A Payne(ful) Story

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May 29th, 2021 | Derrick

I woke up in a dark alley as it started to rain. Three men stood in front of me and a woman off to the side. I knew going into this alone, I would run into a situation similar to this, but I didn’t expect to barely have any cuts or bruises.

“I told you all not to hurt him. I needed him brought to me unharmed.”, said the woman.

“Come on boss, where’s the fun in that?”, asked one of the men.

The woman came out of the shadows and I couldn’t believe what I saw. It was my own mother. My eyes deceived me as she continued her way towards me. I flinched as she reached out her hand to me. It was like looking at a ghost. I couldn’t believe my little sister was right the whole time and I pitied her for it. I tried to get away from mother, but she continued to ask for my hand. As if I would even think about coercing myself into her mischievous actions. I just couldn’t look at her the same anymore. The mother I knew, cooked us breakfast every morning and sung us the most beautiful songs. She would take my hand and dance with me all over the living room. She would take me with her to the mall and buy me the most dandiest of clothes. She was always there for the family and I, but now when I look at her, all I see is darkness. It’s as if someone took away her light and replaced it with the devil’s spirit. Looking into her eyes, it seems as you’re just looking into a deep, empty, black hole of misery and pain. That woman was no longer my mother. She couldn’t be.

The more I rejected her help, the more she became agitated. So, instead of offering her hand again, she pulled a gun on me. I couldn’t believe it. I froze in shock, wondering how she even got to this place in her life or if she had always been like this and hid it from everyone from the start. So, I got up. She motioned me to a white van parked around the corner. I could run away. Warn Josh and the family, but there’s not much you can do when you’re held at gun point. One of her body guards threw me in the back of the van, while the other two went to the front. My mother came in the back, along with the guard. I heard the van start and we began to move. I have no idea where they’re taking me, but I knew I needed answers.

“Why are you doing this?”, I asked.

“Sweetheart, I do a lot of things. So, you’re going to have to be a little bit more specific.”

“Why are you taking me captive?”

“See, holding someone captive means that they have something I need. You don’t. You are worthless to me, but you are my child so I would love for you to live on and continue your journey. Then again, you are in my business so I need you to go back home and stay there. Otherwise, my men are ordered to take care of you, your brother, and sisters for good.”

“Why? Why are you doing this?!”

“This is grown folks business, honey. So, I think its best for you to stay out of it. Oh would you look at that, we’ve come to a stop. I’ll see you later, Derrick.”

And just like that, they threw me out on the street right next to my apartment home. I looked at my phone and of course it was Josh.

Bro, where the hell are you man?! I’ve been looking all over tha street and you ain’t answering the phone or nothin. Call me ASAP if you get this.

So, I dialed his number and called him. I didn’t know how I was going to explain this whole mess to him, but he needed to know. The only downside to all of this, is that if any of us try to go after her again, it would mean putting all of our lives on the line and I couldn’t afford to lose my family.

“So you telling me moms is reppin the vipers?!”

“No, I don’t think so. These guys she had with her had these weird lines on their necks. Definitely not the vipers.”

“Man, what are we gonna do?”

“I’ll call everybody over to my place and we’ll talk about a strategy then. Just don’t do anything crazy, okay?”

“Yeah, whatever kid. I’ll see you back at the crib.”

It was around 5:30pm and everybody made it to my place. I told everyone the news and the twins were barely paying attention and Josh didn’t want to hear the same thing twice, so he stayed in his room. So, it was just me and Yvette talking at this point. I decided it was best to apologize to her, since she did warn me before this whole gang war took place. After everyone knew what was happening, we parted ways. All I hope is that nobody does anything to put our family in jeopardy.

March 29th, 2021 5:45pm | Yvette

After poindexter told me what I already knew, it was only a matter of time before I decided to dip my toes in the water. I know he said that mom was going to kill us all if she found out we were snooping around, but been there and done that. The twins didn’t hear a word Derrick said and I’m assuming Josh already got the scoop. With Derrick being a goody two shoes and always following the rules, who was going to be the one to find out her true motives and get her off the streets? I was the only person who had the guts to do the job, so that’s what I did.

I caught a cab to go back to the same plant I saw mom work at a few years ago. I’m assuming that if she is still head of the Cheron’s and now that they’re in a war, no one would notice a kid snoop around an abandoned plant. Once I arrived, I sneaked my way in through the back door. When I entered the building, the first thing I saw were the rows upon rows of tables with people still manufacturing drugs. These workers seemed to be innocent people caught up in the wrong work just so they can pay their bills. After mourning for them, I snuck my way up the stairs and tried to find an office. To my surprise, there were barely any guards, which probably makes sense since they need every man they can get on the battle field. After going through a maze of doors, I finally found one of her offices. I ran around to her desk and her laptop was still on. I accessed the file that read: Him. Pretty generic name for a file if you ask me.

File: Him

Date: 28 March 2021

After years of sacrifices, we have finally found the man we have been looking for. Him has been in close connections with the leader of the Vipers and if we take Him out, victory will be ours. Not just victory over Boston, but victory for the loss of my beloved parents. My father was once the leader of Cheron’s and now I take his place. My mother, however, was a stripper who drank and danced her life away, leaving me to care of my own. I know my father would be proud of what I am doing for his gang and after we deliver this finally blow, I can finally go into resignation. For Him is someone I know very closely and let’s just say, this will be an interesting surprise for Him. He has held this secret from me for far too long and now it is time for Him to pay his debt. See you tomorrow, my dear.

I looked to see if there was anything else that I could find that was useful, but this was the only file on the laptop. I checked all the drawers, but everything was cleaned out. I guess mom was serious about her resignation, huh? I emailed the file to the police and signed her name along with it. Now, I had to find out where this “Him” fellow was and make sure he is still alive and warn him about mom. I know it says he has close connections with the vipers, but it seems as if mom is running off some old vendetta. She’s not seeing straight because all she sees is revenge. So, why not do a good deed, even if it means saving a bad person.

I left the plant and as I catch a cab back to Derrick’s place I get a phone call from dad. Keep in mind, dad hasn’t called or texted anybody, unless it was a letter about how he hasn’t died yet, ever since he went to the army.

“Hey sweety, have you seen your mom around?”

“Oh yeah my day has been great, thanks for asking, but no I haven’t seen her. Why you ask?”

“Oh I’m sorry sweetheart. I only ask because I’m coming back home today and I was trying to surprise all of y'all back at home, starting with your mom.”

“I’m pretty sure she’s around. See you back at home.”

I know, I know. It was pretty rude to be short like that, but I’m trying to solve a murder before it even happens. However, with dad calling, it did give me an idea. One thing mom has always done, whenever dad was here or not, was come home. She never seemed to go missing for a few days or even take a “trip out of town”. So, after the cab dropped me off at Derrick’s apartment home, I walked down back to our old family house. It takes about a good thirty minutes to get there, but I ran out of money for a cab and I couldn’t afford to tell anyone else about what I’m doing, so I continued to walk.

I finally arrive at the house and I went through my old bedroom window. I always left it unlocked, for emergency purposes of course. I quietly walked around my bed and creaked the door open just enough for me to squeeze by. I heard faint talking in the living room, so I made my way down the hallway and stopped short at the guest bathroom. As every child does best, I decided to do a little eavesdropping.

“Oh Larae, I can’t tell you how much I’ve missed you over these years. Baby, I’m just glad to be back home with you and the kids. Speaking of the kids, where are they?”

“Oh you know, ever since you left, they got older and once they had the money they went their separate ways. But enough about the kids, Marshall. I got something I’ve been waiting to show you.”

“Well alright let me see.”

There was a long pause. I couldn’t tell what was going on so I peaked my head around the corner and dad was looking at that same slip of paper I found under mom’s driver seat a few years ago. It still had the same stains and my dad had the same look I bared when I read that note.

“Baby, where did you get this?”

“Looks familiar doesn’t it? See when you where gone, I decided to rummage through your belongings to find memories to replace the time you were in the Army, but I found that note. And I asked around and a man named Jerome told me it was from good ol Hermione, leader of the Vipers. He even told me it was intended for a man named Marshall Payne, my husband. Now you see Marshall, my parents were killed by Vipers and I made it my duty to make sure I got my revenge and that revenge is you sweety. You know why? Because if you really didn’t mean anything to the Vipers, Hermione would’ve killed you on the spot, but somehow you are still an assest to them.”

“Baby, I left that life behind me, you have to believe me! That's why I joined the Army, to escape this madness!”

“I’m sorry, darlin’, but our time has come.”

“What are you talking ab—”

Before dad could even finish, mom pulled the trigger and shot dad right in the head. Not even moments later mom said the words:

I’ll see you soon, Dad.

And she pointed the gun to her head and took the shot. I turned away and covered my ears. I couldn’t believe all I just learned about my parents and how their secrets lead to their deaths. One thing I did know is that I couldn’t be here whenever the cops arrived, so I bolted and never turned back.

January 23rd, 2025 | 8:45am | Josh

It’s been four years since moms and pops died. Yvette was nowhere to be found, Derrick and I still kicked back at the apartment, but the twins did make more of an effort to hangout with us and finally step away from their boujee fashion line. Derrick’s been trying to get ahold of Yvette ever since he found out about the death, but she was a ghost. Me, well I’m still the same old Josh, but I might do something with my life down the road. In the meantime, I decided to finally let go of my parents and moms gang history and decided to focus on the family I do have. We may not be perfect, but we all have one common goal. Either turn out like moms and pops or live life the right way and actually be a family that’s there for one another. Who knows? Maybe I’ll be the next president, or Derrick might be a H.O.F athlete, but that’s a story to tell for another time.

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