Part 15: Behind The Scenes - The Great Easter Egg Hunt
Clouds were forming overhead and it looked like rain coming, so before heading to Ryder's I stepped into the house to grab a hoodie and change my pants, my green ones still had blood on them from the Vago I had chased down. In the time it took me to get into and out of the house, rain had already started coming down. I stepped into Ryder's and looked around, not seeing him anywhere inside... surely he not.... shit he was.
Nigga was sitting outside in the fucking rain.
"Oh hey... hey CJ," he say, sounding sleepy and all kinds of fucked up, nigga must have been sitting smoking all day, fucked up so bad he could barely raise his head to look at me,"Nigga, you got any money?"
"I think you had enough weed for today, Ryder... shit, look at you, nigga," I say, looking up at the sky, rain already passed, sun out again - Los Santos a fucked up place for weather sometimes.
"Nah nah, not for weed.... not yet, anyways," mutter Ryder, sounding like he talking through a mouth full of cotton,"I been sitting here thinking, nigga, thinking about ways to get Grove Street back in the game... came up with a couple of plans, man.... but I need that money."
"What you got in mind, man?" I ask, pulling up a deck chair and sitting down beside him,"What yo' plan?"
"Maths and shit is hard, man," he say,"But I got to thinking, man, thinking about odds and statistics and all that good shit... and I figured it out, motherfucker, I figured out how to make all the Benjamin's in the world, more than enough to raise Grove Street up.... Off Track Betting!"
"Off Track Betting?" I ask, surprised.
"Yeah, nigga," he grin,"Think about it, they give odds on horses, right? Higher the odds, bigger the fucking payout if you win. So shit, you got enough money to start off with; you can turn the fucking system around on them! Go into Inside Track, lay down big money on the long odds, that 12-1 and 11-1 shit, and even if you lose ten races in a row, on the eleventh you GUARANTEED a fucking win and if you bet enough, you rake in the fucking money, nigga!
"240k, CJ," say Ryder, a big grin on his face,"What you think about that, nigga?"
I just sat staring at him, and he nodded his head, grinning.
"I don't believe I never saw it before," I said at last, and he grin even wider.
"Yeah, take a genius to figure it out," he smile,"So you got the money or we gotta ge-"
"I don't believe I never saw how FUCKING STUPID YOU ARE!" I shouted, standing up off of my chair. Ryder blink, surprised, but I keep on yelling,"Are you fucking kidding me, Ryder? Math don't work like that! Horse racing don't work like that! The horses have long odds because they fucking suck, nigga! They pay out big because they're never fucking pay out! Holy shit! 240k? 240 fucking k? We won't have no 240k, we'll just have a new name, and it'll be Jack fucking Broke!"
"Ahhh... fuck you, CJ, you a busta, I was just playing man, I didn't believe that shit," he say at last, covering up from his humiliation. He stood up as well and took a drag on his wet, looking about,"Still man, 240k... you know what I could have done with that fucking money?"
Sad thing was, I had a pretty good idea.
"What was your other idea anyway, nigga?" I ask, feeling a little bad for tearing into him now.
"Nah, fuck it," he say, pouting like a little kid,"What the fuck you here for, anyway? Just come over to break an OG's balls?"
I grin and reach into my hoodie, pulling out the weed Smoke had given me, and suddenly Ryder whole attitude change, big ass grin on his face.
"Oh now THAT is my nigga, CJ!" he laugh,"Sit yo ass down and roll that shit up, motherfucker!"
I did just that very thing, and pretty soon we were both toking up, sitting back in our chairs and grinning like idiots, enjoying some fine fucking marijuana.
"You and Smoke got this off Vagos? Those motherfuckers been holding out, this shit is tight," say Ryder,"This is the goooood shit, CJ."
"Yeah, yeah," I say, just so fucking relaxed, just sitting enjoying the sun, the smell of wet grass drying, letting the tension just fade away,"Hey, someone tried to "save" me the other day."
"Yeah?" ask Ryder, then after a few moments, repeat himself,"Yeah?"
"Oh yeah, tell me about Jesus," I say, sloppy grin on my face, arm dangling over the side of the chair, fuck me this weed was good, I was in sheer fucking bliss,"Kind of fucked up, really."
"Yeah, why that?" ask Ryder, lifting his hand up and staring at it.
"Cause I jacking his friend's car at the time."
I'd been out at Ocean Docks, taking a look at the properties out that way that "Morty" had told me had been up for sale for long enough for him to work his "magic" (except I didn't tell Ryder that was the reason I'd been out there, I was still keeping that shit to myself, I didn't even know why anymore). I hadn't really seen anything that I liked the look of though, till I was crossing the street and spotted a fly looking ride drive by, a couple of old assholes driving in it, looking like tourists. I figured, fuck it, why not, and pulled open the driver's door and tossed him out, got in the car and turned to the guy on the other side and said what I always say in these situations,"Unless you plan on sucking my dick, I suggest you get the fuck out."
"Straight up bustah, CJ," grin Ryder, shaking his head but good natured, you could tell.
"I'm not going anywhere, son," he say, and lock his side of the car, sit back and fold his arms over his chest.
"Suit yourself, cracka," I say, and start driving, the old fool in his silly little hat and pink shirt with white slacks pulled up over his belly just staring at me as I drove deeper into the docks, where no one about.
"You know it doesn't have to be this way, son, I'm not scared of you," he say,"I'm protected, you see, protected from on high. I'm protected by Jesus."
"Jesus, huh?" I say,"He represent Vagos or Aztecas?"
"He represents ALL of us, my son," say the old fool,"Did you know he came to Earth and died for our sins, that's everyone, you, me, all of us. And he will accept your repentance now if you truly mean it, else when you die and appear before his throne, he will declare,"Depart from me, ye wicked, and burn forever in the lake of fire,". You see, son, Satan works through the Government and the Catholic Church to spread lies and hide the truth about Jesus, but if y-"
"Yo," I say, pulling to a stop, reaching down and unzipping my fly,"I meant what I say before, you want to stay in the car, you gotta suck my dick."
"... suck your di.... suck your.... now, now son, Lot once had two angels come and visit him, and the people of the town came and he offered his daughters to them, but they sa-"
"Yeah yeah, that sound kinky and all, but preaching's not what you'll be using your mouth for if you stay in this car, you understand?"
"...Jesus...," he start, nervous and knocked off his game, but not wanting to give up,"Son, Jesus..."
"He'll get his turn," I interrupt,"Now suck my dick or GET THE FUCK OUT OF THE CAR!"
He didn't let the door hit his ass on the way out.
"Hahaha, oh CJ, hahahahaha," laugh Ryder, getting silly, clutching his side and laughing more because he stoned off of his ass than anything else. When you stoned yourself, laughter like that infectious, and I started laughing too, and we both sat there out in the sun in his backyard, laughing like idiots, just enjoying life.
"Hey man, I just want you to know, I sorry, okay," I said after we'd stopped laughing,"Hey, you my nigga you know, sorry I yelled at you before."
"Fuck it, man," he grin,"I know you just jealous of me.... I'm a fucking genius."
"Okay genius, what was your other plan then?" I ask.
"Yeeaahh, CJ," he say, leaning right back and grinning,"Tell me why I didn't finish high school."
"Because you been dealing drugs, man, since the age of ten!" I laugh, standing up and kicking my chair over, throwing my arms wide and laughing louder.
"No, that ain't it," grin Ryder, putting aside the weed and taking out his wet again, lighting up and crossing his ankles, taking a drag and looking for all the world like some kind of fucked up General giving a lecture.... and just like he a teacher, suddenly I was the student, reaching for answers, trying to please him.
"Because you went and put hands on that teacher for wearing Ballas colors!"
Ryder laugh and reach out to me, slapping hands before I helped pull him up to his feet, stoned ass nigga almost losing his balance before climbing up onto the chair, presenting a fucking sermon now, Reverend Ryder from the most Holy Church of OG,"No, that ain't it either.... it's 'cause I'm too intelligent for this shit, man."
"Oh, oh yeah..." I say, dropping my head, frowning, trying to clear my head from the haze of the weed, Ryder stepping down from his "throne" and walking about with one arm tucked behind him, General testing his troops - me.
"Who has more straps than anybody? Who has all the straps, huh?" he asked.
"The army, my nigga, the army!" he grin,"Let's go!"
The army? The fucking army? He wanted the two of us to go take on the motherfucking US Army? Was the nigga crazy? I'd be crazy to go along with it.... crazy or stoned out of my fucking brain.
"SUPPRESSING FIRE!" yell the weekend warrior,"FLANK THEM! FLANK THEM!"
"Yo Ryder, they trying to flank you, man!" I shout from the forklift I sitting on, grabbing up the crate of weapons we were stealing from the Armory.
"They ain't doing shit!" yell Ryder back,"Just fucking standing there shouting out bullshit that don't make sense!"
We'd hit up the military compound at Ocean Docks, my buzz fading enough as we got there to make me realize that what seem a good idea while stoned out your fucking brain don't seem so smart once you get straigh.... take on the fucking US Army!?! But Ryder was still deep in that fucked up state he exist in, telling me not to worry, that this wasn't normal military, this was National Guard, fucking weekend soldiers.
I slid off my hoodie and left in on the floor of the truck, jumping over the side of the wall by the gate, landing on the other side in a crouch, a pot-bellied fool across from me staring with wide eyes.
"Be co-" I start to say, and then he reach for his piece, and instinct took over, and I pulled mine and blew him off of his feet. I crept over, flinching at the way that the sound of the gunshot echo between the buildings and crates. Ryder didn't seem to give a shit about keeping quiet though, blasting his horn and shouting at me to open the gate.
"There ain't no "OPEN" button, nigga!" I whisper angry under my breath, then figured fuck it and shot the panel... and it worked, the gate opened!
Ryder rolled the red truck that LB had had sitting outside for us when he stepped out of the house, catching me by surprise even through my stoned haze. Ryder seem to take it in stride though, saying his homie LB always come through for him..... unlike "some" people.
I could hear voices coming from inside the compound now, "weekend warriors" confused by the sound of the gun, calling out to each other, sounding disorganized, not like any army I had expected. Ryder hopped out of the truck and grabbed the piece that the dead soldier been trying to grab when I shot him, smile on his face.
"Cap them with they own piece, CJ, how that for fucking with they heads!"
"I'm sure they'll care," I shrug,"Where the guns?"
"In the fucking armory, nigga," say Ryder, snapping at me,"Where else they be!?!"
"well okay, where's the fucking armory?" I ask.
"....." he say, staring at me for a second, then grin and turn to look as a "soldier" come running around a corner and spot us, coming to a stop, confused,"Hey, maybe we should ask!"
So that's what we did.
"SUPPRESSING FIRE!" yell the weekend warrior,"FLANK THEM! FLANK THEM!"
"Yo Ryder, they trying to flank you, man!" I shout from the forklift I sitting on, grabbing up the crate of weapons we were stealing from the Armory. We'd grabbed the soldier who'd just seemed like a dumb kid didn't know what the fuck was going on. We only had to pull our pieces and he told us everything, how to find the armory, what the access code was, everything. So we'd broken in, taken out the guards inside, and then the door to the "Officers Club" had opened and a bunch more Weekend Warriors come running out firing they weapons. Ryder had set in to keep them at bay shooting, while I used the forklift to grab the guns and explosives in the armory.
"They ain't doing shit!" yell Ryder back,"Just fucking standing there shouting out bullshit that don't make sense!"
I frowned and listened, and realized he was right.... it didn't make any sense.
"FLANK! FLANK! USE A PINCER MANOUVER!" shout one of them, and then I heard another noise.... giggling! The fuckers were laughing, and they weren't running around getting into formations, they was just running around shooting wildly at nothing!
"Ryder, what the fuck going on!?!" I yell.
"Shit CJ, shit!" he yell,"They all coming at me fast, nigga!"
"Surrender, sir, or we shall be forced to bring you down!" laugh one of the soldiers, and his men laugh with him. It was all kinds of fucked up, his voice sound like one of them cultured fucks you hear on sitcoms who live up in the Hamptons, and so did all the fucks who was backing him up. You figure someone like that be scared as shit to see a black man waving a gun about, but he seem to be enjoying it.
"CJ! THE MOTHERFUCKER COMING RIGHT OUT INTO THE OPEN!" shout Ryder, like he couldn't believe it,"IMMA POP A CAP IN HIS ASS!"
I heard gunfire go back and forth, and more laughter.... and then something that send a chill down my spine.... the soldiers start cheering.
"I GOT YOU THAT TIME!" laugh the soldier who been shooting it out with Ryder,"YOU'RE DEAD!"
"Ryder!" I whisper, then jump out the forklift, reaching for my peace.... and then I saw Ryder. Alive!
"You didn't hit me, fool!" he shouting, and start blasting his piece again at the guy standing in the middle of the fucking compound, completely unprotected, only twenty yards away.... but Ryder wasn't hitting him!
"Oh come on now, I clearly hit you!" laughed the soldier,"Don't be a spoilsport!"
"What the fuck?" I say.
"What the fuck?" Ryder say, looking at his piece, confused as fuck,"I musta hit you that time!"
And suddenly I realized what the fuck was going on. Ryder had grabbed the piece from the dead guard, he'd been shooting at the soldiers with they own weapons... and they was firing blanks.
They thought this was a fucking drill!
"RYDER!" I shout,"RYDER! THEY THINK IT A DRILL! YOU SHOOTING BLANKS, NIGGA! YOU SHOOTING BLANKS!"
"What the fuck....?" whisper Ryder, staring at his gun, then at the soldier, then the gun, the soldier.... and then he toss the gun away and pull his own piece.... and blow the motherfucker away.
There was nothing but silence for a few seconds, you could hear a pin drop.... and then the other "soldiers" starting screaming and squealing like little bitches. Some were just screaming noise, others were shouting out that Ryder had killed "Billy", but one motherfucker joined in later than everyone, and what he was shouting worried me a lot more.
"ENLISTED! ENLISTED! ENLISTED!"
The automatic door of a large hanger opened, and out stepped a bunch of surprised looking white boys, large white boys with crewcuts, eyes too far apart and pale white skin covered in freckles from too much time in a son that couldn't do anything to their skin.
"What the fuck going on? What happen to your motherfucking drill?" grunt one of the "enlisted" soldiers, which was another way of saying poor dumb motherfuckers joined the national guard to tool around in humvees and blow shit up on the weekend. Then he spotted us, and his eyes widen and his mouth turn into a grin, and he let out the redneck call to war.
"Well... shit," I say as I watch them come swarming out of the hangar, spreading out and taking cover, probably more due to they time hunting than army training. I grab the AK47 out the back of the truck and took cover as Ryder got the truck between him and them.
Time to hunt some rednecks.
"Hey shit CJ.... I think you pissed them off," say Ryder, climbing into the back of the truck as the sound of engines revving up came from deep in the hanger,"We got enough of the shit, let's get the fuck out of here before those redneck motherfuckers turn us into nigga soup!"
As he finished speaking, a humvee burst out of the hangar, twisting onto its side, a redneck shoving his head out the window and screaming,"FUCKING NEGRA! WE GONNA FUCK YOU UP, BOY!"
"Yeah, Ryder" I agree,"Maybe that for the best."
We tore out the Compound, the back of the truck still open, two Humvees chasing us, and Ryder yelling through the open window between the driver's seat and storage compartment to get to a storage garage up in Willowfield. I nodded and hit the accelerator, hearing the truck protest, not liking the weight on it from the heavy shit we'd stored in the back. It felt like I driving a big rock, it kept wanting to tip over every time I took the slightest turn off of a straight path.... and suddenly something occurred to me.
"YO RYDER!" I shout,"WHAT IF THE SHIT WE STOLE BE FAKES TOO?"
There silence for a second, then I heard a little chuckle from Ryder.
"Hell, CJ," he say with a grin,"There only one way to find out."
"YEAAAAAH! THE REAL DEAL!" laugh Ryder as I watched the explosion in the rearview mirror,"WE JUST RIPPED OFF THE US FUCKING ARMY, NIGGA! GROVE STREET JUST CONQUERED AMERICA!"
"Conquered America?" I say to myself, rolling my eyes, then shouted back through the window,"I ain't rolling with you no more, man, 'til you off that water, homie."
"Whatever you say, fool," say Ryder, sounding like he looking down on me,"You don't know what's going on... we got the guns, you ain't no gangster, homie. You want it smooth? You don't want no trouble? I keep it real!"
The lead humvee were right up behind us, but that meant it couldn't see around the sides of the truck at what was coming up. I deliberately slowed it down, ignoring Ryder who was STILL talking shit about me, ignoring the rednecks screaming racist shit at me from they Humvee, letting them get close to me.... then flooring the accelerator and twisting the truck to the left, fighting it with everything I had to turn the blind corner the rednecks couldn't see coming without tipping over.
And it worked.
"...tening to you, Carl," Ryder finish, and I didn't know what the fuck he been saying since telling me he keep it real and I don't, but I knew he was pissed off with me. My buzz was long gone, he was on a high from fucking with the US Army and getting away with it, and back to his favorite pastime, taking shots at me.
We pulled up an alleyway to the storage garage in Willowfield, and a couple of LB's boys there, including Tyrell, giving me the eye as I got out of the truck. He and Ryder slapped hands and then Tyrell and his homie start unloading the truck, while Ryder shake his head at me.
He shook his head and walk away, joining Tyrell and the other homie, and I shook my head and headed off, in no mood to put up with any of his shit. Damn man, was it too much to ask to want to just hang with a homie? Smoke had me chasing down weed dealers, Ryder had me taking out the fucking US Army, hell even Sweet usually had some job for me to do. Cesar was okay, but we weren't friends, he just with my sister and we got a good business relationship going, making money hooking up for illegal street racing.... couldn't I just have a friend who wanted to hang out and have a good time?
And that's when my phone rang and OG Loc ask me if I wanted to party.