by Shawn Kelley


Cross sat at the living room coffee table staring at the money and drugs he received from Porsche. He hadn’t been on the streets twenty-four hours and things were already going according to plan. The five kilos of cocaine and eight pounds of high-grade marijuana were just what he needed. Now all he had to do was get in contact with his old connections.    And of course, make new ones, as well. The thought of how much things have changed over the past ten years entered his mind. As he watched the afternoon news broadcast, he shook his head in dismay. One headline after the other centered on the violence the city had been enduring. Bodies were being discovered everywhere. Gang violence and drug overdoses had taken over the city.    


Suddenly, Jazlyn, Cross’ girlfriend of three years walked into the room. “I’m surprised you’re still here and not out in the streets celebrating with your friend”, interrupting his thoughts as she approached him. Cross looked her up and down as the beautiful light brown-skinned woman with a small waist and flat stomach approached him. Cross was mesmerized by her beauty and hourglass figure, seeing the shape of her body for the first time outside of nurse’s scrubs.   He placed the stacks of money and drugs back into the bag, chuckling, “Nah, baby. I don’t have time to party. I got things to do. I can celebrate later.” Jazlyn noticed the drugs and money but remained quiet. She knew exactly the man Cross was and accepted his dangerous lifestyle. The two met three and a half years ago while he was incarcerated in a facility where she worked as a Registered Nurse in the medical unit.


After having several private conversations with her, Cross charmed himself into her life. It wasn’t long before she began smuggling drugs and cellular phones into the facility for him to sell. After the affair went on for over a year and a half, prison officials learned of the smuggling operation and began an investigation. Not long after officials began cracking down on corrupt staff, Jazlyn decided to resign. 


 However, the love affair between the two continued and Cross continued to manipulate and smuggle contraband into the facility. She just hoped one day he would decide to live a nice legitimate lifestyle. She sat on the arm of the couch and wrapped her arms around his neck.  “Well, I hope the things you need to do doesn’t interfere with our celebration. I knew I wasn’t going to see you yesterday or anytime last night, but I wasn’t expecting to wake up today to you sitting in my living room with all that money and dope. Whatever it is you have to take care of today make sure you make it back here tonight so the two of us could start enjoying a new life together.” She pressed her soft lips against his kissing him passionately. “Forget tonight. I been waiting too long for this”, he said in between kisses. 


 By 2:30 p.m, Cross was driving away from a car dealership behind the wheel of a brand new Mercedes. As he cruised the streets of the city he noticed a lot how differently things looked. He decided to do something he longed for and that was to visit his daughter, Fatimah. As he drove toward their home,  he recalled the day he was arrested for murder. “Forget you, Cross! I’m not going nowhere with you. Take that tramp with you. I’m tired of your stuff. All you do is lie cheat and kill people.” Keisha, his daughter’s mother, and his girlfriend were hysterical. She had just caught him once again cheating with another woman. This time, it was Angela, his childhood sweetheart, and the mother of his oldest child. “C’mon, Keisha! I don’t have time for this. I got people trying to kill me and they’re going to come at you and Fatimah to get to me. We’re going to my grandparent’s house on the countryside and I don’t want to hear any more about this. Now, shut up get Fatimah dressed and let’s go”, he barked.


Keisha didn’t move an inch. Instead, the two held a staring match until finally, Cross had enough. “Fine, stay here. But Fatimah’s going with me.” He walked towards her and pushed her out of his path to Fatimah’s bedroom. “Didn’t nobody tell you and Marco to start this beef with Carlos and his family. What did you think was going to happen after you killed his nephew and stole their money? Now you’ve dragged us into this and we have to hide from your stupid actions.”    Cross entered six-year-old Fatimah’s bedroom. Keisha grabbed him by the arm. As soon as he turned facing her, she punched him in the face causing him to take a step backward. Cross had become frustrated and angry by the sudden attack. He quickly responded with a punch of his own, sending her staggering backward and dropping her to the floor. “I told you to chill the hell out”, he growled. 


 “I’m getting my daughter out of here. You can stay if you want. I don’t care what happens to you.” Cross went to gather Fatimah’s belongings, but Keisha wasn’t about to let him leave with her child without a fight. She charged at him like a rabid dog swinging wildly, punching him repeatedly. Keisha’s punches wouldn’t stop as Cross let his anger get the best of him. Without hesitation, he defended himself and with one blow, he sent her flying backwards to the floor knocking her unconscious.      An hour later Cross and his friends gathered at his barbershop, “Cross Fades Barber Shop and Salon”. Cross had called his small circle of friends sharing with them what had transpired. Their laughter quickly ended as three police officers could be seen exiting their patrol vehicles and making their way to the front door. “Damn”, Cross said to himself. “What are you gonna do?”, asked Porche.


“I don’t know why you came here, anyway. You should’ve known she was going to call the police.” Cross showed no emotion as he sat calmly, waiting for the officers to enter. Porche stared out the window as several more units swarmed into the parking area. “There’s way too many police out there for domestic violence, bruh.” As soon as the officers saw Cross sitting in the barber’s chair with a smug smile on his face, they drew their weapons from their holsters. “Don’t move. You’re under arrest for First Degree Murder and Attempted First Degree Murder.”


Homicide Detective Aaron Washington walked in and smiled. “Rasheed Cross. I told you I was going to lock you up for good.”