The journalist sweated profusely under the black pillowcase that covered his entire head. Not hyperventilating was the only thing running through his mind as he saw nothing but complete darkness. He had been wearing the material over his head for hours and had grown anxious and the nervousness began to set in. Although he was uncomfortable, it was well worth what he was to get in return. He had the chance to interview one of the most infamous people in the modern day history. Well, the biggest in the American gangster history.
The roar of the helicopter’s engine drowned out all sound and the only thing he seemed to hear was the sound of his own breathing. His heart was pounding from anxiety and it felt as if his heart was about to jump out of his chest. Two federal agents sat on either side of him as they looked down on the simple country of Canada; Toronto to be exact. They hovered thousands of feet above ground and were approaching their destination. The pilot gave the two agents thumbs up, signaling that they could finally take the pillow case off of the journalist.
Chris Nicks felt the fabric being pulled off of his face and it nearly made his bifocal glasses fall off the bridge of his nose. He quickly repositioned them on his face and looked out of the window, wondering where in the world he was. He pulled the inhaler from his inside coat pocket and immediately put it to his mouth. He inhaled the medicine and his breathing immediately returned to its normal pace. Chris smiled and looked down at the scenery. Never would he think that they were in the country of Canada. A small smile formed on his nerdy face as he thought about what was to come. He had the opportunity to interview the most legendary snitch of all time. Chris had the pillowcase over his face for hours, but it was all part of the procedure when dealing with a person who was in a witness protection program. He was ready to see the man behind the myth, who went by the name of Ball aka Braylon Kennedy. Chris Nicks took a deep breath and stared out of the window, preparing for landing on top of an unidentified building.
Ball slowly paced his lush studio apartment. The sounds of his gators clicked the floor as he rested his hands in the pockets of his finely threaded Armani slacks. A dress style he adopted from his former mentor who he eventually took the witness stand against. Ball had a neatly trimmed goatee which was speckled with shades of gray that prematurely showed up on his 34 year old face. Maybe the fear of one of the goon’s of the man that he once took the stand against, coming after him made the gray hairs appear. Even ten years later, the worry of retaliation invaded his thoughts numerous times throughout a day. Ball had been anticipating the present day for two months. Every since the magazine article came out about him, he wanted to give his side of the story. Ball grabbed the glass of cognac off the table and took a small sip. He then looked down at the magazine that had a picture of his former friend walking out of a courtroom in a Armani suit with reporters surrounding him. Then it was a small picture of him in the corner with the word Snitch under it. He picked up the magazine and shook his head in frustration. He never liked snitches and was raised to believe, that if you ratted on your man, then you were not a real man yourself. It pained him to have the label put on his family’s name.
Braylon “Ball” Kennedy sat down at his cherry oak table with a burning cigar inside of the ashtray in front of him. He then scanned the front page of the magazine. The headline read... “Inside: The Untold Memoirs of a Snitch”. The sight alone made Ball sick to his stomach as he clenched his teeth tightly and knew that the article only told half the story. The doorbell chimed and Ball knew that his guest had finally arrived. He looked at his eight screen monitor and saw the journalist standing at his door. Ball grinned as he saw the skinny, nerdy guy waiting while looking up in the monitor. Ball pressed the intercom and spoke into it.
“State ya’ name,” Ball said as he leaned into the microphone.
“Chris Nicks ... from FED magazine,” Nicks said as he wiped his nose with the napkin in his hand. Ball suspiciously checked all of his other cameras and his paranoia sat in. It was against the rules to ever reveal one’s self while under witness protection, but Ball wanted to set the record straight. He made arrangements for the journalist to come have a six hour sit-down with him, so that he could tell his side of what went down. After a few seconds of scanning his camera, he finally hit the button to buzz the journalist in. Moments later, a knock sounded and Ball approached the door. He glanced at the sawed off shotgun that sat by the door. He also clicked his handgun off safety, not taking anything lightly. He had a lot of enemies and didn’t underestimate anyone. He slowly unlocked the row of deadbolts that lined his door. Ball slowly opened the door and the journalist was on the other side fixing his thick bi-focal glasses properly onto his face.
“ Hell ... hello Mr. Kennedy,” Nicks said with fear evident in his voice. The trembling of his voice indicated that Nicks felt the power of Ball’s boss-like swagger. Nicks extended his hand and it was noticeably shaky. Ball looked at the young man that stood in front of him and noticed that he was much younger than what he expected. He didn’t look a day over twenty.
This is the kid that wrote that fucked up article about me?
He thought to himself as he looked into Nicks’ eyes and saw that he had fear in his heart as he stood before him.
“Relax li’l nigga. And call me Ball ... step in,” he said in his baritone voice as he stepped to the side giving him a pathway to enter the house. Nicks stepped in and Ball immediately closed the door and locked the deadbolts back behind him; all seven of them.
“What you got in the bag?” Ball asked as he slightly raised his head noticing that the reporter had a knapsack.
“Oh, this? Just my tape recorder, notebook and my laptop,” Nicks said as he handed the bag over to Ball. Ball grabbed the bag and looked through it and just as Nicks said, there were only his approved items inside. After a couple of seconds of silence, Ball returned the bag to Nicks and headed into the den not wanting to waste any time. Nicks followed Ball and looked at the gigantic house in amazement. He was in awe of the high cathedral ceilings and immaculate brown and cream colored marble floors. Although Ball was hiding out, by no means was he living like an average Joe. The closer they got to the den, the more clearly Nicks could hear the sounds of smooth jazz lightly pumping out of the speakers.
“We don’t have a lot of time, so let’s get to it,” Ball said directly and in a ‘no bull-shit’ manner. “Have a seat,” Ball suggested as he opened his hand toward his couch section. The large, brown leather couches looked as if they were brand new and never been sat on. The smell of the leather invaded Nicks’ nostrils as he walked over to the sitting area and took a seat.
In the meantime, Ball walked over to his china cabinet and grabbed a small glass and poured himself a swallow of cognac. “Would you like a drink?” Ball asked as he cut the top and bottom of his cigar.
“No thanks, I don’t drink,” Nicks said as he began to pull out the equipment he needed to properly conduct the interview.
“Well, I don’t see any point in wasting any more time,” Ball said as he took a seat across from the reporter, placing his glass down and sitting the cigar into the ashtray. “I read your fifteen page article about what went down with me and Seven. I’m not going to lie ... it pissed me off,” Ball said as he sat back while picking up the cigar, clenching his jaws so tightly that veins formed in his neck. The tension in the room was evident and Nicks grew uncomfortable as he noticed the menacing scowl on Ball’s face. Obviously, Ball had taken offense to the half-told story that made him out to be the most disloyal underboss of all time. Their story was well documented and had been seen on BET, and in many magazines over the years. But Nicks’ article was so in-depth and so one-sided ... Ball had to set the record straight.
“I know what I did was wrong and I have to live with that every single day of my life. But I had no other choice. It wasn’t like I sought out Seven to take him down,” Ball said as he dropped his head and thought about the man that he had betrayed and loved so much. “I had to do it,” Ball whispered as he took in a deep breath and shook his head from side to side, the regret tormenting him.
“Well, that’s why I’m here. Let me hear your side of the story,” Nicks said as he clicked on his recorder causing the red light to switch on. He then pulled the top off of his pen and waited for Ball to proceed. Nicks was staring so intensely at the man that sat across from him. He wanted to capture every emotion, every gesture, and actually feel the pain of the man the streets called the worst snitch of all-time. He wanted to get the real story of the man that took down the biggest drug lord the Midwest had ever seen.
“Seven was one of the realest niggas I ever met. He was cut from a different cloth, ya know?” Ball said as he puffed the cigar, a habit that Seven had given him while they ran together. Seven loved cigars and cognac and before long ... so did Ball. It was a habit he never shook. Ball smiled thinking about the times they balled out, and then a wave of sadness overcame him as he thought back. “I remember the day that I saw the police handcuff him... .”