Things were good. Too good. The calm before the storm. The weather started changed as September came to a close. Jaime made it a point to prove that he was in charge; went from dressing like a normal 23 Year old to Don Juan. His oversized white tee had outgrown him but the flamboyant satin ones that he bought at the swapmeet fit just right. The white linen pants that he wore had to be creased and cuffed; like Tupac, the goal was to always look like Tupac.
He needed to show people that he was a boss. My half brother, Robert, had a friend that knew someone who’s cousin could help them get pounds of their own. They started transporting from San Diego around Christmas. I’ll never forget the first time they came home after a hit.
“C! Ay, C!” Heavy knocks pounded my bedroom door so hard I could have sworn it was the police. Before I reached the knob, the door flung open. Two clumsy giants stumbled into the room with black duffle bags. They were too eager to tell me what was going on, before I knew it, my bed was covered in bricks of light green marijuana. And it was all theirs.
“Now who the boss?!” Jaime gloated as he tore open one of the firmly compressed packages and began rolling up.
“Shut up stupid.” Robert packed their investment back into the duffle bags.
Somehow, they were able to move 6lbs in about a month. Once they ran out, the plan was to take the money and reinvest but unfortunately the partners didn’t have the same intentions. Robert wanted out. It wasn’t really his thing anyways. I feel somewhere deep down he made that first move just to help Jaime.
Now Jaime was stuck between a rock and a hard place. He didn’t have the money to get another 6lbs or anywhere near that amount. The little money that he had made was quickly splurged on girls and alcohol. He needed a plan, fast.
Six months passed in a blink of an eye. My brother moved out of the house with his baby mama to the East Side. We stopped seeing him as much but we knew he was alive. Jay took a small leap of absence but I kept things afloat while he was gone.
Jaime started buying from Jay once he was back on the scene. This was keeping his image afloat but it wasn’t a forever thing. His regulars started disappearing. The crips two blocks over were picking up the slack where Jay wasn’t.
Jaime befriended one of my childhood friends, Christian, but everyone called him Tiny. Tiny was a cool guy; about his family and money. He got caught up in the gang life when he was 10 years old. He’d done a few bids in juvie and 3 years in prison for robbery. His name did not reflect his reputation; Tiny was well connected.
I’m not sure how it happened because around this time I met the girlfriend from hell and had my own drama. From what I heard, Jaime was able to convince Tiny to hook him up with his connect in Sinaloa. Jaime played the roll perfectly. He gained the trust of some smaller guys in the Mexican mafia.
“So are you ready to get that?” Tiny asked Jaime.
He had arranged for Jaime to pick up 6lbs of the best weed that Mexico had to offer. The agreement was that Jaime would meet with their friends from Mexico, give them $5,000, flip the weed, pay the connect. Because of his connection with Tiny, Jaime was finally going to be the hood Tony Montana.
“Yeeep. I’m more than ready nigga. Look at this.” Jaime pulled a stack of hundreds out of his pocket in a rubber band. He smiled, stuffed the money back into his pocket and took the last swig of his beer. He needed liquid courage. He got into his car, giving Tiny one more reassuring look before taking off.
The pick up was between Hesperia and Las Vegas. Usually a busy road, the 15 highway was eerily empty due to massive amounts of construction, plus who is driving to Las Vegas at 4am on a Tuesday. Behind him red and blue light began flashing. As he slowed the car and began pulling over, a black dodge pick up truck pulled beside him.
“Sigue el desvío!”
Follow the detour the driver yelled as he pulled ahead of Jaime’s car. About three miles down the road was a broken down, hand made detour sign with a guy waving it like it was a ad for a nail salon. He followed with caution, the dirt road came to an end shortly. The driver of the truck that had flagged him down was standing behind his truck bed. He seemed much older and taller inside of the truck but in reality, he couldn’t have been more than 19 years old. Before Jaime could come to a full stop, the young man walked over to his car, yanking open the back door.
Jaime couldn’t move fast enough for the anxious young man. Before he could open his trunk, two overstuffed black Jansport backpacks sat in his back seat.
“Donde está dinero, cabrón?!”
Jaime shoved the money into his palm. Without counting it, the younger man shoved the money into his pocket. He walked with haste to his truck, started it and took off before Jaime could turn the key in his ignition. After picking up his accomplice, the two men headed towards Las Vegas.
Jaime pulled off the detour road, heading back to the hood with the biggest score of his life. It took everything in him not to call his boys for a smoke sesh but if he’d learned anything it’s TRUST NO ONE.
A small diner was the first well lit place to stop and count the money. The two men in the pick-up truck knew what their responsibility was; make the drop, get the cash, bring it back to jefe.
Though they were alone, they whispered.
“Is it all there?” The passenger asked anxiously through a thick spanish accident.
The driver pulled the large wad of money from is pocket and began counting…100…200…300…320…340…390…400…401…402…403…404…
It was dollar bills. The entire stack was one dollar bills.