It’s times like this that make you appreciate just how valuable life is. One moment you’re here, the next you’re gone. We all know that we’re gonna depart this earth at some point. I always envisioned myself living well into my eighties, basking in all my accomplishments. Every morning, I would go to the penthouse window and smile on a new Atlanta . . . . a city where the majority is actually the majority. Where our money (not marches) brought about change in government. Where any officer who even questions a Black man inappropriately gets fired and serves time. The Black family is the backbone of the city again. Teachers and other civil servants are paid their worth. That dream of a new Atlanta keeps me focused. However, it seems whoever kidnapped me has other plans. . . . .
“We’re here! Boss said to keep the hood on him until he ready!”
I could hear the blades whirring overhead as we began our descent. The two joes flanking me made sure I was awake by putting their padded elbows in my chest.
“Wakey, wakey! Joyride’s over Houston!”
So many thoughts darted through my head. What stone I had left uncovered? Everyone that dealt with my benefactor was now dealing with me. Since the takeover, money flowed better. Business was booming on every side. Everyone should have been happy! So who had the clout to subdue my guards, force their way into my home, and steal me away? Could it have been Karma and Lincoln? Nah!!!! Couldn’t be them! Not by themselves at least. Lincoln wasn’t this calculated. Neither was Karma. Lincoln’s idea of payback would have been for him and some of his tiki torch brethren to beat and hang me.
“Step lively Houston! We wouldn’t want to drag you across the lawn!”
“Where are you taking me?”
“Just do as you’re told Houston! We don’t want to hurt you!”
As I stepped out of the metal bird, I realized that I wasn’t going to die. My heart slowed down a little, but I was still anxious. Who would go through these means to speak to me?Had to be one of those red politicians! From the scent in the air to the grass beneath my bare feet, it felt like I was walking across a golf resort of some kind. After what seemed to be a five minute hike, we ascended up several stone stairs. This definitely wasn’t Atlanta!
The doors opened and the guards continued to lead me in. They were so close to me that I couldn’t run if I wanted to! After waiting several minutes, I could hear a voice giving me relief.
“At ease gentlemen”
The goon squad took three steps away from me. I was able to use my lungs again! I quickly went for the hood that covered my face. After adjusting my eyes for the blinding light, I saw a man, a Black man, who I had never seen before . . . . but looked familiar nonetheless.
“Ahhhhh, Mr. Houston! Forgive the theatrics, but I had to take the necessary precautions. Besides, you might try to do me in like you did ol’ love sick James!”
Not only did his face look familiar, but his voice sounded familiar as well.
“Excuse me but . . . . don’t I know you?”
“Yes Eric, you do. I’m the one that helped you acquire all of James’ holdings. I’m his attorney and partner, Andrew David. But you can call me Charles”
“Are you the Charles David? Augusta’s own?”
My vision was back completely as I looked him up and down. Charles David was a legend back in my hometown. The first Black mayor as a matter of fact! While he was in office, Augusta rivaled Atlanta in wealth and power. Any other time, I would have been in awe of this great man. But seeing that he had just kidnapped me all . . . . .
“My mother used to talk about you all the time when I was coming up. She said that you did a lot for Augusta during your time there in office”
“Yes, and I aspire to do great things in Atlanta . . . with your help of course”
He looked down at me and saw my bare feet.
“Carl, you couldn’t let the man put on some shoes?”
“Well boss, you told us to hurry! He was a little resistant at first”
“I see. Well that will be all. Tell the pilot to be ready to take Mr. Houston back in an hour”
And with that, the small army walked out of the parlor. I observed how Charles commanded his legion with the simplest of gestures. Charles had power . . . far more than me . . . . for now . . . .
“Let’s go into the study and talk business shall we?”
I nodded as we marched into his lavish study. There had to be several thousand books on the shelves, not to mention the ones organized on a cart behind his desk waiting to be put back into place. He motioned me to sit in front of his desk while he called on the intercom for someone to bring me some shoes.
“Size eleven right?”
I nodded my head again. How the hell did he know my shoe size? The question must have shown all over my face.
“It’s my business to know who I’m dealing with Eric. That’s why I know your shoe size. And that’s why I know you’re fucking Lincoln’s wife”
My heart stopped.
“Say what? You know what?!”
“Like I said, it’s my business to know everything. That’s how you stay on top. That’s how you got the jump on James. But believe me when I say young blood, leave Lincoln and his wife alone. The feds have him under surveillance”
“I knew it!”
“You knew something, but you didn’t know what. That’s why you had Oz following her. All the while, the DEA is following her and now Oz”
“It’s an easy fix. Just have Oz lay low for a month or two and you’ll be fine. Nothing will get back to your doorstep. However, if you insist on seeing this woman, you’re gonna get caught up! Which means everyone associated with you will get caught up too”
“I see what you’re saying”
“The feds will start going through your shit and that will be the end of you. You definitely don’t want to be in the same prison as James, do you?”
“Shit, I can take him!”
“You think so eh? Young blood, you killed his woman! James will continue to hunt you until you’re dead”
“But she was killing the business! I was trying to get him to see that! Even when he chose her to run operations instead of me . . . . .”
“Yeah, you’re right. My old friend had fallen down love’s rabbit hole. He was so lost in the sauce that he started making rookie mistakes. He let his heart get the best of him, letting Chelsea call all the shots. He was trying to give her the world at everyone’s expense! That’s why when you came to me with the proposal to take over, I agreed. When I last saw James, he was so in love that money didn’t even matter anymore. That’s when I knew he had to be stopped. Love is not good for business”
“I would never let that happen Mr. David! You can believe that!”
“Is that right young blood? I seem to remember two years ago you spending everything you had to just to impress a woman who was with another man”
My face almost hit the floor!
“And then you were trying to make shit work with a woman that used to be a client? Yeah, you weren’t James, but you were heading to that rabbit hole yourself!
“But I would never allow myself to lose sight of the business! Not like James!”
“I hate to break it to you Houston, but you would. Love is a strange thing. And looking at your history in relationships, one thing is for certain: you’re soft. Like fucking marshmallows”
Wait a minute?! Was this fake Blair Underwood looking motherfucker trying to kick some knowledge about love?! With all the wisdom he had, didn’t he know that I murdered Lauren for trying to play me?
Just as I prepared myself for rebuttal, in walked six of the most ravishing women I’d ever laid my eyes on! The one that led the group reminded me of one of my Instagram fantasies. Her chocolate breasts were popping out of her skin tight top. Mr. David didn’t seem to care what she had on as she kissed him softly on the lips. Then, in succession, the other five greeted him in the same manner. The line leader then handed me a pair of high priced running shoes with socks to match. I wanted to say “thank you”, but I got caught up in the sea of melanin. These women were all tens, and it seemed as if they lived to serve Charles! After the presentation of the shoes, Charles’ harem lined up behind him. He sat there . . . . cool as a pimp . . . . . ready to feed my curiosity.
With a wave of his hand, the ladies began their exit. The young tenderoni that brought up the rear grabbed my attention as her plump ass was speaking to me through her tights. She winked at me before asking Charles a question:
“Daddy, will our guest be joining us tonight?”
“Our guest will be leaving in a few minutes, but I’ll be coming to bed shortly”
And just like that she was out the door. My attention went back to Mr. David.
“So . . . . you’re going to sleep with all of them? At the same time?”
He opened a drawer to the side of his desk and pulled out a silver flask. He took a swig from the container before continuing his lesson.
“Yes . . . yes I am Eric! Shit, haven’t you?”
“Now I’ve been with multiple women before . . . but six? Six? How are you going to bed those six women at the same time in the same bed and no one is jealous?”
“Listen young blood. The ladies are cool with their arrangement. They belong to me and they know their role. Each woman plays their role to my satisfaction. We all live under the same roof and they all submit to me. You could be doing the same thing too if you weren’t such a nice guy”
“A nice guy? With all due respect Mr. David, I’m far from that! I’m no stranger to killing folks!”’
“Eric, you’re a ruthless motherfucker when it comes to business. You’ll murk anyone who gets in your way. Doesn’t matter who they are. You are a man of your word and the streets know it! The way you leaked that video of you torturing that dude? That shit was pure genius! All of your allies and enemies took notice of how far you would go!”
“So if you know how far I will go, why did you kidnap me? Better yet, why in the hell do you keep calling me a fucking nice guy?”
“I had you brought here to tell you that the feds were onto Lincoln. Couldn’t take the chance of having a meeting with you in Atlanta. Didn’t know how many eyes would be on us”
“A phone call would have sufficed”
“Yes, but I didn’t know if your precious Karma had planted any bugs in your home, car, or restaurant”
“And the soft, nice guy shit? What is that all about? Why the disrespect?”
“Young blood, there’s no disrespect. I just noticed that you are all heart when it came to your intimate dealings with women. You’re trying to buy every one of them a new life. Risking your cover just to prove how much you love them. What did you think Karma was gonna do when she saw that video? Refuse to leave her soon to be indicted husband?”
“I think you’re exaggerating Mr. David”
“Am I? Think of all the relationships you’ve had prior to Morgan and James walking into your life. How many times did women pass you over because you were “so sweet”? How many times did you hear that they would date you if you weren’t friends with them first? And killing Lauren because she made a fool of you? That’s the shit those socially awkward people do. . . .”
Any other time I would have jumped to my own defense, but there was nothing I could say. This man who I never met pointed out my greatest weakness. He could have easily used his intel to break me down slow and take everything I have. But he didn’t. Instead, he chose to bring me here and impart the wisdom I needed for my next challenge. All that time I’d spent being upset with James, I should have been mad with myself! I was no longer in high school. I had money and power now. So why was I continuing to let myself fall for these unavailable, unattainable, less than top shelf women?”
“I really don’t know what to say Mr. David. Kinda hard to find the words when you’re slapped with the truth”
“I understand young blood. I want to see you succeed. I really do. But first, you gotta get that simp spirit outta your bedroom”
“And let me guess, you’re gonna tell me how right?”
Written by The Wednesday Gentleman