I sat on the side of Rell's bed in the hospital and held my newborn son in my arms.. He was so tiny, so cute and sleeping so well.. Little Charles "Chess" Parker Jr. She eyed me in a strange way, as if I was keeping a secret from her. At first I ignored her, then finnally I turned to her.
'What?" I asked.
"Chess, What did you and my brother do that night yall went out?" she asked.
" That was two months ago..why are you worried about that?" I asked.
" Did you know he quit his job?" she said.
"What?" I said. I had worked hard to get him that job with the city after he quit slinging drugs for Chris Thompson and now he had quit??
"Yeah, and he was packing his things, talkin about leavin town....What did yall
do? You all of a sudden got a lot of cash , to put down on a house...buying new
clothes, yadda yadda and he got all this cash and now he actin like he scared or somethin." said Rell.
"Look Rell, all I'm gonna say is this. I didn't do nothin but drive your brother to where he said he had to be..I didn't do nothin...but you know how your brother
is?" I said, lying a little bit.
"Well where all of that money come from?" she asked.
"Look Rell, there are some things you are better off not knowin...okay?" I said.
She knew not to press me anymore about it. I kissed her on her cheek and I kissed the baby and I left the hospital.
We had both graduated in May.....My son had come just four weeks after our graduation. I had banked most of the 50K that Billy Ray gave me and I had paid Chris Billy Ray's cut and assured Billy Ray his independence from Chris...but something was afloat, something was wrong on the streets..I could smell it..I could taste it.
I went looking for Chris Thompson...He wasn't in the Barber Shop, Wasn't in the Diner and wasn't at Josie's Bar either. Gus the Bartender, who knows everything told me that Chris had gone to ground....That a Player from North Philadelphia demanded that he pay him back the 150 G's one of his people stole from his card game. Of course Chris balked and this began a street war. Two guys went to one of Chris's girlfriend's homes looking for him...They mistakenly shot and killed Chris's girlfriend and her father. Then ,one of Chris's cheif Lieutentant's was ambushed and killed outside of the Barbershop just the week before. Chris Thompson didn't take this laying down...Two of Indian Joe's people were shot to death near the Italian Market a few days later and Indian Joe himself just barely escaped an attempt on his life by two of Chris's shooters
I had been oblivious to all of this..I needed to find Chris and talk to him. It didn't take long...Chris found me! One night I was on Broad Street about to catch the C Bus and he walked up to me...Just like that out of nowhere.
"What'cha know good Chess daddy?" he laughed.
"Man..I know you're in trouble and I feel like it's my fault." I said.
"How is it your fault? You aint done nothin." He said.
"Look Chris, I got 50G's that I'll gladly turn over to you-"
He held up both palms of his hands and stopped me-
"Freeze Chess...that's your money...that's for you and your woman and your new
baby....You didn't do nothin..I know all about that robbery of that card game that that asshole and his friends pulled..I knew about it days after it happened.
I don't care. Indian Joe or nobody else is gonna demand that I do anything.."
"Chris, that's his money." I said.
"Then he shoulda had better security..that way it would still be his money. I didn't tell Billy Ray and them boys to rob him.. I aint had nothin to do with that." he said.
"But now that you do know, why don't you give him back his money?" I said.
"Hah..I aint given Indian Joe a damn thing but a bullet...Don't worry about me
holmes...Take care of your family and keep ya nose clean..you aint involved in this. Read the papers..you'll see how this plays out. Be easy good brother" he said and he was gone just like, gone into the night.
I next went to look for Billy Ray. When I got to his apartment, it was empty and the landlord told me that he had cleared out just hours before I got there.
The night was cool..it was a rare cool summer night...As I walked down the street, I felt a very real uneasiness..
To answer Chris's question..Tonight , I didn't know nothin good, nothin good at all.
(To Be Continued......)