Tuesday, January 10, 2006

...Ain't Gold (Part Seventeen)

Darnell Knightley had been in prison for three years of a five-year sentence, as part of a plea-bargain. He pleaded guilty to breaking and entering and they dropped the sentence from ten to five.
Rich hated going to see his brother in jail. It was like going to see an animal in a zoo; you could look and admire, but never could you touch. Rich hurt knowing his baby brother was on the inside where anything could happen.
Darnell had always been smart, coming up with get money quick schemes when they were younger. They had always paid off. But shortly after that, he concocted a wild one that Rich wasn’t down with. Darnell and some of his buck wild friends planned to rob some people at a house party in Long Island. The plan was to wait until everyone left, get back in and steal whatever they could carry. His friends bailed on him when the couple awoke and found Darnell in their bedroom. He took the rap and they took to the streets. Darnell still stolidly kept silent about their identities, knowing the street code of death before dishonor would catch up if he ratted them out.
“Hey, lil bro.” The brothers touched fists to the glass. Darnell was two years younger than Rich, but harsh times in prison had aged him. He looked thirty. They had similar features, the same jaw and facial structure, but only Rich and Simone inherited the hazel eyes from their father. Darnell’s hawk eyes were from their mother’s side.
“What’s hood, Rich?”
“Everything’s everything, son. How they treatin you up in here?”
Darnell looked away and scratched his head before answering. “Ain't shit up in here, Rich. Niggas respect 'cuz they know you my blood, but-man, shit is crazy up in here. Seen a nigga get stabbed in his back the other day. Fuckin blood got everywhere. I’m just tryna survive.”
Rich nodded.

“Fuck me," Darnell said. "What’s up wit you? Shit ain't pretty on the block, I hear.”
“You know. I’m still money makin Rich. Ain't shit change.”
“Yeah, I appreciate it man, you know, my commissary and shit.”
“You know I got you, kid. I ain't doin nothin I ain't s’posed to do. You my blood.”
Darnell looked around him, like he wanted no one to hear what he was about to say. Then he leaned forward and looked Rich in his eye. “It’s some big things about to go down in a lil while. I don’t really know who’s down with what, but I know shit might get critical in the hood. Just be careful.”
Rich nodded. He knew if Darnell said it, it was true. Prison was like Eyewitness News. They usually knew what was going on inside before the outsiders knew.

"What you know?"
"I know all about that shit wit Prage and Maxell," Darnell said quietly.
Rich smiled, his dimples showing. Damn, word really did get around. If his brother knew what was up, Maxell most certainly knew.
Darnell smiled and leaned back. “So who's the lucky ho this week?”

Rich laughed. Darnell was jealous and used to call Rich the Bishop on account of all the females he used to bring around when he was home. He shook his head.
“Nah, man. I got me a shorty now.”
“So I've heard. What’s her name?”
“Nicole. You know that nigga Stretch got a girl named Nicole too.”
Rich scratched his chin, then rubbed his beard thoughtfully. He wondered if that was coincidence.

"Did you hit it yet?"
For the first time in life he felt uncomfortable answering that question. He did anyway. “You know I did.”
“Damn. So you sweet on her then?”
“How long you been seein her?”
“Bout six months.”
“Damn, Rich."

"Damn? Why everybody tyrna play a nigga like he can't get him a shorty and be straight with it?"
Darnell smiled and scratched his head. “Cuz we know you betta, Bishop. Ya’ll serious?”
“Yeah. I ain't seein nobody else.”
“You ain't?” Darnell asked in disbelief. Who was this cat?
“Nah man. I love that girl.”

Darnell pulled the phone away from his ear, gave Rich a quizzical glance and put it back to his head. “When you find my brother, you tell him to come holla at me cuz I don’t know you, nigga.”

Maxell laid five stacks of money in front of Mookie. Mookie flipped through them, sniffing the green bills as if the monetary aromatherapy would silence the butterflies in his gut. He had seen this much money yes, but only going into Rich's safes. Never in his hand did he hold this much cash at one time.
"Now you're telling me you can take them both out."
"That's what I'm telling you."
"If you fuck this up Mookie, so help me," Maxell started.
"I won't, alright? I won't. It'll be done."

"And what did you tell him?"
"I told him I could do it."
"How much did he pay you?"
"One now, three when its done."
"He's giving you four hundred thousand dollars? Shit, I should have jumped on it hen."
"Too late."
"And Shadow?"
Mookie made a gun with his fingers and mouthed 'bang, bang.'
"After tonight? She won't be a problem."


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Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep. If I should die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take and may this song play all the way, through. And if it skip a beat, hit repeat, this the realest shit I ever wrote, this is me. If it skip a beat, hit repeat, This the realest shit I ever wrote, this is me. -Juelz Sanatana, This Is Me, What The Game's Been Missing