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The Other Side of Trouble

In The Dark

For as long as I could remember, things always had a way of working out for me. I genuinely believed this was the case, even during my worst times. And considering the road I have traveled to get to where I am today, most would have considered my journey impossible. But nothing is impossible, and I know that for certain. My name is Kelly Simons, successful businessman at 40, net worth of over 200 million dollars. I do not say this to brag because none of this came without hard work and dedication. You see, I went through hell and hot water for all that I have. I say this because the reality is there is no reality. You work hard, believe and grind and the universe "does" its thing. The fact is, being a felon closed a lot of doors before the important ones opened. But being locked up gave me the keys to open doors that were not supposed to be mine. And now I have taken the opportunity to do what many others in my shoes could not, win. Yes, I said win. And this is the simple formula to prosperity.

My plush office, located at the top of the Prudential building in the business district of Newark, NJ is unimaginable. This is where a few Fortune 500 companies house their investments and Simmons Security Group is no exception. I am proud of this accomplishment. Looking around my office, designed in black and gold lacquer makes prison seem like a lifetime ago. My desk made of black glass trim was developed as I slept in a cold cell. And although I cannot get the time that I lost back, my state-of-the-art computer system packaged all the information that I missed. The full wet bar off to the left of the black double doors, as you enter the office serves for good business entertainment and the black mink throw rug with the letters K.S. embroidered in gold, signifies where I stand. There is a full bathroom, designed with identical black and gold motif. I spared no expense on the intricate decor. The receptionist area, as well as the other 7 offices for the associates at Simmons Security Group were designed alike. Admiring all that I have earned, makes me reminisce where I came from, declaring that I will never go back to what once was.

I turned on the computer and pulled up to my website's home page. When the intercom on the phone buzzed, I knew it was Abigail. It took about 5 minutes for her to situate herself and greet me as she usually does. The black doors swung open to the 5'8, almond shaped face beauty. Her caramel color, high cheekbones and hazel eyes were divine and her long black hair that stopped midway down her back delightful.

"Good morning Boss", graced the office with her sensual voice.

"Good morning Abby. How was your weekend?"

"It was fine. I will bring you your coffee."

As she exited the office, I noticed that her curves were accentuated in the form fitting knit dress. It showed off her hips but in a classy, professional way. She had no waist and had ass for days. Her voluptuous breast that would make any man want to be a baby again, just for a chance to suck on one, was sheer perfection. As fine and beautiful as Miss Abigail Stanton was it was not just that. You see, I knew that the success of S.S.G would not be where it was if she was not on our team and for that I loved her.

"Your coffee Sir."

She reached across the desk to hand me a black coffee mug with S.S.G. stenciled on the side.

"Thanks Abby. What's on the agenda for today?"

This was the ritual every morning. Abigail always came in with the rundown of meetings and other plans that needed attention.

"Well for starters, your morning is clear until 12:00, when you have a lunch meeting with a representative for Beyonce. She is doing a series of concerts in the Tri-State area. She seems to think she needs extra security", she said with a smirk.

"I thought she had her own security detail."

"She does but she wants some extra bodies. I'm sure her representative will fill you in on what's needed."

"Where is the meeting being held?"

"I booked you a reservation at Ponderosa and informed Beyonce's people where to meet you."

"Good job. What's next?"

"At 3:00 you have a meeting with the mayor. I believe that is concerning the Black Caucus convention in a few weeks. Then you have a 6:00 o'clock dinner meeting with Sheila Strong of the NAACP."

"What's that about?"

"Come on Boss. You know what that's about. She's been after you since I don't know how long."

"Well, I don't know about all that", I said shooting a smile. I immediately continued, "Send Tony to that meeting. I want you to accompany me to lunch and call Mr. Perkins from the Mayor's office to let them know Kareem will be at that meeting in my stead."

"Okay Boss. I'm on it."

As Abby turned to leave, I belted out, "Hey Abby, tell Kevin I need to see him."

"Okay, anything else Boss?"

"No, that's all."

Abby's exit was just as sexy as her entrance into the room. I began to plan the materials needed for my first meeting, making sure I was ready to land the account. I sat in all seriousness at my desk, looking at some contracts. The moment I seemed to be totally engrossed in the documents, there was a knock at the door.

"Come in."

Kevin, with his normal swag entered the room dressed in an Armani suit with Gucci loafers. The fragrance of a clean shower lingered freshly in the air. His shaven head and trimmed goat tee mirrored the image of me. We could go for twins. The only difference between us was the seven-year age gap. As the older brother, I did not pay much attention to Kevin's presence.

"You wanted to see me bruh?"

"Yeah, I need you to fly out to Los Angeles. Try and land the Staple Center account because if we can get this it will open the doors to our West Coast branch."

"You know Kel, I've been meaning to talk to you about that.", Kevin sat in the leather chair in front of my desk.

"Oh yeah? What's up?"

"I think it's a good idea to want to expand but I'm not sure I am the one for the job. I'm quite sure Tony would be better at running an office and all."

I did not lift my head to Kevin's words.

"You know I'm just a field associate."

A long moment of silence cut through the conversation before I responded.

"Well Kev, you are not just a field associate but a great field associate. I have to be honest that I am a bit surprised you are not ready for your own office". Actually, I wasn't surprised at all about Kevin's reluctance to branch out on his own. My brother was not interested in leaving my side. It was the whole scared to leave the big brother thing.

"I was planning on giving you free reign to conduct business as you see fit. Just make sure you don't wear red or blue in the wrong neighborhoods", I chuckled.

"Very funny man."

"I am going to need you to think about it a little more", I said, refocusing on my papers.

Kevin responded, "I'll go out there and land the account. Maybe I can get some R&R and we will talk in about a week."

I stood up and walked around the desk to approach my brother with open arms.


"You know mom would be proud of you. Look at all you have done for the family."

"Yeah, we did it lil' brother."

We embraced one another and this time it was different. It was a confirmation of sorts, an acknowledgement of what was really being done.

"Boss, Cynthia's on line 2", the intercom distracted the moment, but it was time to get back to work.

"Yeah, thanks Abb, put her through."

"I am gonna get on outta here, but we will talk in the next couple of days."

"Yeah man, we will talk."

As Kevin exited, I picked up the receiver, "Well hello Ms. Lady".

"Hello yourself. Are you going to grace me with your presence tonight?" The voice over the phone made me grin.

"I don't know. What did you have in mind?"

"I have this really sexy nightie that I would love for you to watch me take off."

"Hmmmmmm, that sounds remarkably interesting. I could think of something else I would like to do that involves my tongue, your body . . ."

"Ooooooo Mr. Simmons that sounds kinky. So, what time can I expect to see you?"

"I have a meeting scheduled at 3:00 but I am trying to get Kareem to cover that one. Call me around 2:30 and I will tell you something then."

"Sounds good. Talk to you then . . . I love you."

"I love you too."

I leaned back in the leather chair, reminiscing when me and Cynthia first met. It was at a Hip-Hop concert at Madison Square Garden. S.S.G. was the security team at the time for Keisha Cole and Cynthia was in the VIP section after the show. Everyone was partying and having a good time until a young guy who seemed to have too much to drink started to act unruly. That was when I spotted Cynthia standing at the bar talking to Keisha Cole. The man who was drunk seemed to make his way to the bar as well and tried to feel Cynthia up. I quickly made my way across the room.

"I don't think so", my towering presence got the complete attention of the man.

"Yo, you tryin' to play me yo."

As I moved in closer, out of nowhere, Kareem rolled up right behind but before anyone could stop him, the belligerent patron grabbed Cynthia's ass stating, "Lemme hold somethin' shorty".

This man did not realize that he put his life on the line. We scooped him up like he was weightless and escorted him off the premises. Ignoring, screams and threats, we put him out like the disposal of the morning trash. I made my way back into the building and Cynthia walked up to me and said, "I want to thank you for getting that asshole out of my face."

I tilted my head to the side and said, "I am just doing my job Miss. What's your name?"

"What's your name Mr. cause I'm just doing my job?"

"Ha, Ha." I rubbed my hands together at the witty answer.

"My name is Kelly, and my company is doing the security for this entire event, so that you celebrity types can be safe from the crazies."

"Well, I must say, I feel safer already", Cynthia replied flirtatiously.

"Well, if you'll excuse me . . . oh, by the way, I didn't get your name."

"That's because I didn't give it."

She walked away with the grace of a runway super model.

"Celebrities", I whispered under my breath.

The party seemed to move to an end as the bartender announced, "Last call for alcohol". Anyone that held clout in the industry was long gone, as I sent a four-man team back to the hotel with Kiesha Cole. I stayed back with S.S.G. security to access the building and parking lot to close out. Kareem was on detail, near the two doors that were wide open for exit, so I spoke to him from my earpiece, as he stood at the corner of the building.

"Hey Kareem."

"Yeah Boss."

"North entrance, Black Escalade, approaching slowly."

"Yeah, I see it. Me and Tony are on it."

Cynthia and her friends just happened to be exiting the building, unaware of anything but getting home. They laughed and staggered as they made their way to the waiting limo. Without warning, two gunshots ring out and I believe I saw the intended victim. I ran to Cynthia and her friends to shield them from flying bullets. Screams filled the night air as patrons ran for cover. The serene exit just minutes before was taken over by chaos. Yet, my team had gone into action, driving right behind the speeding SUV. Meanwhile, I had pushed the women to the ground behind the limo and let off 2 shots from my PS 250 at the front of the windshield, all while Kareem and Tony fired at the back of the vehicle. The truck swerved as the driver tried to gain control, speeding out of the parking lot but not before one of the S.S.G. Security officers had the plate number and description ready to radio into N.Y.P.D.

I helped the women up and ask, "Is everyone Ok?" Cynthia stood up, legs shaking and smiled at me. "I'm fine."

The other ladies were obviously frazzled and discussed the moment among themselves as Kareem and Tony stood side by side waiting to engage about what occurred.

The night was one that no one would forget, so before Cynthia left, she came over to me and placed a folded napkin in my hand. She whispered, "use it", and then turned and walked away with a graceful stride. I knew then I would see her again.

In the weeks that followed, I spent a lot of time with Cynthia, going out to some of the trendiest restaurants. We ate at the world-famous Sylvia's in Harlem, where I found out that Cynthia was a model. She learned that I owned a security firm for elite and famous people.

I did not disclose what I was worth and neither did she but we both knew that we were comfortable. We dated steadily for about a year, but I was not into Cynthia like she was into me. Sure, the sex was good, but something seemed to be missing.

The phone buzzed, which snapped me out of my trip down memory lane.

"Boss you have a call on line one, she says she is your aunt."

I picked up the receiver and wondered what the reason for the call was, considering no one had heard from Eileen since the funeral.

"Hello Auntie. To what do I owe the pleasure?"

"Kelly, I know it's been a long time since we talked but something terrible has happened and I really need to see you."

I felt my stomach drop. "Is Pop ok? What is it? What happened?"

"I need you to come to North Carolina . . . "

"Look Aunt Eileen, I have a business to run. I can't just up and leave like that."

"Well don't you have someone who can run things for a little while, this is important?"

I found myself getting agitated.

"Auntie, why don't you tell me what the problem is, and I will see what I can do."

"No! I expect you here within the week." "Click."

I held the receiver away from my ear, trying to figure out what just happened.

I called on the intercom.


"Yeah boss."

"Get my father on the phone and then call Kevin and tell him to call me within the hour."

"I'm on it boss but you only have 45 minutes until your lunch meeting."

"Damn. Ok. Reroute all my calls to my cell and call from the car. We will be leaving in 10 minutes."

"I got it. Are you alright?"

"Yeah, I'm good . . . now my father Abby."

Some moments later Abby informed me that my father was on the line.

"Hello Dad. How are you?"

"I'm fine son. How is it going? You do not call no more. I know you are a big businessman, but you have a father down here you know."

"Look Dad, Aunt Eileen called me telling me that something terrible has happened but wouldn't tell me what. Do you know what is going on?"

"Well son, I don't know. I have not talked to my sister in about a month. What did she say she wanted you to do?"

"She wants me to come down there, but I can't just leave like that.". The emotion in my voice was revealing.

"I'll call her and find out what is going on. I will get back with you, alright?"

"Good. I will talk to you later Pop."

I hung up before anything else was said between my father and me.

Not understanding what was going on, I packed my briefcase with the contracts and other necessary paperwork. I walked out of the receptionist area to meet Abby. Without saying a word, we got on the elevator to the Phantom. I must have shown too much expression because Abby grabbed my hand which gave me comfort. I sat back for the 20-minute ride trying to answer the questions that Aunt Eileen left blank. I do not like to be in the dark.

New News

M.M.C., Money Making Crew was the name Tony, Kareem and I ran with. Our sole purpose was to make money and making money was exactly what we did. Kareem was the D.J. of the crew, making mix tapes and selling them for $10 a pop. Tony was considered the loose cannon and always found a way to make a hustle. Although it was very lucrative it had to be illegal. Then there was me, the major hustler by all respects. I was organized to the nine and extremely smart. We made up M.M.C and 1993 would be the year where everything would come to a head. I figured that if we could take Kareem's D.J. tapes and me and Tony's weed and coke money, consolidate the three, we would have enough to get out of the game and go legit. Kareem and I were also in college pursing degrees in Criminal Justice and Business Accounting because we already earned our associate degrees in these respected fields. We were now trying to receive our bachelors. And Tony, well Tony was just Tony.

My mom's name was Silvia, and she was very smart in her own right. That is where I got it from. She truly was the love of my life and the inspiration behind my drive. She was a hospital administrator for East Orange General for 20 years. She gave me and Kevin everything she could with the help of her husband, my dad, Leon Simmons. He was a mechanic and ran his own shop, so between him and my mom, me and Kev were well taken care of. With all the things we may have had as a family I still wanted to earn my own way and start my own business. I wanted to show my folks that I could be just as successful as them but without their help. And my plan played well as I was able to work through school, buy my own car and rent my own apartment. Yet after all that I accomplished, I still wanted more. This determination would ultimately be my downfall. Some said it was the steppingstone that I needed. But I believe everyone needs to be satisfied at some point.

Well, on April 7th, I received a phone call that did not only change my life but changed the lives of everyone around me. Two o'clock that afternoon, I was at the crib with this big booty chick that I had met two weeks earlier, over on Elizabeth Ave. at the White Castle. Tony, Kevin and I spent the day helping Kareem push his mixed tapes. My phone rang and I answered on the second chime.

"Yo, what's up?" I recognized Tony's voice off the bat.

"What's up wit ya?"

"Nothing. Laid back."

"What's the word on that? We good?"

"It's a go, let's meet at Branch Brook Park in about an hour. Hey Kel."

"Yeah, what up?"

"This is the one we should be able to get out with."

"I hope so."

We had our own language not saying too much but knowing exactly what was going on. I hung up the phone only to meet with Tony 45 minutes later. When I pulled into the park from Park Avenue, I saw Tony's Honda Civic sitting behind a 1992, 190 E Benz. The whole situation should have given me pause because I had that strange feeling that something was not right. Yet being that I trusted Tony and thinking about the come up, I pulled up behind his car. When Tony realized his boy was there, he got out of his vehicle. I did the same. We greeted each other with a brotherly hug but Tony, knowing me all too well could see the uneasiness in my face. Trying to soothe all doubt, Tony said, "Kelly what's good? This the lick we been waiting on so stop worrying."

"Why you say I'm worried and why aint Kareem here?"

"Kareem has to go and get some more tapes so he can spin up some more copies. He suppose to meet us at my house later on."

"I don't know about this T, this shit just don't feel right", I whispered under my breath.

As we were standing there talking, the back passenger side of the Benz's door opens. The young man that steps out, looks like he was mixed, maybe Puerto Rican and Black. He also looked vaguely familiar to me.

"What's up fellas? We gone do busines or what?"

I was a little leery of the whole situation, but he extended his hand.

"What's up, I'm Kelly."

"What's good, I'm Miguel. Yo Tony this the guy you've been talking 'bout?"

"Yeah, that's my partna right there."

"That's what's up. Yo let's do this."

We walk to the trunk of Miguel's Benz, and looked inside as he opened a briefcase with 3 kilos of cocaine and a pound of weed.

"Yo Miguel what's dis? I didn't ask for 3. I only want one and one. I didn't come prepared for 2 more keys."

"Look Papi, I know you try'na get on, so I'm try'na help…"

I immediately cut in.

"How, bringing us more shit than we can pay for? I don't think so."

"Now Papi, check it out, you buy one, sell one for me and we split the third down the middle. This way you make well over what you try'na make and I make a little something out the deal too. We all come out on top."

"So, we bring you your money and we're free and clear?" I ask.

"That's right my friend. Free and clear."

I looked at Tony as if to say this better be straight, yet I still could not shake the feeling that I know this guy from somewhere. Although Miguel had tried to make the deal sound like it was a good one, I knew something about this whole thing really, really stunk. But I was going to ride with my partner in crime, and live with the outcome, whatever that may be.

We made the exchange and Miguel pulled off. Tony and I walk down towards the lake after securing the product. We talked about the deal and smoked some of the weed to see what we were working with.

"You know Tone, I know that kid from somewhere. I just can't figure out from where. He looks way too familiar."

"What you mean?"

"I mean I seen him somewhere before. I may not remember a name, but I never forget a face. I got a real funny feeling about homeboy. How did you hook up wit' him anyway?"

"Remember last month when I told you I was out on Park Ave and 9th street fuckin' with Maria?"


"Yo', you know we were out there chillin, plus I'm try'na fuck. Ha, Ha, but anyways she know how I get down on dat get money shit, so she starts telling me about her cousin that stay in Bloomfield. I holla' at him and the rest is, as they say history."

"Ya' know, it sounds good but I'm not fuckin' with ole boy no more and I don't think you should either."

"It's all good son. Stop being paranoid."

Just as me and Tony reached the lake, I see two cherry tops and two unmarked cars coming down Park Avenue. They turn into the park. Tony notices as well. He looks at me and says, "Yo, what the fuck is going on?"

"Wait . . . I know where I know that kid from. He got Malik fucked up the same way. He's an informant. It just dawned on me when I saw the police cars but stay cool they can't fuck wit' us because all we have is a lil' weed."

"What about what's in your car?"

"In order for them to search my car they have to have a search warrant, or I have to give them permission and I'm most certainly not going to do that shit."

Well, I was right about the police searching the car but what I didn't know was everything we did was caught on tape. I mean the whole transaction was on video and audio. The whole thing was set up from the word go. The officers had probable cause because of the sting so they knew exactly where to look for the drugs. Me and Tony were arrested and charged with possession with intent to sell and deliver as well as a number of other charges and most of the weight fell on me because everything was found in my car. This put me in a very compromising position that was hard to get out of. What kind of helped us out in the case was the fact that Miguel tried to get over by adding two extra keys to the deal. The commanding officer on the case didn't give Miguel them extra keys, so when the case went to court where my attorney argued entrapment, getting me and Tony a much lighter sentence then we would have gotten. Serving a 5 flat, we were free after just 3 ½ years. I was released from Yardsville and Tony from Bordentown a few months earlier.

Once I was free, I had a new outlook on life, because of the tragedy of losing my mother. Yes, my beloved rock died while I was in prison and my father left New Jersey, taking my little brother with him. All I had in Jersey was Tony and Kareem whom we hadn't seen in a while. My pops took our mother's death real hard. He closed his shop after 45 years and left for the south. The real kicker is he never told me he was leaving, so when I came home and found the house where we grew up, closed-up and then the shop, I was heart-broken. This resulted in my resentment towards my father. Not knowing what to do, having nowhere to go and really no one to turn to, I remembered receiving a letter from a lawyer 3 months before I was released. It said it was urgent and that I should reach out immediately. Searching through my bag with a few letters and not much else, I found it. So, I made my way across Park Ave to Mr. Major's store to the phones out front and made the call that would change my life and others around me forever.

"Hello, Mr. Brown's office, how may I help you?"

"Hi, my name is Kelly Simmons, I received a letter from Mr. Brown requesting that I call him."

"Hold please Mr. Simmons."

Listening to the elevator music coming through the receiver, gave my stomach bubbles from nervousness about what this could be. Damn, I hoped I didn't have any more charges… but if I did I would have had a hold on me.

"Mr. Simmons how are you?"

"I'm fine, can you tell me what this is about?"

"I would rather talk to you in person, this isn't something that can be discussed over the phone. So, if you could come to my office this afternoon at say around 3:00, I'll tell you everything you need to know."

"I'll be there." Hanging up, I was more confused than before I made the call.

The office was nice, and I will never forget it was on the 7th floor. The elevator had no six. Mr. Brown was a stocky old white man in a navy suit that didn't truly give away how much money he had. There was no receptionist at the desk, but I could see him sitting in a small adjacent office on the phone, waving me to come in.

"Ok, Bob, I gotta go. Got a client."

He hung up the phone and seemed pleasant enough which gave me the assumption that I wasn't in anymore trouble."

"You must be Kelly. Ted. Ted Brown. My receptionist is out to lunch."

"Hey Mr. Brown."

"Sit, sit. Coffee? Water?"

"No, I'm good, just eager to know what this is about."

"Well first congratulations on your release. I am sorry your mother couldn't see it."

"You knew my mother?"

"Yes, very well and she adored you and your brother."

"Oh, wow. Well, what is this about sir?"

"Let me cut to the chase. Your mother was not only my client but my friend. She often told me that she wanted you and your brother to be straight for the rest of your lives. Now hold on to your seat because she has been planning this for over 2 decades. Your mother has left you and your brother 2.5 million a piece with the stipulation that you oversee both portions."


From that point on, I didn't hear a word the man said. He talked but my mind left my body. He also informed me that the house we grew up in was ours. At that point, I didn't know what to say or do but I thanked Mr. Brown for his help.

"What happens now?" Mr. Brown gave him a set of keys, a black lock box and an envelope and he told me, "Your house has been paid for so I believe our business is done, but if I can be of any help to you don't hesitate to call."

"Thank you very much Mr. Brown."


Arriving at the restaurant for my meeting, the Maître D escorted us, "Mr. Simmons your party has arrived, allow me to show you to your table."

"Thank you", I reply. Once in the main dining area Abigail and I walk through as heads turned, because Abby is a woman whose body and

beauty demanded attention. I stood at 6' feet even with 200 plus pounds of muscle, wearing a suit better than Tyson Beckford or any other male model you could think of and Abigail wore a wraparound black dress that accentuated all of her curves. Once seated, I prepared to secure the account. Yet, Abigail was always able to anticipate what was needed. She was a very competent assistant, admiring me from afar, secretly loving me. She kept this secret to herself though, vowing to one day share her true feelings. I didn't know what I would do without her.

Having wrapped up the meeting and securing the contract for this very important job, I said to Abby, "We were good in there".

"We? You were good in there, all I did was take notes", she replied.

"Not so, you need to give yourself more credit than that. I tell you what…," before I could finish my thought, I felt my phone vibrate. I looked at the screen and it was my father. I held my finger up so that Abby would give me a moment and took a deep breathe before answering.


"Son listen I talked to your aunt and she won't tell me anything. All she keeps saying is that you need to come down here immediately,"

"She won't say for what?"

"No, but whatever it is has her very upset, so you may need to come on down here."

"Alright, I'll come down."

Disconnecting the call, all I could do was look out the window.

"Shit, what the fuck is all this about."

My mood was shot to hell after the call.

Abby asked with hesitation, "You okay boss?"

"Yeah, just a family issue that I really don't want to deal with. When we get back to the office call Sly and tell him to get the plane ready. I'm flying into North Carolina tonight. Book me the executive suite at the Hilton in Greensboro and make sure…" cutting me off, Abby said, "I got it boss, this isn't your first trip out of town, I'll take care of it." I looked into her hazel eyes. She smiled and relaxed me a little, but I still had some concern about the impending trip.

Once back at the office I called Cynthia's cell, only to get her voicemail. I then proceeded to call the house. She answered on the second ring like she didn't have a care in the world.


"Hey Cynt., it's me."

"Hey handsome how's your day going?"

"Okay, I just have a little bad news."

"Ooh, what's wrong sweety?"

"I have to fly out of town tonight so I'm going to have to take a rain check on our plans. I promise to make it up to you when I come home." "Where are you off to so suddenly?"

"I'm going to North Carolina. It seems my aunt has an emergency that needs my immediate attention, which is probably some bullshit."

"I hope everything is okay. How long will you be gone?"

"I plan to be back in the morning, so as soon as I get to Newark, I'll call you."

"Okay and give my love to your father."

"I will. love you."

"I love you too."

As soon as the call was disconnected, Abby buzzed my phone.

"Go ahead Abby."

"Sheila Strong on line 2."

"Tell her I'll be out of the office all day and call an emergency meeting. Is Tony in?"

"I believe he is."

"Tell him I need to see him before the meeting starts."

"Will do."

"Hey Abby."

"Yeah boss?"



"For being you."

"You're welcome, I think."

About 20 minutes later I heard a knock on the door.


Tony walked in wearing a Steve Harvey suit, looking every bit the executive that he is. At 6'2 and 215lbs, wavy hair and light brown skin his confidence was not a question. His pimped out shape up and thin goatee just completed the image. Tony really believed he was a ladies' man. Part of that is because he had no problem when it came to the ladies, except for Abby. She was the only one that seemed to ignore his advances.

"What's up partna?"

"Not shit, besides Eileen wants me in N.C., so I'm flying out tonight."

"What's up, you need some company?"

"No, I need you to stay here and oversee things until I get back."

"Are you sure? I'm sure Abby can handle things around here while we're gone. Plus, it has been a while since we just got away and fucked around a bit, like in the old days you know."

"You know what? You are right. Maybe we ought to…" Abby buzzes in, interrupting our talk.



"Kevin's on line one."

"Alright." Picking up the phone I thought it might be cool to have Tony with me.

"What's up brah, where you at?"

"I just left he crib. I'm on my way to the airport. Just wanted to check in."

"Listen Kev, change of plans. I'm going to deal with that later. I need you here."

"What what's wrong?"

"I'll tell you when you get here."

"Alright I'm on my way, peace."


Turning to Tony I said with a new assurance, "Let's get to this meeting."

Tony, Kevin, and I boarded the plane and got comfortable in our seats while waiting for Kareem to meet us at the airstrip. The stewardess on the company jet offered each one of us a drink as we settled in for the short flight, making this an impromptu vacation. Seeing that no one a vacation in at least 5 years, and for me it may have been longer, I knew I made the right decision. Sipping Hennessey on the rocks, I looked around the cabin at my brother and best friend. Things like this were only dreams for them and now we were living the kind of life that we all wanted. Rubbing elbows with the world's elite, a couple of black guys from Newark, never seemed possible but nothing is impossible. I whispered to myself, "Thanks ma."

Kareem finally made it and we were airborne, headed down south where new news can sometimes be the ultimate bad news.

Sho' Ya Love
Death of the Empath