The smoke and the fans are the only things that move in the room. The voices have died around me. I'm so drunk, but the speed balances my inebriation, so that the temper that might usually rise is content to slither coldly in my gut.
Charlie, if your spirit lingers, guide my hand, and bless the bullet; if it flies, it does to honor you.
I make a slow sigh as I cross myself, a dramatic play, I admit, as my guests and my boys are frozen to their roots; as I make them all wait. I've never been much for my family's Catholic heritage, but if any prayer has ever mattered, it's this one.
Expectancy shuttles between me and my untimely interruption. My guests are to my left as I face the door, all of them seated in a line behind eclectic, retro tables. Joshua, Isaiah, and Jack are to my right, also seated. I had just taken the floor to speak, when Noah crept inside. Now, Noah has resumed his guard post, with his barrel trained on the driver outside, and Frederick stands rigid with his beautiful piece of a gun held steadily on his only mortal enemy. Oh, how quickly momentum can change.
Charlie, if you have moved on, from your place in heaven please look away. My actions are only mine.
I drop my eyes to the door, to Derrik, the Jester as he's known in dirtier circles. There is sweat on my skin, but my gaze is so very cold. I hook my fingers on Charlie's gun without looking at it, and it drags on the table as I pick it up. The sound creates turbulence in the suspense. Its weight becomes more familiar every time I hold it, and I wonder if I'd feel anything if I put a slug in the Jester's gut right now. I point the chrome .40 at him, just to see if my nerves stir. All eyes on me. Still nothing.
So I say, “You are not welcome here. You know that.”
My brother used to say that the secret to owning the moment was to find the right vibes and surf them. I don't know if “right” is a good adjective, but it feels like some higher power guides my movements just now. I take slow steps closer, and Derrik's hands inch a little further in the air. The automatic toothy smile on his lips falters as he finds himself staring down my barrel. I wonder if he recognizes Charlie's gun.
An old Cadillac and a gun are all she has left of her brother. Three men stand ready to follow her into the darkest pits of hell to avenge him. The Cadillac leads them down a swamp road lined with ghosts, consequence and the tangled web of business and pleasure, into the underbelly of New Orleans crime as she fights for vengeance for her brother.
Joshua was just a rookie, a kid caught up in a drug ring. It’s fun and dangerous, all easy, until it kills his best friend and drags what’s left of his companions into a war. All he knows is he would walk into hell with her, and she might ask before it’s over…
Isaiah thought he’d seen everything—but watching Charlie die tore the world apart. The regime is changing, and with the new leader come more questions than answers. He was Charlie’s right hand, but what will he be to her?
Frederick came up on the streets, learned fast and hard and dirty. His past has always been a sticking point for the group, but one person has never questioned him, and he’ll do anything for her…
Maria never wanted to take over Charlie’s operation. But with her brother dead, and vengeance the only thing she has left, she makes her first decision: drag Charlie’s killers down.
It might just be her last.