Chapter 10 How I Operate, How I Win

Bash Banks’ POV:

(some language)

It’s been two weeks since I met up with Rico at Georgio’s. I had agreed to come on board and be part of whatever plan he was devising for Jupiter. I thought something would’ve happened by now, but I’ve had no indication of the doom and gloom of Jupiter’s demise thus far.

The company status quo continues. The pissy whiny liberal arts brats with their third rate degrees, but just so happened to land a job in tech because daddy was in the same country club with the VP. The insufferable hipsters and neckbeards who spent too many years in their mothers’ basements with delusions that they were worth more than the package of condoms their parents should have used because they can write a few lines of code.

A sea of ass-kissers surrounded me, all lined up with their lips out ready for Timothy to unbutton his dockers and bend over. Lather on the chapstick boys, because all that butt licking you’re doing is going to give you blisters.

What was worse than anything, my team, Tim’s team moved to another level in the building. What I liked about my old space was that our area was small, now we shared a floor with some of the analysts and other developers who were working on Cypher and other applications. Not only was I reporting directly to Tim’s incompetent ass, but I also had to put up with a bunch of imbeciles who greeted me each morning with some word or phrase black people stopped using six months ago, that they just looked up on Urban Dictionary.

Charles Ridley told me one morning when I came in that my blazer/trouser combo was “on fleek.” I guess that was meant to impress me. I don’t even pretend to like these muthafuckas. He knew he messed up by my “get the fuck out my face before I sock you in it” expression and hasn’t tried that shit again.

I was sitting at my desk, not getting much work done. My mind was preoccupied with this Rico deal and how much I utterly loathed coming here each day. On top of that, I’ve been working overtime like crazy, a lot of us has. I’ve barely had a social life over the last couple of weeks.
I noticed it had gotten quiet in my area.

“Hey Bash, we’re waiting on you!” called Charles.

I turned around in my chair and glanced at my watch. Shit, it was time for our weekly meeting with Tim in his new supersized cubicle, complete with a small glass table and four hard plastic Ikea worthy chairs.

I got up and made the short walk to the opposite side of our office where Tim now sits.

I didn’t bother to apologize for my tardiness and plumped down in my seat across from Tim.

“Bash, how’s it going?” asked Tim in his annoying cheerful too early in the morning way. His bright blue eyes crinkled in the corners as his smile stretched from ear to ear.

I nodded. “Fine.” I didn’t offer anything more than that. I was over this already, and I had only been here less than two hours.
I listened for the next fifteen minutes while Tim droned on about how honored he was to be part of such a great team made up of the brightest minds at Jupiter. Charles, Leo, and Adam hung onto every word and vigorously nodded their heads; probably in the same rhythmic motion if Tim were to pull out his tiny pecker and told them to suck it.

Eventually, Tim got out his own ass, and we began to discuss some of the bug issues with the Cypher framework. The more the conversation went on and the questions Tim asked, the more I realized he really didn’t know shit about the barest of essentials when it came to our top application. I looked at Charles, Leo, and Adam and wondered if they were thinking the same thing. From the robotic Pavlovian dogs’ looks of admiration on their faces, it didn’t seem so. If they thought what I was, they were doing an excellent job of covering it up.

I didn’t volunteer anything in the meeting, no input, even when asked. I had nothing to say. Oh, I could definitely say a lot, but it wasn’t worth the hassle. The meeting eventually concluded, and I was the first one up and headed toward my desk. It was still too early for lunch. I thought about calling GG and seeing if she wanted to meet me across the street at noon, but I most likely wouldn’t have time. I would probably end up eating at my desk again while I attempted to get through my bug reports as I had not touched them all day.

All I could do right now was wait and hope on Rico. Once Jupiter goes down like the Titanic, I’ll have my black ass on the first lifeboat out of here.

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

My communication with Rico had been scarce at best. He advised it was best to limit our communication. I heard my phone ring in the middle of the night. It was after one. I knew Rico kept late hours on the weekend, but his call was most unexpected. I had to pretend that I wasn’t dead to the world just thirty seconds before his call. GG, who was sleeping next to me softly murmured and turned over, but she didn’t completely wake up.

Rico said that the information I had provided him with had been helpful, but it wasn’t enough for the type of “leverage” he needed. Rico hasn’t specified what he needed; he only says “everything.” Well, when it comes to an application like Cypher “everything” is an inclusive term, and that includes a lot. I had a feeling Rico was testing me yet again to see if I would pull through without him having to goad me in the right direction. He indicated that the sensitive information that was most imperative was privy only to those above my pay grade.

Yes, I do have access to internal and protected intellectual property and information, source code, and bugs but it was limited. I didn’t have firsthand knowledge about the more severe bugs and stabilization efforts for the application being addressed by the senior developers and upper management.

What I needed was access to the very foundation of Cypher’s mainframe; not just it’s vulnerabilities. It’s important to know how well it would do once it goes to market, if it will be readily accessible for the majority of users on various operating system platforms and if Cypher could easily be integrated with other applications. Unfortunately, even though I have more education, general knowledge, and I know what the fuck I’m doing, Tim as a senior developer was privy to that information.

The last thing Rico said to me was “I’ll get what I need somewhere, somehow. It would be most beneficial for you if you obtain that information for me. Because if I have to take other avenues, something, I don’t want to do after you agreed to come aboard, well that’s me doing your work for you. Yes, there is a way to get the intel you’ve yet to provide. But I don’t want to go that route, because it means I’ll have to call in a favor and it gives that person a degree of leverage over me, and that’s not how I operate; that’s not how I win.

I hated to admit that Rico’s call had left me a bit restless and I didn’t get much sleep after that. Thankfully it was Saturday. Jupiter wanted everyone to work this weekend, but I’ve already been working sixty hour weeks, and I wasn’t in the mindset to deal with those fuckers on a Saturday. I had to figure something out to get Rico what he needed, and it had to be soon.

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

I was at New Crest City Center Galleria with GG. After our initial hookup, I wasn’t sure where this “thing” was going to go. I hadn’t been in a committed relationship in years, and I enjoyed the hassle-free lifestyle of not being tied down to one woman. There was something about GG that made me forget all of that and I wanted to explore whatever was between us.

Except for the last two weeks and me working sixty hours, she and I have spent practically every day together. GG either comes over and spends the night, or I stay at her place. We occasionally meet for lunch since our buildings are next to each other downtown. Often we grab drinks together in the same bar we first met. Now those same Bobby Pedigrees get sick when they see her with me. I love seeing the self-righteous, smug look fall off their ugly ass faces. Giavanna was easily the most beautiful woman who worked in the area, and she’s truly the most beautiful woman I’ve met. If I were Bobby and Chad, I would be mad too.

I bemoaned my work dilemma to GG. She agreed that it wasn’t right for me to continue to get passed over for promotion after promotion, but she’s claimed in the past that I should be more open to gaining “work friends.”

GG didn’t know about the deal I made with Rico. She knew I wasn’t happy at Jupiter. I wouldn’t tell her anything about it until it was assured, as of yet, I had no idea where Rico and his partners were at regarding taking the company.

“It’s hard to get ahead in that environment. The guy I report to directly is a complete idiot,” I said. We quietly walked through the gallery. The courtyard of the City Center was full of people at tables, going into the shops and bars, and eating at outside restaurants. GG was quiet and just listened as I went on about my most recent meeting with Tim and our team.

“He doesn’t know some of the basic processes we have implemented, yet he has more access than I do, and he’s getting paid more than me,” I complained.

“I know, it isn’t right. But Bash, we’ve talked about this before. I know how much you hate your co-workers, I could tell you didn’t think too highly of them the first time I saw you with them at the bar. And if I, a stranger could pick up vibes, I’m sure the people you work with every day can pick it up too. You catch more flies with honey than vinegar,” said GG. She leaned in a bit and stroked my arm. I guided her toward a bench near the water fountain gardens.

“What you have to understand baby, is that I’m a black man. Things work differently for me than they do for you and the men in the positions of power.”

“How so?” she asked. We stopped for a moment, and I turned to look at her. “Look, it doesn’t matter that I have degrees from UPenn and MIT. I already have a strike against me because of the color of my skin,” I replied.

“And what, you don’t think I face discrimination as an ethnically mixed Brazilian? Most of the people I work with, including the women think of me as some exotic beauty from a third world country. Either they think I’m some sex freak who spent her days lying around naked on Ipanema Beach or they think we all live in Favelas. Nevermind that my family was rich in Brazil and my parents still have money and were successful when we moved here,” sighed GG.

I never really thought of her as a victim of discrimination. Misogyny was a given, especially in her line of work as a financial analyst. Even still, GG had the complexion for protection. She wasn’t a blue-blooded blonde hair all-American girl, but she had it easier than women like my mom and sisters.

“Look, Bash, I’m not saying your feelings aren’t validated, I know how intelligent and talented you are. The truth of the matter is, in the corporate world, you have to play by the rules until you’re in a position to change the rules. Don’t burn bridges. Now, from what I’ve seen Tim seems very likable even you said he wasn’t as bad as some of the ass-lickers in the company. He is your lead now, and he likes you. Why not extend an olive branch? What’s the harm in making new friends in higher places? You’re going to have to deal with Tim anyway, might as well get all you can out of what could be a beneficial friendship for you,” advised GG.


I opened my mouth in protest and remembered my brief conversation with Rico. As much as I hated to have to do it, I would have to get close to Tim. He’s very trusting and honest, but naive. He’ll most likely begin revealing things to me I would otherwise not have the privilege of knowing.

Okay, I will do it GG’s way, and I’ll extend that olive branch. I’ll do whatever I have to complete my mission. The Jupiter train was nearing a full stop, and I wanted to make my transition to something of greater importance.

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

The following weekend, I did something I never thought I’d do; I invited Tim and his girlfriend, Cheyanne out for lunch with GG and I.

It was bad enough I had to deal with Tim’s over the top cheery attitude at work, now I had to spend a portion of my Saturday with him. My weekends were my time to get away from the shit Tim and everyone else at work represented. Me, allowing him into my personal time and space wasn’t something I was eager to do. But I knew I had to get the right kind of leverage for Rico. As he said, he could acquire it without my help, but I realized he was testing me, to see if I was up to the task and worth the risk of bringing me into his inner-fold.

There’s no one in Rico’s circle that doesn’t offer some benefit to him or contributes to his goals in some way. He was helping me out of a situation and giving me the opportunity to step into a better one. Yes, Rico helps people, but you better believe sooner or later, he’ll come to collect the debt.

GG and I met up with Tim and Cheyanne at The Mighty Oyster, a seafood restaurant on the waterfront. I don’t know what I was expecting when I met Tim’s girlfriend, aside from the same shade of blonde hair, their styles were completely different. She was one of those artsy hipsters, while Tim dressed more Abercrombie & Fitch.

“Hey, Bash! This is great, meeting up like this. I want to introduce you to my girlfriend, Cheyanne,” Tim brightly greeted me.

“Hello, Cheyanne, it’s good to meet you,” I said and extended my hand. Cheyanne’s eyes lit up, and instead of taking my hand, she hugged me. “Hi! I’m happy to know you, Bash. Tim has told me so many good things about you,” she gushed.

I was a little surprised to hear that and was taken aback by her forward and warm demeanor. “Tim, Cheyanne, I’d like you to meet GG, my lady,” I said, turning toward GG.

GG graciously smiled and offered her hand, which Tim shook, but Cheyanne hugged her as well.

“Wow, you are drop-dead gorgeous!” exclaimed Cheyanne. GG blushed. “Thank you. It’s nice to meet you both.”

We were shown to our table and browsed our menu. GG decided to go vegetarian and ordered tofu chicken salad platter. “Are you a vegetarian? I am too! But there’s not a lot to choose from on this menu. I think I’ll get the tofu chicken platter too,” said Cheyanne to GG.
“I’m not a complete vegetarian, but I often go without meat several days a week,” she replied.

“So, GG. Bash tells me you’re from Brazil? When did you move to the states?” asked Tim. When I initially extended that olive branch, I gave little details about GG to Tim. He would meet her soon enough, and I knew it would be a painful experience. At least GG had my back and decided to come and support me. She’s much better at putting people at ease within social settings.

“I was ten years old when my family and I moved here from Rio de Janeiro. I went to university in New York, but most of my family lives in Willow Creek,” replied GG.

“That is amazing. I swear every woman I’ve seen from Brazil is beautiful! You’re no exception at all. What part of Rio are you from?” asked Cheyanne. She was hanging onto GG’s every word. She’s made a new fan.

“São Conrado. It’s an old neighborhood in the South Zone.”

Cheyanne’s eyes grew big. “Wow, is that the same area located right next to Favela da Rocinha?” asked.

GG drew a breath. Speaking of the Rocinha Favela isn’t something she often liked to do, and it was part of the reason her family wanted to move from the city. “Yes,” she nodded.

“I can’t imagine. Have you ever been to one? A favela?” asked Tim.

GG took a long swig of her Moscato. “No. Girls like me, where I was raised and based on who my family is, shouldn’t go to the favelas.”

Although she hid it well, I could tell this line of questioning was making GG uncomfortable, but she remained gracious. I decided to switch gears a bit. “So, uh Cheyanne, was is it exactly that you do?” I asked.

“Oh, I am a freelance graphic illustrator. I know, it’s weird that Tim and I are together. I’m the least techy person I know. I know graphics and all that stuff, but I know nothing of programming,” laughed Cheyanne.

GG and I learned through her babbling that Cheyanne graduated from Sarah Lawrence, she composts, collects rainwater for drinking and bathing, and she grows her own food. Typical.

“You know, GG I have such a good team at work, and your guy here is one of the smartest people at the company. Bash is such an asset. I’m fortunate to have him on my team,” Tim enthused.

GG looked at me and smiled. “Yes, he’s like an encyclopedia. I am not very techy either, so if I have questions about computers, I just call Bash and let him handle everything,” she giggled.

Tim and I didn’t discuss work too much, other than him mentioning some of the future projects for Cypher he was eager to start on. He told me he hoped I would be fully on board once we go to launch and build on the application soon. I told Tim he could count on it. Surely, it would be a slower climb than I would want, and I have to play Tim just right. I can’t push anything on him. I seriously doubt I would arouse suspicion from Tim, but others would be watching.

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

After lunch, we split the bill. I paid for myself, and GG and Tim took care of his and Cheyanne’s portion. They said they would love it we could go hiking with them in a couple of weeks. I saw the look of panic on GG’s face and knew almost certainly it was out of the question. I didn’t commit to anything, but I told Tim that it sounded like a good time and we’ll talk about it soon.

GG and I said goodbye and headed toward the boardwalk near the parking lot where my car was. “Well, that’s two and a half hours of my life I’ll never get back,” I sighed.

“I mean, they were a little Donnie and Marie, but I thought they were cute,” she laughed.
“Cute? Are you serious? Well, I guess you can add Cheyanne to your growing list of fans. She’s mesmerized by you,” I said, dryly.

GG shrugged. “She was adorable. But, now that I have formally met one of your co-workers, and I don’t mean at the bar during happy hour, maybe I’ll meet more people.” GG was hinting at wanting to meet my family in Oasis. As much as I loved being with her, GG was the one bright spot in my life, and I wasn’t sure if I wanted to taint that by bringing her to my old neighborhood and introduce her to some of the most unambitious people I knew who thrived on mediocrity. No, I would put that off for a long as I could.

Link

(Sexual situations and nudity, language)

Bash Banks POV

“Damn girl, you feel so good,” I said through grunts as I gave Giavanna Gavino repeated hard thrusts positioned behind her against the side of my bed. I had a tight grip on her fast-moving gyrating hips, and her body slammed against mine.

She screamed out. “Oh, right there..so..good!” Giavanna struggled to get her words out. I was positioned behind her on the bed giving her the best fuck of her life. “Is that good?” I whispered. “Yes…”

I had been pursuing this girl for the last two months. GG worked near my office building downtown in at one of the most elite money management firms in the country. I had seen her and some co-workers at a bar in my building off and on over the last eight weeks or so.

She’d usually curved my advances when I attempted to flirt or get her phone number. But I knew it was just a game because of the way she flirted with me but made every excuse as to why she wasn’t looking to date, anybody. I think about her more than I thought I would. Now that I have her in my bed, I wonder if there could be something more between us; if I could ever be close to her. 

I saw her exchange numbers with one of those blonde, fair skinned pedigree WASP. You know the type, those fuckers who only got into Ivy League because they were legacy members or daddy made a substantial contribution to get their mediocre kid past the waiting list. Girls like GG usually went for those types with the prominent last names and good families. They would fuck niggas like me but typically choose not to date openly.

Giavanna was Brazilian, not one of those black Brazilians, but more so with the looks of like Adriana Lima with a similar exotic flair. If she wanted to get past the fact that she wasn’t blonde and blue-eyed, she could not procreate with a dark Brazilian, a black American, or anyone else that could taint her bloodline. I wasn’t a basketball player, making millions of dollars. That always seemed to ease the minds of white fathers’ racism if their little girls were to marry niggas with money. I did do well for myself, but nothing in the seven-figure range. It wasn’t enough.

I gave her one final thrust as I started to feel myself coming. GG had already came, more than once I must say. She screamed so loudly; she was wild. When women acted outright like animals in bed, it made me even more excited. If you ever wanted to know what the koochie was like on my end, just imagine a tight wet cave stuffed with soft pillows. You slide in, and you slide out, all the better when she made that shit rain.

I finally climaxed, and we collapsed onto my bed. I was hot and sticky; my body burned from the workout I just gave it. GG slid over and rested her head on my chest. Her hair smelled like jasmine, and her skin had a lustrous, silky feel to it. Panting and breathing hard, I looked at her body, admiring it yet again.

GG was so beautiful. She had this tanned olive skin, dark curly hair, perfect pouty full lips and greenish brown eyes. I preferred her phenotype to most other women. She was the definitely the sexiest woman I’ve ever been with. Usually, after I bed a woman, I’m not so eager to continue seeing her, but I felt differently about GG. I wanted to grow closer to her, know her thoughts, wants, and needs. 

“That was so amazing. You are so amazingly talented. What they say about black guys is definitely true,” purred GG, as she turned over to look at me. “Yeah, that’s one stereotype I’m proud to say is true. So I’m the first black man you’ve been with?” I asked. She giggled a bit. “No, you’re not.”

I raised my brow. “Oh? By the way, you were acting before I assumed you preferred Bobbys over Tyrones,” I said, which made GG giggle.

ed1BASHBDRPICS.png

“Don’t act so surprised, Sebastian. Besides those guys at the bar are just guys I have fun with sometimes and can get me into some pretty exclusive places. They’re like my bosses friends sons who have jobs because of who their fathers are. But you, you Bash, I want to be my big Mandingo. I think I need you a regular basis.”

GG sat up; slowly crawling toward me. Her stare was penetrating as she moved her hand over to my member. I laughed a bit. “I’ll give it to you anytime you want it, Baby.”  

I got up from the bed and went into the bathroom to take a piss. The air in the hallway was cold, but it felt good to cool my skin off.

I grabbed my bath towel and wiped the sweat from my chest and washed my hands. I headed toward my bedroom when I heard a notification of a text message I had received. I spotted my phone on the hall table; it was just after eleven. I opened up the text, which was from Rico Thomas, an old associate from Wharton.

Rico: Hey, it’s been a while since we’ve talked. We need to discuss your future. We’ll meet for drinks at Georgio’s.

That was the end of the message. Rico didn’t specify what day he wanted to meet. When you get a message like that from him, which isn’t often, you don’t ask questions. If you had something planned, you don’t call him back asking to reschedule; you break your date even if your wife is in the middle of giving birth, you see Rico. I was intrigued not so much by what Rico said, but what he didn’t say. What specifically did he mean by ‘your future’?

Rico had one of the fasted growing consultation firms in the region. He rubbed elbows with some of the most influential people in business, politics, and just about every other field. He must’ve heard about the latest promotion I was passed up for.I could only wish to have access to some of the people Rico deals with on a regular basis. My life would be so different right now. Instead of slaving away making the white man richer, I could be running my own firm, using my design with my name on it.

I was eager to talk with Rico, but I would have to wait until he made contact again wait to see just exactly what he wanted to talk about. I had to admit; I felt a little intimidated at the thought of meeting up with him. We knew each other from U-Penn. He was ahead of me in school; we took some of the same business classes at Wharton. He was also a graduate associate professor before he went to Harvard full-time and obtained his MBA. Periodically, we ran into each other at a bar in Cambridge, as I was at MIT, which is very close to Harvard.

I put my phone back on the charger and headed to my bedroom, as Giavanna was starting to get dressed. The room was hot and stuffy and smelled like a combination of her Clinique, my Hugo Boss cologne, and sex.

“I need to get out of here. I have an eight am meeting tomorrow,” said Giavanna. I wasn’t really ready for her to leave just yet, but I didn’t let on. I watched as she pulled her black lace panties on and pulled her dress over her head; she hadn’t worn a bra. Her titties looked as succulent as ever. I had every instinct to push her on the bed again and fill my mouth with each one while I licked and sucked on her nipples.

“I too have early meetings. I’ll take you home.” I told her, snapping out of my fantasy. “Sure, that would be great.” Giavanna walked over to me and kissed me softly on the lips. “Thanks again for tonight, it was great,” she said. “My pleasure.”

Giavanna seemed impressed when she got into my new Benz and complimented how nice the features and heated seats were as we cruised through the dark streets downtown.

It was nothing serious going on between us, and I wasn’t sure when we would hook up again. It was okay for now. Sometimes I think it would be nice to be in a relationship, but I work so much and the women I’m around, act like they’re in charge and control, but they’re not.

These millennial girls of my generation are educated and going out getting careers and competing with males for those same jobs. Yeah, that shit is okay as far as them getting an education, but I find most of the bullshit about independence is just that: bullshit.Most women are the same as they were in my grandma’s generation. They ultimately want a man to call the shots; to make the hard decisions and have most of the responsibility. They mainly someone to take care of them.

I don’t know how many girls I went to school with, fresh out of graduation, a degree in hand, and within a year of finding their Bobby Pedigree, they gave all that shit up. Usually first getting a nice little upscale, overpriced condo near work and later moving out to the suburbs to be near the rest of the pedigree families and join their country club.

The women of the club would organize tea and feel-good charities for the less fortunate little Tyrones, Jamals, and Kishas. It made them feel good to peddle some money into the inner city, to help those little poor black babies; even when those “poor black babies” came from two-parent households. Often when black kids came from two-parent middle-class families, some of the country club Jenns and Susans believed they were poor and unfortunate, because ‘hey, they were black so ultimately they suffered and needed saving right?’ I’ll be the first to admit, however, that some of the thugs that have taken over my family’s neighborhood could use some saving, no matter who it came from.

My family wasn’t living in poverty. They weren’t exactly middle class, but working class; which might as well be poverty if you think in regards of how the real world works, and the divide between the rich and unambitious people in my old neighborhood. They were the people I struggled to get away from all of my life.

I felt obligated to socialize with my family every once in a while to show them that things could be better and that they needed to stop thinking small and living a life of low means was okay. I knew it was too late for my father, the most unambitious man I know, but at least my little sister, Michelle had a chance at getting an education and bettering herself. But who was I fooling? The rest of my family was hopeless. That’s the life they were used to, and none of them had any desire to change it.

Giavanna didn’t live too far away from me in Art of the City, an upscale neighborhood similar to SoHo in New York. The price for living here was almost as high as well. But you get what you pay for.

Once we arrived at her apartment, I walked her up the front door of her high-end building. Her doorman gave us a hard look. I held on even tighter to her and kissed her deeply on the mouth. It will never cease to amaze me how shook some white boys get over the beautiful women I can pull any day and the ones I chose to have on my arm. It’s okay; the haters drove my ambition. As I rise, I’ll give them a real reason to hate me.

 

**My thoughts: I think it’s evident by now that Bash is struggling with some internal conflicts intensified by external problems. A lot of his thinking is or could be perceived as hypocritical. In his mind, he bashes the hierarchy of society, but at the same time, he longs to be part of it and even prefers women who are apart of it, all the while having resentment for their station in life. One thing I know is that people are complicated and sometimes on the surface we appear hypocritical and more often than not, we can be hypocritical internally as well. I don’t think most things are all black and white, but fall into gray areas. I’m looking forward to developing Bash’s character and exploring what it means to be human, with all of our flaws, fallacies, hopes, and the lengths we go through to survive in this system. Thanks for reading.** 

***Author’s Note: The title of this chapter is in reference to the song by the Purple One, Prince. Check out the lyrics to understand what it means from his perspective. I’m an 80s kid and Prince’s music was my life as it still is. As I was listening to this song the other day, I decided to name this chapter after it for Bash’s perspective as he does want to get closer GG even though their relationship appears to be mainly physical right now.

Check out the biography of Bash and other main characters here.

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