where the
restaurant is and they're there, what would you have done?"

"Broke a couple arms. Maybe a leg or
two."

"You would've took on all those Beltrán
cartel members by yourself? Really, Archie?"

"For my fiancé and future wife, I'll take on
the world. Seven billion people, three at
time, 
Crouching Tiger
 style. Line 'em
up!"

"That's sweet. Thank you, Archie."

"I love you."

"I love you too."

I said the words, and I meant them, so why
was I logging into The Site a few seconds later to check on Coras's
profile? Something was wrong with me. I was starting to think that
I wasn't as loyal as I thought I was.

As my thumb went up to the app's searchbox to
type in "Coras," I noticed a trending topic in my newsfeed. The
hashtag of choice was currently #SprintCenter. I tapped the link
quickly and started reading the comments.

 

Wendy 'youlovetotaste' Hartley:
A shooting at
the Sprint Center??? C’mon, this can’t be real smh

Thorton Jones:
 Niggas can't do shit
right. That's why famous people never wanna perform in Kansas City
#SprintCenter #Hoodlums

Problem Child:
 I heard Yayo Love is
dead! Good riddens. He was washed up and overrated anyway.
#SprintCenter 

Makea WorkingWoman Price:
 Yayo love is
not dead. Those are fake sites publishing that shit. Stop
re-posting it! #negativity #SprintCenter 

Bobby Mason:
 I heard it was some local
niggas that got popped #SprintCenter

4300Block Keyon:
 Oh snaps, GabbyTV wrote
a story on the #SprintCenter shooting! We're making national news.
Kansas City, we on! #global

Natasha YoloLife Anderson:
 I know one
thing. Since the show got canceled, I better get me a refund
#SprintCenter #NoGames #iWantMyMoneyBack

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