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Bitch Better Have My Money

by Diseree Lee Zacher about a year ago in fiction
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Nick's Journey to Freedom.

"And he escaped all of the pain and despair on his old green Schwinn.'

“Bitch better have my money!” The familiar sound of Rhianna’s iconic voice rings out from the pocket of Nick’s dark and dirty jeans. He can simultaneously feel the vibration of his phone as he rides his old green Schwinn down the streets of California. Traffic is congested but moving steady and he knows, that if he is to make it on time he cannot risk stopping to answer then getting stuck in the dreaded rush hour traffic. Still, his stomach sinks but, hearing that ring tone always has that effect on him.

That ringtone means it can only be one person. Brayden Michaels nicknamed ‘Brutal Bray’ because he seriously lacks human compassion or empathy. He has been responsible for more deaths than Nick can count. He has been known to easily take the lives of good people who started to succumb to the intense party life he offers; he shows them the finer things in life to lure them into offering their obedience. He fails to tell them in the beginning, to what deep depths the addiction and despair this will inevitably cost them. Before they know it they become shells of the people they were. These poor individuals often have families and clean backgrounds until something in their sheltered lives jars them into temporary insanity. This is the point that Brutal Bray jumps in and takes hold. Many are not accustomed to the ‘ride or die’ lifestyle or addiction itself until they are faced with it. This is where they often betray Brayden and subsequently loose their life for it. Nick has seen at least 20 people die at Brayden’s hand.

Nancy, she was only twenty-two with milky black skin and eye’s so green and vibrant. Her beauty was unimaginable. She had an equally beautiful daughter that was merely 3 at the time her mother’s passing.

Nick is barely paying attention to the road now or the incessant ringing from his pocket, ‘Bitch better have my money!’ “Dude, give me a minute.” He mumbles before sticking his Air Buds into his ears. He weaves in and out of the thickening traffic in a daze. He knows this route well; he has ridden it every day for two years. Even considering this, he is distracted, and a few disgruntled drivers take notice. One ridiculously fat guy about in his 50’s even took the time to wiggle all the blubber that was contained in an overly eccentric white suit out of his car, nearly slipping once his equally ridiculous white loafers stepped foot out of his white Lexus. The best part being that he clearly just blocked traffic and maneuvered his absurdly large body out of his tiny car, just to flip Nick off. Nick could do nothing but laugh at him.

“What was I just thinking?” he asks aloud, invoking looks from a passersby and her children. The little Asian lady struggled to find her children’s hands amidst several plastic grocery bags she was clinging to. She has a fierce look on her face; one that says: ‘never mind my size, mess with my kids and I’ll cut you!’ Despite her size, Nick believed in her abilities to just that. It takes a tough soul to live in the neighborhoods dictated by Brutal Bray.

Then he remembers, Nancy. He can still see her the last time she was alive, the day he shot her blank in the face. She stood before him in a flowered tank, blue jean shorts, and a matching jacket. Her hair was down and straight. This was a couple of years ago, and Nick was barely 15, had he been older he would have tried to date Nancy; she was so sweet and innocent. Her crime was merely wanting to go back to her life with her daughter. She didn’t know what she was getting herself into. She was unrecognizable after that gun shot, such beauty and light just erased.

There were so many others.

Nate, a married man in his mid-30’s who had suffered a rough patch with his wife of 15 years. They were separated but Nate talked incessantly of her and how much he missed her. In his despair he went looking for anyone or anything that could make him feel better even if just for a moment. He met some guys at the club who talked of the high life. “Beautiful and obedient woman, travel and exquisite dining, all the free designer drugs you can handle, how does that sound?” They pondered of Nate and in his broken state he simply replied, “Great! Just so good!” Nate was a short and overweight man who had begun balding at a very young age, leaving only a bald spot enclosed by the remnants of his thin and stingy blond hair in the typical way that an old man’s grey would encircle their scalp. He was nerdy and awkward but had somehow landed a tall knockout as his wife. He didn’t strike Nick as having much game when it came to women and had likely not experienced the touch of many. His wife was his world. His crime was merely wanting to return to her. His behavior had been pushing her farther away, so he told Brayden’s boys that he was out.

The next day Nick was called in for some clean up. Fortunately, he was not forced to witness Nate’s last moments, he actually liked the goofy guy. He was, however, the one daunted with the task of cleaning up all the blood. Apparently Brayden decided to slit the man’s throat all while forcing him to watch his own death in the full-length mirror. That mirror is now covered with large, red splatters and what appears to be claw marks; It looks as though Nate may have struggled a bit.

Nick was grateful that his body had already been taken but his stomach turns when he thinks about all the other lives that had been lost to Brayden through his distribution of heroin that was laced with fentanyl. The increased rate of overdose deaths was widely publicized, but nothing was done. Most of the local police know better than to mess with Brutal Bray, some have even lost some of their loved ones to ‘suspicious circumstances’ when they were attempting to investigate him.

California born; Brayden was only 25 years. He was much more that a local gang member; he was a drug lord/mafia leader. It really wasn’t all that surprising if you knew where he came from, as Nick did. Brayden had been raised by an even more brutal stepfather, Miguel, after his biological dad passed and his mom remarried. The general belief was that his mom and Miguel were having an affair, but it progressed to more so Miguel murdered his father. Brayden’s father, Artimus, was a good man, he was a handworker that loved his son so much that he had left the criminal lifestyle at his birth. He tried desperately to teach Brayden that violence was not the way, but his mother craved the intensity and excitement of the ‘Bonnie and Clyde’ relationship she had with Artimus prior to the Brayden’s birth. So instead of absorbing his father’s teachings, his young brain was trained for destruction. Before age 10 he was a drug carrier, by 12 he was carrying out violent crimes and defacing property at Miguel’s order. By fifteen he was a hit man, killing his first victim before even old enough to drive. Nick knows all of this because his father and Brayden’s were friends. Brayden used to play with Nick and even act as an older brother in his earliest memories.

Nick’s father died later getting revenge on the men who killed his friend. He stood up to Brayden’s gang with the intention of killing Miguel. Instead, he was blindsided by the rage and complete lack of a soul Brayden displayed when he abruptly slit his throat while Nick watched. The look of shock and betrayal on his father’s face still haunts him. Brayden, all six feet of him, stood calm after with a malicious grin on his face.

In addition to his height, he was also thick and muscular. His head shaven and his entire body covered in black tribal tattoos of dragons and various other tacky items. His eyes are piercing and as dark as night.

Nick has remained stuck with Brayden since that night. He had no other family or friends to turn to. Brutal Bray consistently tries to turn Nick into him, believing that he eventual will. Nick knew that this would never even be an option for him. He has dreams of running away to make an honest living, not to live out his days in this hell while performing morally corrupt tasks, but he lived in fear. In comparison to Brayden, he was a fairy. Skinny and standing only 5’6 with short black hair, blue eyes, and more freckles than one man should have, he stood no chance. Thus far he had been making his living by transporting drugs and money; he was one of a few that Brayden trusted but only because he knew he had his hook in him. He was being pushed to participate in more brutal and lethal activities and in the actual production of the drugs but refused, Brayden was not happy about this.

Nick had given up on praying, miracles don’t happen to the forgotten.

The sun was setting as he pulled up to the ocean front barn that the gang was currently using. Outside there were some obvious, soon-to-be victims waiting in all their innocence and Sunday best. “Cattle being thrown to slaughter,” he says under his breath as he removes his headphones and lies his bike down, taking a quick moment to pause and take in the beauty of the ocean before going inside.

Inside Brayden, dressed all in black, is standing next to a man that is tied to a chair and bleeding. Once he see’s Nick, he ushers the other men there outside; instructing them to get the others out of there. The men step outside to the group of completely oblivious individuals, leaving only Brayden, his victim, and Nick. Nick is scolded for not answering his phone and then back handed in the face. With Brayden distracted, the man in the chair begins to struggle. Nick is frozen with fear and disgust and doesn’t react to the man actions; in fact, he forgets about him as he becomes so hyper focused on how much pain he was about to experience.

His eyes shut in anticipation and then he hears a loud CRACK. He stands with his eye’s closed, trying to register the pain. He hears the sound of someone running and when he opens his eyes, he finds Brayden at his feet, lying in a puddle of his own blood and the man gone.

Nick could not think or process what was happening, Brayden was dead. All he could think to do was to load himself back on his bike with no plan or idea of where to go next. He was afraid Brayden’s goons would come after him and his face was warm with tears of fear and confusion. He rides another twenty minutes before remembering that he still has the little black book and bag Brayden sent him to get. He stops, hopeful that the narcotics inside will give him a little money to move on. To his surprise, he finds the bag full of hundred-dollar bills, enough to fill an entire Walmart grocery bag. The book contains various IDs and passports.

He raises his gaze to the last bit of the sun as it casts a red hue over the sky. The breeze tassels his hair, and more tears fall, these time of happiness and freedom; two things he had long forgotten.

He takes it all in one more time before taking off on his bike. “Maybe my prayers worked this time, thank you god!”

fiction

About the author

Diseree Lee Zacher

A 37 yr old female and a Utah native, I'd describe as an adventurer. I seek serenity, though I don't find this in the material world. I love all foods but highly processed items. My favorite foods originate from Russia and Eastern Europe.

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