We have been working hard on this book and are happy to announce that the release date is almost upon us. To get your juices flowing, we are going to post snippets of the story until the release day. The first snippet is the Prologue. Enjoy.
MARTHA BAE, JAMAICA
Money was flowing in Martha Bae. Tourists were checking out all the attractions and loading up on souvenirs. The families that were arriving from different resorts were tipping the locals generously. The sun shined bright in the sky while its rays warmed the earth.
“It’s a hot one todeh,” an old man murmured, as he walked down the dirt road.
The humidity made the walk uncomfortable. It left him exhausted and fatigued. He stopped briefly and took a sip of the moringa tea that he whipped up the day prior. The cool beverage quenched his thirst on the steamy summer day. He continued down the road and approached a black taxi that was parked alongside the road. Chronixx was blasting out the stereo, and the taxi driver was inside relaxing. His seat was leaned back and his feet were propped up on the dashboard. The odor of sativa emanated from all four windows as he smoked the strong herb.
“Wah gawn lad,” the old man said to the taxi driver.
“Skankin' sweet - everybody wanna feel irie. Forget your troubles and rock with me. You nuh feel how reggae music sweet, yeah-e-yeah. Skankin' sweet - everybody wanna feel irie. Forget your troubles and rock with me. You nuh feel how reggae music sweet, yeah-e-yeah. Skankin' sweet,” the driver continued singing along with the music and puffing on his herb.
The old man stood by the car, waiting for a response. The music continued blaring, and the driver never budged. It seemed as if someone turned the dial up on the sun because the heat was becoming a bit unbearable for the man. There was no way he would be able to walk to his destination without passing out on the side of the road. He reached into the taxi and turned off the music.
“Yo old man wah yuh doing?” the driver asked, jumping out his seat and giving a death stare to the old man.
“Sorry to badda yuh but mi need yuh help.”
“Wah yuh need? Sum money? Cuz eff dat a wah yuh wa mi nuh get none fi yuh”
“No mi need a ride. Mi haffi guh to wuk but mi cyaa walk inna dis heat.”
The driver eyed the old man up and saw he was wearing a uniform from the Bahia resort. “Mi cyaa help yuh. Mi waiting fi a group of people mi drop off fi di rafting excursion mi cyaa lef.”
“Yuh just get here an di excursion takes two hours to finish. Yuh ave more dan enough time to mek it back.” The old man reached into his pocket and pulled out a hundred dollar bill in U.S. currency. “Dis a fi di ride,” the old man said as he slid the money to the driver. The driver’s eyes widened, and he quickly snatched the bill.
“Cum pon lets guh,” the driver replied. He hopped out of the taxi and threw the old man’s bag in the backseat. The old man was correct. The rafting excursion took hours, and the taxi driver would surely be back in time to pick up the group he initially brought over.
The ride to the resort was quiet. There was no small talk, and the radio was never turned back on. The old man just stared out the window at the beauty the island had to offer, and the driver kept his eyes on the road. Occasionally his eyes would glance up at the rearview mirror, and he would look at the old man, but still no words were said. Deep down inside the driver wanted to ask the man why he paid him so much for the short ride but it seemed like the less he knew, the better.
It wasn’t long before the taxi pulled up to the front gate of the Bahia resort. Palm trees and beautiful landscape surrounded the four-star resort. A large sculpture was one of the focal points of attention for visitors. They took pictures in front of the sculpture, and some even sat around the base. A large light fixture dangled from the tall ceiling and the lights reflected off the glass flooring. The driver was familiar with the protocol, so he waited for the security guards to approach.
“Wah yuh here for?” one of the guards asked. “Yuh here to pick people up?”
“No man. I'm here to drop off a worker,” the driver said, pointing to the back seat.
The guard looked at the old man but didn’t recognize him, despite him wearing the uniform shirt.” Wah yuh name sir?” the guard asked, standing outside the passenger door.
“Barrington. Mi name Barrington an mi late fi wuk,” the old man replied.
“Why nuh mi seen yuh before?”
“Mi nuh kno.”
The guard was a solid man. His large stature made him very intimidating. He made it his business to know every employee, whether current or prior. He took his job seriously, and something didn’t sit right with him. The old man had features that stood out. His thick gray beard and long dreadlocks would have easily been remembered. “Let mi si yuh ID card.”
The old man put his bag on his lap and began rifling through it, searching for the requested documentation. The guard towered over him, peeking into the bag. He looked at the taxi driver who seemed to be wondering what was taking the man so long to find the ID card.
“Hol'aan young man mi tink mi feel it,” the old man muttered while his hand was buried in the bag.
The suspicious expression on the guard's face showed that he was becoming skeptical of the old man. He gripped his radio and held it up to his mouth.
“Ay, yo Barrington!” someone yelled up from the lobby area of the resort. “Yuh late man yuh shift start thirty minutes ago.”
The guard turned and saw his supervisor quickly approaching. A large smile spread across the supervisor’s round face as he laid eyes on the old man. His stocky frame and large biceps made him a very intimidating man.
“Yuh kno him boss?” he asked while sticking his radio back in the holster on his belt.
“Ow yuh doing todeh Reggie?” the old man asked as he carefully exited the taxi. The soothing sound of reggae vibes blasted from the lobby, and the flow of visitors caught his attention.
“Mi gud bredda. Cum pon let’s get yuh situated.” The old man brushed by the guard and eyed him up. The once confident guard barely made eye contact with the old man and quickly found another task to focus on.
The two men worked their way through the resort until they reached one of the suites. “Dis one all yuh bredda,” Reggie stated while handing over a master key card. The old man gave Reggie a thick envelope before sliding the key card through the slot and unlocking the door to the suite. Reggie thumbed through the contents of the envelope, counting a large amount of cash. “Let mi kno eff yuh need nuhting else,” Reggie muttered before closing the door and backing into the hallway.
The old man stepped into the king suite and looked around the luxurious room. Between the white marble tile, comfortable sleigh bed and ocean view balcony, he wished his stay was more casual than business. He threw his bag on the bed and began unpacking. He removed several items, which included various uniform shirts and camera equipment. The shirts were for each department in the resort, from a maintenance uniform to a chef outfit. The camera equipment was carefully set up near the balcony. Just as the old man screwed the DSLR camera onto the tripod, there was a knock at the door. The knock was very distinct and had a slight rhythm to it.
The old man walked to the door and saw a manila envelope slide under the door. He looked through the peephole but didn’t see anyone standing outside the room. The old man opened the manila envelope and smiled once he saw what it contained. He walked onto the balcony and took a deep breath as the fresh island air filled his lungs. Paradise, he thought. Just below the balcony were tourists scattered across the private beach. Clear blue water flowed upon the light sand. Children made sand castles, women were sunbathing, and men were crowding the beach bars. Everyone was enjoying all the beauty that Jamaica had to offer.
The old man drug one of the chairs across the balcony. After sitting down, he put his feet up on the banister and pulled out a cigar. He licked his lips before wrapping them around the Henny White cigar and lighting it. The smoke rolled around his mouth like a fine wine before he exhaled the sweet-smelling smoke. It felt good to decompress for a bit as he flipped through the paperwork from the manila envelope. The old man scanned each sheet, which appeared to be copies of sign-up sheets from an excursion company. The itinerary listed each traveler that signed up for various excursions, their room numbers, times they were scheduled to depart the resort, and the duration of each excursion. The old man puffed his cigar and read each name on the list. “Dailey, Dalton, Daniels, Davis. DAVIS. TREY DAVIS,” he muttered while inhaling the soothing smoke.
As the old man continued flipping through the paperwork, he noticed the papers went from the excursion list to blueprints of the suites. He studied the layouts and made himself familiar with the location of the beds, closets, couches, and windows.
The entertainment in the resort was keeping everyone entertained. Families were going back and forth from the beach to the pool area. Resort employees were putting on shows and having dance competitions at the pool. The old man set up his camera equipment on the balcony and began scanning the pool and beach area. The lens he put on the camera had excellent zoom capabilities. Faces could clearly be seen, and the old man was focused on every single face. He immediately spotted the initial guard he made contact with when he was dropped off by the taxi. “He’s a fuckin’ clown,” the old man muttered while watching the guard strut around the pool area.
As the old man continued scanning the pool area and beach, there was a knock at the door. It was the same distinct knock as before. After hearing the knock, he made his way to the door but noticed nothing was slid under the door. Laughter and loud conversation could be heard coming from outside the room. He looked through the peephole to see who was making the noise. He saw a family of five standing in the hallway, waiting to get inside their room that was directly across from the old man’s suite. There was a woman, whose dark brown skin tone was on exhibition in her pink one-piece bikini. Her hair was braided and the braids hung down to her round bottom. There was a male with light brown skin and curly hair. He had an average body type and a few name tattoos that marked his chest. There were two young boys and an infant with the couple. Based on their features, it was easy to tell the adults had to be their parents.
After the adult male opened the door, the family entered the room. “Make sure you guys grab your goggles because we’re going to head over to the pool,” he instructed. The old man tried his best to see the faces of the adults, but he couldn’t see much through the peephole. He stood by the door listening and occasionally looking through the peephole. Approximately ten minutes passed before the door from across the hall opened again. The old man looked through the peephole once more and watched the male exit the room first. He had a ripped frame, and his brown skin was covered in tattoos. The old man’s eyes were immediately drawn toward the male’s Corona swim trucks. A beautiful woman followed him out the room with the children. Her bathing suit didn’t conceal much of her thick frame. The family made their way down the hall, toward the pool area.
The old man quickly made his way into the hallway and watched the family continue down the hall. He scanned both sides of the hallway, ensuring the coast was clear before moving toward the family’s room. After using the master key card, he gained entry into the large room. There were suitcases all over the floor and clothes spread out throughout the room. He began rummaging through each suitcase, tossing around clothing and shoes. There were no valuables in sight, so he worked his way around the room.
“Where is your shit?” he whispered while going through each drawer.
Once the closet doors swung open, the old man was licking his chops. Since there was nothing in the suitcases, he figured their valuables had to be with the family or in the safe that he was now staring at. He punched in the master code of 0-1-0-1 that was printed on one of the sheets of paper from the manila envelope. The door to the safe opened and the old man’s eyes lit up. Stacks of cash, jewelry, multiple passports, and other paperwork filled the small box. He grabbed the pile of passports and flipped through each one. There were passports from several different countries, but once opened they all contained the same photos. There were photos of each family member. The names in the passports didn’t match either. He grabbed the passports from the United States and scanned the information in each one.
“Trey Davis, Naomi Ikawa-Davis, Trey Davis Jr., Mason Davis, Jace Davis.” Behind the U.S. passport, the old man grabbed the French passport. The male’s photo was also in the passport, but the name read Gregory Williamson. The trend continued as he continued opening each passport.
“Come on baby. Let daddy change your diaper,” a deep voice said as the room door opened.
The old man had very little time to react, so he just hugged a corner in the closet. He wasn’t expecting anyone to return so suddenly.
“Oh my god, you stink so bad.”
The man plopped the baby on the bed and started changing the baby’s diaper. Between the loud cries of the baby and him focusing on getting the baby cleaned up, he never noticed the open suitcases that were ran through. “Boy, you smell like a grown ass man,” he said while folding up the dirty diaper. Just as he went to throw the diaper in the trashcan, he discovered that his belongings were removed from his suitcase and spread across the floor. “What the fuck,” he blurted out before looking around in a panic.
“Sorry about the mess,” the old man said while chuckling.
“Who the fuck are you?” the startled man asked while moving toward the stranger that was standing in the room. He wanted to step between the intruder and his baby, who was still on the bed. “Is this what you motherfuckers do to your guests?” he asked after noticing the old man’s housekeeping uniform.
The old man stood his ground and just smiled. His eyes wandered back and forth from the baby on the bed to the terrified father that did his best to block the old man’s view. He threw the stack of passports down at the man’s feet and watched as fear covered the man’s face.
“What the fuck were you doing in my shit?”
“I was just browsing.”
“Well, you have five seconds to get the fuck out of here before I whoop your ass.”
“Wow, the infamous Trey Davis gives out warnings now. Back in the day, you would just react. Let me found out you got soft.”
Trey was so confused. He didn’t know what the old man meant by back in the day. Although curiosity wanted to get the best of him, Trey was ready to make a move. He clenched his fists and began closing the distance between him and the old man. Just as Trey got within arm’s reach of the old man, he was now staring down the barrel of a nine-millimeter Springfield handgun.
“Whoa, come on, man. What the fuck you want? You can take the cash, just get the fuck out of here,” Trey pleaded as his aggression quickly faded away.
“I ain't here for that,” the old man replied as he pressed the gun against Trey’s forehead.
“What the fuck yo. What do you want?”
The old man smiled again.
“Wait a minute. You don’t have a fuckin accent. You with the Feds?”
“Di accent ongle use wen necessary, and right now it ain’t necessary,” he said switching between the Jamaican and American accents.
The old man reached into his pocket, pulled out a card, and flicked it at Trey. “Fuck,” Trey yelled out when he looked down and noticed it was a playing card. THE KING OF CLUBS to be exact. “So you’re here to do the dirty work huh?”
“Dirty work? Naw youngin’ I’m here to save the empire.”
Trey squinted his eyes as he shot the old man a look of disbelief. It was as if the words he wanted to say refused to escape his mouth. The old man took notice of the sudden gaze and smirked, knowing his identity had been revealed. Fear masked the room and Trey’s widened eyes began to water. “It can’t be.”
“Well, it is youngin’.”
“Now ain't the time to play catch up. I will at least give you the benefit of doubt. I’ll give you ten seconds to give me an explanation. What are you doing here?” the old man asked.
The knot in Trey’s throat felt like it was growing by the second. A single tear fell from his left eye and onto the floor. The sound of the baby fussing on the bed didn’t seem to bother the two men as they continued staring each other down. The old man was cool and calm, while Trey’s nerves were on full display. Once the second in command of Atlanta’s most powerful crime organization, Trey was not in control for the first time in his life. Every move he made was similar to playing a game of chess. He had to be at least two steps ahead of his opponents. In this current game, it was CHECKMATE. With clenched fists of fury and disparity, Trey lunged toward the old man.
The shots ripped through Trey’s t-shirt and flesh. He fell to the ground as blood poured from the four bullet holes that decorated his chest. The silencer on the gun muffled the sound of each shot. The last thing Trey remembered was his screaming child who was clearly startled by the loud thump of his body hitting the ground. He tried rolling over, in hopes of using the foot of the bed to assist him back to his feet. The pain was excruciating, and his chest began tightening. His efforts to move were unsuccessful, seeing as though he hadn’t moved an inch. The old man watched as Trey struggled to gasp for air. He couldn’t move, and he could barely breathe. His vision slowly blurred out as the old man’s shoes stepped toward him. A deep chill ran through his entire body and then sudden darkness.
The baby’s shrieking cries became louder as every second passed. The old man stepped over the bloody body on the floor and toward the baby. He looked at the baby boy, who was the spitting image of his father. The baby boy’s eyes locked on to the stranger that was towering over him, which only made the cries intensify. It was only a matter of time before someone would stop by the door to check on the wailing baby. The old man raised the gun and pointed it toward the spawn of the man he had just murdered. The slack in the trigger was taken out as his index finger slowly squeezed against it.
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