Most people listened when he spoke. But every once in a while, someone would try to resist his charms.
The gold-plated .45 was pointed right at his forehead. The hand holding it didn’t shake. The Hispanic gentleman holding the weapon was not amused.
But Jamal was. He chuckled and smiled, showing no fear.
What a flashy gun…
The gun was meant to draw attention. The man holding it was wearing a lot of jewelry. He flaunted his wealth. Loved the gangster lifestyle.
In Jamal’s mind, there were two types of gangsters. The loud and the quiet. This guy was loud.
“You gonna shoot me or not?”
The guy holding the gun was covered in gold, but after asking this question, his eyes glanced over to someone else in the room. Someone who was clearly more like Jamal. They were dressed in similar fashion.
Stylish and in all black. Sweater, slacks, leather coat, and hat. When you were getting dressed for a major drug deal, it was a good idea not to wear anything that might bring unwanted attention to yourself. Goldie Locks either didn’t get it or didn’t care.
“You aren’t Santos,” said Jamal.
His crew was quiet. But he knew their fingers were on their triggers, ready to battle.
The quiet man across the room spoke up. “You’re right. He’s not.”
Santos stepped forward and took off his hat. His head was shaved and he kept a well-groomed chin-strap beard. “Jamal, you’re an observant, calm, and patient man.”
Jamal chuckled again. “That sure is a lot of speculation on your part.”
“Not really,” said Santos.
He crossed his arms, signaling that was all of the information he was interested in parting with.
The warehouse was full of crates. All of this drama was over only a few. Santos worked for the cartel. Jamal was a dealer who had worked his way up from selling dime bags on the corner to running the whole city. And he did it all with charm.
“You catch more flies with honey,” his mother used to say.
“So you gonna sell me this heroin or what?” said Jamal. He was a businessman. And his time had value.
Santos smiled. “Just wanted to see if I liked the cut of your jib, as you Americans like to say.”
“I like it quite a bit.”
Jamal snapped his fingers and two members of his crew threw two briefcases on to the large wooden crate nearest Santos and popped them open, revealing millions of dollars in cash.
“Looks good.” He snapped his fingers and his crew started opening crates, revealing Jamal’s product.
“You don’t want to count the money?”
Santos stepped forward. He looked Jamal up and down and inhaled, almost like he was trying to see if he could smell fear or something akin to it.
“I said I liked the cut of your jib, son. I’m giving you the benefit of the doubt.”
“Son? You look younger than me.”
“Appearances can be deceiving. Eyes can’t always reveal truth, Jamal. You’d do good to remember that.”
“I suppose that’s fair.”
Santos snapped his fingers again. “Take the money. Let’s roll. Vamonos.”
The cartel crew headed to their Escalades and Santos stopped suddenly and turned with a sly smile. “I’ll see you again soon, Jamal.”
Jamal’s best friend and second in command, Tyrone, looked over at him with a scrunched up face. The entire deal was bizarre. But he refused to react like it was. He felt like Santos was testing him.
He was sure he passed. He always did.
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