Three hours flew by and the sunset gave way to the dawn of a fateful evening. Once again, Gerald had been persuaded into another dangerous mission — “the ultimate come up”, according to Tai. As Mark explained, a team of bangers had recently migrated from the west coast to set up shop. In short order, they established a loyal following consisting of crack addicts and sack chasing skeezers. Their biggest mistake was operating in an area that had long been claimed as Rollin’ 60’s turf.

Gerald’s disdain of the Bloods made this hit a bit easier to sign on for. He hated them with unbridled passion — almost more than Peoples — each and every last one of them. The majority of his wars back in the Chi were fought against Latin Lords and Kings, but the Young Blood Gang was as pesky as any foe. He would never forget that horrific day when the red station wagon rolled undetected down Halsted and made a life-changing impact. With neighborhood residents of all ages splashing away their cares in the outburst of the hacked fire hydrant, the passenger opened fire. The crowd scattered and screamed, but not before Rodney absorbed six rounds from the assault rifle. And just like that, the one person Gerald considered a true friend, not even a known banger, was dead. The killers were never apprehended by law or the streets. Every pint of Piru blood he splattered from that point forward, directly connected or not, would be considered retribution for the loss.

“Come on, drop it!” Mark dared with a single card held high above his head, loosely rolled joint hanging from his mouth. “Ya’ll about to be set anyway.” Mark played the game of Spades with more intensity than usual. He had all intentions of leveraging that overflow of adrenaline for the upcoming heist.

Tai smiled and dropped a ten of spades on the table, only to see it trumped by the almighty king of the same suite. “Ahhh shit, I forgot that shit ain’t been played yet.” He and G Loc had been defeated again.

The group of five was now four as Tone Tone took off with no explanation about an hour prior. Loc said his brother wasn’t needed for the job any way, joking that Tone’s fat ass would only slow them down. No one objected to this subtle wrinkle — no one but Gerald, that is. In fact, it only made him more suspicious of the ulterior motives at play. Still, he remained silent and kept those reservations to himself.

Thug Nation. Buy it Amazon, Smashwords, or wherever ebooks are sold.