Macktown Book 1 - Chapter 8
Three times a year, a meeting of the Macktown political minds was called to order. It was a town hall, slash, closed door type meeting. First, the city's political heads would meet for an hour, then the public would be allowed to address the council in the square, and afterward the political leaders would meet again in private to address the concerns of the public. This is the system put into place since new leadership took over city government. When Macktown was a part of the general society, the low-income population felt they did not get the recognition they deserved and were subject to whatever agenda the city felt was best for them, and the city. The new system seemed to work better because the voice of the public was heard and considered when rewriting laws, policies and procedures for the operation of the city. For instance, since this new power change, Macktown had begun to phase out the welfare and food stamp programs all together. They believed that government handouts kept the lower-income families stagnant and in poverty, and drained the city of funds unnecessarily. Instead, city leaders and community activist designed an alternative system called the Macktown Promise Land Program that employed welfare and food stamp recipients and many low-income families. The city purchased and renovated vacant buildings and parking lots that were converted into community centers that hosted various programs, such as little league sports teams, talent development, and job skills training, and all who worked for the program were paid as city employees. To earn money to pay for and operate this new program, the city created a marketing team that branched out to the surrounding cities and states and aggressively promoted the Promise Land program activities. The little league games were big around the state and brought in money for the program and the city. The games were broadcasted on local television and radio and there was a pre and post show that featured talented kids and adults performing in bands, dance, and short plays. The performing activities alone also profited big around the state and beyond. Many of the little league athletes, ages ranging from 8-18, earned scholarships and were awarded college funds and many talented performers earned scholarships also, as well as signed recording, performing and acting contracts with major entertainment companies. All the work done behind the Promise Land program required business, marketing, and communications skills, which increased enrollment in local Macktown community colleges and at Macktown's Nat Turner University. The Promise Land program was working very well for the past five years and welfare rates decreased dramatically from 21 percent in 1967 to 15 percent at present.
When Macktown city officials began to pull out from under state funding for social services, the higher up and powers that be, attempted to persuade them to keep the funding and social service programs and even offered them more money to do so. When they refused, the powers started suggesting that since they were doing so well with the Promise Land program, maybe the state would start withholding funding for schools and law enforcement also. This subtle, yet vindictive threat forced city officials to resort to seeking more help from the Macktown residents' and community organizations, and sent them in the direction of a higher authority, which was prayer. To avert this possible loss of school funding from happening, city officials decided to legalize and use proceeds from the dog race wagering to pour into the school system. Much like lottery money is used for school systems in other states. This is when ex-Mayor Willie Preston became desperate and started digging around into the underworld for fixed races. He was given a tip that some of the dogs were being drugged with enhancement drugs to win the races and he hired a source from inside the dog racing underworld to confirm.
Today's meeting began with the initial council conference, occupied by the newly appointed Mayor Mike Mendota, City Planner and president of the Macktown Promise Land Program, Day Cozy, Macktown police chief Thomas Marlow, the newly appointed federal Drug Enforcement Agent Tony Cuffs, the District Attorney Janet Crimm, and the public school superintendent Lance King. They opened with minutes from the last meeting and then Mayor Mendota started in on the police chief about the drug problem in the city. The chief defended the department by explaining that his investigation on the names of the top drug dealers and drug gangs in the city was complete and that his next move was to begin a raid on various drug distribution points. Janet Crimm reminded the chief that they needed evidence such as the drugs, witnesses, and photos of drug deals going down in order to assure long prison terms. Tony Cuffs the DEA agent asked the chief if he had any knowledge of how the drugs were entering the city and chief Marlow said, "No idea." Mayor Mendota then assigned Cuffs to investigate that himself. Then the Mayor turned to Lance King and asked if the drug problem was increasing in the school system. King said yes and that drug dealing has become more frequent than drug use among students. He also added that the school system needed more funding in order to divert the students from the streets and into something more productive. They all turned to Miss Cozy. She gave them an update on the Promise Land program reassuring them that the program was growing stronger and they were working on a plan to recruit more school kids into the program. They ironed out the small details and then all stood up to go out into the council square to address the community.
Seated in the front row of the council square were the usual: Priscilla Pearl, JCO president and the vice-president Moses Stone both representing the south sides' Jackville community; Sally Ann Moore, "Triflin Sally," representing the upper elite section of the north side; Freda "Ladymay" Gene, representing the West Hills Gentlemen's Society; and a new face who represented his church, Perryville and the east side, Minister Bobby West. Foster Friend of the Mack Times newspaper was in the corner taking notes. Pearl started with a demand from the city to put more police on the south side to stop the drug dealing that has increased. She threatened to file a class action law suit against the city's police department if they did not do something soon. Next, Bobby West stood up and agreed with Pearl about the drug dealing in the city and added that it was increasing on the east side along with a lot more gang violence. He reminded the Mayor to look over the proposal his church submitted and to consider approving it. The proposal was an agreement between the city police department and the church that the church would gather names of drug dealers, gang members and witnesses, in exchange for the renovation of an abandoned building to open as a community center. He also demanded that the city tear down the old Plenty's Department store and rid the community of the rat problem or else he would continue to protest in front of city hall until it was done. When Bobby sat down, Ladymay stood up and requested a meeting with the council to discuss the investigation of the ex-Mayor, Willie Preston. Finally, Sally Ann stood up and kindly solicited the city to consider her new interior design proposal for the Macktown Fairground's Banquet Hall. Then the council took questions from the audience, answered a few, thanked the participants and adjourned back to the conference room.
The final conference came to order and the Mayor started right in on the police chief again. He approved money for a special-ops drug unit to begin immediately on raiding drug houses on the south and east sides. Then he suggested to Cuffs that he interrogate those who are arrested in the raids to find out how the drugs were getting into the city. He turned to Day Cozy and told her to get right on finding a contractor to start demolition on Plenty's Department store and to look into the proposal from the minister about a building on the east side. He added that she may want to talk to the Pastor of the church first to authenticate his level of interest before making any deals. Then he bent and wrote on his note pad to meet with Freda Ladymay one day next week. He wanted to know what she had to say about his predecessor, Willie Preston. He asked if there were any questions or comments. No one had any so he brought the meeting to a close with a short speech. He talked about the War on Drugs and how it was a national problem and had become a mandate from the President, and how Macktown was slowly being cut-off of support from the powers that be. He let them know that they were pretty much in this alone and that they would deal with the problem without government support or intervention, but with common sense, attention to the people, and prayer. He encouraged them all to do their jobs honestly and with pride and in the end Macktown would become a safe and prosperous city. He closed with a prayer and dismissed the meeting.
Triflin Sally was a 26 year old unwed mother of four kids all under the age of 12. She started having kids young when she got pregnant in high school and dropped out after she had the first baby. She ran the streets for a year then had another baby when she was 18. Then at a legal age, she started dancing at a strip joint on Rosa Parks Drive and soon after started working for a pimp as a prostitute. This went on for 6 months and then she met a dealer from the south side and started selling Nico for him in the strip joints and bars up and down Rosa Parks Drive. When her pimp found out, he snatched her off the stage and beat her, then dropped her off on a corner on the other side of town at 3 am in the morning. A dope head from Forty-Second Street picked her up and took her to a dope house in the Rolling Heights Projects and she lived there with other dope heads for about nine months, until she delivered her third child. One night the police chased her through an alley and she ran with the baby until she was caught and arrested for child endangerment. The state took her three children and placed them in an orphanage and she went into drug rehab for six months, and then to jail for two years.
By then she was 22 years old. When she got out of jail, she went and lived with her sister in Perry Projects. She got a job working at Benny's Burger Palace but got fired and almost shot when she was caught by Benny smoking weed and having sex behind the counter with a young thug after closing time. The thug ran her out of Perryville after that because he said she almost got him killed so she hitched-hiked up to Banglewood and was raped by the driver then dropped in the alley behind a liquor store. She waited until the liquor store opened and she went in and started drinking beer from the cooler. The store owner saw her and chased her out of the store but not without getting hit in the head with the beer bottle she was drinking from. The owner tackled her and called the police and she was arrested and expedited back to Macktown because she had warrants out for her arrest for missing two court dates along with two counts of attempt to distribute drugs and one count drug possession. Nine months later she delivered her fourth child in jail. She did another two years and was 25 when she got out. While in jail, she met another sister who turned her on to a woman she knew in the west side of Macktown that could help her. This woman happened to be Freda "Ladymay" Gene of the West Hills Gentlemen Society. Ladymay cleaned her up, put her on her payroll as her assistant, and was currently fighting to get her children out of the orphanage. Sally Ann vowed her life to Ladymay and has been working for her every since.
Sally Ann was not an ugly woman. She was very dark-skinned and had a smooth, well-proportioned face, with large round eyes and full lips. She had a pretty smile that showed a naturally perfect row of white teeth and she kept her long silky black hair braided and pulled in a ponytail. She was short and round yet thin in the waist, and she had an extra switch when she walked. Guys were always vying for her attention. She was well mannered and polite and her diction was excellent. When she spoke her voice had a tone and a slight melody that any record producer would have loved to record. But Sally Ann had a temper and she was very, very indifferent. She developed and nurtured these qualities as a form of defense against her mother because her mother would verbally and physically abuse her severely when she was young. Nothing got to her after that. She was emotionless and knew it and she used these qualities in her life toward everyone she came across. When she was in the streets and having baby after baby, to her they were just consequences of bad nights in the hood. She did not want them and did not want to take the time or emotional effort required to love them. People and relationships were obstacle toward whatever she wanted at the time because she had no knowledge of how to care for, or receive care from another person. But she was now on a new path. Sally Ann started classes last year studying for a degree as an Event Planner and she worked her way up quickly in the West Hill's Gentlemen's Society as a representative and spokesperson. She is becoming quite well-known in Upper Perryville among the social elitist and loves her new life. In addition, she sees her children on weekends. It is taking time and extra hard work to become a socially acceptable citizen of society, let alone a decent human being, but she is working hard and wants to prove she can be a nice, productive citizen. However, there is still a whole lot of street deep inside Sally Ann and there were many people she crossed in her life who still wanted to bring her down.
Freda Ladymay Gene, ran an extremely lucrative call girl ring. They called her the Madam of Macktown, a professional Pimptress, the Scarlet Lady of West Hills. Her front was the West Hill's Gentlemen's Society, which she owned. It was managed by a guy she went into business with some years ago and everyone would think it was his club, but Ladymay pulled the strings. Her most loyal customers came from the political spectrum of the city and state and she had a chosen stable of women that served that clientele specifically. She did not deal with street walkers or low level customers, but she taxed another sister who ran a lower level hooker ring. Ladymay was a tall woman at six-feet-one inch, and slim with long dark hair. She was a pretty light-brown with a girlish face; dark staring eyes and a slight smile she always wore under a small, round nose. She gained much support from the leadership of the city and from the underworld. The most important men in both worlds highly respected Ladymay and it was not much they would not do for her when she asked. Not only was she successful in her customer service career, but she had a hand in the dog racing underworld also, which brought her much wealth; enough to place her on the Macktown's most successful black woman's list. The dog racing situation had gotten out of control and she needed to untie herself from the Mayor Preston scandal. It was her that enlightened Mr. Preston to the dog enhancement information in exchange for him getting her a seat on the school board. She wanted that seat so she could push her new agenda called 'The Sex Education Plan,' through the schools. However, after the scandal broke and Preston was unseated from being Mayor, he promised her he would not rat her out but she was becoming paranoid and not too sure about that promise. So she did what she had to do to clear her name.
Thursday morning. The Mack Times headline read: "Nico Dealers Lookout! Police Cracking Down." The story did not go into detail about when the crack downs were coming, but it did mention what parts of town were being targeted. The south and east sides were highlighted on a graph of the city and the police chief was quoted as saying, 'Brinks Prison better make some room cause we bringing in a busload.' The paper showed a picture of the barbed-wire fence surrounding the prison. Beneath that story was a secondary headline that read: "Landmark Department Store Plenty's, Scheduled for Demolition in the Spring." A hazy brown, blurry picture of the dilapidated store was shown with an old lady pushing a shopping cart passing by. The story went into detail about the history of Plenty's and then branched off into the rat problem in Perryville. A photo showed protesters out front with signs saying stuff like, 'Get the Rats out of Perryville or get the Rats out of Office.' The last front page story was headlined: "Preston in a Mess." It showed a 'gotcha' picture of the ex-Mayor Preston while he was in mid sentence. The caption below the picture read: "Sources reveal Preston had knowledge of what dogs was doing the dope."
Later that evening, Hump studied the newspaper from under the dim light of an alley street post behind the Greazin' soul food restaurant. He sat on the trunk of his 'just paid for', brown four-door 1970 Thunderbird (the one with the backseat doors that opened in the other direction), while Willie Boe leaned against the back of the car sipping a beer responding to Hump's comments. Some other Pips; Butchy, Domino, T-Stone and a few young thugs had a dice game going against the restaurant back wall. The Pips were used to hanging out in the cold and they were dressed for the occasion. They wore the long Maxi trench coats or thick army jackets and their breath blew cold smoke from their mouths. Silk Malone sat in the driver's seat of the black Buick parked in front of Hump's car with the door open and Jackalonie stood next to him hitting and passing a joint back and forth. A cloud of smoke floated in the alley above the boys and the music play from the Buick just loud enough that the boys had to raise their voices to be heard. From the corner, a guy approached them bundled in dark clothing and at first appeared to be another Pip, but when he got closer, no one recognized him. The guy grinned and said "What's up?" Domino was the first to take notice that the guy was not a Pip and turned to him shocked the guy had that kind of nerve.
"What's up?" Domino said. The other Pips played it off and kept shooting dice. Hump turned and took a look at the guy and Willie Boe took his pistol from under the belt of his jeans.
"Everything is hip man, I'm just heading to Jackville." the guy said and took out a bag of joints and lit one. He talked with the Pips as if he knew them or was trying to get to know them. He lived a neighborhood over and was actually passing through walking to his sister's house in Jackville. He was already high and seriously did not realize who he was talking too and what he had mistakenly walked into. But he felt he would play it cool instead of playing hard. Hump ignored him, leaving it to Domino who seemed to have it under control. The guy did not seem like a threat at all. The dice game kept going and Hump kept reading. Silk got out the car and walked over to the guy and Domino.
"What's happening dog? Let me hit that." Silk said. The guy handed Silk the joint and they slapped palms. The guy acted relieved, yet his eyes looked frightened cause Silk walked up close on him smiling and his hand shake was kind of rough.
"I was crossing eighth street back there and this dog started chasing me." the guy said and laughed a little trying to lighten the mood. Silk looked at him amused and started laughing loud tilting his head back. He hit the joint and handed it back to the guy. "So I ran about a block and looked back and it was gone, man I was scared as hell cause it was a big, black shepherd and you know them shepherds are mean." he said and started smiling. He hit the joint and passed it to Domino. Domino looked at him real cool and hit the joint. He started coughing.
"Man this some good weed, where you get it?" Domino asked.
"At Moosey's record store." he said pointing in some direction. "They got some good weed up there man."
Domino looked at Silk. "Yeah, I heard of Moosey's, I know a guy who work up there, his name umm..." The guy finished the sentence. "Drake?"
"Yeap, Drake. Short dude with a big head." Domino said and started laughing. "What they sell dimes? Quarters, up there?" Domino asked the guy. The guy, still laughing at the big head joke said yes.
"Is that what you got? A quarter? I saw about ten or fifteen joints in yo bag dog." Silk said and smiled. The guy looked at Silk then dropped his head smiling."Naw, I got a dime."
Silk started laughing loud again and said, "No you don't you got a quarter dog...let me see." he said and stopped laughing. The guy looked at Silk then at Domino. Then fear hit him because Domino was not smiling either. He could not do anything but reach in his pocket and get the bag. If he resisted, he knew he would have been beat down really, really bad. He took it out and showed them and put it back in his pocket. Then he took it out again and got another joint out and started to light it. Silk snatched the joint out of his hand. "Let me light this one." Silk said and walked away.
"I didn't see the bag." Domino said and put his hand out. "Let me see it." The guy looked at him then at Silk who was sitting back in the car. Jackalonie was watching and learning. The guy cursed himself and slowly pulled the bag out. Domino took it and walked away. "Thanks dog." he said and joined the dice game. The guy stood still and looked at the Pips as they ignored him and kept shooting and talking. He turned and looked at Silk who rolled up the window then he looked at Jackalonie who gave him a look as if to dare him to say something. The guy turned around and said, "Damn!" and walked down the alley.
Hump asked Boe what time it was. "Seven-thirty." he answered.
"Let's go." Hump said and went around to the passenger side and got in. Boe got in and started the car. Butchy and T-Stone got in the back and Domino and Jackalonie got in the Buick with Silk. The other Pips turned and started walking down the alley yelling about the dice game. Boe drove out the alley and turned right on Lester Avenue and Silk turned left. Silk pushed in the eight-track of Isaac Hayes and the 'Theme from Shaft' came on. They rode a few miles then crossed the Franklin freeway into the west side. Domino told Silk to stop at the store. The first liquor store Silk saw he turned into the parking lot. It was on the corner of West Lester and Front Street, about a few blocks from the Jackville Park. This was 16th Street hood and a few young thugs were standing outside in hooded coats. Silk got out and walked into the store. Domino stared at the young thugs and turned to Jackalonie and said, "Watch this Jack." He got out and walked around the side of the building out of sight of the young thugs. Jack got out and followed Domino and stopped at the end of the building watching Domino and watching the young thugs also. Domino pulled a spray can from inside his coat and started crossing out the 16th Street name on the wall and wrote Perry Pips, then his name. Jackalonie kept his eyes on the thugs, who were watching him but stood still talking. Silk came out and the boys got back in the car and pulled off, headed for Tenth Street.
Meanwhile, Hump turned down the music and spoke. "We gonna have to lay low for awhile. The cops is hot on Nico so move all the stash from the traps in Perryville and take it to Kanines." he said and turned to the back talking to T-Stone. A "trap" was what the boys called the houses they sold drugs out of.
"What about the traps in Rosa Park?" T-Stone asked. Hump told him to leave them but only have one of the boys stay in each one. Just then Boe made a right turn onto Rosa Parks Drive and started cruising down the Drive toward downtown where the dog track was. They were going there for Hump's meeting with Nick Bones. The passing scenery of Rosa Parks Drive was always entertaining, even in the winter. Prostitutes dressed in furs and knee-high leather boots busied the corners and darted in and out of darkened doorways toward slowing and stopped cars. Clusters of young thugs stood on corners or walked in small packs. They cruised slow up the Drive. "Pull over Boe, there's Mooney crew." T-Stone said pointing to a group of thugs on the corner. Floyd Moon was a young Pip from the projects recruited into T-Stone's crew to hold down the drug sells on Rosa Parks Drive. The car pulled over and Boe tapped the horn. T-Stone rolled down the back window and motioned Mooney toward the car. Mooney did not recognize the car but recognized T-Stone and jogged over. He bent his round face to the window. He had a big nose and thin eyes. His black Dobbs was pulled down tight over his head and he wrapped his arms tight around himself in the cold.
"What's up Stone." he said and glanced around at the others in the car trying to recognize the dark profiles. "Oh, What's up Butchy, what's up Boe..." he said and T-Stone cut him off.
"Yall take the stash over to Kanine's for a few weeks, law is hot. Only one to a trap from now on. Tell Styles and them too." T-Stone said. Hump interrupted and told him to hang out at Benny's for awhile. "Hey!" T-Stone shouted before Mooney walked away. "Yall hang out at Benny's, not the pool hall." he said and rolled the window up. Mooney said ok and ran toward his crew. Boe crept away from the curb and started cruising down the Drive again. In two blocks they were pulling into the parking lot of the dog track. The track was a partial indoor - outdoor stadium that resembled the old Roman Amphitheater of ancient times. Snow was blowing past the lights shining down into the stadium and marching band music from within echoed over the walls. The dogs ran rain, snow, or shine and the Macktown citizens loved it. The races started at nine. It was eight so the boys waited in the car.
Back on the west side, the Buick sat down the street in eye distance from Johnny Dime's bar on Tenth Street. The boys were waiting for Dimes and his crew to leave and head for the dog races. Johnny was always at the races because he was the bookie for the city. Very predictable. A car pulled to a stop in front of the bar. Two guys got out and walked inside. Domino recognized one of the guys as Dean, one of Mink's boys and the one Butchy shot in the leg. "Oh, Mink's boys is there too huh." he said in a devious, low voice. Silk adjusted himself to start the car and Jackalonie sat forward from the back seat to get a better look. The car started and they waited quietly on edge. After a few minutes, the door to the bar opened and Dean and his partner, Max Clean, came out. Then a moment later, Johnny came out followed by his brother Danny. They were heading toward Dean's car and Silk pulled off slowly with the lights out. About fifty-feet later, as Dean was getting into the driver's side, the Buick drove up and Jackalonie rolled down the back window. Domino sat on the passenger door out the window facing the guys and then he and Jackalonie both opened up with their Tommy guns. Dean ducked into a running dash to the back of the car and he hit the ground and rolled underneath the back of it. Silk stopped the car, got out and started walking toward the guys firing his Tommy gun. Johnny Dimes ducked behind the car and Danny and Max Clean, ran back toward the front door of the bar. Bullets from the Tommy guns shattered the front windows of the bar and punched holes into Danny Dimes' back. He slammed into the door and hit the ground. Johnny looked back at his brother Danny and started shooting wildly at the Buick. The shooting stopped for a moment. Silk looked under the car for Dean and then around for Johnny Dimes. Jackalonie got out and walked around the car looking for Johnny Dimes too. Domino sat on the car door and fired again at Max Clean who disappeared into the side alley. Dean stayed under the car but Johnny was a sitting duck when Jackalonie walked up beside him. With Jackalonie on one side and Silk on the other, Johnny pulled up on one knee and aimed at Silk. Silk squeezed the Tommy gun trigger and twenty-five bullets pounded Johnny's chest, He lifted his arms and dropped his gun on the ground, then keeled over and his body slammed against the pavement. Silk and Jackalonie walked around the car waiting for Dean to come out, but he did not. Silk bent and spoke to Dean. "Throw your gun out dog." he said and jumped up on the trunk of the car. Jackalonie jumped up on the hood of the car. Dean did not move or say anything. Domino took out his forty-five and fired a shot at the car. Once again Silk spoke, this time louder. "Throw your gun out and get your ass from under there before we kill you!" he said and started stomping on Dean's car. Dean tossed his gun out onto the street and started crawling out from under the car.
"Ok, ok man, damn!" he said and sat up with his hands up. Silk and Jackalonie jumped down off the car. Silk told Dean to get in the Buick so Dean got up, walked to the Buick and got in. The target was Johnny and Danny Dimes, not Dean or anyone else. Jackalonie got in behind Dean and the Buick drove off.
Hump sat next to Nick Bones two rows from the race track and Willie Boe sat two rows behind Hump. While Hump and Bones negotiated a deal to divide Rosa Parks Drive into two sections, the lower side for Hump and the Pips drug sells and the upper side for the Players activities, Butchy, T-Stone and eight other Pips were strong-arming the customers and staff of Nikki Nikki's, a night club Bones owned on North Rosa Parks Drive. As far as Hump was concerned, Bones was not getting the message he had been sending for the past year. Hump wanted all of Rosa Parks, not half of it. He had the weed houses and the streets right now, but Hump wanted the clubs and the bars too, and Bones acted like he did not want to get up off those things fast enough. So, while Nikki Nikki's was being robbed, young Pips cocktailed two bars on Rosa Parks Drive, and two of the brothels that Bone's prostitutes worked out of. The ladies were forced into the streets at gun point by young pips, robbed of money and jewelry, and then the place was torched. Hump's plan for Bones was to confine him to one area, one club he could work out of so he could keep an eye on him, and for Bones and the Players to purchase their Nico supply from him only. Hump also wanted sixty-percent of what Bones earned in the prostitution ring and night club business also, respectively. At the end of their meeting, Hump stood up and said, "Nice doin' business with you dog." Shook his hand and left the track.