He walked carefully. All his belongings were in a black backpack, with the straps adjusted so he could feel the pressure of all his “monetary assets” up against him. Inside were his running sneakers, his last packet of protein powder, his bible, “The Autobiography of Malcolm X”, 2 boxer briefs, and a white V-neck t-shirt. He had a money clip with no money. His sister bought it for him for his 21st birthday. The engraving said “Take or be taken.” He had a pre-paid cell phone with about 14 minutes left on it. He had Vaseline wrapped in aluminum foil just in case his lips got chapped. His keys were digging into his side so he reached into his fitted jeans and threw them in a gutter. He had no need for them now. He was never going back “home” again. It wasn’t safe there.
He walked carefully. Not by choice but by circumstance. He walked corner to corner. He looked both ways before he crossed the street. Left foot…hobble…cane. Left foot…hobble…cane. Left foot…hobble…cane. He once was a quick, strong, sexy, confident, man with an unrivaled stature and an intimidating presence. Now he was unemployed, homeless, single, scared, far from athletic, and semi-cripple. What happened to him? All he wanted to do was make enough money to do something big for a change. He spent his whole life running both literally and figuratively. Fight or flight? He was the biggest bird you’ve ever seen. He was a big pigeon defecating on anyone who got in his way. High school dropout, 2-3 dead-end jobs a year, hoopty after hoopty, and still women would flock towards him. Tamara was no different at first.
He didn’t even have to say a word. His significant others had been telling him for years, “just stand there and look good baby.” He was always the trophy piece. He knew how to stay in his lane and never ever speak unless he was confident that he could add something intelligent to the conversation. His looks were his weapon. His strong jaw, white bright smile with a subtle gap, flawless skin and full lips were comparable to a Mac-10. His love-making was his suppressor. So even if a woman had become displeased with his performance as a sound “life partner”, she would stay and shut the hell up. Tamara was supposed to be no different.
His instructions were simple. He was to seduce Tamara, divert her attention away from her husband, and make her fall in love. Then she would divorce Travis and move in with her “chest naked demigod” (he heard her refer to him as a demigod when he was spying on one of her conversations one day.) Yet, Tamara was different.
There were a few times when he tried to get her attention at the track but she was so emotionally committed to Travis. Deep down he knew that she wanted things to work with her man. She was attracted to him but she had self-control. He wasn’t accustomed to that. He approached her a few times but it seemed as though Tamara didn’t recognize him with his shirt on. That wasn’t entirely Tamara’s fault. Leon didn’t have much character with his clothes on. Leon was far from a demigod. Leon was Hades himself.
He had way too much fun with this assignment. He slept with Tamara’s cousin, Courtney (he couldn’t resist.) He slept with Travis’ girlfriend, Special (it was so easy.) He even slept with Travis’ loud mouth bitter mother (she needed some loving.) He couldn’t complete the task so he figured he would enjoy the perks. When he and Travis had a falling out over payment, Leon decided to make things more interesting. He stalked Tamara at her job and he shot out her back window. He knew all signs would lead to Travis and he thought for sure that Courtney’s feisty ass would retaliate and remove Travis from his list of unhappy clients. Instead, Travis disfigured Leon’s leg and threatened to do more harm unless Leon left New York. Leon had one stop to make first. One person had taken away his chance to do something big. He had nothing left to lose. He stopped, readjusted his backpack, and pulled out the only sentimental valuable thing he had left. “Take or be taken”, he read aloud. “Damn right,” he said.
To Be Continued…