“ . . . Again we’re sorry Mr. Howard, but these items have to be looked into. Now if you will leave your keys and key card with Pete, we’ll call you once we have concluded our investigation”
“And who is gonna run the bank while I’m away?!”
“We believe Amanda is capable of running things in your absence. Now, if you please . . .”
I slammed the laptop close as I gave ol’ Pete my things. I couldn’t believe these motherfuckers were trying to fire me! And they didn’t even have the decency to show up! They told me I was fired via Skype!!
“I’m . . . . . . sorry boss, but management wants you off the premises right away. . . . ”
“Pete, you know I didn’t do this right?”
My old friend didn’t say a word. Pete walked to the door and waited for me to leave. I grabbed my suit jacket and headed out. There was a hush over the branch as I made my exit. I could tell that judgement had already been passed. Smiles of reverence were now replaced with scorn and discontentment. Amanda was standing next to the tellers as I proceeded out the glass doors. I sat in the truck and tried to collect my thoughts. Shit was happening so fast! I don’t even think I took the time to breathe! I already knew who was behind this conspiracy! I just didn’t know that he had the power to pull it off!
“Talking about building up the community huh? I got something for that!”
I looked up The Six on my navigation and peeled out of the parking lot. The Infiniti couldn’t go fast enough! Steam was rising from my face as my truck screamed down I-75. Marietta Street was only a few minutes away. Buddy was gonna get my job back or suffer dire consequences! I would be the only one giving ultimatums today . . . . .
“Excuse me sir, but we . . . . we don’t open until eleven . . . .”
I looked at the young man’s badge.
“Look . . . Ronnie, I’m here to see your boss! Tell him Chauncey Howard wants to meet with him right now!”
“I’m . . . . I’m not sure if Mr. Houston’s here sir, I’m . . . . .”
“Ronnie, I’m sure you’re a good kid and all. And trust I’m not trying to put you in the middle of all this. But I need to see Mr. Houston right now! And if I don’t, there’s going to be some drama up in this piece!”
The young brother was shaking as he went behind the bar and used the phone. After a minute, the lad returned to where he left me standing.
“Mr. Houston is downstairs. I will show you to the elevator”
I buttoned my jacket and followed the host to the platform. I couldn’t let him or Houston see my roscoe. Motherfucker was gonna give me some satisfaction today!
“I’ve programmed the elevator to take you downstairs”
“Thank you kindly”
The indentured servant stepped back and stared at me as if this would be the last time we would meet. No matter! I wasn’t afraid of any man! If Eric wanted a fight, dammit I was up for it! I wasn’t going to the gym four days a week for the hell of it! This nigga was gonna learn today!
The elevator seemed to go on forever at a rather slow pace. I stood ready just in case ol’ John Coffee was ready to pounce! Instead of finding a group of thugs, the steel doors opened to an empty parking garage. I took a few steps forward trying to see if there was someone waiting in shadows. However, there was no one to be found. Maybe the host was nervous and pressed the wrong button? As soon as I started back, a black SUV came screaming from around the corner. Sure enough, John Coffee hopped out of the passenger side.
“Come with me, now!”
“Nah man! I want to see your boss! Right here, right now! I’m not getting in the car with you!”
“Look fool, we can do this the easy way or the hard way! Boss told me not to hurt you!”
“Hurt me? Nigga I’m from the bottom! You think I’m not strapped?”
I tapped my holster to let him know I was packing heat. I wasn’t going anywhere today! Not without my job!
“You think just because you have a gun that makes you a gangsta? You think you Tupac or something? We got guns too bitch!”
And as those words were said, all the tinted windows came down with barrels pointed at me from every direction!
“Now, as I was saying, get in the fucking truck!”
In that moment I knew I had a choice. I could either go off with Thugs R Us, or I could die right here in this parking lot in a blaze of glory. There was no telling what they would do to me once I got in, but it gave me a better chance of staying alive. I couldn’t have another man raising my daughter. So I opted to go along with the unsavory miscreants.
“So where are you guys taking me to? You gonna kill me in an old dusty warehouse?
“For a banker, you talk too damn much! Oz, shut him up for me!”
“ . . . . . Mr. Howard, I see you’ve awaken from your nap . . . . .”
As the stars disappeared from my eyes, I found myself tied to a chair in what seemed to be an old car garage. My stomach started to make those nervous sounds as I felt plastic underneath my feet. My former classmate stood in front of me with only his slacks and dress shoes on. He also had on black gloves and what looked to be a blow torch in his hand. He came closer to me and ignited the torch.
“So Mr. Howard. You couldn’t just take the money and screw the exotic model could you? Any other man would have just taken the money! Why didn’t you take the fucking money?”
I was scared to speak, but he waited patiently for my answer.
“Truthfully . . . she’s crazy! I have a restraining order out on her! I wasn’t going to go back to her shit for a couple of dollars!”
“So you would rather lose your job, soil your good name, and become homeless huh? You’ll let your baby momma boyfriend raise your daughter without you in her life?”
“I wouldn’t be homeless. I’ve got money set aside”
“You mean you had money set aside . . . . ”
“By now Chauncey you can see that my reach is like the IRS. I can fuck you whenever and however I want and ain’t a damn thing you can do about it!”
“I can always do something about it Eric! Always! That’s why I’m here right? That’s why I’m alive right?”
“See fellas? That’s why I like him! He’s bold even in the face of death! But yes Chauncey, there is always a choice. Seems that you were willing to let go of your “good job” instead of dealing with Simone. You must have thought that you would be able to beat the case because there is no trace of you being inappropriate to staff. Am I right about that?”
“But do you know that Amanda is the CEO’s granddaughter? That despite how much business you brought to the bank, you’re just another nigga to them? If Amanda says that she was harassed by you, that’s all it takes! Of course they will say they will do an investigation, but they won’t! They will send your Black ass packing just like they did this morning!”
“So why am I here Eric? I didn’t take your offer the first time?”
“So true my friend. So I thought to myself, if he refuses to go back to Simone then she is of no use to me. She knows too much about the business to stay alive so she’ll have to die! And since Tony’s a bitch, he’ll die too!”
“That’s what you do Eric? You kill off people that don’t serve your purpose?”
“As a matter of fact I do! Rev, bring out our guests if you please”
John Coffee signaled to one of his goons to help him. From the dark corner of the garage was the woman I spent most of the year trying to break free from, gagged, with only her bra and panties to cover her! From that same corner emerged a black and bloodied Tony. Tony’s body looked as if it had been flogged. I couldn’t bear to look at him. . . .
“Oh don’t look away now hero! This is the consequence of your choice! Lucky for you, there’s still time to make this right!“
“You don’t need to do this Eric! You can easily get some other girl to be your dungeon master!”
“Yeah, I could. However, the men and women around here like foreign women. And who is more special that our ravishing Simone, eh? Her face is one of a kind. Men would give their testicles to be with a woman of her caliber! Isn’t that why you slept with her . . . even though she was married?”
“That was before I found out she was crazy!”
Tears trickled down my stalker’s face as she looked to me for mercy.
“Okay. Well here’s today’s offer. If you get back with Simone, she and Tony live and I get you on at Citizens Bank for the base salary. Or, you can refuse again and watch my fellas run a train on Simone before we fry her skin off. What do you say Mr. Howard?”
Written by the Wednesday Gentleman