This story is a work of fiction, any similarities to persons or locales is purely coincidental.





The Crew:

Kent and Rayce were brothers, they were born and raised in West Oakland.  They lived in the projects, their mother had passed a year earlier; they occupied the apartment.

Kent loved reading, he was studious and extremely smart, he was a speed-reader who read 2-3 books a week and he attended night school where he was studying International Finance.  Rayce was discreetly gay, he was a makeup artist and fashion designer, he worked in a men’s boutique off Union Square in San Francisco.

Kent was involved with his childhood sweetheart, Diamond. She lived a few doors down.  They both worked at a café on 7th street.

Kent and Diamond were on their way to work, they encountered Mercury and his boys.  Mercury said, hey scrub, look at you in your work clothes, making minimum wage, driving a beat-up car, come work for me, make some real money, I’m always in need of good drug runners.  Kent and Diamond ignored him and kept walking.

Kent was grilling up burgers, Diamond was taking orders, the TV was blaring in the background, the newscaster reported, a computer firm in Silicon Valley was the scene of a robbery last night, valuable computer chips were stolen.

Diamond looked at Kent, he winked.

After work, Kent and Diamond went to a park, where they had a picnic.  Kent had packed a picnic basket with cold chicken, cheeses and wine.  When they finished eating, they headed over to Emeryville to catch a movie.  After the movie, they attended a jazz club where Howard Hewitt was performing.

Afterwards, Kent and Diamond returned home, Mercury was outside slinging rock. They walked past him.  They entered Kent’s apartment and went into Rayce’s bedroom.  They were shocked to see a local college basketball player.  The basketball player hurriedly put on his jacket and rushed out.  Diamond said, damn Rayce, you getting busy with him, I thought he was engaged, Rayce said, he is.   Diamond shook her head.

Kent said, let’s get down to business.  With the computer chip heist last night, we came out way ahead, the company has agreed to buy the chips back at an astronomical rate.   Also, the chips we stole last month, they were all sold via the classifieds in a computer magazine.  I will invest the money in an overseas numbered bank account tomorrow.  Keep up appearances, continue keeping a low profile, don’t make any new purchases, before long, we will be out of here and living overseas.  Hell, trafficking in computer chips is safer than drugs, just as profitable and chips have less security risks than a Brinks armored truck.

They finished up the evening at a party given by a neighbor.  The music was slamming and the food was good.   The mood turned sour when Mercury arrived.  He tried to talk to Diamond in front of Kent.  They had words, Kent and Diamond left.

They went back to Kent’s place and made love to the sounds of Jaheim.  Afterwards, Diamond got up and cooked some deep fried Red Snapper and home fries as Mary J. played in the background.

They had dinner in bed, after eating, Kent turned to her and said, you are my beautiful Black Queen and I am going to give you the world. Diamond took Kent’s face in her hands and said, and you are my brilliant black King.

Kent said, remember how I read every James Bond book that ever came out, I use to fantasize about being worldly and rich. Diamond said, and you will be, I have faith in you, he said, that’s why I love you, she said, I love you to, he kissed her, they made love again. Afterwards, they lay in each other’s arms as they watched the sun come up.

Rayce was on his way to work when he ran into an old gay acquaintance, Rayce was surprised at how good he looked, the last time he saw him, he was a bum begging on the streets.  Rayce greeted him and complimented him on his appearance, he told Rayce, man, I intentionally had someone infect me with AIDS, I qualify for all these programs, I get a check, free food, housing, everything. Rayce was speechless as he backed away.

Rayce returned home and spent part of the evening on the computer, scanning the men seeking men personals on Afterwards, he dressed and took the Bart to Berkeley.  From there, he took a cab to a gay bathhouse.  He had protected anonymous sex with two strangers, he returned home exhausted.

The next day, Kent was outside reading a book on overseas investments and money management, Mercury knocked the book out of Kent’s hand. Man, why you reading this shit?  It ain’t gonna help you, we all stuck here, we ain’t getting out.  You better get with the program and start slinging.

Kent picked up his book, looked at Mercury and said, that attitude of defeat will keep you here, instead of trying to better yourself through education, you sell drugs to your people.   You will either end up dead or in jail. If you want to lead a life of crime, get into white- collar crime.

Kent continued, I use to do petty crimes, shop-lifting and shit, I got a record but I decided; that’s not the life I want to lead.  If you want to be involved in a life of crime, think big. Instead of robbing liquor stores for $200 dollars and slinging rock, take a year off, like some of these white crews, and plan a Brinks robbery, you could be looking at millions.  Only thing, some blacks can’t seem to work together, we bicker over bullshit, challenge authority and can’t plan shit or get shit done.  We have to learn to put our pride and ego aside to get the job done.

Mercury said, fuck you! I got a new whip, I’m draped in ice, I wear designer clothes, I sleep with a different bitch every night, I don’t need your advice, you wish you had my life.  Kent looked him and said, no I don’t!

Mercury said, don’t be turning your nose down at me, you ain’t nothing but a hater, driving around here in a car that backfires, working and living in poverty, the only thing you got going for you is your woman and you got the nerve to try and give me advice, you ain’t qualified; shut the fuck up!  Kent got up and said, yeah, whatever man.

Kent attended classes, after school, Diamond and Rayce picked him up.  Diamond and Rayce were wearing black jumpsuit's that Rayce designed and made, Kent changed into his jumpsuit in the car.

Later that night, the evening newscasts reported “A truck carrying millions of dollars of computer chips” was hijacked as it left San Francisco International Airport.

Two weeks later on July 4th. In a carefully orchestrated heist conducted in the middle of the night, thieves stormed a computer chips building with firearms, wearing uniform jump suits and masks.  The security guard was subdued.  They made off with millions of dollars of computer chips.  Afterwards, they dumped their disguises and firearms in a wooded area near the scene of the robbery; Kent was distracted by the fireworks and didn’t wipe his firearm down properly before dumping it.

The next day, Kent made plans to distribute the computer chips on the black market to the Far East and Eastern Europe.  The chips went for $150-$200 (apiece) on the legitimate market and went for $50-$75 on the black market, since computer chips were stolen by the hundreds and sometimes thousands, do the math.

Later that afternoon, Kent and Diamond went to work.

Across town at the crime scene, Detective Fleming retrieved the disguises and firearms that the thieves left behind.  The crime lab was unable to lift any evidence from the disguises but they got a partial print from one of the firearms, it belonged to Kent Webster.

Kent was arrested. Diamond made bail.  While he was out on bail, Kent told Diamond, I need to make sure I stay out on bond, we need to make a run for it, I have a plan.

Kent went and had gold caps put on two of his front teeth.  He arrived in court with sagging pants, a throwback jersey, a bandana tied around his head and gold ropes around his neck.

When the judge saw Kent, he asked the prosecutor, are you sure this man is a criminal mastermind?  When the judge asked Kent if he understood the charges, Kent scratched his head and said, huh?  The judge asked him to answer yes or no, Kent replied, I guess yes, wait, maybe no, well, yes.

The judge agreed to let Kent stay free on bond until a trial date was set.  Kent smiled as he left the courtroom with Diamond. Detective Fleming seethed in the background.

When Kent and Diamond returned to the projects, Mercury saw them, he said, I’ll be goddamned, ain’t this some shit, you all thugged out with your throwback and sagging jeans.  I knew you would come around, talking all that anti-thug shit the other day, you ain’t nothing but a hypocrite, square ass Negro.  Kent and Diamond kept walking.

Over the next few weeks, Kent and Diamond noticed that Detective Fleming had them under surveillance.

Kent, Diamond and Rayce had a meeting.  Kent said, we have enough money socked away and our passports are in order under different names, it’s time to make a move.  Rayce asked, how we going do that with that fat cop watching our every move?  Kent said, that’s where you come in.

The next day, Mercury was gunned down in a dispute over drugs, Kent called Rayce and Diamond, he said, put the plan in motion, now!

In all the chaos surrounding Mercury’s death, several cops were interviewing residents, it was a madhouse, hardly anyone noticed when one slender women and two hefty women got into a cab with suitcases.

They got to the airport and booked a one-way flight for three to the Cayman Islands.  On the flight, Diamond complimented Rayce on his excellent makeup work, Rayce and Kent looked just like women.

After they landed, they checked into a hotel, Kent and Rayce got out of the women clothes and cleaned up.  An hour later, they were at a bank withdrawing three million dollars.  They split it equally.

From there, they flew to Venice Italy.

A few weeks later, Kent was dressed in an Italian silk suit (his James Bond attire) and Diamond was dressed in Prada.  They were having dinner at St. Mark’s Square in Italy.

Afterwards, they got in Kent’s Aston-Martin sports car and drove to the Canal Grande.  They rented a motorboat and traveled across Italy’s great road of water.

Later that evening, they enjoyed the Venice Carnival as they attended masked balls and numerous parades.

The next morning, Diamond awoke in the villa she shared with Kent and Rayce on the outskirts of town.   She went to the kitchen to cook breakfast.  Rayce and his Italian boyfriend stumbled out of the bedroom.  They kept her company as she prepared porterhouse steaks, grits, eggs, and freshly squeezed orange juice.

Suddenly it grew quiet, Diamond was uncomfortable as she slowly turned around to face Kent.  He was holding a six-carat diamond ring on one knee, he asked her to marry him.  She excitedly said yes.  They embraced as Rayce and his boyfriend clapped loudly.

Kent said, didn’t I tell you I would give you the world my beautiful black Queen, Diamond smiled, yes you did my brilliant black King.



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