Authors: Leigh Clary Abdou
© 2013 by Leigh Clary Abdou
limiting the rights under copyright reserved above, no part of this publication
may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted,
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or otherwise) without the prior written permission of the above author of this
is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, brands, media, and incidents are
either the product of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously. The
author acknowledges the trademarked status and trademark owners of various
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This is a New Adult title - Meant for readers 18 & older***
still don’t have my answers-
at least we know you’re free.
countless minutes later-
mind and soul agree.
thoughts are deep as valleys-
miles of endless sea.
if you hadn’t left so young-
who would you be?
STEALING CARS WAS never my life’s
I never stated this as my dream job during grade school
career day. It sort of happened. Well, more like it happened out of necessity.
Marcus and I started doing this for the money and found we were good. Really
good. As a team we can steal almost any type of car. And we make a killing.
I watch the driver remove himself from the car. He has no
idea that I’m watching or what’s about to happen. But that’s okay. I’m a
professional, and as long as he cooperates, no one will get hurt.
I hear Marcus behind me, breathing heavily. His hand is
raking the cross pendant on his necklace back and forth, back and forth. I hear
it grinding against the chain, and the sound is a mix between therapeutic and
annoying. The necklace was gift from his late mother, and sliding the pendant
across the chain is a nervous habit. I’m pretty sure Marcus could hijack cars
in his sleep, so I don’t know what makes him nervous.
He’s easily 300 pounds and not someone you would want to
cross in a dark alley. Thankfully, he’s on my side. We’ve been in business for
years. We’ve been best friends since high school when we were both in foster
care, although he endured more years than me. After high school, we decided to
team up. He helps me run a car theft operation throughout lower Atlanta.
We have yet to be caught.
And that says a lot when you’ve been in this business as
long as we have.
I hear the man’s heels move across the pavement as he leaves
the parking garage. His car beeps indicating the alarm has been activated. Marcus
and I wait for an entire minute before we make our move. I peek my head around
first to make sure the man is gone and then I am off. I am light on my feet,
weighing only 190 pounds. I’m the one who chooses the victim and makes the
calls. Marcus uses his strength to open the car and jump it off. From that
point, I have less than fifteen seconds to dismantle the car alarm. Any longer
and people start to look in our direction. Once successful, we put the car in
drive and get the hell out of there.
I start my descent on the car and feel Marcus behind me. He
whips out his crow bar and starts working his magic. We’ve got this down to a
science. Our target is a Mazda Miata, and I’m pretty sure we can have this bad
boy out of the garage in forty seconds flat. I hear the door swing open and I
make my move to find the alarm. The horn starts beeping, echoing off the walls,
and I pull out my tools to work magic. Within ten seconds the alarm has been
deactivated and Marcus is jumping off the car. I hear the vehicle hum to life
and know this mission is complete.
Marcus puts her in reverse and drives out of the garage.
Neither of us glances behind. Maybe we should be remorseful or paranoid about
what we do, but as with any sin, the more times you commit it, the more numb
you become. I no longer feel the remorse, and because of that I hate myself a
We say nothing as we head towards our destination. There’s
really nothing to say. Marcus knows the drill as much as I do. I own two
garages in downtown Atlanta, and they’re both in full production at least five
days a week. We drive for twenty minutes before pulling into one of the alleys.
This leads to a garage door, which Marcus opens with the click of a button. We
ease the car into the garage and quickly shut the door behind us. The lights
illuminate the area, and I see our men sitting at cardboard tables, smoking and
playing cards. They’ve been waiting on us to bring in the last car so we can
get started. We have ten cars running in each garage tonight. It’s our job to
fix them up for resale on the black market. Hopefully no one jumped off a car
behind a repair, and we can get these vehicles out and put some cash in our
I step out of the Mazda and glare at the employees.
“What’s everyone sitting around for?” I yell. I know exactly
why they’re sitting around, but I like to yell and keep them on their toes. The
more intimidating I appear, the more respect I get. I’ve discovered this the
hard way, considering I’m 28 and some of these men are more than ten years older
than me. I run a tight ship and most ask “How high?” when I say jump. It’s the
way it has to be when you’re as young as I am. They’re also scared as shit of
Marcus, and Marcus always has my back. He’s like my brother now that I’ve lost
communication with my real brothers.
“Sorry, boss. We were waiting on you to bring in the Miata.”
Carlos, my main man in charge at this garage speaks. I nod to acknowledge him.
“Okay then, get their lazy asses to work. The Miata has
arrived.” I don’t yell at Carlos. He’s a decent enough guy and I want to keep
him around. He’s a little rough around the edges, but I like that. It’s why
he’s in charge.
“We need to get all ten cars running and out of here by
dawn, got that?” I yell at all the men, putting the fear of God in them. No one
breathes a word as they jump up and run to their positions. Within minutes, the
warehouse is alive with activity while the cars are being rewired.
I phone my other warehouse to check on the manager there,
Simon. I hear a good report from him, and as my finger presses end, my phone
It’s Richard. He’s my right hand man when it comes to the
authorities, and it doesn’t hurt that he’s a bigwig politician in Atlanta.
Yeah, he’s corrupt, but aren’t most? He helps me because he’s my cousin and our
blood runs thick. I wish I’d have had this connection ten years ago when I
needed him, but we’ve only just now become reacquainted. He was what my family
called a black sheep. They didn’t speak to highly of him when we were growing
up. Now he’s my right hand. I guess this fits since I’ve turned in to a black
Still, I groan seeing his name flash across the screen.
Hearing from him is never good. He’s always the bearer of bad news.
“What’s up?” My voice is flat.
“Hey Brandon. I guess you know a call from me is never a
good thing, right?” He laughs his fake politician chuckle into the phone, and I
“Yeah, that’s why I sound so excited to hear from you.
What’s the problem?” I listen while Richard gives me the run down. I stop in my
tracks and swear under my breath as he explains that a big-name cop in town is
working hand in hand with the man I hate more than anyone else in the world: a
lawyer named Peter Birch. They’re trying to find the link to all the car theft
and then make settlements to all the rightful owners.
“Shit.” It’s the only word I know to say. I know the cops
are always after me, but I didn’t know a specific cop named Sawyer Hamilton and
the hated Peter Birch had teamed up to go after me specifically.
“How did they get my name?” I ask Richard because they’ve
never been after only me, just the car theft in general.
“I don’t know, man, but what I do know is this. I was in the
police department yesterday and saw your mug shot on the board. In your favor,
it’s a picture of you from when you were eighteen. You don’t even look the
same, but the bad news is they know you’re the leader in all this and they want
it to stop.”
I take a deep breath and let the exhale relax my body. This
is bad. I’ve gotten too greedy over the past five years. We started out with
one warehouse and about ten cars a month. Now we’re at two warehouses and
sometimes fifteen cars a night per warehouse. Each year I’ve gotten bolder, and
now I’m starting to see some of the consequences. But how am I supposed to
stop? This is more than a job. It’s a game and I’m addicted to it. How do you
stop the rush?
“Okay, man, thanks for letting me know. New project for you:
Find the snitch who gave the cops my name…and let me know if you hear any more
information. This is getting serious.”
“Sure thing, Brandon. I’ll call you soon.” Richard hangs up
and I pace the floor. Who ratted me out? Who the hell is this Hamilton cop and
why is Birch back on my ass again? I need to Google them both to find out about
Hamilton and see what Birch has been doing over the past ten years. Like the
mafia used to say, I need to keep my friends close and my enemies closer.
“Marcus.” I yell his name above the noise as I walk over to
his vehicle. I hear his breathing and I see the grease covering his clothes.
“Birch is back on my ass.”
His face contorts and he lets out a sigh. “Why?”
“He knows I’m the leader of this car theft ring, and he’s
teamed up with some cop named Hamilton. Richard says there’s a mug shot of me
at the police station.”
“Damn. What you gonna do?”
“I’ll think of something. I just wanted you to know. You
know my situation with Birch, and I wanted to keep you in the loop.”
“Okay, boss. Let me know what you decide and I’m with ya.”
It’s all he says as he turns around and bends back under the hood. Marcus is a
man of few words. It’s one of his many shining attributes.
CARLOS AND SIMON have all twenty
cars delivered without a hitch by dawn the next morning. I hand out the cash to
everyone who deserves to get paid and we called it quits. Since we made more
than enough money, I give everyone the next three nights off. I don’t mention I
need to lay low due to a target being placed on my head. Marcus is the only one
who will ever know the truth. I don’t want this information getting out; one of
my stellar employees just might turn me in.
In this business there’s few you can trust. I sleep with a
knife under my pillow, and I know Marcus is always packing. It could have been
anybody who ratted me out. It’s amazing what people will do for money. Hell,
they’ll sell their soul just to make a profit. I know this all too well.
I am one of those people.
My soul is lost for good. My body is filled with too much
money, too much greed, and too much power. It’s a bad combination.
But I can’t stop the obsession.
The pull is too strong and each high is too high. Every
month that passes and each year beneath me leads me closer to my destruction.
It’s only a matter of time before I implode…that is, if the cops don’t catch me
I use to think I was invincible.
I use to think I would never be caught and those who tried
to warn me were pussies. But now I know the truth, and it’s staring me square
in the face. I will never let anyone else know the truth: I’m scared. I’d never
let up on this tough guy façade. I’ve invested far too many hours and far too
much time to quit here. Besides, what would my men say if I walked away? In
this business walking away isn’t an option. You keep doing what you’re doing,
or you go to jail.
End of discussion.
Marcus and I live above the warehouse. It’s a spacious
apartment we share with our married friends, Tommy and Sally. I have a tiny
room with a double bed and a chest to stick my clothes in. I have a small
bookshelf packed with John Grisham books in the corner, as well as my own
bathroom. It’s nothing to write home about, but it’s safe and there’s a roof
over my head. Tommy and Sally take up the master room and we have a kitchen and
living area in the front. Tommy is a mechanic by day but helps me when needed
at night. Sally keeps the three of us fed. I’ve known Tommy and his brother Tim
This is actually their place and we rent from them. It helps
keep our names off bills and helps keep our profiles low. Tommy owns the
warehouse since my name can’t be on the books, and I pay him a nice rent check
each month. He keeps his day job in case our ring gets busted. That way he
would have an alibi. He’s never come out and said that, but I know it’s the
truth. He keeps his ass covered and I don’t blame him. If I had a wife to
protect, I would do the same.
For convenience, Marcus and I do most of our operations in
this particular warehouse. I keep a close watch over Simon in the other garage
and make sure to show up for plenty of unannounced visits. Keeps all my
employees on their toes.