Authors: Tamicka Higgins
Somebody is Gonna Die
A Chicago Hood Drama
Hustler’s Lady Book 3
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the publisher, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical reviews and certain other noncommercial uses permitted by copyright law.
This is a work of fiction. Names, places, characters and events are all fictitious for the reader’s pleasure. Any similarities to real people, places, events, living or dead are all coincidental.
This book contains sexually explicit content that is intended for ADULTS ONLY (+18).
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With the sound of Quan splashing in the hotel swimming pool fading in the background, all that Ayana could hear was her heart thumping. She now, officially, knew that she was in far deeper than she’d ever dreamt. As she was on the phone with Sharli, who had called to say she saw Tramar and Jackson on the news for robbing banks, every doorway into or out of the swimming pool facility became marked in her mind as a risk. At any moment, some boys in uniforms and suits could come bursting through them with guns drawn and ready to kill somebody.
Ayana’s words fumbled as Jackson and Tramar realized why the look on her face was so grave. They’d lost their focus when it came to talking to Byron, or rather to listening to him talk at them. The look on Ayana’s face told them that not only were they now in trouble with Byron, but they were also in trouble with something far more powerful: the law.
With Sharli on the other end waiting in suspense, Ayana pressed the phone against her chest. She began to nod her head. “It’s my cousin Sharli,” she announced quietly, her eyes looking around the room. She then began to shake her head. “And it’s not good,” she added.
Tramar and Jackson, almost at a loss for words, looked back to the phone with Byron talking through the speaker. “All right, nigga,” Tramar said. “We almost ready. We’ll hit you up when we ready to bring you your shit. We almost got you, nigga. Chill out.”
Byron snickered as Tramar grabbed the phone out of Knight’s hands and ended the call. Ayana walked over to the two of them and looked into their eyes. “What y’all want me to say to her?” she asked. “I mean, she said she seen it on the news and stuff, and plus, she was the one to find out through Facebook that the nigga Byron was posting them photos of your step mama. I don’t know what to say.” Ayana’s nerves had her to the point where she almost needed to hop up and down. “Shit, shit, shit, y’all,” she said. “The whole damn city of Chicago is gonna know this shit. Fuck, fuck.”
Quickly, as Tramar could see that his woman was nearly having a nervous breakdown, he snatched the phone out of her hand. He ended the call with Sharli then set the phone down on the table next to them. He grabbed a hold of Ayana and pulled her closer to him, kissed her forehead, and said, “Everything is gonna be okay, Ayana. Everything is gonna be okay. We gon’ get this nigga and get outta here and shit to where can’t nobody find us. Ain’t shit for us here in Chicago, no way. Ain’t shit here.”
“How?” Ayana asked, her voice full of distress. “How we gonna find this nigga?”
Tramar, still holding Ayana close to him, looked over at Jackson. He wasn’t quite sure why he was looking at his best friend. Perhaps, he wanted an answer out of him since he was technically the reason that any of them were involved in this situation. Tramar tried not to think about that, but there were moments that it was all he could think about. Turning his head away and toward the pool, Tramar’s heart skipped a beat upon noticing Quan was not frolicking around in the shallow end anymore. Out of reflex and parental instincts, Tramar gently pushed Ayana to the side as his head scanned to the left, toward the deeper end of the pool. He saw that Quan was not in the deep end. He turned to his right and to his relief found Quan walking toward them.
“Wassup little dude?” Tramar asked.
Quan walked up looking concerned. His eyes were glued to Ayana. “Daddy,” Quan said, “what’s going on with Ayana? Why does she look upset and stuff?”
Ayana quickly sucked it up and realized that it’d probably be better for her to not only be strong for herself but also for Tramar’s little boy. She took a deep breath and turned to Quan. Before Tramar could open his mouth to say anything, she’d cut him off with, “Oh, it’s nothing that serious. I just got a call from a friend, and she’s going through something kinda hard right now, Quan. That’s all.”
“Yeah, Quan,” Tramar said. “Ain’t nothin’ that serious that you need to be worrying about over here. Just go on back over to the shallow end of the pool while we keep talking.”
Tramar could tell that Quan wasn’t really buying what he was saying. However, since it was all he had to give, he would just have to work with it. Tramar watched as the little boy went back over to the other end of the pool. He then turned to Jackson, who was clearly ready to speak.
“Look, Ayana,” Jackson said. “What exactly did your cousin say? I mean, you ain’t told us what she saw on the news.”
Realizing that Tramar had grabbed the phone and ended the phone call, Ayana focused more on the conversation at hand. “Well,” she began, “she said that she was watching the news and that they got y’all two on there, the suspects for the bank robberies in Chicago and Indiana. Oh my God, the world knows. Oh my God.”
“Just calm down,” Tramar said, rubbing Ayana’s shoulder. “Just calm down, baby. You don’t know what the world knows.”
“Well, if my cousin knows,” Ayana said, matter-of-factly, “then the world isn’t too far from knowing. My cousin knows everybody in her neighborhood and their first and second cousins. All she do is talk and shit.”
“But is she the type to talk out in the streets too much about her family?” Tramar asked. “I mean, you know I done met the chick and stuff, and we used to know each other back when we went to the same school and shit, but I don’t know her like that to be guessin’ if she real or not or what.”
Ayana nodded her head as she shrugged her shoulders. “I mean,” she said, hesitantly. “She seems like, based on what I’ve seen, the type to talk about everybody else’s stuff and leave her own shit out of it. But, I mean, we like best friends, really. I feel like if she was gon’ talk shit about me, she wouldn’t have called me just after the evening news done went off. But that ain’t all, though.”
Tramar and Jackson glanced at one another then to Ayana before encouraging her to continue.
“She said that the security guard is dead,” Ayana said. “She said the news said that the security guard you shot over in Indiana died, Tramar.”
Tramar balled his fists together and drove one into the side of his legs. He turned away, grinding his teeth together from the frustration. He’d done some pretty horrible things in his life. However, he wanted to be the one guy on the streets of Chicago who did not have to grow old and have somebody’s death on his hands. That was something he simply didn’t want on his conscience as an old man. He had too much of a heart and had watched too many relatives on both sides of his family die, that being the cause of such a thing, had always turned him off completely.
“Fuck,” Tramar said. A small tear erupted from his eye and began to make its way down his cheek. “Fuck, man. I ain’t mean to kill him. I had to.” He opened his arms. “I had to or else he was gon’ kill me or hold my ass there until the police and shit showed up, and then they woulda killed me. I had to do it. I had to.”
“Okay, man,” Jackson said. “Okay. I understand, man. I woulda did the same thing. If it was between me and him, and he had a gun too, I woulda shot him too. It’s okay, dude. It ain’t like you meant to do it.”
“So, she said she seen on us there, huh?” Tramar asked. “Faces and all now, I guess.”
Ayana shrugged her shoulders. “I don’t know,” she said. “I was just so taken back and surprised when she said that that I zoned out. Already am nervous as shit because they ran up in the motel rooms and stuff. Just think, Tramar,” Ayana said as she voiced her thoughts about the situation. “If you hadn’t come when you did to pick me up to roll over to Precious’s place to get Quan, I woulda been sittin’ there when they came up in that room and shit. I woulda been sittin’ there.”
“So, what are you saying, Ayana?” Tramar asked. He had thought the very same thing when Jackson had called him and told him what he was watching from across the street at the motel. “You saying you want us to go ahead and drop you back off over at your mother’s place and stuff?” he asked. “I mean, it’s cool if you want to do that and stuff. I understand. It ain’t like the news got you or nothin’. Your name wasn’t on the motel room, and you wasn’t in the banks when we ran up in them. Hell, all three times, you wasn’t even close for them to connect you to it and stuff.”
“Yeah,” Jackson said, “but you know how them damn white people are, especially when you black. They gon’ go lookin’ up everybody you know and have ever even talked to since you was sixteen years old and shit.”
“So, what you saying, nigga?” Tramar asked. “You think they gon’ go around askin’ niggas in the hood questions and actually getting answers? Nigga, you crazy. But, like I was saying, Ayana, do you think you need to just go ahead and go back home before this gets crazy? Well, before it gets crazier?”
“Naw,” Ayana said, shaking her head. “Naw, I ain’t goin’ nowhere. I love you, Tramar. And I know that if this was my family, no matter what, you would be doin’ the same thing.”
Before the conversation could continue further, another family walked into the swimming pool area. A white man with a big gut and white towel led what appeared to be a wife and three small children. Without thinking, Tramar, Jackson, and Ayana sat down at chairs around a table off to the side of the pool. They remained quiet, realizing that they needed to go somewhere with a little more privacy, as well as somewhere that could keep Quan busy and out of their faces. They only had one more day to get with Byron before something bad could happen to Tramar’s stepmother and father.
Tramar leaned in over the table and spoke quietly when he said, “I got an idea. I’mma have to get him something to eat, ‘cause you know his mama ain’t really cook him nothin’ like that on a regular basis.”
“Yeah, but we gotta jump into some sort of action, nigga,” Jackson said firmly. “Sorry Father of the Year, but you picked the worst time to do the babysittin’.”
“Nigga, fuck you,” Tramar said. “I had to do this shit. That’s my son. And look, we can get my family back while we watch him and keep him safe. That’s part of the whole reason that we got this hotel room under Ayana’s name, so that the fuckin’ police and shit won’t know where to find us and shit. But what I was just thinkin’ is that since I gotta get him something to eat, and we gotta keep him distracted while we figure out what our next move gon’ be, why don’t we take him over to that Chuck-E-Cheese on Sargent’s Road. I feel like it ain’t too far from here, if I remember right. Shit, a nigga ain’t been somewhere like that in like two fuckin’ decades.”
The three of them agreed that Chuck-E-Cheese would be a good idea. It was crowded with lots of parents trying to keep an eye on their children, rather than on a few black people who came walking through the door that they might recognize from the news. Also, it had the kind of food where all three of them could fill up on while talking amongst themselves in a loud environment.
Tramar allowed Quan to continue playing in the swimming pool for another twenty minutes or so. When the three of them went upstairs, Jackson went out and waited in his car while Tramar helped his son to take a shower and slip into some clean clothes. Once they were ready to go, Quan walked ahead of his father and Ayana as they walked down to the elevator. Ayana looked up at Tramar. “Are you sure about this?” she asked.
Tramar looked at her and spoke softly softly. “Am I sure about what?” he asked. “What you talkin’ about, Ayana?”
“Are you sure about us keeping him for these couple of days while we try’na get Bryon and stuff, Tramar?” Ayana said. “That’s all I’m asking.”
Tramar took a moment to think – a moment that seemed twice as long as they were walking down a hallway where at any moment law enforcement could come jumping into their paths. “I don’t know,” Tramar said. Ayana could hear the uncertainty in his voice, and it was so disheartening. “But we ain’t got no choice now. I mean, I ain’t got nowhere that I can take him and shit. I ain’t got nobody that I can ask or nothin’. And plus, he jus gon’ be with us until tomorrow night, I think. Or, at the worst, early Monday morning, cause he gotta go to school on Monday morning. It ain’t no damn holiday or nothing.”
“Yeah,” Ayana said. “I see.”
The three of them rode the elevator downstairs then walked out to the back parking lot. Jackson informed him that he had looked up the Chuck-E-Cheese located near the airport. They could simply follow him. Tramar pulled out of the parking lot behind Jackson and followed him down the road. The car ride was probably one of the quietest rides that Tramar and Ayana had in a very long time. Silence filled the space that might normally be filled with laughter and chitchat.
Every so often, Tramar would look over at Ayana. He could see that she was worried beyond belief. Just like him, every car on the road next to or behind them was a potential threat. Tramar froze up once upon seeing a car that he had mistook for a police car. He felt almost panicked upon seeing nondescript black cars. If a car rode quickly up onto the back of him, he was certain lights were about to pop on and something was about to go down on the side of the road.
When they pulled into the Chuck-E-Cheese, it was exactly what the three adults had expected it would be on a Saturday night. It was crowded with little kids, white, black, and Hispanic. When they walked thought the door and were stamped on the tops of their hands, they found a booth off in the corner. Jackson and Ayana slid into it as they waited on Tramar to come back over. He bought tokens for Quan to use to play games. Once they ordered a large pizza, and Quan had run off to play games, they knew it was time to get down to business. In the darkness of the back corner of the play center, they spoke softly as they could barely hear anything outside of where they were sitting.