DEAD END By J. Anthony Graves
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are the products of the authorâ€™s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
Copyright 2010 by J. Anthony Graves
All rights reserved under International and Pan-American Copyright Conventions. Published in the United States by J. Anthony Graves.
LIBRARY OF CONGRESS CATALOGING-IN-PUBLICATION DATA Graves, J. Anthony. Dead End: a novel / J. Anthony Graves ISBN 978-193-651710-7 (trade paper)
Printed in the United States of America www.janthonygraves.com
SPECIAL THANKS TO MY WIFE AND KIDS. THE REASON I DO THE THINGS I DO.
2005 Act I Small Potatoes Chapter 1
The merciless wind whipped across Lake Michigan at a hundred miles an hour. Or so it felt. It traveled over the sand and snowy beaches that dotted Chicago's waterfront. Winters here have always been bone chilling, and this one was no exception. As the gusts continued the circuitous route through the East Side, they ended up crossing paths with a gaggle of young men standing in a dirt lot. The lot stood in between a three flat building and another three story apartment with two separate entrances. The latter had two apartments on each floor, which made it a twelve unit complex. Anyone who had lived in the neighborhood long enough knew the dirt lot was once occupied by the twelve unit's twin. They formed a u-shaped, courtway building when connected. The departed half was razed after some bodies were found buried in the basement. This didn't deter the local street pharmacists from conducting business in or around this central location. Yes, the money was good in this part of town if you were engaged in an illicit lifestyle. Weed, rocks, blows, coke, pills - if it altered your perception, tickled your fancy or numbed your nuts; you could find it on Kingston. Hell, there was even a guy around the corner who sold alcohol out his house when the liquor stores closed. Legend Hamilton stood in the middle of this landscape, laughing with some of his crew about last night's escapades.
His mother was a big Bob Marley fan and named him after the Greatest Hits album that was released in 1984, the same year Legend was born. Plus, that’s what she wanted her baby to be, a legend. He was five feet ten inches tall and stayed in good shape. Even if he didn’t have access to weights or treadmills, he found a way to work out. He would do pull-ups on monkey bars, push-ups, sit-ups; it didn’t matter he was going to get a good sweat and maintain his edge. He had a lightbrown complexion and possessed a mysterious charisma. He wasn’t loud or flashy, but when he spoke, most people paid attention. He was a born leader in the streets and the classroom. “Man, this nigga Black gets mad 'cause the broad won't suck his dick. Now you know it was about twenty below last night. This bitch had gotten extra comfortable and took off her socks. I'm in the back with her girl and had just got ‘drunk up’." "Oh shit, I know Black was pissed," interrupted Chris. "Furious is more like it," continued Legend, "so me and baby girl come back up front, laughing and shit. Black and old girl not even talking by this time. He takes this chick's shoes, socks and her coat. Tossed ‘em all out the window. Told the bitch if she wasn't feeling him, she could go outside and feel the hawk." No one was surprised by Black's actions, he was always considered a live wire, but they never grew tired of hearing his crazy exploits. Legend picked the conversation back up. "The chick I was with started trying to calm Black down and get her girl to listen to reason.” “Girl, these niggas showed us a good ass time. We been smoking Kush, drinking Patron and that jerk chicken was fiyah,” she said. Black's chick wasn't feeling it, especially with her clothes sitting in a snow bank outside.
"Fuck you and this nigga; if you like him so much, you go suck his dick, stupid bitch," she spat back and stormed out the door to retrieve her things. Black went in on my girl right then and there.â€? "We both ended up fucking her all night," finished Legend. "Shorty was ringing the bell trying to get back in. Black threw five dollars out the window and told her to beat it. That shit was funny as hell, Joe." The entire group in the dirt lot was listening and laughing by now. Black didn't have a problem with scaring the pussy out of a girl if his mack game wasn't working. He pulled up in his box Chevy LS Brougham on twenty-four inch Blocks just as Legend was finishing his story. Black and Legend had been tighter than frog pussy since first grade. Black was a few inches over six feet carrying about 230 pounds of solid muscle. The women loved him because his physique and swagger were reminiscent of a professional athlete or rapper. He wouldn't hesitate to do whatever the situation called for to keep that mystique intact. He was a lucky gambler, too. If there was a dice game going on, he would get in, talk shit and win some quick cash. Even if he broke the game, you wouldn't be mad at him because he kept you laughing. He hopped out the car but left it running with the music blasting. "Who got that Ooh Wee? I'm about to go get up with that shooby-dooby from last night." "Get the fuck outta here," said Legend. "Straight up, she called me this morning talking about she was sorry and wanted to hook up. I think her girl must have told her how I rodded her ass out." "Man, you better be careful. She gonâ€™ get you stuck up."
Black opened his coat and lifted his shirt in a practiced move to show the butt of a Sig-Sauer 9 mm in his waistband. "They gonâ€™ get they asses aired out fucking with Black." "Whatever. Hit me up after you pick that broad up man. It's not like I care, but you still owe me a stack from that last move we did. I don't want you getting whacked before I get paid." They both laughed as Black walked over to Dusty, who had some plump fifties of purple Kush. Legend's phone rang. He looked at the caller ID and saw it was Imani. She had been his girlfriend off and on almost as long as he and Black had been tight. He loved her, but she was always on him about them moving out of the neighborhood. Imani and Legend's families still both lived in the hood. They had been living in their own apartment for two years, but Imani always had aspirations of being more than just a lifelong resident of the East Side. He sent the call to voicemail and went back to work, but not before making a mental note to call Black and check on him in about an hour.
Legend had attended Southern Illinois University for two and a half years before being put on academic probation and coming back on the block. He was the first one in his family to attend college. He was actually one of the few in his neighborhood to go away to school. He was introduced to new people and values that were in short supply during his upbringing. It was definitely an eye opening experience. Smoking weed out of a bong and sexing girls with different backgrounds and ethnicities were just two of his notable achievements. He also hooked up with a pair of computer geeks who gave him classes on credit card fraud and stealing identities. In the dormitories, you were guaranteed to find someoneâ€™s door unlocked because they were down the hall visiting. Legend would casually saunter in and pilfer an unsuspecting wallet. He and the geeks would use the information to get bogus drivers licenses, social security and credit cards. They would then make as many high end purchases as they could before the cards were discovered to be fraudulent. He was the weed man on campus after his first semester, and by the time he left, he was selling powder cocaine. He had only sold rocks back home and had no idea how much quick cash was in that aspect of the game. His major was pre-law and he had aspirations on becoming the best criminal defense lawyer in Chicago. Briefly. Once the money started coming in from hustling, that became job one. The prospect of getting his bachelor's degree in two years, plus law school and passing the bar exam started becoming less appealing by the day. Imani would try to get him enthused about school, but he began to feel more like Flukey Stokes than Johnny Cochran. From the late seventies up until his
death in 1988, Flukey was the biggest hustler in Chicago. It has been said that he earned upwards of fifty million dollars a year in the eighties. While Legend was away at school, Imani went to Robert Morris College in Chicago. She ended up getting an associates degree and a job as a secretary at a downtown architectural firm. She always envisioned him graduating and the two of them getting married. She knew that while he was away at school, he was sleeping with other women. There was nothing she could do about it. This was just a part of life she would accept in order to get her pot of gold at the end of the illicit pharmaceutical rainbow. They were young and she kept her a sidepiece anyway. She was never blatant with it. They all knew Legend was her man in college and she never dealt with anyone who lived close to their neighborhood. It wasn't hard for Imani to get a date; she was gorgeous. Standing five foot four, with a runnerâ€™s rump and legs, there was never a shortage of propositions dished her way. Light complected with flawless skin, she wore little to no make-up. With her catching the bus downtown, wearing skirts that accentuated her shape, there were even more suitors now. She didn't really go for the stuffy, business types initially. They seemed miles away from having the heady hood swag and block brio she associated with masculinity. As she got to know different people in and around her job at Petersen & Darby Architecture Inc., she realized they were just like residents of her neighborhood. Some had more guidance and opportunities for success, but a software network supervisor at an investment company or a partner at a swanky law firm could be just as scandalous as a stick-up man. There was as much drinking, whoring and drug abuse going on in corporate America as there was on the block, if not more. Imani quickly got the connection. Antonio Freeman, Black's government name, did a year behind bars for a delivery during Legend's freshman year. After he got out, he would take the five
hour drive from Chicago to Carbondale every now and then. He enjoyed the sororities, the kegs and the young ladies who were still naïve and loved a thug. He would bring “work” down to Legend and they would make more money than they could on the block. Everything went for at least double in the boonies. Of course, Black kicked some ass when he was on campus. There were a lot of guys who acted crazy, but he was a silverback gorilla. It only cemented Legend's power by being the only person who could calm him down. By the time Legend came back home, he had solidified his position as boss of the yard. All the fraternities wanted him to pledge. He just wasn't comfortable with paying someone to beat his ass for the right to wear their colors and letters. He was already a Comrade anyway like everybody else in his hood. Not to mention, since he had the best chronic at school, he had more women than he could honestly deal with. Pussy was the major benefit of pledging as far as he was concerned. Imani made the trip to Southern Illinois a few times with Black. When that happened, Legend shut his phone off and warned all his dips not to come around. Amazingly, he never got caught cheating on Imani while he was at school. He was home for Christmas break when he got the paperwork letting him know he was on the verge of being kicked out. He lit an L and decided at that moment that his college career was over. He called Black, "What up, Joe? I got kicked out of school today." "Damn, nigga you like Craig on Fridays. How the fuck you get kicked out when you on break?" Legend laughed along with him, "Shit, I don't know. Fuck it though; I'm ready to get on some Tony Montana anyway." That's what I'm talking about, my dude; let’s get this bread and takeover the city." "The city, huh?"
"Hell yeah. Fuck the East Side. I want it all. Look what we did in Carbondale." "Man that was a college campus. We were the most gangsterest niggas in town." "Hell naw. Look at Joe College. Gangsterest ain't a word, my nigga. But fuck that, I ain't scared of none of these chumps. Niggas bleed just like us." Black stayed on that â€œI wish a nigga wouldâ€? shit. Legend, on the other hand, was all about thinking and diplomacy from his college stint. He knew the Comrades hierarchy wouldn't allow two insignificant twenty year olds to just take over. He would have to figure something out.
The gang culture in Chicago is infused into its pulse. From the Irish mayor down to the hypes on the corner, everybody is affiliated with a gang in some form or fashion. The lines of demarcation in the streets were set in stone without the use of paper maps. These blocks had been fought over for decades. The younger generations didn't really know the origins; they just fell in line when they stepped off the porch. The Money Men originated on the West Side in the fifties and were one of the first organized black gangs in the country. They were spread throughout the city and primarily focused on heroin and prostitution. There were many different branches of the Money Men, but they all answered to a few men who headed up the organization. Some of them were in the streets, but most gang leaders ran the streets from the joint. The Comrades were the mob Legend and Black ran with. They had Islamic influences and were very organized. No pork, praying to the east, and having a strong family unit were some of this group's tenets. Since most members weren't Muslim, they didn't observe all the rules unless they were incarcerated and law could be enforced. Extortion and drug sales fueled their empire. The Deuce Trays were a Hispanic gang that was serious about gangbanging. What Hispanic gang wasn't? The Deuces seemed to revel in their notoriety. They were responsible for about forty percent of the weed and fifty percent of the coke in Chicago. The three aforementioned groups belonged to a loose-knit coalition known as The Family. In the penitentiary and the streets, they would click up to protect
each other from their rival conglomerate, The Bosses. The Bosses were composed of three main gangs and their offshoots. The Gorilla Mobsters, or GMâ€™s, were one of the largest gangs in the Windy City. They dominated the South Side by sheer numbers alone. Their leader had been extremely violent on the streets but had recognized the power of politics early on during his incarceration. He had organized his constituents to vote for officials who were sympathetic to their plight. The government was adamant in its stance that he would never see the light of day as a free man. He still ran his mob with an iron fist despite all of their efforts. They were known for bringing some of the biggest rap concerts to Chicago in the nineties and were involved in any money making opportunity that presented itself. The Bishops were originally a part of the GM's. Internal strife had forced a split between them in the early seventies. They were still amicable, but often had squabbles in the streets. Their leader met a high ranking Colombian in the federal penitentiary and they seemed to get rich overnight. They made a lot of money off of drug sales and were heavily involved in the real estate market. The LB's or Latin Bosses were the main rival of the Deuces. They were just as violent, if not more so. They were responsible for almost all the drugs that the Deuces didn't import. These two organizations were always battling to see who was considered the most ruthless. They joined young and considered their gang more important than their biological family in most cases. These six organizations were the main gangs, but there were many affiliates that honored their laws. They all had unique handshakes, colors and phrases that identified their set. â€˜Shaking upâ€™ was the most common greeting among bangers. Most people became gang members based on their neighborhood or blood relations. You might find cousins or even brothers in the same household with different gang ties. Once they hit Cook County Jail, everyone was Family, Boss, or
a neutron. Neutrons were neutral civilians who were not gang affiliated. Jail time was worse for neutrons than anybody else because they stood alone in the dog-eatdog world of the Illinois penal system.
Legend's phone rang and the caller ID showed that it was Pierre. "What's up, Family?" "I'm about to bend on you. Where you at?" "Out here working, P. You right on time, I need to see you." "Aight, hop in when I pull up." "Shit," muttered Legend. Everybody hated having to get in the car with Pierre. He was an eccentric dude who took pride in being an asshole. In the summertime, he would ride with his AC cranked on full blast. He would have on a fur coat and Timberlands. You would get in with shorts and a tee shirt on feeling like a slab of meat in the butcher shop. In the wintertime, it was the polar opposite. The heat would be pumping like the furnaces of hell. Of course, he would have on shorts, a wife beater, and flip flops. You would step back into the frigid air sweating like you just ran a marathon. He kept bikinis and coats in the car for females who rode with him. Anybody requesting that he adjust his temperature gauges was in for a longer, more drawn out meeting. Now, he wouldn't do this shit all the time, but he would do it enough to irritate anybody he could pull it with. P was able to get away with all of this because he was a General in the Comrades. It didn't matter that he was barely five feet seven inches tall and skinny. He had survived the big gang wars of the nineties as one of the most ruthless soldiers on the East Side. He was also a heavy earner and had some good connects in the Deuces. A pretty boy with braids down his back, he kept a flock of hoes. He had hazel eyes and what everybody affectionately called â€œIndianâ€? hair. His mother had been half Boricua and he could pass for a Puerto Rican if he spoke Spanish.
Damn near every Comrade who served over east had to cop their work from Pierre, due to a mandate he issued. Anybody selling any coke over sixty-three grams had to have permission or be paid a visit from Zulu. Zulu was Pierre's best friend and his main enforcer. Zulu had a reputation as a heartless killer who enjoyed torture more than fucking. The only thing that ran close to entertainment for him was shooting dice. He was one of the ugliest dudes ever with a lazy eye that moved like an injured piranha in a fishbowl. People cracked jokes behind his back, but gave him nothing but the utmost respect to his face. Pierre pulled up in a black Range Rover sitting on twenty-fours. Legend reluctantly walked over to the passenger door and hopped in. He braced himself for the heat as he shook up with P. "What up, little nigga?" "Not shit, just trying to catch up with you," he replied, removing his hat and unzipping his coat. "I feel you, what you trying to grab?" "Four and a split." "That's it," Pierre asked incredulously. "Y'all niggas hustling backwards." Insulted, Legend didn't say a word; he just stared straight ahead. "What, you ain't got shit to say," queried Pierre. "Naw, man. That's how you feel. I don't care what you think." "Your boy Black would be ready to scrap over that shit." "Naw, man. We respect our G even if he wrong." "Oh, so I'm wrong now? Humph. Where that bread at?" Legend gave him four thousand dollars. While placing the large roll in his pocket, Pierre asked, "How much is this?" "Four stacks."
"Aw, nigga that shit gonâ€™ cost you forty-three. Inflation a motherfucker. I know you ain't got it. You owe me three bucks and I need it tonight." "That's some bullshit Pierre. I just got the same jab five days ago for four." "Coke prices up and down like its Wall Street, Holmes. You like that Jay-Z shit don't you?" "Fuck it, man. I'm a have to do something else then. Let me get my loot back." "What, you trying to see Zulu?" Legend locked eyes with Pierre. "Man, Joe. If that's what you on, it is what it is." "Oh, he do got some nuts. Here, Joe. I gotta make sure ain't no chumps out here. He handed Legend a Ziploc bag with four and a half ounces of crack in it. "This that ether, nigga. You gonâ€™ fly through it. Holla at me, Joe." Legend stepped out, bundled back up and started home. He looked over his shoulder and saw Dusty standing on the driver's side talking to Pierre. That shit really pissed him off. "Why didn't that motherfucker have to sit in that hot ass car?"
Legend got home and immediately put the package on his scale. Pierre might have shorted him as a "test." It read 125.6 grams after the tare. Next, he called Black to let him know he had the work. "I'll just pick it up in the morning, Comrade. I'm about to lay it down." "In the A.M." "Aight." He heard Imani in the bathroom as he hung up. "I didn't wake you, did I?" "No, I was waiting up anyway. I called your phone and it kept going to voicemail." "It was real busy today; plus it's freezing out there. What's up?" "How much longer do you expect for me to deal with this, Ledge? I mean you stay out all day and night, drinking and smoking. You don't even have your half on the rent, do you?" "I just went to the store. I should have something for you tomorrow night." "That's what I'm talking about. You ain't went to no store. You just gave Pierre some money for some drugs. This is not the life I pictured for us when you went to school." "When I went to school? I dropped out over a year ago. Why the fuck are we talking about that shit?" "Because you were going to be something different. I mean look at our families and friends. We both have crackheads and alcoholics all up in our shit. All you do is stand outside and sell drugs all day. The same shit both our older brothers and cousins did and still do."
Taken aback, Legend fixed his steely gaze on her eyes, "Who the fuck are you to judge me? You don't have a problem spending this drug money." "Nigga, please. I could see if you were bringing in some real paper. “You ain't got no drug money to spend. You ain't shit but small potatoes." Imani was doing the black woman's infamous neck roll in Legend's face, by now. "Get out my face before I fuck you up, Imani." "Fuck me up? Nigga, we gon’ both end up in the hospital. You don't want no trouble." He turned towards the door laughing. "I'm a leave before you end up making me hurt you, girl." "No, you're going to leave before my brother kicks your ass." "Who? Darren or Stan crackhead ass? Bitch, beat it." "Bitch? Your mama the bitch. You the bitch.” Legend suddenly turned, grabbing Imani's throat, "Look, now I'm trying to leave before this shit gets out of hand. You're working downtown thinking you better than everybody else. What? Those corporate boys all in your ear got you fucked up in the head, huh." Imani struggled against his grip, attempting to shake free. She was throwing wild punches that would occasionally glance off his face and chest. He grabbed her hands in an effort to stop the punches. Malice and compassion are rare bedfellows, but thug love is a duality in itself. "I love your ass, Imani, but you stay on this bullshit. I'm a let you go, but if you run up on me again, I'm a give you what you looking for." She sat on the floor crying. As Legend looked down at her, he felt a wave of emotion that forced him to pick her up.
"Baby, you know you mean everything to me. All I wanna do is make you happy. You're right; I should've stayed in school. Everything would be different. I'm gonâ€™ do something to get us where we tryna to be. I promise." He was kissing Imani on her neck and face as he spoke to her and wiped her tears away. The combination of Imaniâ€™s body warmth, and her whimpering tone seized Legend. They both began to get aroused. She had gone to bed with one of his white tees on. Taking a step back, she slowly pulled it off. Imani performed this act as if she were in a pornographic production. The moonlight shined off her firm breasts as she licked one of her erect nipples. "You want some of this pussy," she breathed. "Hell, yeah. I always want some of that." She pushed him down on the couch while sliding down between his legs. She unbuckled his Gucci belt and unzipped his pants with her mouth. She could feel his manhood swelling beneath his jeans, which made her moist. After pulling his throbbing member out, she licked the head teasingly while taking her hand and rubbing her clit slowly. Imani started sucking like Legend was a shake, and his dick, the straw. She was messy and his cock was quickly covered with her saliva. "Damn, baby, Superhead ain't got shit on you." Looking up she said, "Oh, you ain't know." She rose up to mount him reverse cowgirl style. She bent all the way over so she could watch his dick going in and out of her juicy cat. As he stared at her perfect ass going up and down his shaft, it took everything to prevent him from coming like a rookie. He could see her natural lubrication increasing with each stroke. Glistening streams of girl goo traced a crooked line down his pulsing shaft. He knew he had to take over or else this erotic interlude would end quickly. "Get up," he commanded.
They both stood as he picked her up by her thighs and she got back on his pole. He began to carry her and walk to the bedroom as she thrust her hips furiously with her first orgasm. "Come all over this dick, baby," he yelled. They had both become animals. There were screams, cries and even biting going on as they fell onto the bed. She pulled her legs back for easier access and so she could feel his balls slapping her ass. She stared at him, loving every minute of it. "Gimme that cream, daddy. Fuck your pussy." He began to shoot his load inside her. As she felt his cum, she shuddered and let out a long wail as she came again. They both lay there, spent. "I'm sorry I acted all crazy, Boo. I just want us to have more than we do. I know that you can do whatever you set your mind to. I just want us to get on some better shit." "It's all good, baby. I gotta start hustling harder. I just need more money and somebody else I can cop from." They lay under the comforter with Imani nestled in his arm. She was soon fast asleep leaving him wondering how he was going to get some money.