The pinball ring tone of Pone’s cell was what he needed to keep from falling asleep while
waiting in Birdie’s office.
“What’s going on, Stick?”
“Got what you wanted,” said Stick.
“That was quick,”
“Got your back, Jack.”
“Lay it on me.”
“My cousin said two guys, a black and a white from his cell block were released without any
static, if you know what I mean.”
Some-body with big balls did some moving and shaking within the system, thought Pone.
“Got any names?”
“James Krasko and Roland White. Krasko was a Probono and White a Hip-Hopper.”
“What were they in for?”
“Petty arson shit like they were set up,” said Stick.
“So they’re not cold-bloodied killers?”
“Only when things went boom. They were cell mates and according to my cousin they
had a bad habit bragging who could set off the best bomb.”
“Somebody did their homework. These guys were hand picked.”
“My cousin said it’s like they were never there.”
“Politics rearing it’s ugly head.”
“What’s your plan?” asked Stick.
“Find the head of the snake and cut it off.”
“Those guys are like a burner phone,” said Stick.
“Untraceable and expendable. I know they’re not in the city,” said Pone.
“When you find them … “
“I’ll let their own decide their fate. Macone and G. deserve satisfaction on the men who
took their children lives.”
“I’d hate to be the,” said Stick.
“Way to come through,”
“Anytime, friend.” Stick clicked off just as the door knob turned. Birdie walked in
catching Pone put away his cell.
“Talking about me?” she asked flirting.
Pone smiled. “Always.”
Birdie sat down behind her desk. “Okay … what’s with the surprise visit?”
“When did dropping by become a surprise visit?”
Birdie smiled. “Just playing, why so serious?”
“Have you heard from Wisdom?”
“Not since that weird dinner.”
“Is something wrong?”
“I was hoping you could tell me.”
Birdie shrugged. “You know as much as I do.”
“You stayed behind as I walked out.”
“Somebody had to help to do the dishes … it brought back memories when we were kids.
You always had a way of getting out of chores.” Birdie watched Pone nod and smile. “Why’d
you bring up Shelia?”
Pone swallowed hard. “I’ve been driving around trying to find him. I want to apologize … I
don’t want to go to his house because of too many memories. Memory lane is not good for me.”
“No doubt. Did you go by his job?”
“He took a leave of absence … you know that don’t sound like Wisdom.”
Birdie shook her head. “That is strange. Everybody knows Wisdom is a busy
Pone looked toward the ceiling shaking his head.
“He must really be mad at me. He’s not answering his phone.” Pone snorted. “To hell with
memories, I’ll drop by,”
“You know Wisdom’s rule. Don’t come by unless invited.”
“This is different, got a strange feeling something’s wrong. So you just helped him
clean up? No talking?”
“He’s not angry, he still loves us, but just want us to make a new lease on life.”
“So you did talk.”
“Sometimes people need time to themselves, besides he’d want you to concentrate on
your job. Remember, he always said an occupied mind gets you killed.”
“I’ll wrap this thing up and talk to him after I’m done.”
Birdie touched his arm. “He don’t want you to worry about him.”
Pone studied Birdie. He knew she was holding something back, but she was also right
about the teen bombing situation. He cleared his throat. “Need to have a meeting here today.”
“Office or basement?” asked Birdie.
Brown escorted Ella. She acted as if everything was contaminated. She glared at Pone when
she saw him sitting behind the Ebony desk.
“Please have a seat,” said Pone.
“Had I known it was you, I’d never come.” She glared at Brown. “You lied to me and
lured me into this place of sin.”
Pone shook his head. He never understood why women like Ella always acted as if they
were all about God.
“Trust me when I say this is important,” said Brown.
“This is a respectable night-club. Nothing sleazy or ungodly about it,” said Pone. He knew
Ella was partly right about a house of sin since Nadine catered to the world of organized crime,
gangsters, thugs, thieves, hit men, assassins, and what not. It became a place where Prohibition and
Hip-Hopper could call a truce instead of being rivals, but Ella did not need to that. Birdie was a
business woman and strictly against prostitution.
Ella and Brown sat in chairs put in place for them in front of the desk. Ella took out a
crucifix of Jesus, closed her eyes, murmured a prayer, and crossed her heart. Brown rolled
his eyes and shook his head.
“You good now?” asked Pone.
“Gotta prepare myself when facing the devil,” said Ella.
Pone smiled. “I’ve been called worse.”
Ella slapped Brown’s arm. “Got me meeting with the demon who killed my boy.”
“He tried to kill me and an eight-year-old boy lost his life,” said Pone.
Ella rose from her seat and pointed at Pone. “May God strike … “
Brown grabbed Ella easing her back down in her seat. “I told you to listen to the man for closure.”
Ella folded her arms. “Ain’t nothin’ he can say to me,”
“Roland White,” said Pone.
Ella’s eyes were wide and mouth opened.
Brown straightened in his chair. “Cousins.”
“Again with the family theme,” said Pone
Ella stood up. “You trying to be funny Mister Pone ’cause I don’t have put up with your nonsense,”
Pone had 101 insults dancing around in his head, but he needed information about White from Ella.
“I meant no disrespect, please sit down.”
Ella batted her eyes as if to all right, but one more insult and she was gone, Pone leaned back and
studied the grieving mother. She did what most women did when thinking men were checking out their
rack. Ella closed up her sweater. Pone didn’t find her attractive by no stretch of the imagination, but he
would give her this one.
“What can you tell me about your cousin?” asked Pone.
“Much like yourself, a no good for nothin’,”
Pone gave a stern look. “No more insults, okay. Listen to what I have to say and it might shed some
light on the recent tragedies. Can you sit and listen?”
“I believe your cousin influenced your son,”
“From prison?” asked Ella.
Pone watched Brown raise an eye-brow and crossed his legs.
“I’m not quite sure, but I don’t think he’s in prison,”said Pone.
Brown leaned forward. “What the fu . . . Brown caught himself when Ella gave him a look. “What’s
going on, Pone?”
Pone held up his hand and looked at Ella. “Was he ever in the service?”
“Two years in the Army,” she said.
“Enough time to learn a trade,” remarked Pone.
“Surprised us all when he enlisted. Then when he got out he . . .” Ella looked at Brown. “He ended
up in prison,” She said somberly.
“You never noticed your son talking to anybody strange or even acting strange?”asked Pone.
“I work and Bucky was out of school and maybe I should’ve made sure he stayed home, but I had a
rule; if you ain’t going to school or have a job then you can’t lay yo ass around my house, forgive me
father.” She said looking toward the ceiling crossing her heart.
Brown sat up straight. “Now Pone, what do you mean . . .”
“Thank you, Ella. I know how difficult that was for you. Thank you again for your time. You mind
getting her a cab, Brown?”
Ella rose from her chair like she was sitting on a tack. Before she left, she glared at Pone. He
returned a sullen look. Pone realized that to Ella, her son was her innocent child. The only thing
innocent to Pone was his age and not the boy holding the automatic weapon. Brown gave Pone the I
will be back look. Brown returned as quickly as he left.
He sat down and leaned toward Pone. “Give me the scoop on Roland.”
“What, you don’t keep tabs on your boys when they go inside?”
“Hell no … Roland knew the rules. You on your own when you get busted. It was his own
damn fault messing with a snow white and got busted by a white Po Po.”
Pone gave Brown a dubious look. “What is this the civil rights movement?” He knew that wasn’t
the reason why Roland got sent up the river dating a white woman and he didn’t expect Brown
to come clean, but he just played ignorant to indulged him.
Brown laughed. “Naw man, I’m just fucking with you. We found out he was doing shit on
the side. We paid him good, but his ass got greedy and you know sometimes greed can be the
end of you. He blew up a building, some people ended up dead and he got fucked.”
“And it didn’t bother you he put his talents on the market?”
“We weren’t sad to see his ass go,”
Brown frowned. “His breath. That fucker’s breath was so bad … whew! I remember it
was cold and windy as hell. He was standing a few feet across from me, the wind was
blowing between us and I kid you not, but his breath penetrated the wind and burned the
hair of my nostrils.”
Pone almost fell on the floor laughing. “He was your bomber?”
“He had mad skills if nothing else,” said Brown.
“Pone snorted and pursed his lips. “Out of curiosity, if his breath was so bad, how did he
get that white gal?”
“That bitch was a bow wow, chicken head, real trailer trash. The man couldn’t afford to be
choosy, “ said Brown.
“Yeah, well that hire probably bit you in the ass.” remarked Pone.
“What are you not telling me?”
Pone wanted to tell Brown that Roland and a Probono blew up the kids, but he figured if
he did that then Brown would put out an all points bulletin one White and probably shake
down Ella for information on her cousin’s whereabouts. Pone would do the shaking after all
that’s what he was hired to do.
Pone knew how fond G. was of Brown. “G. might look at you differently,”
“So you know somthin’ and gonna hold it over my head?”
“Ella has enough on her plate.” said Pone.
Brown flashed a Cheshire cat grin. “The man has a heart.”
“When it suits me. I’ll fill you in when I know more, until then I need you
you to be discrete,”
Brown nodded. “We solid, brotha. Solid.”