Part 12: Behind The Scenes - Gang Wars, Tattoos, Pool and B-Ball
"Morning, boys," say Tenpenny, walking into Ryder's like he own the place, like it the most natural thing in the world for him to be there. Cops didn't come into Grove Street, it was our home base and they knew they weren't welcome. But Tenpenny wasn't no ordinary cop, he came and went where he want to be when he want to be.... and that include Grove Street, that include Ryder's house. About the only place Tenpenny wouldn't dare go was Sweet's, Sweet the only nigga ever stood up to him and told him to go fuck himself.... and live.
Didn't mean Ryder wouldn't try, though.
"Man, who you calling a boy, fool?" say Ryder, trying his best to look Tenpenny in the eye, even if his sunglasses meant he could look any way he want and still look like he fronting.
"What should I call you? Midget?" say Tenpenny, getting right up on Ryder, not fooled by Ryder trying to front, and not even letting him get away with that little rebellion to make him feel like a man in his own house. That the most fucked up thing about Tenpenny, he take and take from you and he don't leave you with nothing and he just don't give a shit how bad it make you feel, how small or shitty... or maybe he do care, maybe he get off on that, on rubbing your face in shit.
"How about prick?" ask Pulaski, smirk on his fat pink pig face. Hernandez - they bitch - just stood behind them, trying to look hard but just looking like what he was, a bitch.
"Yeah, prick works," say Tenpenny, eyes wide as he stare holes through Ryder, Ryder not able to take it any longer, turning around to try and pretend like he want to check on the water he be making... and Tenpenny not even letting him have that. He shove him out of the way, leaning in over the pot and taking a great big sniff,"Mmm... smell's good. What's cooking?"
Then he turn to look right at Ryder again, nigga obviously hating this, wanting to just pull a piece and blast Tenpenny, or at least take a swing... but knowing he can't do a fucking thing. Tenpenny frown, eyes getting even harder, and he look right at Ryder and ask,"Where's mine?"
"Man, just chill out, a'ight. Move. Here. Don't be sweating me, motherfucker," snap Ryder, moving past Tenpenny, giving him lots of space, reaching into his draw and pulling out a jar of the water he made earlier. The way he moved, how quick he gave Tenpenny what he wanted, reminded me of Big Bear running to clean B-Dup's toilet, and it made me sick to my stomach. I hated Tenpenny, that fuck.
"Mmm, my wife loves this stuff, man," say Tenpenny, a big phony grin on his face, handing it over to Hernandez and stepping forward to Ryder, all serious now,"Anyway, there's a train gonna make an unscheduled stop just down the way."
He turn from Ryder and look at me, big manic eyes on the nigga,"It's got a, how you say,"Little something something" on board for you boys."
He grin, all puffed up and meganius (Smoke teach me that word, it mean charitable) like he doing us a big favor, and I had to wonder, what the fuck he playing at? A "little something something"? What the fuck did that mean? And if it was something good, why would he want us to have it? Tenpenny didn't give anyone nothing for nothing, if he did you a favor, it was because you the one really doing him a favor....
All the time I trying to figure that out, Tenpenny just grinning, then he turn and walk away.
"Catch you later, homeboys," say Pulaski, the fat pig managing to make homeboys sound like "niggers".
"Asshole," I say, the first time I speak up since they come in, me in just as bad a place as Ryder, just lucky enough that Tenpenny was more interested in embarrassing Ryder. Now they leaving, I feel like I can say something safely.... and felt like an idiot when Tenpenny turn back around.
"Oh Carl," he say, all sarcastic, but also reminding me what he holding over me,"Try not to kill any more respected police officers. Please?"
"Crime has certainly gone up since you got back, kid," say Pulaski, and this time he make "kid" sound like "nigger"... that fat fuck got a talent for being a racist asshole. But even now, I had to make some kind of effort to look like they weren't getting to me... which they were.
"Your train's gonna be there in five," say Tenpenny, sounding bored now, not giving a shit what kind of show I putting on, walking out the door. I turn to look at Ryder, who was adjusting the heat on his water.... then kicked the stove and punched the wall.
"Look man I..."
"Man CJ, stop being such a busta," he say, smoothing his hat and adjusting his glasses, putting on his calm face... or maybe being so fucked up on weed all the time meant he was calm again,"Come on, we got a motherfucking train to catch."
"You drive , CJ - seeing as you "Mister Driver" and all," he say to me, trying to get a rise up out of me, wanting to take out how Tenpenny made him feel on me.
"Aw, not your shit again," I moan,"Don't give me a hard time about my driving. I ain't got the energy for it, man."
"Well don't go roll the damn car over and blow us all up in flames then," he say right back, making it sound like a reasonable request, like it something I do all the time.
"Aw, I ain't risin' to your shit, man," I try, but it don't work in shutting Ryder up.
"Good! Means you'll concentrate on the road, then!" he say, staring right at me while I driving, daring me to say something back.
"You love to give a homie a hard time," I complain, but he just nod and lean back, smoking on his water.
"Just trying to keep my soldiers alive, nigga!"
We drove into Jefferson, Ryder yelling at me the whole time, giving instructions on when to turn, when to change gears, about keeping my eyes on the road.... really pissing me off. But just as I was about to really let rip into him, we drove over the tracks and saw the train, sitting half in and half out of the tunnel.... and a bunch of niggas already swarming all over it like ants... some dressed in Grove Street green, but more in the yellow bandannas of the Vagos.
"Shit, looks like some Northside Vagos got it first!" I shouted at Ryder.
"Gun it, CJ, run those motherfuckers damn!" Ryder shout at me, and I floored the accelerator, zooming past our homies and right through the middle of some surprised looking Latinos.
"Come on CJ," shout Ryder, rolling out the car and pulling his strap,"Let's ice these motherfuckers!"
"Shit, Ryder wait!" I yell but he already moving, not even thinking that maybe Tenpenny set this up so we and the Vagos would wipe each other out.... but then, would Tenpenny pull that kind of shit? Nah, he'd just straight up pop you. I reached into the backseat and grabbed the AK I'd grabbed from the house before driving us here, thanking God I had, because we was about to go to war.
"Ryder, my nigga!" laugh one of the homies, grabbing Ryder's shoulder while they all crouched down over the dead Vagos,"That fuck Tenpenny tell you about this shit too?"
"I tapped into the vein of this city, motherfucker," say Ryder,"I knew this fucking train was coming."
"Yeah" ask the homie,"What in those crates? All Tenpenny tell us was it a little something something."
".... man nevermind what in the crates!" shout Ryder,"Let's just load them up an-"
"RYDER!" I shout, pointing up the hill,"We got company, nigga!"
"Aw what's this? We got Ballas trying to crash the party? Looks like Tenpenny told every gang in South Central!"" shout Ryder, then a big grin cross his face,"Man, we gonna smoke those Balla assholes!"
Him and the homies started blasting at the Ballas as they pulled up and rolled with they own pieces drawn, but none of them had noticed me yet.
"YEAH!" shouted the homies, cheering and laughing as the Ballas were blown through the air and hit the ground with a sick thud,"FUCK YEAH, RYDER!"
"Ryder?" I say to myself,"What the fuck did Ryder d-"
"CJ! GET ON THE FUCKING TRAIN!" Ryder yell at me,"Get us those fucking crates!"
I shook my head and climb on up, but then the train started to move.... fuck, I thought the driver had abandoned it, some agreed on hijacking shit Tenpenny had set up, then told all the gangs in South Central about... but now it was moving, with me on it!
"Chill out, fool!" Ryder shout at me as the train go past him,"We're gonna be right behind you!"
One of the homies jump into Ryder's car and start driving, Ryder standing in the back, shouting at me to throw the boxes to him. I grabbed up a crate and went to lift, and almost fell over, not expecting it to be as heavy as it was.... what the fuck was in these things? I hauled it up and threw it at Ryder, and he caught it and almost stumble ass backwards over the side of his ride before he recover.
"KEEP THROWING, FOOL!!" he shout.
"WHAT'S IN THIS SHIT!?!" I shout back, and tossed him another crate... and this one he missed... and we found out what was in the crates.
"OH SHIT RYDER ITS FUCKING EXPLOSIVES!"
"YEAH! AND GUNS AND SHIT!" shout Ryder with a big ass grin on his goofy face, crate open beside him, lifting up a gun from out of it,"THROW ME SOME MORE CRATES, NIGGA! WE HIT THE JACKPOT!"
"Crazy ass nigga," I say, shaking my head, then tossed him another crate, then another and another, till they was packed in tight in the pickup and there was no more room. I shook my head, wondering how I always let myself get into this shit, then jumped from the train, tucking my head and rolling along the gravel, feeling the wind knocked out of me. The homie driving for Ryder had pulled up and was parked a few feet away from me, and as the train pull away and I lay there panting and trying to catch my breath, Ryder make sure to say thanks just the way he know how.
"HOP IN THE CAR AND STAMP OUT, FOOL!" he shout at me,"WE DON'T GOT ALL FUCKING NIGHT!"
I roll up, grunting and moaning as the homie slide over in his seat to let me drive. As I start to hop in though, I heard sirens, and Ryder grabbed up the gun he'd grabbed out of one of the crates, warning that we got one-time on our tail.
"Drive motherfucker, I'll ice those fools they get too close!" Ryder shout,"They can't stop me! I'm a fucking OG!"
The homie turn and look at me, eyes wide, freaking out.
"You heard the homie," I say with a grin, then hit the accelerator,"He an OG."
5.0 come screaming out onto the tracks, sirens wailing and cops already hanging out the side, guns drawn. As I turned off the tracks onto the road, they got closer, and Ryder began spraying his piece like crazy, hitting nothing but freaking the cops out.
"Fucking Tenpenny, did he drop the dime on us?" I yell, to myself but the homie answer.
"Why would Tenpenny tell us about the train then call the cops on us?"
"Because this shit all a game to him!" I shout, and turned my eyes off of the road to look at him.... big mistake.
"Oh shit CJ you done crash the car!" the homie shout, all bug-eyed and scared, and I rack my brain, trying to think of his name.... Tyrone!
"Tyrone, calm the fuck down!"
"Tyrell!" he say, sounding confused as the car that crashed into us backed off of the bonnet.
"Tyrell, Tyrone, whatever the fuck yo' name is, calm down!" I say.
"I know yo' fucking name," he say, sounding grumpy,"You... oh SHIT CJ IT'S A FUCKING HELICOPTER!"
"Fucking helicopter, CJ!" shouted Ryder, slapping the roof,"And here come some fucking fool think he going to arrest me!"
"I can hear the fucking helicopter," I say, pissed,"I ain't fucking deaf."
"Well do something about it, TJ!" shout Tyrell.
"Oh very fucking funny, nigga," I tell him, spinning the steering wheel and hitting the accelerator again, even why some dumb ass cracka 5.0 try to run up on Ryder.
"We got us a good Samaritan, CJ!" shout Ryder, thumping the roof, like I hadn't just felt some asshole deliberately ram his car into us while a police copter shone its spotlight on us and police rushed the car while others were back by their patrol cars trying to get a clear shot at Ryder, worried about hitting the explosives we'd stolen.
"Good Samaritan, CJ!" shouted Tyrell, all big eyes and sweat popping out over his face,"We got us a go-"
"SHUT THE FUCK UP, TYRELL!" I shouted, and really dragged the wheel to the right, almost tipping the car as I shot back across the tracks through the gap where the police had passed, taking us back the way we had come.
"Where the fuck we going, CJ?" ask Tyrell, kinda making a little moaning noise in his throat and looking all about, nigga looking fucking miserable.
"CJ YOU BUSTA!" shout Ryder, we able to hear him easy through the roof,"WHERE THE FUCK WE GOING!?!"
"Clarence's!" I shout back, and floored it.
"Who the fuck is Cla-" started Tyrell, then let out a high-pitched squeal like a bitch,"EEEE! 5.0 CJ! 5.0!"
"I see him," I say, spotting the two patrol cars trying to block the road,"Now shut the fuck up!"
"YOU CRAZY FUCKING NIGGA, CJ!" screamed Tyrell.
"YOU CRAZY FUCKING NIGGA, CJ!" laughed Ryder.
Both the 5.0 were spun out of control, and my only chance was to keep it. I could feel the steering wheel trying to pull away from me, and I gave thanks to Rocky for all the weight training he put me though, putting meat on my bones, muscles on my arms. I dragged control of Ryder's piece of shit back and turned the corner, pulling away from the police as the helicopter hover over the cars that had spun out of control, making sure they all right. I'd gotten us a couple of minutes, all we would need, and I gunned down the street, turning corners till I came to Clarence's garage, door up and lights on, mechanics looking out because of all the noise. I turned the wheel and drove inside, Clarence standing at the door to his office at the top of the stairs, and before I even had a chance to say anything, to ask for help or beg for it, he yelling at the boys to shut the big roller garage door.
"Hey Clarence," say Ryder, taking a pull on his water and looking for all the world like King Nigga from the Lang of OG,"Sup?"
"Sup? Sup!?!" shout Clarence, then a big grin cross his face,"You fucking Grove Street boys.... what's up Carl, that you in the drivers seat? Whose the shaky nigga next to you? Come on up and have a drink, fellas, my boys got work to do on that piece of shit."
We heard the police thunder by outside, sirens blazing, helicopter sweeping its spotlight over the streets, looking for something that wasn't there anymore. I grinned up at Clarence, and Ryder throw his arm around Tyrell's shoulder and toke deep on his smoke. Police were all over the streets, but they didn't stand a chance of finding us.
These weren't just our streets, this was our home.
It was early morning when I dropped Ryder and his newly repainted piece of shit back outside his house on Grove Street. We'd dropped Tyrell off up the road, and Ryder was fucking glowing after looking through the boxes at Clarence's. There'd been guns, explosives, even body armor inside, enough to arm a good chunk of Grove Street if the other homies ever got back into the game. We drove up to the end of Grove Street, Ryder standing up in back like a King being driven around by chariot, feeling meganius, talking me up for change.
"You too, homie!" I say with a grin through the open window. After all, he had stood up in the back of the pickup blasting at police cars and a helicopter like he just didn't give a fuck.
I pulled over and turned off the engine, getting out the car and looking up at him, still standing up in the back, towering up over me, telling me,"LB's coming over to stash the shit."
"Hey Ryder.... what the fuck was this all about?" I asked.
"Huh?" he ask, looking confused,"What the fuck was what about?"
"All this shit with Tenpenny, man.... why he come and tell us about the ammo train? Why was it stopped? Why did he tell all the other gangs? Did he tell the police we'd be there? Why give ANY gang guns and explosives? None of this shit makes any sense."
He just stare at me for a bit, impossible to see what he thinking behind his sunglasses, and then finally he speak.
"Trouble with you, nigga," he say,"Is that you look a gift whore in the snatch. Who gives a FUCK why Tenpenny tell us or what that fool be trying to pull? Bottom line is we won, we got fucking strapped, we got the shit, not the Vagos, not the Ballas, not 5.0, not Tenpenny.... we got the shit, we gonna use it, so who give a fuck what Tenpenny want."
"Yeah.... yeah okay I guess," I say, not wanting to get into an argument with him when he in such a good mood before... but it still didn't make any fucking sense to me. Maybe he see that too, still staring at me from the back of the car.
"CJ, you a friend man, you my homie, brothers for life.... but you a soldier man, don't think so much about this shit, nigga, leave that shit to Sweet and Smoke... leave that shit to a genius like me, motherfucker, y'hear?"
"Yeah yeah, I hear," I say with a grin, him grinning back,"Don't wanna get into no battle with wits with you, nigga."
"Shit, I don't fight unarmed opponents," grin Ryder, and I laugh and turn to walk away, but he call me back.
I walked up the steps to my house, unlocking the door and staggering up the stairs, feeling exhausted all of a sudden. I'd "bought" a house, gone to tell Ryder the news and gotten ambushed in his kitchen by motherfucking C.R.A.S.H., then been up all night; been in a fucking war with Vagos and Ballas over stolen weapons; thrown crates; jumped off of a moving train; been in one car crash and chased by police across Los Santos.... and to top it all off, I couldn't get it out of my head wondering why Tenpenny had set us out after that shit in the first place? What the fuck was going on?
I pulled off my hoodie and shoes and collapsed into my bed, thinking about what Ryder had said, about how I just a soldier, not smart enough to be worrying about shit like this. Maybe he right? But he right about something else, too - I might not be smart enough to work it out, but I knew people who were.
Once I'd slept off my bad back and aching body, I was going to see Sweet or Smoke and sort this shit out once and for all.