Chapter 9.2 Sugar & Blood

Marquez’s POV

(language)

“I have to get down to S.H.E magazine. Will you be home later tonight?” asked Ekko. She had spent the night before and was headed out early this morning for a modeling job.

“No. I don’t know when I’ll be home. I’ll hit you later,” I replied.

I had a lot to get done today, and as usual, Ekko was too much of a distraction when it came to my work.

I showed her out the front the door and headed to the bathroom and showered. About an hour later, the Thetas, my personal crew, the guys who reported to me and not Lamar arrived at the apartment.

My main goto man in Remy, my cousin and closest friend. We were more than cousins, more like brothers as we grew up with each other. Kobe and Tripp, I have been friends since we were kids and I met Deuce when I was doing a three-month stint in juvey when I was fifteen. I don’t trust any other nigga more than I do these four right here, ya feel me?

“Damn, G. It’s rare you call a meeting this early. I wasn’t even done hittin’ some ass, my girl was about to make a nigga some pancakes!” said Kobe. Remy and Tripp laughed. I shrugged. “Yeah, well if you get your dick blown off, you ain’t gon’ be hittin’ nothin.”

“Come, sit down, y’all. We got business. First, Lupita’s shipment is still on the table, but there’s been a change. The shipment is now coming in on the seventh. I inquired about the hold up from my contact, but finally got word that the date was pushed back,” I revealed as I ushered the crew into the living area.

“Man, why even try to risk this? For some ain’t shit X? Fuckin’ with anything of the Noriegas is dumb as fuck. How we even know for sure this ain’t a set up by Lupita or even Lamar?” questioned Kobe.

“Quit actin’ like a bitch,” Duece shot at Kobe. “What? Nah, these is questions we need to be asking. Flex need to know, we all do,” he argued.

“Lamar is stupid enough to try to front on Flex. But I don’t think he would be so deliberate about it just yet. His ass knows Flex the one with the best connections and our people prefer to deal with him. If the streets know he was gonna do his own man like that when everyone is aware he ain’t got enough clout, ain’t nobody gonna want to fuck with him. Lamar gotta play the game just like the next nigga. When he tries us, and he will, he ain’t gonna leave Flex with much room. He’ll give us just enough to hang ourselves, deadass,” said Remy.

I looked over at him. I scratched at my beard. “That’s known. Look, we not gettin’ the shipment for Lamar. I co-contracted with Crip-Daddy. He’s gonna send a few from his squad to the docks the night of the seventh to pick it up. They know the Spice Lane eses are responsible for getting the X to Angel for Lupita. They’ll handle it. I don’t think Lupita would try anything right now because her father is in a precarious situation. But it would not be out of character for her to have some of Angel’s men out there, blow us up and blame the Mexicans for it,” I pointed out.

Tripp, Deuce, and Remy nodded. “Yeah, she a petty bitch, but she not a dumb bitch,” spoke up Tripp.

“As long as her Mexican’t ass stays in her lane. She come outta pocket, I got a bullet for that bitch,” proclaimed Duece.

Mexican’t? She ain’t even Mexican, she Colombian,” said Kobe. Deuce looked over and glared at him. I could see the lines on his face forming; his eyes were tense. “I don’t give a fuck! They all the same!”

“Damn nigga, who the fuck shitted in your Cheerios this morning?” asked Kobe, laughing.

“Keep talking with yo’ silly ass. After I get done putting a bullet in that hoe, I got one for you too, dead-fuckin-ass!” yelled Deuce.

“All right! Chill the fuck out both of you. Deuce, calm yo ass down, G,” I ordered.

Deuce had a forever chip on his shoulder and stayed in a bad mood. Kobe liked to joke around too much, and it got on our nerves at times, but he especially irritated Deuce. I didn’t have time for any of this shit. Yes, this shipment was worth peanuts, but it wasn’t about the monetary value.

There were forces out there planning their attacks on my crew and McQueen’s organization at large. It was bad enough most didn’t like to fuck with Lamar like that; he was too much of a loose cannon. He had made too many enemies, therefore, I got new enemies through him and they were coming from all sides. It’s never the big and quick assaults that get my attention first, it’s the covert mini attacks, and psychological warfare more capable killers like Carmine and Lupita were sending my way as well as the passive-aggressive bullshit Lamar leveled at me. All of it adds up, but it comes long before the long war.

****************************

It was a couple of days after my initial meeting with my crew informing them that the shipment for Lupita’s shipment had been pushed back. We were at Sky Bar, a lounge in the Uptown District, not far from where I lived in Midtown. I came here on occasion, as the owner was a close associate and kept me informed of patrons who came through his doors. I don’t parlay too often in the same places at any given time, for one I prefer to keep a low profile when I’m out by myself, and I’ve never been the type to stunt and flash on others; drawing unnecessary attention to myself.

From the moment Lamar told me of his short-sighted plan to get the Noriega delivery, I knew I would not be the one to do it, I just needed to figure out the best way to get the job done but without significant risk to my crew over product that wasn’t worth the trouble. I decided to have Crip-Daddy, a low-level player who is “head” of the 500 set of his neighborhood in Oasis Springs get the X. When I need small jobs done, I don’t mind bringing C on to get the work done for me. For one, I can delegate lesser responsibilities to those I don’t need, and I can focus my attention on the operations that matter; while looking out for the livelihood and lives of the Thetas, for they’re the only ones who I give a fuck about in this game.

Bella Vega, a detective in the Narcotics Unit, is my inside connection to the SMPD. She isn’t the only one, but I deal with her more than others. Since I met up with her at the Blue Moon Motel shortly after she and those other bitches searched my house, we haven’t had any contact. It wasn’t out of the ordinary for Bella and me to go long stretches of time without communication, and that was preferable. More often than not lately, I’ve begun believing she was more of a hindrance and a liability rather than an asset. Bella expected me to come full throttle with any and all information, but that ain’t the game.

Our “relationship” didn’t start off physical, but it grew into that overtime. I looked at it as insurance; a way for me to lock her down with leverage, in case she ever wanted to be stupid and turn on me. She was so fucking full of herself and thought she knew every got-damn thing. Bella fucked like a pro, but her mouth is reckless; its best suited for other purposes.

I already knew Crip-Daddy had been picked up by Det. Porcelli; a racist ass bitch that stayed harassing black and brown people in the Spice District. He didn’t fuck with wrong ones usually, and he knew who to try. I also knew the hoes he paid to fuck and the dealer he bought his crack from. When Porcelli picked C up in Spice Lane, Bella suspected he was down there for some sanctioned operation by me. At the time, it wasn’t. C told me anyway the po-pos had him at headquarters. I didn’t confirm or deny to Bella he was down there of my accord. She could think whatever she wanted to. The dumb bitch doesn’t know half the things she thinks she knows.

‘(Oh my God!)

Excuse me Doug E Fresh
Yes?
Have you ever seen a show with fellas on the mic
With one minute rhymes that don’t come out right
They bite, they never write, that’s not polite
Am I lying?
No, you’re quite right
Well tonight on this very mic you’re about to hear
We swear, the best darn rappers of the year
So, so, cheerio, yell, scream bravo
Also, if you didn’t know this is called The Show

A-yo Doug
What?
Put your Ballys on
Yo Rick, I was about to but I need a shoe horn
Why?
Because these shoes always hurt my corns
Six minutes…
Six minutes…
Six minutes Doug E Fresh you’re on
Uh uh on, uh uh on, uh-huh-uh-huh-uh uh uh on…’

The Thetas and I were seated in the VIP section on a balcony overlooking the city. From there I could see everything in the club, all who came from downstairs to those who made it up the second level, out on the terrace, the bars, seating area, and the tables occupied by other club-goers. It was Golden Era Hip-Hop night. The Show by Doug E Fresh was blaring through the speakers. The club was quickly filling up.

Our section was stocked with every type of liquor you could think of and trays of food. Ekko wasn’t with me tonight. At times, she accompanied me to the club, but I told her to stay at her apartment tonight, for I had some unfinished business to discuss with the fellas.

“Re, have you set up eyes for the drop?” I asked. I had tasked Remy with keeping an eye on the X situation when everything went down on the seventh. He couldn’t take the chance to show up himself in case he was spotted. The Noriegas knew him as one of my capos.

“Yeah, Tofu is going to handle it.” I nodded. Tofu was a low-level player that worked for Remy. He was Remy’s cousin on his father’s side, but not related to me, as we’re family through our mothers. “You just make sure he keeps a low profile. Lupita surely anticipates opposition to the eses. She don’t give a fuck if they get shot up,” I pointed out.

“I don’t know, my nigga, like you said weeks ago, some little shipment like this is small change for the Noriegas. They could make a good four times it’s worth on the street, but it’s still chump change for them. I know her daddy being in jail has slowed her business somewhat. But why receive such a small amount of X? Doesn’t seem like her style,” said Kobe.

I looked over at him. “That’s because it is chump change for her. There’s only a couple of reasons Lupita decided to receive the X in the first place; either she was doing it as a favor for an alliance that will benefit and supply her with X and other pharmaceuticals in the future and she’s testing the water to see if she can diversify the Noriega family portfolio outside of bricks. She could be covering something of more value. Being that her delivery was pushed back, my moneys on the latter.”

“I find it odd. Lupita’s been on ice for months. Her main operation has slowed, but it doesn’t seem like she would risk bringing in bricks of candy when 5-0 got her daddy hemmed up and their eyes on her right now,” observed Tripp.

“In normal circumstances, I would agree. Have you been paying attention? I told y’all to spend less time dipping into the DMs of insta-hoes and pay more attention to the actual news. That DEA raid in Hialeah was no small thing for them. You really think Carmine is gonna let his brother’s product stayed locked up down there?” I asked.

It was a rhetorical question but designed to make one think. Remy gave me a knowing look, but I didn’t find it necessary to inform Tripp, Deuce, and Kobe just yet on what I fully believed was Lupita’s ultimate plan. I didn’t have direct knowledge coming from her camp, as the people she chose to have in her most intimate circle were chosen wisely and kept her secrets. But I had other information and clues I’d pieced together that lead me to believe this was her goal. Maybe not her goal initially, but after Hector’s product was seized, creating a diversion to bring it to New Crest would be a smart way to get the coke into his hands and out of the fed’s possession.

I informed the Thetas it was enough shop talk for now and I nodded my head toward my muscle, Big Tig. He unhooked the barrier to VIP, and a few honeys casually strolled in.

One of whom was another girl I kept on the roster, Kisses. She was a dancer at Tossed, a strip club owned by my Uncle Alvin, who was only a few years older than me.

Kisses was born in Jamaica to a Black American mom, but her daddy is Jamaican. She moved to the States when she was in elementary school and didn’t have much of an accent. I loved her energy; she was lit as fuck, but not thirsty.

“Hey boo, you lookin’ good,” said Kisses, as she leaned in for a hug and lightly kissed me on my cheek.

“Damn, I was wondering where the females was at!” yelled Kobe. I shooked my head, his stayed with koochie on the brain. It didn’t take long for one of Kisses homegirls to get his attention.

I grabbed her booty and slapped it. “You look good enough to eat, girl.” I stood back and admired the way Kisses skin tight pink jumpsuit hugs her hips and accentuated her small waist and thick thighs. This is what I can truly appreciate it. I love ‘em thick. Ekko was more of a traditional print and sometimes runway model, so she was on the thinner side. She still had curves, but her ass and thighs were nowhere as thick and juicy as Kisses’.

“How much you out?” I asked her. Typically, the weekend is when Kisses made most of her money, so when she forgoes dancing to post up with me, I occasionally kicked her down a stack or two.

“The usual,” replied Kisses, rubbing her nails together like “Ronnie-run-me-my-money” in The Player’s Club.

“A ‘G can’t get the discounted rate,” I chuckled. Kisses smacked her bright pink painted lips together. She wore one side of her head shaved with waist long honey blonde box braids cascading to the side.

“Please, niggas come from all over the country to see me, boo; you know this. If NBA players and NFL dudes don’t get a discount, what makes you think I’ll give you one?” she stared at me expectantly.

“I don’t expect anything less from you. But you gon’ work for it later,” I replied, biting my lower lip. I handed two stacks to Kisses that she threw into her Louis bag. Of course, she made twice that amount on any given Friday, but I do a lot for her, more than my other girls next to Ekko.

“Top Model ain’t here tonight?” observed Kisses looking around with a smirk on her face. ‘Top Model’ was the nickname she gave to Ekko. They were aware of each other and couldn’t stand being in the same vicinity.

“Nah she at home.”

“Hmm. Cause I saw her friend, that Ethiopian Becky-with-the-good-hair,” said Kisses. I was momentarily confused. Then I realized she was talking about Ekko’s girl, Ayana Dinha. I’ve met her briefly once before, and I could tell she had some issue with me, not that I gave a fuck about Ekko’s friends.

“Damn Kisses, that ass lookin’ good. You didn’t bring any of your friends from the club with you?” asked Remy as he approached us.

“Why would I bring any of them hoes? My girls are here in VIP. I ain’t bringing them sloppy thots from the club nowhere. We ain’t puttin’ on no show tonight, boy,” she replied.

Kisses and I were pretty similar in how we moved; I didn’t fuck with the guys that worked directly for Lamar on a social basis.

I stuck with my crew for the most part. Kisses was pretty much the same way.

“Eh, Flex. Looks at that Spanish chick Have you ever seen her in here before?” asked Remy, nodding his head toward the dancefloor.

I followed his gaze and saw a Latina chick I wasn’t familiar with. She was fine, stacked with a small waist.

“No, I would’ve remembered,” I replied.

“Tig, you see that female in the light blue jumpsuit? Go ask her to come here,” Remy called to Tig. He nodded and headed toward the dancefloor.

Remy watched intensely as Tig approached the girl. She turned around and stretched her neck to look up at him.

They seemed to have what looked like a short conversation. The girl turned her head toward VIP and locked eyes with Remy. She glanced back up at Tig and uttered a few more words.

Tig headed back to VIP, but the girl stayed near the dancefloor. She looked across the room at Remy once more and turned around.

“What shorty talkin’ ’bout?” asked Remy when Tig reentered. “She says she doesn’t know you and you’re more than welcome to buy her a drink,” he replied.

Remy laughed. “Oh, so she wants to play that game,” he said and left VIP.

I briefly watched Remy approach his new would-be conquest, no doubt spitting whatever game he could to bring her over to our section.

Instead, they made their way through the crowd until they reached the bar and ordered drinks.

I was only half paying attention and completely stopped once Kisses started whispering in my ear all the nasty shit she wanted to do to me when we got home. She didn’t have to wait long.

I looked up at Tig and told him to get Remy because I was ready to leave. This is the way it is. Rarely do we as a group come to a club and leave one behind.

On some occasions, yes, but not when we’re in the beginning stages of war like we currently are. What the Thetas did after we all left the club was up to them. But we ride together; we die together.

 

 

****Lyrics Doug E. Fresh & Slick Rick otherwise real hip hop kings. 

****Author’s Note: Eye Spy some of my main characters at the club tonight! Ayana is there with her BFF Parminder, you met them in chapter 5. Colin Stone has not had his own POV yet, but he’s at the club with his cousin Adonis Stone. Bash was also there and you may recognize GG, his girlfriend from chapter 4. And yes, the girl Remy is in heat over is one of Lupita’s Flying Squad spies, Alejandra from chapter 9.1. Flex and the Thetas don’t recognize her, as she is new to Lupita’s organization. 

Thanks for reading!

-Camille

Ayana Dinha’s The Classy Reviewer: White-Hot Chic

Make it hot, make it white.

By Ayana Dinha, Editor-In-Chief

I usually don’t model for the magazine anymore, but I went ahead and bit the bullet for my feature. Hello everyone! -Ayana

****Author’s Note: This is an article for GOP character Ayana Dinha’s story. You can read her first pov in chapter 5. The same article is located on the S.H.E magazine website. Thank you!

There’s no better way to look sophisticated than dressing in a white-hot chic ensemble for summer. Choose light and breathable fabrics and accessorize with earth-tone jewelry and accents. Whether you’re jet-setting from Miami or Ibiza or going on a weekend trip to Catalina Island, you’ll be sure to turn heads as the majestic colors vibrantly bounce off your skin. Keep it cool, keep it white.

Sachi Top- Slay Classy. Balmain Pants- Pietro’s Style.
Yoher Heels- Madlen. Statement necklace and bracelets- Jomsims.
Hair & Makeup- Nightcrawler & Praline Sims.

 

Shot on location, Golden Beach, Miami, FL.

Ayana’s Biography

Check out the cover of our special Summer Preview!

 

Kao Sanders and The Art of War: Conceal Your Intentions & Crush All Enemies

  

Kao has the Creativity Aspiration

Kao’s traits are: Ambitious, Self-Assured, and Music Lover

“a prince should have no other object, no any other thought, nor take anything as his art but that of war and its orders and discipline; for that is the only art which is of concern to one who commands.” – The Prince by Niccolò Machiavelli

Kao Sanders is the son of DM Sanders, the slain cartel leader of San Myshuno who was executed by unnamed assailants two years ago. Kao and his father had a major falling out some years before his father was murdered, though the circumstances aren’t clear. Kao was last seen by his father’s old crew at his funeral, since then his whereabouts have been unknown.

At one point, Kao was being groomed to take over his father’s business. He would’ve been a capable boss due to his intelligence and natural leadership skills. Some suspect that one of the many reasons Kao and DM fell out was because the former wanted to legitimize all the Sanders family businesses in the future. After DM died, his second in command, Lamar McQueen became the successor, many Sanders loyalists didn’t agree with this and left to form their own factions.  Although several members of the former Sanders cartel broke off, the majority would come back and welcome Kao as the new boss and depose Lamar.

If Kao were to return no one can be sure what his move would be or if he’s even about this life any longer. No one fears his potential return more than Lamar, for he knows the day Kao claims what is rightfully his, is the day he would lose his reign as the cartel leader.

Marquez “Meech” Flex was a Sanders loyalist, but he works under McQueen. He has his own designs on taking over from Lamar due to the latter’s ineffectual rule. Marquez was cool with Kao, and they got along but were never close.

When rumors begin to circulate that Kao has intentions of returning, he’ll be in the middle of one of the deadliest cartel wars San Myshuno has seen in decades. He makes a lot of people nervous, and he’ll need to keep a lookout for those who mean to take him out in fear of the support undoubtedly the son of DM Sanders would gain on family recognition alone. Kao could gain control over San Myshuno and the coveted four boroughs of the city: Uptown, Fashion Row, The Spice District, and Art of the City.

McQueen, the Noriegas, the Ukranian Ivanovs cartel over Windenburg, The Costas of Willow Creek, and Bobby Wilds of Oasis Springs are keeping their ear to the ground, and many won’t hesitate to attempt to take out Kao if he were to set foot in San Myshuno again.

Kao has his reasons for a possible move back to San Myshuno, but he prefers to keep a low profile in the meanwhile. There are times when you play a game of power and challenged by an unexpected and most skilled player who comes out of nowhere and moves to checkmate your king. Play the game wisely; always expect the unexpected.

****Author’s Note to get caught up with Marquez and McQueen check out the character biography index and All Harm All Foul 

****The title I made up for Kao’s bio is inspired by Machiavellian philosophy and The Laws of Power, thus my loose interpretation of them in relation to Kao’s background. 

Thank you, 

Camille

Go Rogue Go Raw or Go Home

Okay, big words as I sit here typing this with a glass a cabernet at just ten after eleven on a Tuesday night protected in my self-made gilded cage. Part of me realizes that writing takes me out of that cage and open to exploring people and topics I am otherwise uncomfortable with when hiding out when I was too scared in the past to allow things that tested my conscience and my faith. As a writer, I know we want to be heard and connect with our audience, at least that’s what I’ve always been told. Yes, I think you should know your audience and appealing to them is certainly a part of the overall “guiding light” to be a great writer. I don’t think we should get so hung up on creating stories or characters we think the masses will flock to. As I began my new project Reign: A Game of Power I knew out the gate I was writing a story I felt an intense desire to tell. I created characters that I felt were realistic and complex like real humans. Not everyone in this world is likable, no one is perfect, and sometimes we do some really messed up things to ourselves and others, myself included. I felt like I had an obligation to be as real and raw as possible. Did I expect people to dislike some of my characters, yes I did, but I didn’t want to sugar coat anything. Do I expect to get backlash for some of my future storylines and subject matter? Yes, I do, and that’s okay because I’m doing a disservice not only to myself but my readers if the only material I put out contains characters and plots that are Disney-perfect. It underestimates the intelligence of the reader when you try to handle the serious subject matter with kid gloves.

I implore anyone who reads this not to get caught up in making characters that are always likable, above reproach and darn near perfect. Do the opposite of what’s expected. Maybe the star of your novel is a sex-crazed foul mouth bitch who sleeps with other women’s husbands, but she’s a really good detective  trying to solve her brother’s murder (shameless plug see my character Bella’s bio here), Or maybe your protagonist is a major power player who will sacrifice his scruples to get what he wants. Sure, some of my characters are more likable than others, and some are entirely vile, I know this, and I’m the one writing it, but what I like about each one is that they’re all human with many layers. We’re hypocritical, we’re liars, we step on the little people to get ahead, we can be ruthlessly pragmatic, and sometimes we have sex people for some material gain; maybe we’re not on the street corner doing it, but the exchange can go down in many ways. However, even if some of us are all those things and some of my characters are all those things, the possibility of goodness is not automatically or eternally erased. I write this all to say if you’re not going to be honest in your writing, what’s the point in doing it? Don’t be afraid of harsh criticism or potential backlash. Be raw, be bold, but don’t be scared to put yourself out there because it makes you uncomfortable.

Okay, that’s it for this collection of rambling thoughts. I’m not quite done with my cab and I want to pull up Netflix and watch my favorite snobs Frasier and Niles. ‘Until we talk again.

-Camille.

Chapter 6 All Harm, All Foul

Marquez “Meech” Flex POV

(Sexual situations, language, no nudity)

“Where you been? You think I got all day to sit around waiting on your ass?” I had just walked into Lamar McQueen’s office in the Spice District. These days, he kept his headquarters at a number of locations to either ward off the police or the other cartels he’s been fighting over territory with for months. Currently, Lamar chose to meet with his crew in an old textile factory near the docks downtown. The area didn’t get a lot of traffic. Forty years ago, there were all sorts of manufacturing jobs in this area, now it was desolate.

I didn’t need to check my cell for the time, nor was I surprised by Lamar accusing me of being “late.” He wanted to show his lapdogs who was boss around here; trying to act like I’d wasted his time and him reprimanding me for it was his way of doing that. “Yesterday, you said to meet you at four; it’s four.” I sat down in a chair across from Lamar’s desk. I kept my eyes locked on his. I had no shame nor reason to be sorry. The man who is guilty or afraid will never look at you in the eye. Lamar stretched his torso upright so he could appear taller than me even when sitting down. His insecurity was open for all to see, but if he were smart, he would dead that shit. Lamar waited for an apology from me, but once he could see he wasn’t about to get one, he moved onto the reason I was called in for this meeting, although I could guess.

“It was three. Next time, don’t make me wait on you, nigga. I got more important things to do with my time,” replied Lama. His two lapdog bitches, CJ and Step or as I refer to them: Stepin Fetchit clapped their hands; doling out fake laughs. I guess you could call them his bodyguards or errand boys; either way, I didn’t give two shits about how they front.  If they didn’t keep they mouth shut, I would muzzle it.

“Our product ain’t movin’. Ever since the Latin gangs started to post up in Spice Lane, deals ain’t working out; muthafuckas is going elsewhere.  We can’t have that. It’s that Noriega bitch not watching her step and coming into areas that ain’t hers.” It took a while, but Lamar finally got around to telling me the reason he called me down here, but I knew this is what he would say. The Noriegas aren’t the reason our numbers are low.  While it was true, a number of smaller gang factions have been rising ever since our old boss, DM Sanders was executed less than two years ago, but Spice Lane has been under the control of Noriega’s street affiliates for years now. Lamar knew all of this in reality, but if he were to own that his bad decisions in the last eighteen months are the real reason our money flow has declined, he would have to admit that his rule was weak and ineffectual. I wasn’t worth it to me to point all of this out right now.

“So what are your plans?” I asked as if I didn’t know what Lamar’s move was going to be; he’s predictable. The expression on his face grew very dark; he knew that I would not agree with whatever plan he was about to present. Every day, I was starting to care less and less about giving a damn whether or not Lamar believed I was here to prop up his rule with my loyalty. He knew I wasn’t. All the same, Lamar expected loyalty from me because he “brought” me into the business and showed me the ropes. That would only get one so far with me, but I refuse to pledge complete allegiance to anyone I didn’t view as a strong leader, I didn’t care who the nigga was.

“The bitch has a shipment coming in soon. I got the goods on when and where. We’re gonna take it from her.” Lupita Noriega or “the bitch” as Lamar calls her was just as ruthless her father, Carmine Noriega. Their cartel controlled New Crest, one of the largest cities in the region. Ever since Carmine has been locked up awaiting trial, Lupita has been running his operations.

I contemplated what I would say to convey to Lamar that jacking anything of Noriega’s wasn’t the best idea right now. “Why would we need to make a move on the Noriegas? If Carmine gets out on bail, you can count on retaliation, even if he isn’t released out on bail you can count on Lupita’s revenge.”

Lamar ’s brow furrowed and lip curled up in agitation. He tried to give an air of confidence, but I knew him too well. His bad nerves made him sweat; it was taking a concerted effort on his part to keep control. Lamar rhythmically knocked his ring against the desk as his beady eyes seared into me. His countenance told me everything I already knew.

“They ain’t gonna let Carmine out, ever. He’s a flight risk; got too many connects that can get him out the country,” argued Lamar. “You can’t be sure. I heard they tryin’ to get him house arrest until trial. It’s a good possibility he will get it,” I replied.


“Well ain’t you the nigga with all the answers, huh? You got connects in the D.A. office. You need to make sure that fucker stays in jail!”

“Lamar, you’re asking me to call in a pretty big favor when my connection could be much more useful on something more significant than trying to keep Carmine Noriega in jail. Like I said, whether he’s in or out; you move on them, you can expect major heat from Lupita if you try them.  The product you talking about it ain’t even worth all that.” I reasoned.

“And how would you know exactly? It ain’t like I gave you any details. Unless you know something you ain’t telling me,” said Lamar. He was trying to insinuate that I was playing both sides. “I know nothing more than you. I just know if there is product that Lupita is allowing the little weak ass Spice Lane homies to handle, it ain’t worth that much. She would never allow some little ain’t shit bangers to be responsible for product that’s worth enough to go to war over.”

Whether or not I made sense to Lamar, he would not admit it. He wanted to show his weight to the bosses in the surrounding cities and the smaller factions in the four boroughs that have begun to rise against him. McQueen’s reign wasn’t secure, and when DM Sanders was killed, a lot of his loyal men left to start their own operations. Even if he got away with stealing one little insignificant shipment and was somehow able to get away with it, no one would give him respect because anyone in their right mind knows it’s a dumb ass move.

Lamar was determined to make a move against Lupita anyway; there wasn’t anything I could say that would change his mind. He laid down the specifics of the shipment to a warehouse not far from here and how he wanted me to go about stealing it and “cleaning up the mess” afterward. I’m not afraid of bloodshed, but it wasn’t necessary for this instance. If your way was to always move in violence, you get what you give in return, and sometimes the means didn’t justify the ends.

“Fine. We can have it your way, but expect a war,” I said after Lamar finished giving me the details. He had ordered my crew, The Thetas and me to put his plan into action. He couldn’t be bothered with getting his hands dirty even though this was his stupid scheme.


“You act like you so scared of those bastards, Meech. Fuck that hoe and her daddy! Just get it done!” Lamar raised himself up on the desk, simultaneously slamming his hands down. It took a lot for me to hold my breath and not sock him straight dead in his mouth. But I maintained my chill; my poker face and agreed to steal the shipment.

“Maybe you ain’t good for the job though. Ever since 5-0 ran up in your spot, nigga they watching you.” Lamar knew good and well the search conducted in my apartment a while ago wasn’t significant. The police wanted information on him, but more than that I knew agents on the task force were looking for more significant people than Lamar. “Nothing came out of that, which I told you it wouldn’t. I’m not dumb enough to get caught up by 5-0,” I replied. Lamar gave me a skeptical look. I’d given him the details after the popos left my house, but I don’t think he trusted I told him everything, and he was right because I didn’t.

There were all kinds of ways this operation could turn out bad, and I had to think about plan b, so neither I or any of my boys ended up dead over some shit that wasn’t even worth it. There’s a balance I had to maintain. No, Lamar isn’t a good leader, and my respect for him is all but gone. But I couldn’t openly defy him on orders he’s directed. He wasn’t entirely without power; not yet. Lamar, whether I liked it or not, was still the boss; a boss I faked allegiance to.  For now, that was my position, until I could make better moves, I would play by the rules.

*****************

I lit my blunt, the lighter briefly illuminated my otherwise darkened living room. My conversation earlier with Lamar had been on my mind ever since I left his office. Everything in me said going after a Noriega shipment wasn’t a smart move. What you have to understand about me is, I’m not the type of nigga that makes a play based on some stupid shit. Lamar wanted to flex so to speak and let the Ivanovs who ran Windenburg, The Noriegas, The Costas of Willow Creek, and Bobby Wilds who ran Oasis Springs that he had balls and was willing to challenge them if they made any attempts to take over the four boroughs which consisted of Uptown, Fashion Row, The Spice District, and Art of the City.

Lamar hadn’t cemented his reign as genuinely legitimate yet, and the other outfits were going to try him. But what he didn’t need to do was make any first moves; it wasn’t the time. I can count the number of occasions Lamar has taken me aside with some half-ass plan to either push our product or retain the territories left by DM. He had a lot of bold ideas; unfortunately, most of them were dumb as fuck. He’s gonna play around and get people killed unnecessarily.

I took a long hit of my blunt and walked over to the window. I had some of the best views of the city from my apartment. San Myshuno is expansive. Millions of people lived here. I thought about all the neighborhoods I used to slang in when DM was still the boss. I was pretty much solo at the time as far as pushing weight. I’d known Lamar from the block for years, and he brought me into the Sanders outfit. I quickly rose through the ranks because I was no dummy. I negotiated the best deals for the product and made our organization a lot of money in the process. DM could see that, and soon enough I was nearly at Lamar’s level, which I felt he resented. If DM hadn’t been shot before he could name a successor, I believe he would have chosen me over Lamar.

One of DM’s sons, Kao could’ve been a consideration too, but he fell out with his dad years ago and rarely came around. I didn’t know Kao’s whereabouts. The last time I saw him was at his dad’s funeral. He seemed to have disappeared after that. If Kao came back right now, I think he could quickly get support from Sanders loyalists and get the business back from Lamar, but who’s to say he was about this life anymore.

My doorbell rang, snapping me back to the present. It was after midnight. Vistors coming and going at all hours of the night wasn’t unusual for me.  I clicked a remote; turning on the lights. “Who is it?” I asked. “It’s me. Open up,” said Ekko, from the hallway. I unlocked the door; letting her inside. I  held onto the doorknob; taking a breath. I’d forgotten she told me she was coming back in town tonight from New York. Ekko was always doing the most, and I wasn’t in the mood to deal with her.

Ekko is my “girlfriend.” Actually, what she had was the privilege of being my main chick. She knew what was up and that I saw other women. Ekko is a bad as fuck Blasian model, so I claim her and the other girls I deal with know they place.

Ekko was wearing no less than four-inch heels, stepped up, reaching her lips to mine. Her kiss was warm and her lips soft, but I didn’t return the favor.  “I missed you,” she said. I feigned like I had missed her too when in reality I’ve been too busy to notice she hasn’t been in town for the last week.

“How was New York?” I asked. Ekko was originally born and raised in Manhattan, and that’s where her parents currently live. “Good. I saw my parents, and just about everyone else. I met up with Marseille at Tomo. Her uncle is actually bringing her out here with him and my dad to review the new club building inspections. I still can’t believe Amarre Powers is entrusting his niece with running the most anticipated new club in San Myshuno. Not to mention Marsy’s dad is on board as well. She’s so fucking spoiled.” Ekko accusing someone else of being spoiled was the pot calling the kettle black.

Ekko had followed me over to the couch and went on about her trip and bored me with the details of her escapades with the rest of the bougie ass socialites and models she grew up with. I hadn’t met most of her friends. She preferred to not take me around them or her parents if they were in town from New York because of my lifestyle. That was fine with me because the last thing I felt like doing was sitting up with a bunch of silver spoon bitches that spent their summer weekends in the Hamptons and Martha’s Vineyard.

As beautiful as she is, Ekko can be extremely jealous of other females. The more she talked about her so-called “oldest friend” Marseille moving to San Myshuno, the more I could see the jealousy stirring inside her. She had managed to briefly distract me from work and what Lamar wanted me to do in a few days. But what I needed was to stay focused so I could get the job done without getting a bullet in the heads of my crew and me.

I had to distract Ekko for the rest of the night. What she needed was a good dickin’ down so she could shut the fuck up about shit I couldn’t care less about. After smoking this blunt, the last thing I wanted to hear was her yapping in my ear. I wasn’t with the shit, not tonight.

 

****Author’s Note: The title of this chapter “All Harm, All Foul” is supposed to convey the opposite of the common phrase “No Harm, No Foul”. Basically, the meaning is that when one commits a mistake, transgression or engaged in misconduct, they would be forgiven/excused because it didn’t harm anyone. The opposite is true of the McQueen situation. His plans for action against the Noriegas will cause harm to people, especially because it’s unnecessary. This isn’t the first time McQueen has stepped out of bounds since forming his cartel and it won’t be the last.

****If you want to read about Marquez’s background, check out his bio here. I edited some information out of his original bio because I felt like it gave maybe too much of his future storyline away.  You can also read about Lupita Noriega, another main character coming into the story in the near future here.

Thanks for reading.

Happy Simming, Camille. 

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Photoshop Layer Mask Tutorial for Reshade Edit

Hello everyone, here is a quick tut I put together as I was editing pictures for my upcoming chapter of Game of Power.  I recently started using Reshade for my edits. I don’t know everything about it and I am still learning how to adjust the settings to get the right effect for my pics. I noticed that while I like several presets I use, sometimes no matter how much I change the settings, use angles, etc, some of the effects aren’t what I desired. For instance, with this picture of Sade and Ekko, I loved the general preset effect, but I could not change it so that Sade’s jumpsuit didn’t look so bright and shiny (and without making her skin tone look weird). Everything else with the pic is fine and I loved the DoF effect (depth of field). I only wanted to add a little detail back to the jumpsuit Sade is wearing.

First, take your Reshade edit pic from wherever you have it stored and take your regular game shot from your TS4 folder. Open both in PS.

Now copy and paste (CTRL +C then CTRL+V) your regular screenshot as a new layer on your Reshade edit

We want to add some of the detail from Sade’s jumpsuit in the regular shot onto our Reshade shot. Make sure you’re on the regular screenshot layer. Click the layer mask icon at the bottom where I’ve outlined in red. Since we don’t want to see the entire image, we are going to make our layer mask black (to conceal it). Hit CTRL+I  (shortcut to invert)

A few things. Okay, now we can’t see the regular game screenshot, which is what we want. We only want some detail from the jumpsuit. Hit “B” (shortcut for Brush tool) make sure your foreground color is pure white. Make your brush around 30-40 px. The shortcut is [ or ] to change the size. The opacity can be more or less. I had it at 0% at first, but bumped to 20%. Keep a low flow around 10%. Remember, black conceals, white reveals. We are going to paint white on the jumpsuit.

As you start painting on the clothing only, you can see the detail coming back in. If you look at your layer mask, you can see where we have painted white.

Once you are done painting in the clothing detail, go to Blend Mode and lower the opacity. For this edit, I changed it to 50%. It could be more or less depending on what you are trying to do.

This is our before shot. If you want to see the difference, click on the eye on the first layer. Click back on it and export your image or go on to edit however you usually do it.

Again, I am not expert with Reshade nor PS and this is just a little trick I came up with on my own as I’ve found that sometimes the preset effect isn’t something I want. And sometimes no matter how I change the settings, depending on my Sims’ skin tones, one preset might work for one, but be too much or too dark/light for the other. So sometimes I need to find workarounds either by using curves or levels adjustment layers in PS.

If you have any questions about PS or how I edit, please leave a comment. Thanks!

Happy Simming,

Camille

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Regular shot and Rehade shot if you want to save the image to practice on your own.

Character Generators

Hey everyone, check out the new section on the Resources page on this blog right here. I have added some helpful links to character generator sites. These sites that help give you ideas for new characters or to help you develop new ones. Maybe you need help coming up with personalities, traits, backgrounds, etc. Check it out and Happy Simming!

Character Personality Generator

Character Generator

Character Design Inspiration

Postive and Negative Trait Table

What is Descriptive Writing?

Descriptive writing is a description of characters, objects, environment in your story. It awakens the five senses: Sight, Sound, Smell, Taste, Touch.

Try using sensory descriptive words.  Here’s an example from my upcoming story

VAGUE: I sat up in my dark bedroom. I felt horrible and angry. Eventually, I laid back down and started to cry.

VIVID: I sat up in my bed engulfed by the darkness, only the light from the moon illuminating the room. I felt a heavy pit in my stomach as I tried to grasp what just happened. Why do I keep allowing this happen? I wiped away a tear, angry at myself for crying. Get it together, I told myself. I laid back down in my bed, looking out the window, as the blaring sound of an ambulance whirled by. I stayed very still, trying not to feel anything, trying to be numb. If I moved my body or even one inch, I would come undone. I closed my eyes and could feel the hot tears running down my cheek and onto my pillow forming a warm puddle against my face.

See the difference? Ayana is expressing sadness because she feels heartbroken. But simply saying she felt horrible and angry wasn’t enough. Simply saying she was in a dark bedroom wasn’t enough. It’s important to paint the picture for your audience.

Check out this link:

Descriptive Writing

Character Development

Do you ever find yourself completely swept away by a character in a novel you’re reading or even in a movie or television show you’re watching? Well that’s because a writer (or a team of writers) took the time to make that character true to life.  Some of the most interesting characters in literature are complex characters.  They may not have the most endearing attributes, they might be a bit hypocritical, but overall they are human. I think we can all identify with our own complexities. As people we all have layers. A well written character will make you love or hate them, or maybe you can feel a bit of both. The important thing to remember is to see your characters as human and don’t worry if your readers hate them. At least your readers feel something! Happy Writing!

Character Generators

Fill in Your Character’s Bio

10 Tips for Your Character Biographies

How to Write a Character Profile

How to Write a Character Biography

8 Ways to Write Better Characters

My Character Biography Template

How Detailed Should I be When Writing a Character Bio?

Character Biography Templates

Why and How?