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Monday, May 28, 2012

For The Sake Of An Argument



I don't understand the why or how....
After we've been through hell
you wanna up and leave me now?
For a guy you hardly knew before....
when everyone on the streets knows that I
love you more..
I love you more...
Everybody knows.../

For the sake of an argument..
is the sex with him heaven sent?
Is it enough to make you throw a lifetime away
and then tell me you have nothing more to say?/

For the sake of an argument
are you in love ...
or is this crazy infatuation???....
it's got me thinkin of other situations...
Of other nights and other days.../



Can't nobody make you go "Ouuuu" like me...
or were you faking it ...
when you used to scream "Ohhhh do me daddy"
at the top of your lungs...
I can look at this guy
and tell he's soft...
one thought of you with him is about to make me
go off...
and baby that's no fun.../


For the sake of an argument..
is the sex with him heaven sent?
Is it enough to make you throw a lifetime away
and then tell me you have nothing more to say?/

For the sake of an argument
are you in love ...
or is this crazy infatuation???....
it's got me thinkin of other situations...
Of other nights and other days...





So girl,
why do you feel you have to just up and go..?
The word on the street is that he doesn't have
much dough..
So why do you just have to go?
You tell me that he shares with you all of his hopes and
dreams..
but dreams don't make you scream out in delight...
so what does all of that mean?/


For the sake of an argument
are you in love ...
or is this crazy infatuation???....
it's got me thinkin of other situations...
Of other nights and other days...

Friday, May 25, 2012

A Comedy Of Errors


I had already called Robert Foxworth and told him to get out of his office.....I wore a suit that was exactly like his... and some horn rimmed glasses...We were about the same height and build and complexion...So I took his place...I went to court with Cole and Chance Howard and then I had them leave and I was seen entering their office after hours when all of his staff had gone...

I wondered who was going to do Robert..This was not the type of job they'd send Byron King on...No..They'd more than likely send Bobby Darden or Ricky Jeters to do this job....One look at the security camera and my suspicions was right..They had sent Ricky Jeters to do the job...

Ricky was not the brightest bulb in the ceiling... He walked into the office(and the office cameras) and fired three well placed shots into what he thought was Robert Foxworth...but was actually a store manequin with a suit on...The manequin slumped over the desk and fake blood ran across the desk and on to the floor...

He smiled and then walked out... Caught the elevator and then  walked to a pay phone where he called Bobby Darden's room...

"Hello."

'Hey Bobby...it's done...The shyster is dead." he said.

''You big dummy, don't call my name on the phone..."snapped Bobby.

"Oh yeah that's right." he said and hung up.

"Who was that?" asked Jack Ambrose...

"That dummy, Ricky Jeters...He killed the shyster." said Bobby.

"You asked me to hire him to be the go between." said Jack Ambrose.

"I didn't know he was this stupid." said Bobby.

"Well anyway..we no longer need his services....So cancel his contract." said Jack Ambrose.

''With pleasure." said Bobby Darden.

All of that was caught on videotape...A videotape that Peeping Tom, Lockpick Johnson and Sean Jackson had in their van.

I turned on the light in the office..Robert Foxworth, Cole and Chance Howard all walked in, along with Peeping Tom.

''Damn Counselor, you look good for a dead man." I joked.

''Just make sure you get these guys Kev."said Robert Foxworth.

"Don't worry...it's already been put in motion...by tomorrow morning you or no one else will have to worry about those guys." I laughed.

"Got it all on video Kev" said  Peeping Tom.

''Did Lockpick Johnson deliver those video recordings to Mr. King?" I asked.

''Oh yeah. I'm sure Mr. King will be  uh less than amused when he hears them plotting to kill him also." he said.

"This ought to be worth a good laugh." I said.

"Did you call the police?" asked Robert.

''Nah...Not yet..but I will." I laughed sheepishly as Robert,Cole,Chance and Peeping Tom all burst out in laughter.

II-



A few hours later...Clerow, Owen Todd, Kool Kat and I sat outside the Sheraton Hotel at Penn's Landing... Things were about to get heated... We had sent the hitman, Byron King a video of his meeting with Jack Ambrose and Bobby Darden, including the part that he didn't hear...What they said after he left...Where Bobby was instructed to kill both Ricky Jeter and Byron King after my demise...

Sean Jackson had followed him from the Sheraton and had located where he was staying.. I had the video of the entire meeting sent to him on a DVD...Even sent a portable DVD player, to make sure he saw and heard everything...

We couldn't save Ricky Jeter unfortunately.... I had no idea where he was.Bobby Darden shot him sometime that night , twice in the back of the head...His body would be found in an alley in West Philly , the next morning...

"Kev...Look...There's our boy....Byron King!" said Kool Kat.

"He looks as hot as a pistol" said Clerow.

"Yeah,I imagine, he wouldn't be too happy right about now." I mused.

"Showtime fellas" said Owen Todd.

Clerow smiled that toothy grin of his and cocked his pistol...So did Owen....Kool Kat and I followed them into the Sheraton...

III-


The beds in both rooms were squeaking...the headboards were slamming against the walls...and the moans of both men and women could be heard...Jack and Bobby both had female companionship in their rooms... This is what they did practically every night...Had someone send them a woman to their rooms...They were living pretty good in Philadelphia!

Byron knocked on Bobby's door first....

"WHAT? WHO IS IT?" he screamed.

"Open the door man, I need to talk to ya." said Byron.

"Get lost pal...I'm busy." he snarled.

He knocked again!

"BEAT IT PAL!" screamed Bobby.

Byron King knocked on the door of Jack Ambrose..... Jack Ambrose opened the door...He had a half nude young lady with him....Byron King shot and killed her on the spot and aimed the gun  right at a startled Jack Ambrose who was in his boxers...

''I don't like the way you do business Jack....So my business with you is terminated and so are you..." he said and shot Jack twice in his chest and once in his side.

"ARGGGGGGGGGGGGGH......I don't believe it...I've been shot....." he screamed as he fell to the ground..."What the hell you shoot me for?" he screamed in pain.

Bobby Darden swung  his door open...He too was in his boxers, but he had his pistol..He fired two times ,hitting Byron King in his back....Byron King stumbled forward and spun around....

"AIEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE...I don't believe it...I've been shotttt.." he screamed and fired at Bobby ,hitting him twice in his chest!... He fired again , hitting him in his shoulder and in his side.

"ARGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHH... I DON'T BELIEVE IT...I"VE BEEN SHOT..!!!!" Bobby screamed as he tossed his gun up in the air and fell face forward....

Jack crawled back in his apartment and grabbed his pistol...He fired twice at Byron King ,hitting him in his side and in his shoulder ..."Take that you dirty bastard..ughhhh." he moaned.

"AIEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE...Ohhhhhh...You..You..You take this, you backstabbing bloodclot.ARGHHHHHHHHHH" screamed Byron...

Byron fired at Jack Ambrose hitting him again in his chest....Jack tossed his gun up in the air and fell up against the wall...He slid down to the ground and just sat still...

"Ohhhhhhhhhhhh mama.....ahhhhhhhhhhhh.." moaned Jack....bleeding profusely!

Byron King stumbled to the end of the hall and then collapsed....

"Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh...ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh...good lordddd...Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh ...Damn Americans...I hate working with....them....ohhhhhhh... I'm shot....It hurts...ohhhhh...." he mumbled, then he fell silent...He was dead!

Bobby Darden managed to stumble back into his room , where he fell on his bed....very bloody and very,very dead!...  A half naked girl who was in his room, let out a scream, grabbed her bra, panties ,shoes and dress and ran out into the hall and past us and down the back steps!Still screaming at the top of her lungs. Clerow and Owen smiled sheepishly!

Poor Jack Ambrose was amazingly still alive when Owen, Clerow , Kool Kat and I came upon him...

"Heyyy Jack, you had some wing ding here tonight huh?" I said ,looking down at his bloody body..

He spat blood..coughed and stared at me with pure hatred.....

"You go to hell.. You go straight to hell.." he snarled...

"Nah....A little too hot for my tastes but when you get there say hello to some of my friends." I said.  Kool Kat laughed and drew his weapon...but I pushed it away..

"No need for that Big man... He's in pretty bad shape as it is....Call the police...You know how long it takes for them to get here." I laughed...He laughed too..So did Clerow and Owen...

"This was you....Some-Some-Somehow you had somethin....somethin...somethin to do with thissssss.." he moaned.

"Of course..What? Did you think I was just in hiding, twiddling my thumbs all that time Jack?" I laughed.

"Ughhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.....If I wasn't all shot up...I'd shoot you myself." he groaned and died right there on the spot.

"What a mess" said Kool Kat.

"Come on guys...Let's get out of here before somebody thinks we had something to do with this." I said and we all left.

EPILOUGE:






The police had one hell of a crime scene to clean up...the bodies of Jack Ambrose, Bobby Darden , an unknown prostitute, International killer, Byron King and later on that day, Rick Jeter....I helped Lt. Sissy Van Buren put the missing pieces together, though I conveniently left out how I may of manipulated these guys into killing each other.


The only thing I regretted is that the prostitute got killed...She was just in the wrong place at the wrong time..
but otherwise, totally innocent.  From what I was to find out later...The New York Mob was glad to be rid of Jack Ambrose....They thought he was crazy.

Ben Ali was convicted of second degree murder and sentenced to 25 years to life...Amazing...He was the only one involved in this whole caper who did a day of time...Every one else was unfortunately for him, dead.

All of my friends went back to leading normal lives again...




"OHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH...OHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH..."

"UMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMphh..."

"Phew, Kevin that was...that was ...that was somethin else..." said Sepia  after we finished making love  one night...

''Yes indeed girl..We hadn't been able to do that for awhile." I said.

"It sure is nice to sleep in one's own bed ." I said.


"Yes it is." she added...

She lay there for a minute , then she said -

''Kevin?"

"Yeah?"

''Ever notice how you always manage to outsmart these guys, these bad guys and always stay just one step ahead of them/ You ever wonder why you always come out on top?" she mused.

''Yeah, cause I'm smarter than them." I said.

''Maybe...but that wasn't the answer I was going to give." she said.

"Oh? Why do you think that is?" I asked.

''Because your heart is pure." she said.

I was glad she thought so....but I knew better...My heart was anything but pure...Maybe I had been dealing with the bad guys too long...I was beginning to feel as though I wasn't much better than them sometimes...

Still, I just smiled at my wife's compliment.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Playing With The House's Money



Life in Fathead's safehouse was kind of fun... Three couples, Sepia and I, Clerow, Corabeth and their two children and Kool Kat and Chelsea all had a room to ourselves... There was cable television, several computers and fax machines and clean telephone lines so that we could communicate with the outside world...

Our friends, Chess, Chris Thompson, Donald Smooth, Owen Todd and Roscoe took turns with security and a steady stream of food was shipped into us.. We spent our afternoons playing cards and laughing and talking...Still...It was a lot like being in prison...Only Sean Jackson actually knew where we were...He was the pipeline between me  and Peeping Tom and Lockpick Johnson who were still keeping an eye on Mr. Jack Ambrose and his boy, Bobby Darden...



He faxed me a photo of the man who was supposed to kill me....A Jamaican man by way of London named Byron King.... From the information I gathered on him...He was very good, very efficient....Kills without a trace..and vanishes...Usually showing up somewhere else within days.  He was a very high priced killer..So Mr. Jack Ambrose was obviously playing with the house's money.



Kool Kat walked into the back room where I was looking at photos of Byron King.

"That him?" he asked.

"That's him." I said.

"Don't know him....but I know the guy with him.." he said.

"You do?" I asked.

"That's Rick Jeters....Low level skunk that goes with whoever offers him the biggest check." he said.

"You think he's their point man?" I asked.

"Yup...He makes contact...He pays the hitter...The hitter never sees either of them." said Kool Kat.

"Nice...That way...Ambrose's hands are clean." I said.

''Except that we are listening right?" laughed Kool Kat..

"Exactly...Where are the girls?" I asked.

"Clerow and the girls are downstairs eating....Chris,Chess and Smooth left.... Owen is handling security..." he said.

"Good." I said.

II-




We had been listening to Jack Ambrose for close to three days...He was mostly ordering food and having prostitutes sent to his room....Then we began hearing this conversation...

"Who is it?" asked Jack Ambrose....

"Mr. Ambrose...it's me,Ricky man." came the voice from outside the door.

"Bobby, get that." he barked.

"YOOOO MAN, What are you doin here?? And with him????" screamed Bobby Darden  as Rick Jeters and Byron King walked into the hotel suite.

"WHAT THE HELL?" screamed Jack Ambrose....

" He demanded to see you ....What could I do?" said Ricky....

"You idiot.....You idiot...you could have called Bobby..." screamed Ambrose.

"Oh so I'm supposed to expose myself huh?" said Bobby Darden....

''Better you than me?" screamed Ambrose..

"Mannn Jack...you're a trip." said Bobby Darden.

"HUSH YA MOUTHS MON...YA BOTH SEEM LIKE AMATEURS ...." said Byron King.

"Mr. Ambrose..We got a problem....This guy Kevin...He's gone!!" said Rick.

"What do you mean gone?" said Jack Ambrose..

''Gone as in...Aint nobody seen him in days...His wife neither ,nor any of them other people you had that private investigator scope." said Ricky.

''Somebody tipped him off and he's gone to ground." said Bobby Darden  "You think it was Watkins?" he snarled.

"NO....We clipped him before he had a chance to tell anyone." said Jack Ambrose.

"Then how did he know we were in town and worse...Where we was eatin at?" asked Bobby.

"He's obviously got eyes and ears in this town that we don't know about" said Jack.

"Jack, he lives here..this is his town." said Bobby.

"You think I don't know that?? "screamed Jack.

"That other guy...That Ben Ali who we hired to kill Watkins.....He got pinched the other day..it must have been him.." said Ricky.

"He doesn't seem like the talkin type...and he had no love for this Kevin person..." said Bobby Darden.

"Only one way to be sure...Can you have him hit inside the jail?" asked Jack Ambrose.

"Man, I'm gonna really have to reach out on that one..It'll take a few days..." said Bobby Darden.

"I DON'T CARE ABOUT THIS SHEEET IN YOUR ORGANIZATION...YOU ARE BOTH WASTIN 
MY TIME MON...I COME HERE TO KILL A MON AND THE MON IS GONE....AND SO AM I.''
said Byron King...

"Look..Just sit tight...He'll show up... Ricky , get back on the street...find him...This Kevin can't stay away but so long...When you find him...Give my man Byron a call....and then Byron...Erase the sucker.." said Ambrose.

''With Pleasure mon." he said.

After they left......Jack Ambrose turned to Bobby Darden.....

''Yo Bobby" he said.

''What?"

''Don't what me...I'm your boss...After Kevin is eradicated....I want you to whack both Ricky and that Jamaican...I don't like the way he talked to me."said Jack Ambrose.

"Sure thing.But you'd better watch how you talk to me, that's all I'm sayin." said Bobby

"I don't have to watch nothin...just do what I said." said Jack.

"You heard what I said?" said Bobby.

"Look ,just take care of that business for me okay?" said Jack,trying to be as diplomatic as possible.

''Alright."said Bobby.

''Goood...and stop bein so damn sensitive."said Jack

''What?" asked Bobby...

"Nothin man, nothin." said Jack.

"You a real peice of work." said Bobby.

''And Another thing...I know a sure way to bring him out...Whack somebody close to him." said  Jack Ambrose, slyly changing the subject...

"Like Who?" he asked.

''A certain attorney he is close to...A Robert Foxworth!!! Before we whacked Watkins , He took some photos of him and this attorney and his wife at the club and at several restaraunts...When he hears that his good friend is dead...He'll come runnin." said Ambrose.

"I'm on it." said Bobby Darden.


We stopped listening and looking.

''You heard that?" asked Kool Kat.

"You know I did." I said. "Looks like there is a little tension amongst the ranks...Which gives me an idea." I continued.

"You got enough to take this piece of human excrement down?" asked Kool Kat who pulled out his. .44 magnum  and loaded it up...

''More than enough big man."

''Well...Let's go put out some trash." said Kool Kat.

"You took the words out of my mouth." I said. " I got a plan..." I added.

''What kind of plan?" asked Kool Kat.

"A plan, where we don't have to do a thing...I'm gonna up the ante on all that mutual distrust and tension amongst them and see where it leads to." I said.

"You playin with the house's money on this one Kev." said Kool Kat.

"Better the house's money than ours right?" I said smiling....

Kool Kat smiled wryly and shook his head as I made a couple of phone calls.

(Conclusion Next)

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Message Sent



Sepia and I were in our living room kissing and talking a little bit....It had been quiet all week long, eerily quiet.
I was certain that Jack Ambrose from New York and his cronies had no idea that I was aware of their plan.  I was certain that whoever was going to do me was already in town and had the rundown on who I was, what I looked like , where I lived , the whole works... My problem was...when were they going to do me?



"Kev...Aren't you the least bit worried?" asked my wife.

''Worried about what?" I asked.

"This business about somebody being out to kill you." she said.

"Well..I've taken precautions... There is nothing else I can do." I said.

"Well I'm worried." she said.

"You  know Sepia...I've been thinkin lately.." I said.

"About what?" she said.

"Maybe it's time I put this away...this investigating stuff...I mean....I'm no cop, I don't have to do this..I gotta real job...a job I could be paying more attention to." I said.

 

"Kevin...one of the things that attracted me to you and still does is how brave you are and how much you are always willing to help people...That's who you are...that's what you do...you help people...I think you would always be compelled to help someone.  If you want to quit , that's your call...but I know that helping people will always be a part of you...I wouldn't want you to be any other way." she said.

We sat there on the sofa and kissed for a long time...I guess that quelled any reservations I might have been having about what I do.

II-



I was driving through the neighborhood where Ben Ali was known to hang out....I had already been to a couple of bars, questioning guys asking about his whereabouts....The day before, Clerow and I had dropped by his house...His girlfriend answered the door and said that he wasn't in...I left a number for her, Told her to tell him that I stopped by. I knew he wasn't going to...Still I wanted him to know that I was looking for him. He had worked for a guy named Cold Hearted Stewart...Which was how we came to meet up before...I hoped he had remembered the end result of our last encounter and didn't challenge me physically when we did meet... I had no desire to go toe to toe with him again...He was a big man and he did hit pretty hard...

Owen Todd and I rousted a couple of his known associates...but none of them knew where he was.. and now today of all days..When I didn't have my peeps with me??...There he was, coming out of a steak shop with a cheese-steak and laughing it up with some girls...

I parked my car, got out and started walking towards him...He was a big hulk of a man with fists like hams and a punch that kicked like a mule...I knew because I had fought with him before...If anybody could have busted up Richard Watkins with their bare hands...This guy could have...I should have left him to Kool Kat, but I didn't have anytime....

I followed him to a girl's apartment...The other girl he was with had already left them...I knocked on the door..  When the girl answered, I pushed by her and forced my way in...

"Heyyyyyyyy who the hell are you?" she screamed...

"I'm a friend of Ben's, the kind of friend that doesn't need other friends around, feel me?" I snarled..  The girl ran out of the apartment....

Ben Ali appeared in the doorway....

"YOU!" he snarled.

"Yeah me........We should talk." I said.

"We got nothin to talk about." he said.

"You can make this easy or hard." I said.

"The way I hear it...It's gonna be hard for you real soon." he said.

"You really are a jackass. You think those guys will let you live ,knowin all that you know?" I said.

''What guys?" he asked.

"Come on Ben...I know all about Jack Ambrose and the contract on me from New York..I even figure that you killed Dick Watkins...I don't even care..I just need to know what you know about the New York guys." I said.

"Like I want to help you. I owe you from the last time we tussled...I was gettin ready to knock your ass out." he said.

"Oh were you really?" I said.

Once again his fast hands delivered  the punch   that lifted me off of my feet and slammed me into the wall....I felt the excruitating pain....I didn't see the huge fist that landed in my mid-section knocked the wind out of me and sent me flying across the room either!

Ben Ali was a huge , heavily muscled and bald headed black man with a goatee who I knew was about to stomp me....I grabbed his foot and twisted it and sent him falling to the floor...I managed to get to my feet ,but I was in extreme pain....He charged at me..I crouched and I landed about 12 good lefts and rights to his face.....I caught him with an uppercut that damn near ripped his head off and then clocked him in his jaw and sent him flying.... He quickly got to his feet and charged me again...throwing haymakers...I dodged them all and ripped his midsection with well placed lefts and rights and then cold cocked him in his jaw, sending him spinning around...I attempted a swift kick to his solar plexus , but he caught my foot , twisted my leg and sent me flying to the floor...

He lifted me up by my neck and put his massive hands around my neck..I kicked him as hard as I could in his privates and he let me go...I again punished his midsection with 10-12 lefts and rights and then planted more lefts and rights to his face...He fell to the floor.....I thought I had time to catch my breath....but he was up again and charging at me...

He swung, I grabbed his arm and put it behind his back and then grabbed his neck and slammed his head into the drywall so hard that it went through it!!! Ben Ali fell to the ground....bleeding profusely and breathing heavily...

He rose slowly and I clocked him two more times...He attempted to swing at me and I clocked him again, knocking him to the floor.....He was out for the night....

As fate would have it...I heard a gun click...I turned only to see a man I didn't know holding a gun on me...

"Hold it right there friend." he said.

"You aint my friend." I said.

"That's right...I aint." he said.


Then I heard another gun click and I heard an all too familiar voice....

"When you gone stop goin out alone?" came the voice....It was Kool Kat...who clocked the man who had been holding the gun on me and knocked him to the floor.
I grabbed his gun and held it on  him.
"How did you find me..?" I said.


"I saw your car and I asked a couple of guys if they'd seen you and they pointed to this joint..I just happened to be in the neighborhood....Damn...you did that to Ben Ali ?" he asked.

"Yeah." I said.

"Wow, you are good with your hands...remind me never to piss you off." laughed Kool Kat who was still holding a gun on the thug..

"Alright pal spill it who are you?" asked Kool Kat, as the thug got up off of the floor..His nose and his lip was bleeding profusely.

"I'll tell you who he is...He's Ben Ali's lieutenant, Nicky Summers....Wow, who clocked Ben Ali?" came the voice of Homicide Lt. Sissy Van Buren...


Neither Kool Kat nor I said anything.....

Lt. Sissy Van Buren, six detectives and three uniform policemen revived Ben Ali...handcuffed him as well as Nicky Summers...

''What are you doing here?" I asked.

"We are here to arrest him for first degree murder, found a latent fingerprint and DNA at Watkins house...Mr. Ali here isn't the smartest killer around...." she said.


I looked at Ben Ali...It was my turn to sneer...

"If recent history serves me well...You're the one that doesn't have a bright future now that you've gotten yourself arrested....A murder charge is the least of your worries Ben...and you know what I'm talking about." I said.  Kool Kat laughed his head off...

"Screw you." he said.

The police led him away....

I looked at Kool Kat...

"Feel like having some more fun?" I asked.

''What you got in mind?" he asked...

"I want to send a message to a certain New Yorker." I said.

"Let's do this." said Kool Kat.

III-



Bristol had told me where Jack Ambrose spent his days...A very Tony restaurant in South Philly named Niros.

He had one of his guys sitting outside...Clerow tapped on the window...When the guy rolled the window down, Clerow stuck a .45 in his face and pulled him out of the car... Owen Todd tied him up and gagged him and left him in the alley and they both got in the car and pulled off..

Kool Kat and I walked into Niros...I had gotten a photo of Jack Ambrose from the FBI crime files...so I knew what he and Bobby Darden looked like...They both saw me and Kool Kat walking towards them...
Bobby Darden got up...Kool Kat grabbed him and slammed his head into the table and then clocked him hard ,knocking him across the room and depositing him on the floor...Ambrose went to get up...but he saw the business end of my .38 smokeless...

"No don't get up..Please don't....I'm the man you been yappin about...I heard you wanted to see me...Well ,here I am.." I said.

"You got a lot of nerve comin in here like this..Do you know who I am?" he snarled.

"I know and I don't care...I come here with some advice... Go home Mr. Ambrose, forget you ever knew me...Go home.." I said.

''So you're the prick who took Johnny Boy down huh?  Tough guy eh... I've buried tough guys like yourself." he said.

"I'm sure you have...What's done is done...You have no beef with me..Go home." I said again.

"You don't tell me what to do...Because of you... a lot of people are dead or locked up..." he said.

"So killing me is going to get you what?  A cookie? Some street cred?? " I asked.

"That's right...It'll send a message to anybody who dares to defy me or mess in my business" he said.

I looked at Kool Kat and laughed...

"He really is pathetic..Well Jack, here is a message for you! Go back to ,New York ,while you still can.Nobody cares about you."I said.

"You come up in here and threaten me...You're as good as dead." he snapped.

"I'm pretty alive right now....Here's another message...You come at me, you better bring your best and he better not miss...And if he does...I promise you a whole lot of pain Mr. Ambrose." I said.

"I got your message...We'll see." he said

"Oh yes we will." I said. " Good bye Jack ,can I call you Jack?..and I do mean, goodbye." I said as Kool Kat and I left and got in my car.

Jack Ambrose stomped his foot in disgust as we walked past him.

IV-




A little while later, Kool Kat, Owen Todd, Clerow and I sat in Josies....

''Everything set?" I asked.

"Yeah, Sepia, Chelsea, Corrie, and my kids are at Fatheads safehouse." said Clerow.

"Chess, Chris, Donald Smooth and Ralph Mole are there handling security." said Owen Todd..

"Good and while we were entertaining Mr. Ambrose and Mr. Darden....Sean Jackson, Peeping Tom and Lockpick Johnson found the hotel they were staying in and wired both of their rooms for sound and video.
They also got both of the cars that they rented...So we can watch and listen to everything they do." I said.

"Where are we staying tonight?" asked Clerow...

''With our women folk...at Fathead's safehouse..." I said..

We walked outside ...There was my car and Kool Kat's Escalade...I had a .38, a .22 and two.45's...Clerow, who rode with me had a.45.  Kool Kat and Owen, who rode together had .44 magnum and a .45 glock ...

"Hey Kev?" asked Kool Kat.

"Huh?" I answered.

"How'd you know where he was staying?" he asked.

"I have friends in high places...Friends that tell me things." I said.

"Those are good friends to have" mused the Big Man.

As we drove into the night time sky..We prepared for the hell that I knew was coming.

(Definitely to Be Continued...)


Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Protect What You Love


Peeping Tom and Lockpick Johnson put micro-video cameras in front of my house and in the back so that if anybody came to either door...Sepia and I could watch from inside.. I talked to Clerow and Corabeth, Sean Jackson and Sheila and Kool Kat and Chelsea about getting the same system for their homes..Robert Foxworth and Bonita already had the same system as did Cole and Chance Howard....I felt better knowing that my friends had at least a fighting chance if someone tried to make a move on them.

I would have felt horrible if anything happened to any of my friends because of me..I had small GPS units hidden in both my car and Sepia's car so that either of us could be tracked at anytime.  I didn't leave my house without my kevlar vest and trauma plate on... I made sure that I had my .38 smokeless and my .22 on me at all times.

I watched my movements...I didn't go to work or come home the same way on any given day and I deviated from my pattern of visiting Josie or other places with my friends...I took nothing for granted and I checked Sepia and my car everyday for anything suspicious...

This was no way to live... but I had to protect the people closest to me.

II-






Kool Kat, Owen Todd, Clerow and I hit Josies, The Mermaid Club, Bottom of the C., Ciros and Mulberry Street... We talked to all of the hipsters and mid level playas...Most of them could tell us nothing, because they didn't know anything...The only major playa I had talked to who knew anything had been Fathead's guy, Ralph Mole...


After a few nights of this...I realized that for the first time....Something was about to go down and not one soul knew about it...Gus always said that whenever something happened..Someone somewhere knew about it....As I would find out...He still wasn't wrong!

It was amazing that within a few days ,I got a visit from a most unlikely person...The gambler, Stephen Bristol.  He had once hired two hitmen to kill me....and failing at that and living to talk about it...he had become somewhat of a friend... He called me and we agreed to meet at a tony coffee shop in his part of town...I took Kool Kat and Clerow  with me...They patrolled the street, while me and young Owen Todd walked inside and met with him him... He was  as usual, immaculately dressed...He sat at a table with a hot steaming tumbler of coffee...He offered Owen and I coffee...We accepted and sat down..

"Mr. Bristol to what do I owe the honor?" I asked.

"You no doubt know that there is a rather large contract on you ." He said.

"My question is "How do you know that?" I asked.

"Some associates of mine have been questioned by you and your friends...and a few people from the big apple visited my high stakes poker game recently...Let's just say that bits and pieces of conversation got back to me.." he said.

''Who are they?" I asked.

"Well, one is a heavyweight from New York City named Jack Ambrose...He's staying in one of the hotels at Penn's Landing..." he said.

"Really?" I said.

"Really...in a few days, one of my associates will have an address for you...Anyway...he's not the one you should be concerned about in the near future..." said Bristol.

"Oh? Who should that be? "I said.

"Well, Mr. Ambose's number two man, a man named Bobby Darden has called in a heavyweight from London, who is supposed to take you out...To my knowledge...He's not in town yet." said Bristol.

"He had a sleazy private investigator following me...Did you know that?" I asked.

"Exactly why I called you here....The late Mr. Watkins was in his employ....Only he got greedy , wanted more money for his uh ruh services...and threatened to go to the police with the whole scheme and worst, to tip you off.. so Mr. Darden hired a local guy to terminate his services.." he said.

"And this local guy?" I asked...

"An ape you may know....Ben Ali...Ring a bell?"  said Bristol.

"Yeah...I tangled with him before..." I said.

"A really nasty piece of business." said Bristol.

"So you're saying that he killed Watkins on orders from Ambrose?" I asked.

"He's probably never seen Ambrose or Darden...He killed Watkins for them though." said Bristol.

''So why are you telling me all of this?" I asked.

He hesitated for a minute...then smiled...

"I know that we all got off to a bad start Kevin....but over the years..I've come to admire you....I would hate to see anything untoward happen to you." he said.

"Before you got a chance to do it right?" I laughed.

"Kevin..I am insulted and hurt that you would think that....I'm a changed man now of days." he said with a smile. Then he passed me an envelope...

"What is this." I asked.

"It's Ben Ali's address and a list of his known hang outs." he said.

''Bristol why are you doing this...What's in it for you?" I asked. I knew the gambler only too well.

"Ben Ali is a brute and a drunkard as well as a bully...He caused quite a ruckus in my poker game recently, put two of my players in the hospital and aimed a pistol at me....I'd greatly appreciate any hurt that comes his way." said Bristol.

"I knew there was a catch." I said.

"You hurt my feelings Kevin...You must always protect what you love." he said with a smile.

"Always." I said.  "I owe you Bristol." I said and thanked him for the coffee...

As we walked out Owen Todd said to me-

"You trust that guy Kev...This could be a trap." he said.

"Bristol is a gambler...He always figures the odds...He always has an angle...He just showed me his hand, his angle...I think he's on the level." I said.

"What if it is a trap?" he asked.

"Well....if it is and I survive, Where does that leave him?  If it is and I don't survive...Promise me you guys will burn his joint down." I laughed.

"You got it Kev" laughed Owen Todd as we walked out to the car.



(To Be Continued...)

Monday, May 21, 2012

The Mean Season


A beautiful morning in the city of Philadelphia....I awoke late  to find my wife gone!!! She and her business partner, Bonita Foxworth had two houses to show today...She had gotten up, showered and dressed without waking me and had left early...

She left me a pot of steaming hot coffee and some Hot crossed buns in the microwave...I smiled and ate the pastries and drank a tumbler of hot coffee...I wasn't going to work today...I had a few things to attend to.

First, I got on my computer and paid our bills...my half of the bills anyway....I loved paying bills online.. Then I looked over some stories I and a few of my associates at the magazine had written for the upcoming issue..I edited them and sent them to the office for approval.

I made a few calls..To Sean Jackson, His wife Sheila and my assistant Harry Charles....all who were at work today to see how things were going and then satisfied with that...I showered and dressed and headed outside to catch a nice mid spring breeze...It was too early for Josie's to be open and so I headed to Chris and Chess's shopping center...

On this day, they were talking to construction workers...Construction workers who were breaking ground for their second shopping center...which was going to be located across the street from their first one... Chess was talking to the construction guys...Chris Thompson and Donald Smooth  were standing across the street watching..

''What's up guys?" I said as I walked up on them..

"Heyyy Kev...We about to break ground on our new shoppin center."said Chris...

"I see...wow, more money for you huh?" I said ,playfully ribbin Chris...

"Man, we got a McDonald's , a Burger King, , A Wendy's, an IHOP, two banks and two clothing stores already signed up to rent out space." he said.

"So after they come out of your gym...they can walk across the street and eat all of that fast food." I joked..

"I know right?" laughed Chris Thompson and Donald Smooth...Chess saw me and waved..I waved back and walked towards my car...I really could have gone to work today...I really had nothing to do...or so I thought....





My Android "smartphone" went off!  It was Homicide Lt. Sissy van Buren!!! I was amazed that she was calling me... It was I that was usually calling her!


"Hello Sissy, how are you?" I said.

"Good Morning Kevin...Working hard?" she asked playfully.

"Always...what's shaking?" I asked.

"Can you meet me at this address? " she said , giving me an address that was across town.

"Okay...I can be there in about thirty minutes..What's going on?" I asked.

"I caught a homicide." she said.

"Yeahhhh, that's what homicide detectives usually do." I joked...

''One you oughta check out." she said.

"And why is that?" I asked..

"Just meet me...I'll show you when you get here." she said.

''Okay" I said.

II-

When I got to the street, there was naturally a crime scene investigation van and lots of cops around... A pretty detective  named Angie Belton recognized me and led me to the row house in question...Angie and I had history...Years before when we were very young.. She had been my first girlfriend.

"How have you been?" she asked..

"I've  been good Ang....Nice to see you again." I said.

"Yeah...I wish under different circumstances.." she said.

"I know right?" I said.

The window on the door had been busted and the lock jimmied so bad that it was close to falling off...and in the living room lied the dead body of a man I hadn't seen in a few years...

Sissy Van Buren and six of her detectives and three uniform policemen were standing over him.....

"I know this guy." I said.

"I was hoping you did.." she said.

"He's a sleazy private investigator...He's from East Orange ,New Jersey....His name is Richard "Dick" Watkins..." I said.

"How do you know him?" she asked.

"In my very first caper, the one where I first met my wife to be ,Sepia...Dick Watkins was the private investigator used  to find out that my friend, Cock Robbins was sleeping with a woman, now deceased named Opal Gardener...Because Cock had also been sleeping with my now incarcerated Mother in law.
He and the now deceased Brett Jano and the also deceased Leon Cantrell set a videotaping blackmail scheme to blackmail ,Cock Robbins then estranged wife... He was arrested for his part in the scam." I said.

"Yeah, I remember that case." said a detective named Edwin "Duke" Baylor.



"Well he got out of jail and somehow got his P.I. license re-instated." said Sissy Van Buren."

"Yeah? How did he manage that?" I asked.

"Are you kidding Kev...This is Philadelphia....Everybody has a price..He paid to play." she said.

"And now he's dead....but what's he got to do with me...I haven't seen this guy in four years." I said.


"Well..he's seen you...check these out" she said and passed me some glossies...

There was two photos of me, Sepia, Robert Foxworth, Bonita , Sean Jackson, Sheila, Clerow and Corabeth at that Oyster Bar.....

There was a photo of my car....a photo of the back and front of my house...A photo of my office, a photo of Me and Harry Charles taken in front of my office... A photo of me and Kool Kat at Josies....A photo of me at the Mermaid Club, Me at the Aqua Bar with Kool Kat...Me and Sepia in the park...Me and Sepia outside washing our cars...Me and Sepia and Deacon Basil Robinson at church and Me sitting on my front steps...

''Wow...this guy has been following me." I said.

"You have any idea why?" she asked.

"I can't imagine." I said.

"These are copies...We found these in his car...Someone has the originals." she said.

"Huh?" I asked.

"Someone hired this guy to follow you....We found this too, look." she said.

It was a ledger...with a day to day detail of my every move...From the time I walked out the door , until the time I came in for the night.  This too looked like it was a photo copy.

"Somebody wanted to know your every move Kevin..." she said.

"It's been my experience that when someone is keepin this much detail on you...You're being set up for a hit." said  Detective  Duke Baylor.


Sissy Van Buren nodded in agreement....

"Yes Kevin...Somebody wants you dead...You should watch your back until we can figure out who killed him." she said.


He had been beaten badly...every finger on both of his hands had been broken and his jaw had been broken..He had died from blunt force trauma....

"But if he was doing his job...why would somebody kill him?" I asked.

''That Kevin...is the mystery here." she said.  "Just watch your back." she said.

"Thanks...Thanks for the heads up." I said.


III-


That night in Josies, I was talking to Kool Kat....


"Damn Kev...We have made quite a few enemies you know...It could be anybody....What about your crazy mother in law...doin all that time in stir?" he asked.

"She doesn't have the kind of dough it would take to hire Watkins.  He was sleazy, but not cheap..." I said.

"It could be any number of playas we put away..." said Kool Kat.

"That's the problem...but who, Who amongst them and why now?" I asked.

Ralph Mole walked in at just that moment...He was Fathead Newton's main man ....His eyes and ears...I had called him and asked him to join Kool Kat and me...If anybody knew something...He did.

"Hey Kev...Walter" he said as he sat down with us....A barmaid came over and I ordered him his drink of choice... A shooter of Jack Daniels on the rocks with a little Coke in it...

"Kev...Do you remember that Johnny Porter fella from New York?" he said.

"Sure do." I said.

"He moved here in Philly and all of a sudden, big time playas like Cakeman Raven, Kornbread Evans, Fly Tyrone , Beautiful Bobby Hunter, Tone Capone, Big Goat and Manny Rodriguez all vanished without a trace?  Yeah..Sure you do....Next thing you know...He's runnin a large part of Philly....Only...you took care of that...You took down him and his entire street organization here in Philly, which was bad enough....but because of that, people in Atlanta and the Bahamas also got knocked...A lot of heavyweights bought it..It crippled the New York Boys....A lot of people in New York who backed Johnny boy started getting whacked as retribution for such a huge mess up...." he said.

"What's this gotta do with me?" I asked.

''Well blame started going around...Naturally they blamed Johnny....He's on death row and they can't get to him...They blamed his remaining crew... Kwame "Malik Patterson was found hung to death in his cell...Calvin "Cheesesteak" Wexler was shanked to death on the prison yard and Christopher 'Mellow Man" White was found hung to death in his cell." said Ralph Mole.

"Let me guess...another apparent suicide." I said.

"Yeah....then they found out that it wasn't just a police investigation that nabbed Johnny Boy...it was a certain private investigator, a very good private investigator  that put the kibosh on Johnny's operation.
It was then that we heard that somebody in New York wanted you dead like nobody's business." said Ralph Mole.

"Somebody like who?" I asked.

"You ever hear of Jack Ambrose?" he asked.

Kool Kat and I shook our heads.

"Well..he was next in line to the late Mikey Snow, who if you heard...Met his demise here last month in an uh unrelated matter....He's a real psychopath Kev...He put out some long dollars and reached out... That's how he got Johnny's boys hit in prison....I suspect...If anybody has a contract out on you...It's him!" said Ralph Mole.

"New Yorker huh?" I said.

"Don't even think about going to New York to get him...He's well protected...you'll never get to him." said Ralph....

"Who does he have workin for him here in Philly?" I asked.

"I don't know....The streets are quiet...but if he hired a private investigator to shadow you , chances are , there is a heavyweight either here on his way...If I were you..I'd watch my back." he said.

"Yeah, that's what the cops told me." I said.

I was worried...Not just about me...This clown had photos of my friends...People I knew and loved...I had to make moves to protect them and to get whoever this hitter was.

"Ralph...Somebody murdered the private eye." I said.

"That's Ambrose cleaning up..." he said.


"Sounds like a real mean season is beginning Kev." said Kool Kat.

"Yeah, don't it?" I said.

(To Be Continued...)

Friday, May 18, 2012

And There Will Be Rumors...


Friday Morning...About a week later...I was at Bernadette's hair salon with my wife, Sepia...She was getting her hair done...

''And don't you sweat her perm out this time Kevin." joked Bernadette as all of the ladies, which included Robert's wife, Bonita, Mabel Jenkins, her sisters Corabeth and Anita, Nicole Butler ,Cherish ,Delores and Cherry Johnson were all getting their hair done.

"I didn't sweat nothin out ." I joked.

''Yeah right?" joked Bernadette.  Sepia giggled, while some of the other women gave her the side eye.

On cue...Eric Coley arrived with two of his town watch members, with several steaming tumblers of hot coffee from the local diner for the women who were waiting to have their hair done...The whole thing was my idea ..I told him that this would make for good press for his town watch efforts...My magazine was doing a story on him and his community activism.

"Oh thank you..." cooed one woman..

''This was sooooo sweet" coooed another.

Being the press hound he is...He went for it hook line and sinker..

"Oh it was nothin...just servin the community...A little somethin for your pain...I heard about some of you's havin your car tires slashed." he said.

''Well at least one of em was caught." said another woman.

"And don't you ladies worry..Kevin and me will catch the other one...Sooner or later, he'll make a mistake...and when he does...We'll get him."said Eric who shot me a look.I just nodded and smiled.

Sean Jackson and some of his associates were on hand to film and photograph him and his crew delivering hot coffee to the young women in the hair dressers.

While he was there basking in the glory!!! a rather loud conversation broke out...

''Lawd Jesus...I'm tired as hell...didn't get no sleep last night..."

"Well you and Henry shoulda went to sleep and stop actin like yall 24..tee he hee.."said one of the hairdressers.

''Henry aint have nothin to do with this....That guy from the fish market had some gal over there and he was puttin it down..Woooh..Girl was just screamin and moanin like a cat.."

''Whatttttttttttt?"

"Oh girl hush.."

"Manny?"

"Girl was hollerin -"Oh Manny...put it to me...ohhhhhh baby...all night long...Bed was slammin up against the wall... just a squeakin ...I thought they was gonna break the legs off the bed."

"Damnnnn..I didn't know Manny had it in him..."

"That gal...I think it was Elaine..."

''Elaine from up the street?"

"Yeah...you know she sweet on him."

"Yeah girl...she didn't know Manny had that much in her!"

"Ouuuuuuuuuuuu, you know you wrong!"



I watched Eric's face during the entire conversation....He was beyond furious...He stomped his foot and went storming out.....I looked at the ladies and winked...They gave me the thumbs up! Worked like a charm!

II-


Saturday Morning, A Day later-


Next, Eric showed up at the barbershop to get a fresh cut......when this conversation was overheard-

"Damn, Did you see Manny's new ride?"said one of the guys getting his haircut.

"Yeah man, a Altima coupe...." said another.

"Not bad eh?" he said.

"He bought it pre-owned.."said one of the barbers.

"That still cost some dough."said the first man.

"I imagine it was worth it....Did you see the babe he got ridin in that jawn?" said yet another guy.

''Nah who?"asked the barber.

"You know he on Elaine...right?" said one guy... (Who said that men don't gossip?)

''Fine ass Elaine Mosely?"asked a man who was seated next to Eric.

"Yeah man..Manny told me that she in love..." said the guy getting his hair cut.

"In love with his car..."laughed another man.

"Well ahhh, not just his car, you know what I'm sayinn..."said the guy getting his haircut.

"You know right...?""joined in another seated man.

"Man, for her? I'd buy a new car too."said the barber.

"Damn straight... I'd steal a new car to get at that fine ass woman"said still another man.


Raucous laughter followed.... Eric got up and stormed out of the barbershop...... Clerow and Owen , who were in the barbershop called me immediately...

"How did it go?" I asked.

"Like a charm...He heard the guys talkin ...He was mad as hell." said Clerow.

"Good...Now let's hope Kool Kat and Sean got everything in place." I said.

"They do...Man Kev...this was pure underhanded genius....you gettin all these people to have this kind of conversation in front of him." said Owen.

"Yeah I know and half of em wasn't actin." I said.  Owen cracked up laughing...

"I know right?" he said.

It was time for the final  act in this drama...!



III-


Sometime around 3:30 am in the morning , all four of the tires of Manny's 2011 Altima Coupe went flat...and to top it off, the windsheild was busted out!!!!

Around 4:30...Someone opened the gas tank of  Elaine Mosely's 2009 Ford Focus and poured a pound of sugar in the gas tank.....then they flattened all four of the tires and busted the windshield...The young man had on a black hoodie...

I walked up behind him and pulled the hoodie down....revealing..and not to my surprise...ERIC COLEY!!!!!

"Why did you do it? Why Eric???" I said.

"KEVIN?????  You knew???" he exclaimed....

"Not at first...but I figured it out....You were good....You struck early in the morning, when working people were asleep...Then you had the town watch guys out patrolling the neighborhoods... I watched them..I had people filming them...You were the only one not there at key hours of the morning...Like when cars in a neighborhood they weren't in were being hit....And that was a nice touch, disabling the cameras in the lots of Josies and the Shopping Center and the apartment complexes.. just long enough for you to do your thing and then restart them just in time so that it looked like no one was ever there....Brilliant....and an even nicer touch, stabbing your own car's tires, making yourself look like a victim..Nicely done..Am I leaving anything out?" I said.

"Yeah Kev...Proof...You can't prove a thing..." he said.

"Not about the other tire slashings...but I got you on film slashing Manny's tires...and smashing the windshield....Oh and by the way...That wasn't his car...That was a decoy... you owe the City of Philadelphia for the damages,and I got you on film putting sugar in this girl's car tank and smashing her windshield and cutting her tires... I know that you used to work for a place that manufactured video survielience cameras and that you know how to take em apart and put em back together again. "

''Wow ,you really did your research on me didn't you? What else do you know?" he said with a bit of a sneer.

"I'll bet that fish scaling knife that you used to use when you worked in seafood prep and produce matches the type of cuts on all of the other cars with your grubby finger prints on it...When you take all of that into account...I'd say that I have you...Oh and I've got three people who will swear under oath that they bought weed off of you....I'd say that that's enough to have you charged..." I said.

"Wow...I guess you've got me, huh?" he said.

He hung his head.... The Police arrived and handcuffed him and took him in...Sean Jackson, Clerow, Kool Kat and Owen Todd all stood with me and several people from the neighborhood as Eric Coley was arrested and charged with the tire slashings and recent vandalism...

"Wow...who woulda thought that he was behind this? The town watch guy." said Kool Kat.

"Damn man..if you can't trust town watch, who can you trust?"said Owen Todd.

"Well Boss...You cracked another one." said Clerow...

"Yeah...but I sure as hell wished it wasn't him...." I said as we all walked to our cars and went home.

EPILOUGE:



Eric Coley was convicted of slashing the tires and of vandalism as well as drug charges... In all, he got five years in State Prison... Because he has no prior convictions...He could be out in two years...but his problems don't end there..A number of neighborhood people are suing him....His poor mother was harrassed so much that she had to put her house up for sale and move..He is presently under psychiatric observation.

Elaine Mosely was re-imbursed for her loss by the City of Philadelphia , who purchased her a new car...She and Manny from the Supermarket are still presently dating...



A bright sunny spring morning...I'm washing my car and Sepia's car... People are driving up and down the street...

I playfully toss some soap on Sepia....

"Stop it Silly...I just got my hair done yesterday." she says playfully....

"Aww you know I'm gonna make you sweat that perm out don't you?" I joke...

''Nah...Not until after church...I'm serious." she said.

"Yeah alright." I joked...

Just then, Cock Robbins walked down the street...He looked mad...

"Hey man..what's up?" I asked.


"I come out this morning and there was a boot on my car." he scoffed....

''A boot?" I asked.

"Yeah..I got a couple of unpaid parking tickets." he said.

"Just a couple?" I asked.

"Okay...ten...ten...but I was gonna pay em." he said.

Sepia , walked into the house...I looked at him and just shook my head....and followed my wife inside ,leaving him outside scoffing...






(For the parents of Trayvon Martin.)

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Fish Boy


Just an average, quiet day...I was walking around the neighborhood.. Hadn't been any tire slashings in days... people were still sitting on their porches in shifts , on the lookout for the so called "ripper" and Eric Coley still had his town watch people out patrolling the neighborhoods at night..

Nobody believed that the man I had caught, Ernie Snead, a known neighborhood junkie was responsible for all of the tire slashings, but since he had been locked up for some of them!...The vandalism had mysteriously stopped. I didn't believe that he was responsible for that first rash either...How could he have ? He'd been in jail while they had been going on.

No..Whoever the ripper really was..He had gone to ground...Which would be the smart thing to do...and wait until everyone got complacent again and then start back up...I hadn't stopped my investigation into what happened..I had just decided to look in another direction...I kept that a secret though. In the days after Ernie Snead's arrest, I had grown quiet.

As I was walking toward my house...I came upon two familiar figures... Eric Coley of town watch and my attractive neighbor, Elaine Mosely.



"Now look baby.." said Eric.

"Baby?  I'm Baby now?" she said incredulously.

''Well ok Elaine...Now that I've wrapped up the ripper case..Hows about you give me those digits and we uh talk about goin out to dinner huh? and maybe a movie....then we can get some drinks and take it from there..heh ,heh, heh.." he laughed.

"Eric....You never used to talk like that...Listen at you...What? are you trying to put on airs for me or something..??" she exclaimed.

''Airs? What are you talkin about? I'm just tryin to get you to go out with me...Like I told you before..I've been liking you for a longggg time..a longgggggggggg time.." he said.

"And what is this talk about YOU wrapping up the ripper case.? Manny told me that it was Kevin and his friends that caught the guy and that you had nothing to do with it." she said.

"Manny...Manny...Why do you talk to him?  He smells like fish." he sneered.

''I recall you used to scale fish in the produce department back in the day yourself."she said.

"That's the thing about the ole days baby...They da ole days.." he said.

"How you gonna take me out anyway..you aint even got a job?" she said.

"I gets money...don't worry about that...If I didn't have money, how would I have paid for your tires?" he snarled.

"Ohhhh it's like that Eric??....Everybody knows that you sell weed on the side...Well everybody but the public that reads about you in the paper and that sees you all up on the TV..Wonder what they'd think if they knew that the head of the neighborhood townwatch is the biggest drug dealer in the neighborhood and on top of that...lives with his mother?" she said.

"Aint no need in makin this personal." said Eric.

"Oh I aint...I don't care what you do." she said.

"Look...I'm only dealin until I can get a job....Times is hard....My car is workin...I clock more dough than ole fish boy any day of the week."

"Don't call him fish boy." she said.

"What is he then?  He cuts fish all day in the supermarket...He comes home smellin like fish. He's a fish boy." sneered Eric.

"Jealous ?" she asked.

"Damn right I'm jealous..Jealous that he got you...I been liking you for a long time, a long time." said Eric.
''I'm sorry Eric...But Manny is a nice guy, he's more than a fish boy as you say, and we've been gettin pretty close...I told you that I'm kind of spoken for.." she said.  "Sorry."   and she walked off...I didn't want either of them to know that I'd heard the conversation....so I ducked behind one of the apartments...I filed this entire conversation in the back of my mind.


Eric was livid...He stomped his foot and strode off in the opposite direction...She was fine and she was wearing a sexy little number that was snapping the heads of men along the avenue...I could feel his pain.

II-





I went back to the Police station to talk to Ernie Snead..The suspect that Clerow, Owen Todd and Sean Jackson had helped me collar a few nights before. He was sitting in the holding room eating a Pulled Pork sandwich, some chips, some potato salad and a coke...He looked a lot better than he had when we picked him up.

When he saw me , he frowned....

"What do you want?" He said.

"I need to ask you about the tire slashings.." I said.

"Hey man....I slashed those car tires that night...but that was the only night I did it..I didn't have nothin to do with those other tire slashings." he said.

"I know that...You got a perfect alibi....You were in jail." I said.

''Right."

''Why did you do it?" I asked.

"I was bored...I felt like doin somethin...I had heard about these tire slashings so I got in on it..That's all..." he said.

I took out a photo of Eric Coley's automobile...with the flattened tires...

"Did you do that?" I asked.

"Nah....That car wasn't on my block...I only did the cars on my block man and just that night...I swear." he said.

"You used a butcher knife right?" I asked.

"Yeah."

"Did you ever own a fish scaling knife." I asked.

"A what?" he said.

"No, of course you didn't.....This wasn't you....Okay..thanks pal..Good Luck." I said and I got up....Satisfied that Ernie Snead was not the ripper.

III-



Kool Kat and I were drinking at the Mermaid Club that night...

"So you think you got an idea who is doing this?" he said.

"Yeah...and I sure hope I'm wrong...but I gotta play this string out..." I said.

"So how do you play it out? " he asked.

"I gotta do something real foul and underhanded to maybe...just maybe push this guy over the edge." I said.

"Sounds like fun..When do we set it up?" he asked.

I smiled....

"You enjoy the thought of this too much." I said.

The Big Man smiled wryly!

(Conclusion Next)