Counterfeit Dreams 5: When Dreams Aren't Enough - Excerpt

September 30, 2016

 

“Good morning, Mr. Sanchez,” the lobby’s receptionist said as Jewel walked inside.

 

“What’s up, Shaunda? How you doing today?” he smiled.

 

“Better now that you’re here…”

 

“Don’t you have some work you could be doing right now?” Khailiah asked as she rolled her eyes.

 

“Yo, it’s too early in the morning for all that attitude,” Jewel said as they walked towards the elevators.

 

“That bitch is just hella professional…uggghhhh. ‘Good morning, Mr. Sanchez,’” she mocked.

 

“Ay, are you jealous or something, K?” he laughed.

 

“Get outta here with all that. This is a place of business, and I just think that mothafuckas should act accordingly. That’s all.”

 

“Sounds good.”

 

“Look, I’m not ‘bout to start with you today. I gotta couple of meetings I need to prep for before 9 a.m.”

 

“Yeah, you go do that,” Jewel said walking to his office.

 

“You need anything before I go?”

 

“Naw, I’m good.”

 

“I know you’re probably gonna get hungry a little later, so I’ll have breakfast brought up for you.”

 

“Yeah, make that happen fa sho. I’ll have some turkey sausage, a bagel with cream cheese, an orange juice…”

 

“…and your eggs sunnyside up. Yes, I know, J. You eat that shit almost every day,” she smiled, “Oh, yeah, before I forget, Smackz said he was gonna come down and see you.”

 

“At what time?”

 

“In like fifteen minutes,” Khailiah said looking down at her watch, “Get to it, boss.”

 

Jewel walked into his office and couldn’t help but to enjoy the view of Downtown Sacramento. It had been a minute since he had been there. With everything going on with Reagan and the business, it seemed like he was never home anymore. Laura insisted that he separate himself from the M.A.C. Boys completely and build his brand from the ground up, but he was the M.A.C. Boys. It ran in his blood. How could he let it go?

 

Ring. Ring. Ring. Ring. Ring. Ring.

 

“Hello?” Jewel said sitting down at his desk as he picked up the phone.

 

“Mr. Sanchez, I have a Stevin Smith on the phone for you.”

 

“Put him through,” he said sitting back in his imported, black-leather chair.

 

“One moment…BEEP.”

 

“Unc…what’s hannnnin’?” Jewel sang into the phone.

 

“Ay, cuz, it’s Smackz.”

 

“Nigga, why didn’t you just say that?” he laughed.

 

“‘Cause I’m Stevin Smith on paperwork, my nigga. What I look like calling up there and being like, ‘ay, can you tell Jewel this is Smackz?’ I got way more finesse than that, bruh.”

 

“Yeah, okay, nigga,” Jewel laughed again, “What’s up with it though? You on your way up here?”

 

“Naw, something come up at one of the warehouses, so I thought it would be better if I just hit you.”

 

“Everything good?”

 

“Oh, fa sho, but that’s what I wanted to talk to you about. Things have definitely stabilized for the M.A.C. Boys. With all that Kisino bullshit out of the way, our product has been flooding the streets. I don’t think there’s a corner in Sac that isn’t affiliated with the M-A-C right now. You, Sacario, and Hassan are the holy trinity out here. I swear to God.”

 

“Naw, just call me the fucking ‘Make-It-Happen Captain.’”

 

“Shit, I’ll call you whatever if we keep bringing money in like this. I’ma need an extra five-hundred of them thangs this month.”

 

“Damn, like that?”

 

“Straight like that. With Sacario still being in the Bay, we’ve been able to make our way across that bridge. Now, of course, we still got a lot of work to do, but ain’t nobody fucking with us right now. It’s only a matter of time before we own Cali.”

 

“You talking my language, cuz. Alright, let me make a few calls, and I’ll hit you back.”

 

“One.”

 

Even though Laura and her brother Stevin gave up their distribution rights to Jewel, Hassan, and Sacario, Smackz was more than proud to take his place at the head of the table as the leader of the M.A.C. Boys. He was honored to follow in the footsteps of their fallen uncle, but he had to remain true to himself. He couldn’t imagine being stuck in an office all day pretending to be legit. His belonged to the streets, so when Jewel offered him Sanchez & Associates, he politely declined. He wanted to be where the action was, and he figured where better to lead the troops than from out of the trenches.

 

After figuring out the numbers to Smackz’s newest request, Jewel picked up the phone.

 

“Hey, Jewel, what’s up?” Khailiah asked.

 

“Listen, I just got off the phone with Smackz, and he just put in another order for five-hundred.”

 

“Five-hundred, period?”

 

“No, an extra five-hundred for the month.”

 

“That’s big.”

 

“We are on our way, baby,” Jewel said grinning from ear-to-ear, “I need you to set up a time for me to meet up with Abuelo.”

 

“For this week?”

 

“ASAP.”

 

“Okay, I’ll let you know what I can find out.”

 

“Yep,” he said hanging up, but just as he did, another call came through, “What’s up, Shaunda?”

 

“Mr. Sanchez, someone’s here to see you. She says her name’s…”

 

“What’s up, brother?” Gabrielle said busting through the door.

 

“It’s good, Shaunda. It’s just my sister,” he said hanging up the phone.

 

“Just?” she asked with an attitude.

 

“What’s up, big head?” he asked, pulling her in for a hug, “What you doing down here?”

 

“I came to talk to the boss man.”

 

“Is that right?”

 

“Yep.”

 

“What you want now?”

 

“Don’t be like that. I don’t just come around when I want something,” she said smacking her lips, but Jewel

just sat there, “Okay, okay, I need a favor.”

 

“I don’t know why you be trying to play me,” he laughed, “What is it? You know I got you.”

 

“I want to come and work for you.”

 

“What?” he asked, standing up, “Work for me how?”

 

“Well, you know I’ve been helping Keith run Rich City Cutz and what not, right?”

 

“Yeah, how’s that going?”

 

“More than good. He’s ready to open up two more locations.”

 

“That’s dope.”

 

“With the expansion and everything, I just want to make sure that I’m doing everything I can to help him be successful, you know? Of course, he would never ask for my help, but this shit is all new to him.”

 

“What you need from me?”

 

“I want you to show me how to wash money.”

 

“Gabby, I…”

 

“Listen, I know how it sounds, but hear me out,” she said grabbing a water from out of the mini-fridge that sat off to the side, “With my business background and the little bit of legal stuff that I picked up from Dad, I know I can be an asset. Keith has a lot of money we can’t really do too much with. I know he can put it back into the shop, but I just want to make sure that I’m going ‘bout it the right way, and you’re a pro at that, my brotha.”

 

“Am I now?”

 

“Yes! Between all of your rental properties and Reagan’s gym franchising, you can’t tell me that you aren’t out here like a mothafucking wash and fold.”

 

“I don’t know, Gabby. Shit can get crazy over this way. We are talking about dope money.”

 

“I’m a big girl, Jewel. Please, just say yes,” she said giving him her big, puppy dog eyes.

 

“Have you talked to Pops about any of this?”

 

“I mean…not really. You know how he gets.”

 

“Let me think about, okay? I just don’t want anything to happen to you, and the closer you are to this shit, that’s not something I can guarantee.”

 

“Trust me, okay? I know what I’m doing. I just need a little guidance from my only brother,” she said pinching his cheek, “Plus, I would just be a paper-pusher. What could really happen?”

 

“Let me see what Sacario and Hassan think about it first.”

 

“Perfect! Being that Sacario loves me already, I know I’m in there for sure,” she smiled, “Alright, well, I just wanted to put that out in the air, just something for you to think about.”

 

“Well, thank you. It’s not like I don’t have enough shit on my plate right now.”

 

“Complaints. Complaints. This is what you always wanted, right?”

 

Jewel couldn’t even lie. He was sitting on top of the world, and he never planned on leaving his throne again.

 

“Where you ‘bout to go?”

 

“To go and pick up Nevaeh from daycare. Keith was supposed to, but he got caught up at the shop. Business has been poppin’ lately.”

 

“That’s what’s up,” Jewel said proud of his young nigga.

 

“Speaking of Keith,” Gabrielle said as she made her way towards the door, “Can you not tell him that I came by? I don’t want him to feel like I went behind his back or something.”

 

“Look, as long as he doesn’t bring it up, I won’t, but if he asks me, I’m not ‘bout to lie for you, Gabby. Straight up. I love you and everything, but I’m not tryna get in the middle of ya’ll shit.”

 

“Thanks for nothing,” she said punching him in the arm, “Dad either.”

 

“The same shit applies,” he laughed.

 

“I would do it for you,” she smiled.

 

“Good thing I’ve never asked you to,” he said following behind her as they made their way out of his office.

 

“Hey…Jewel,” Khailiah said catching them before they got onto the elevator, “The food just got here. I was gonna set it up in the conference room.”

 

“I’ll be right back,” he said before the doors closed in her face.

 

“Ummmm…who the fuck is that bitch?” Gabrielle asked, doing her best ‘Joi’ impression from Friday.

 

“Who...Khailiah?”

 

“I guess,” she said as the elevator dropped.

 

“She’s like my assistant.”

 

“Like your assistant, or she is your assistant?”

 

“She works for me, Hassan, and Sacario. She helps to keep our schedules straight and shit. As hard as it may seem to believe, it’s not that easy running a drug empire, Gabby.”

 

“I’m just saying, ya’ll seem pretty chummy for her to be your assistant…or whatever. What…ya’ll have breakfast together every day?”

 

“What? You tryna work for the Feds too?”

 

“She’s bad…I can’t even hate,” she smiled, “Wait, does Reagan know about her?”

 

“Bye, Gabby,” Jewel said as he walked her outside.

 

“Okay, okay, I will leave you and your mistress alone.”

 

“Why would you even put that out there into the universe like that?” he asked, shaking his head.

 

“I’m just playing,” she said continuing to laugh, “But I have to admit that it’s pretty funny seeing you get all flustered behind another bitch.”

 

“Where’d you park?”

 

“In the garage.”

 

“Well, you go ‘head and handle that, kid. I’ll hit you up later,” Jewel said pulling her in for a hug again. Just before he let her go, they both heard, BOP. BOP. BOP. BOP. BOP. BOP. BOP.

 

With no time to think, he threw her down onto the concrete behind a parked car as he noticed a black, unmarked Chevy Impala race down the street. Knowing that they were gunning for him, Jewel pulled his gun from out of his waistband and returned the fire, hitting the masked man who was hanging out of the window. Within seconds, the car was gone, but he knew that it would only be a matter of time before they came back.

 

“Gabby, Gabby, are you alright?” he asked, rushing to be by her side. He couldn’t help but to flashback to when she was in the hospital after being shot by Pop’s cousin KP. Both times, he knew he was the one to put her in harm’s way.

 

“Yeah,” she managed to say.

 

“You good? Did you get hit?” he asked giving her a once over.

 

“No, I don’t think so,” she said feeling over her body, “You good?”

 

“Yeah, I’m straight,” he said keeping his eye on each car that crept by. Luckily, the streets were deserted, but Jewel knew he was going to have to answer for what happened.

 

“Who the fuck was that?” Gabrielle asked as she tried to stand up, but her legs struggled to support her.

 

“I have no idea,” he admitted.

 

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