Sorry for the delay. Real life keeps interrupting my writing life, but here is Part IV of Water for Blood.
Water for Blood – Part IV
By Robert C Price
As the TV flickered and danced in the darkness of the motel room, Derek, wearing a wife beater and jeans, scrolled through his text messages putting out fires. Both Mason Brothers were micromanaging his progress. Tamik texted about constant updates while Raheem just wanted to fuck with him.
The Brothers never fully forgave him. A breach of trust of this magnitude always required death and a message—–no one turns their back on family. Ever.
Exceptions weren’t entertained, but Tamik had a soft spot for Derek. In those early days of hustling, they shared a bond of going hungry so their younger sibling could eat. Going without was a sacrifice they understood. And that connection is what saved Derek’s life.
He took his punishment for Steven’s abandonment. There was no way he’d run like his punk ass brother. Cowards don’t survive.
Angeline sat up on the bed, lifted her head and blew smoke signals in the air. In trying to forget what happened earlier, she slinked her way towards Derek, glided her hand across his expansive back and lightly licked his earlobe.
He shooed her away but that didn’t deter her from rubbing his shoulders back and forth, slow and steady. When she slid down his left shoulder-blade, her hand stopped short of his scarred flesh. Derek shot up with his hand raised as she backtracked, stumbling onto the bed.
“My arm botherin’ you then don’t fuckin’ touch me? I’m goin’ outside to make a call. Check on the kid.”
The force of the door echoed throughout the parking lot waking the sleeping guests.
I took the phone away from Symphony before my brother answered.
“What’s the problem?” Derek asked.
“Beans is dead, D. He got sloppy.”
“So, the bitch and the thief are still alive?”
“Then you ain’t done, Stevie. He don’t get released until you finish the job. And don’t get cute asking her where I’m at. I got eyes on you. You even think about comin’ my direction, Imma off Terrence. Then you’re next. One dead family.”
I heard a click, then dial tone.
Fire raged across my eyes and for a second I was back home with Jackie in our king sized bed waking up on a Saturday morning. Her body framed a perfect cello with skin the color of milk chocolate. I gave up everything for her and Terrence.
Derek was all I had growing up. He took care of me better than our whole fucked up family. I’ll always be grateful for what he’s done, but our brotherly love died the moment he defiled my home. I can’t let it go.
“We got a tail on us,” as I gave her back the phone and scanned the area.
Nothing looked strange until I saw them waiting for a bus that’s not coming.
“The two dudes at the Bus Stop. Were they there when we got here?”
“I don’t know,” said Symphony looking over my shoulder.
“Public transportation stops runnin’ around 11. Let’s go,” and noticed the subtle gaze in our direction by the two dressed in baggy shorts, t-shirts, and sneakers. The pair idled a couple of minutes before pursuing us.
“Hol’up a minute. I can get Barry to pick us up and get rid of them two assholes in the process,” said Symphony as she rummaged for the phone in her purse.
“I don’t want to get rid of ‘em, I need ‘em alive. But make that call and let’s get some distance. We can dip through this side street,”
We made a sharp left turn on 9th Street where porch lights illuminated the concrete. In the distance, I heard a freight train rumbling parallel to Dixie Highway. While our tag-a-longs stayed on the sidewalk, Symphony and I bolted in the middle of the road catching the shadows off guard.
At full speed, my partner on the phone with her cousin, we barreled toward the end of the block, narrowly missed by an SUV that made a right turn from Esther Rolle Ave onto our street.
The two pulled out Glocks and gave chase like lions through urban plains.
On Esther Rolle, I saw a driveway with a Chevy Impala that we could lie low and ambush our assailants. I gripped the 45 I took from Beans and knelt on the driver’s side of the car. She was behind me with her eyes closed mumbling. A tear ran down her cheek.
“Hold on. I won’t let them hurt you,” as I grabbed her hand.
“Symphony! Gal! Where mi cousin?” called the baritone voice from the other side of the car.
She smiled, wiped her face and rose to greet Barrington with two of his crew. They had guns aimed at our would-be-shadows.
“Damn Barry, it took you long enough. You got my money?” as she raised her head and met the eyes of this mountain of a man.
“Yeah, mi got it and you’re welcome,” he smirked.
The family reunion was touching, but I needed answers from the two knuckleheads. I walked over to one of the young men and placed my gun right between his eyes.
“I’m tired of playing this game. You gonna tell me where Derek is or we can have the cops scoop up what’s left of your brains. Your choice”
In this era of “Snitches get stitches” one thing always holds true, gun to the head trumps loyalty. Every time. They spilled their guts before I finished my statement.
We piled into Barrington’s Excursion and rode to his personal storage area on 16th Street. More warehouses I didn’t need.
Once inside, I waved one of them over to make the call.
“Tell Derek the job is done and I was wounded. You got me in the car and comin’ down now. You do have a car, right?”
“Yeah. It’s parked over there at KFC. Silver Camry.”
I glanced at my partner and shook my head, somehow not surprised.
It was time to settle up payment. Before she could get her money, I wanted her to drop me off near the restaurant.
“After that, your money is in a locker at the Greyhound station on Federal Highway. Not too many people take the bus anymore. Lucky you. I don’t know how much your cousin got you, but there’s 250K in there that you can add.”
“Dang cutie, I thought it be a little more,” said Symphony, “I got 500K, by the way, but I’ll take your money.”
I was definitely surprised by the amount. “I hope you’re leaving the country?”
“Will this set you back?” as she held my hand with a soft grip.
“I got some more resources stashed for rainy days like this. It’s not gonna matter if I don’t get Terrence back.”
She kissed me on the cheek, “Go get your son.”