Drugs, Death And R&b

Jo was untouchable something uncommon in the drug business. He's expanding, will his expansion cost him his life?

Gangsters don't like R&B. It's supposed to be the tough, hard-core rap. But Jo was never like that. He always had some Daniel Caesar playing while he watched his crew pack up the cocaine.

Jo ran the upper side of New York, from the cocaine to the pills. He controlled it all. Jo was ruthless in his dealings. Half an ounce was missing from his crack, and your body wouldn't be found. Boys in the hood feared moving for him, but they did it anyway. Who else would they move for? Everything was exquisite and exactly as Jo would want it.

Looking at him, you would never imagine that the clean, gentle man was a drug lord. He was always dressed in the finest suits. A classic Jaeger was always on his wrist. He never wore any other brand. Jo didn't fit the stereotype of drug dealers, and that kept the police far from him. That and yearly million-dollar donations to the department.

****

Jo was a legend in the hood. No one was too close to him. He moved alone in a classic Lincoln. He was never in the clubs or in the dark alleys. He was just Jo. Some sort of god. He wasn't hated, but he wasn't liked. I mean, black people never seem to make up their minds. A legend he was. Akbar was a top pusher for Jo. He was dealing with way more than others. He was getting good deals from white private school students. He thought he was getting smarter. He wanted to override Jo. He planned to jack a shipment that was coming in and take over. He didn't meet a shipment; all he met was Jo and the rest of the crew that claimed to be with him. Jo's suit was pressed neatly. He was smoking a cigar with Jacob Banks' stranger playing in the background.

Jo came out with just a speck of blood on his collar and nothing more. Akbar was never seen or heard from again. That sent chills through Jo's people; they saw what happened to Akbar. It cleared whatever thoughts they had of overthrowing the main man.

****

Jo wanted more. He wanted New York in its totality. I'm not sharing with some old white men who just wanted to stay relevant. He was making moves. Coming to the stupid country club a lot more. Trying to get them to come to his side over Mendes. The Mendes cartel ruled New York. Their killings? Brutal and messy. The police never seemed to have enough evidence to stick it to them. The head of the Mendes cartel was old and sick. He didn't have an heir. It was rumored Miko was going to take over from him. After all, Miko was running point all over town. Jo's moves had gotten to the ears of the Mendes cartel. There was friction already. Jo's people were losing ground. The Mendes cartel was encroaching on Jo's territory. Jo didn't like it. He didn't share, he took.

Miko liked the club. He liked the women and the flashy lights and the booze. He sold a lot more on those nights. One night, a waitress tells Miko, a big-time buyer, is outside the club in the alley, waiting.

Miko is careful; he asks his people to go deal. They go out and sell to the man. $50,000 worth of it. Good stuff. Miko wanted to meet this customer and establish himself as some sort of boss. Jo was waiting outside, resting on the side of his Lincoln. Loose was playing from the car, subtle, endearing in the background as silenced shots went into Miko's body. Falling to the ground with Daniel Caesar playing would be some sort of classic death. A different one, that's how Miko died.

It was war now; Jo was willing to fight.

****

In his elaborate plan, Jo was going to get the best batch of cocaine from Saudi Arabia. That was supposed to give him the edge over the Mendes cartel. He was already winning the war, and Mendes' body pile was getting higher than his. The cocaine from Saudi Arabia was coming on a Sunday. And the hood was having a cookout that same day. He never attended any of these things. He didn't care about the people.

Jo always drove himself. He was on his way to pick up his Saudi shipment. He saw the cookout. The people laughing, the steaks grilling, the children laughing and running. We Find Love by Daniel Caesar was the perfect soundtrack to the cookout, Jo thought as he looked at them through his car window. He slowed down the laughing, running, and grilling in his head, and the song fit in like it was some sort of scene from a movie.

He drove off to his Saudi deal. Sa'id, the Saudi supplier, was waiting for him on the dock. As usual, someone had to die, and one of Sa'id's people looked shaken to Jo. He didn't like shaking. A slight tilt of his head to the left and one of Jo's men put a bullet in the shaken boy. It was a quick deal. Easy. Jo's men moved the product and wired the money immediately. Sa'id put a hand on Jo's Ralph Lauren suit and thanked him for business. The look Jo gave wasn't a hard one to read in the drug business. Good business, but I'm taking over soon. Jo left his people to move the product to his warehouse. They wouldn't dare to leak a speckle under him. Blessed filled his car as he drove back to the hood. He did well; he had won the war. He was on top of the world.

At some point, R&B had become his confidant. It was always there throughout. Driving past again, the cookout was still going on. It was darker now. But he stopped. He walked to the people. It was different; Jo was never talking to people who didn't move for him. But tonight, he was. He moved from person to person. Greetings, shaking hands. The people were shocked. The legend and god were among mere mortals.

He took off his jacket and was just in his shirt and trousers. He was eating and talking to the people like he had known them all along. It was easy for him; his sweet talk was always to his advantage.

Jo felt fulfilled the war was won. Anything else from then onwards was perfect. He was the king of New York. He was grilling a steak for the old people when a familiar face walked up to him. All he saw were brown, beautiful eyes, the kind that would captivate anyone from a mile away. The kind of eyes that lights would dance upon. Pain, then falling to the ground, steps away from him. No one chased after the person. They didn't even stop to check on Jo.. it was going to rain. Everyone wanted shelter.

And so, Jo, the King of New York, lay on the floor, bleeding out with the first few drops of rain touching his face and feet around him, scrabbling to get everything inside before it rained. Somehow, the best part of Daniel Caesar was playing. At least he wasn't going to die without his confidant. It was going to be with him till the very end. Not everything or everybody leaves; R&B stayed. It found a way to stick by him even if he was going to die.

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