He remembers back to the time before he purchased the Pacifica property when he had problems with another dealer named Sherman. In the heated discussion Sherman said to Mitch “And I know where you live too, Mitch.” Digger slept in the hallway just outside Mitch’s bedroom door on the floor for a week until the situation was worked out. Carmine becomes restless waiting “Mitch, come on, we gotta go.” After turning to face Carmine, Mitch turns back to Digger. “It’s cool Digger, man, and everything is going to be alright, I’m telling you, I got a couple of little birds flying on my side.” With that Mitch winks at Digger and turns to get into the car. Digger watches as they drive out of sight. The four men take the long ride out to the Hayward/Concord area to the home of Don V in silence. Don V has a huge spread and his parlor sits off to the rear next to the extended driveway of the big two story estate. Even full of dog food, Mitch is a bit uneasy as he walks into Don V’s parlor through the rear entrance. Mitch feels that if push comes to shove other than the fact that he is a cash cow for Don V, he has two last things working either, for him or against him, his kid growing in Maria’s belly and Maria, herself. Mitch has learned that Italian men do not discuss business with women or children present. He has adopted that same rule in his own life and affairs along with several others that Don V and Carmine have taught him in their business dealings. And as a rule Italian women never, ever, interrupt closed door business discussions involving men. Mitch’s eyes begin to focus in the dimly lit parlor and he looks around for Maria or Caprice, Maria’s mother. Mitch reflects that Caprice and her sister, Amadora, just love him and are always playing with his hair, pinching his face cheeks and talking to each other in Italian. Mitch smiles as he thinks that those two old women probably have fantasies about my pretty black ass. Mitch thinks of his Madea and Mama Jo, who he hadn’t seen or talked to in over five years now and their not knowing if he’s alive or dead, and now maybe they’ll never know. But Lord, I don’t want to die, not now, not like this. He further thinks of his granddad, Dandy, who used to regularly tell him, “There will come a time in your life when you’re going to wish for these very days, Snoopy.” Well, he’s definitely wishing for them right about now. Mitch figures that it won’t be done here anyway, not at Don V’s home, would it? He thinks whatever it is it won’t be long now before he knows. Mitch remembers well Don V’s words from when he first started working for him. “You’ll be the richest black guy in the ghetto, just don’t even think about trying to cross me, and you’ll live to enjoy it.” Just then Mitch’s reflections are interrupted by Don V standing close to him and pointing in his face. “Stupid, stupid, stupid, what are you stupid or using your own supply?” Mitch thinks so that’s it, they know I’m using heroin, and therefore making me a liability. Don V continues his rant, “Now, I’m going to have a nigger grandchild? No way, no fucking way!” Now Mitch gets it, but wonders how does Don…” His thoughts are interrupted by a door opening behind him and he braces himself by clutching tightly onto the arms of the chair he’s sitting in facing the window. Then he thinks, here I am with my stupid ass going to die over some bitch’s pussy. He’s screwed off a multimillion dollar opportunity and his life by allowing drugs to affect his mind and judgment in a way that hinders him from advocating his business sensibly. His alter ego isn’t much help right about now as it quips, we live by the pussy, so we die behind the pussy. Mitch takes no particular humor in that prospect. It is Mrs. Caprice Di Stefano walking into the room. Mitch feels relief as he thinks thank God, nothing will happen with her here, but why is she here? This is very uncustomary for an Italian female, especially Don V’s wife. Caprice sits on the sofa diagonally across from Mitch and doesn’t look up or speak to anyone as she begins knitting. It is quiet, too quiet in there for Mitch, but no news is good news for him right about now. Mitch looks around at the faces of Don V, Carmine, Rudy and Pauley, all of which show the same perplexity as Mitch’s own facial expression at Caprice even being there. Don V uses his hands expressively as he is noticeably aggravated with his wife. He speaks in Italian and she responds in the same, as the exchange briefly goes back and forth. Then, she speaks in English “I don’t care Black, White, or Purple, Maria’s baby will have a father and a mother just like I did and you did.” She just sits there knitting and not ever looking up. Don V finally throws up his hands and tells Caprice something in Italian, to which she nods, gets up and walks out of the room as quietly and politely as she entered. Don V turns to Carmine and says, “Get him out of here.” Carmine taps Mitch on the shoulder, and as they are leaving Don V points his finger at Mitch menacingly again. “For whatever the reason the Gods have smiled upon your black ass, and you better be a damn good husband to my only daughter, or else?” Mitch is thinking husband, right about now I’d marry the Antichrist if it’ll get me out of this one. Outside Carmine stares down into Mitch’s eyes before getting into the car, and also puts his finger into Mitch’s face. “Mitch, don’t have my sister around your pimping bullshit or I swear… other than that I’m happy for you and my sister.” He gives Mitch a hug of all things, a hug. On the ride back there is the same silence as coming. However, on this ride Mitch pats himself on the back feeling once more that through his cunning, manipulative people skills and game, he has again prevailed. Stack figured with Mitch out of the way he could slide right on in and assume the lead role with the Italians. Mitch thinks Stack should have figured that if Don V and Carmine thought he was suitable for the lead role he would’ve already been in it. It was Stack that let Don V know that Mitch is having a liaison with Maria. Mysteriously, of all the people, Walter finds Stack overdosed about a week before Mitch’s wedding. Mitch finds himself in a big wedding. It’s like a parade of underworld figures, Blacks and Italians, and of course cops are everywhere. Don V gives Mitch and Maria a house in Half Moon Bay as a wedding gift. There is a large pool with sauna and a tennis court, four bedrooms on one point five acres, and the best part, free and clear. Mitch feels that he’s in with this family like no other black dealer, hustler or person has ever been, even Fast, because Mitch is now just that, family, whether they like it or not. Mitch high sides as he tells Digger “My strong position within that family came by way of injection.” They laugh and make light of it, but Mitch thinks he don’t see what the big deal is because Don V, himself, has at least one kid in the hood from playing across the tracks; plus, Mine can’t get enough of black women. Nobody sees any of that as a big deal, and in a perfect world they wouldn’t about Mitch and Maria either. His ever present alter ego reminds him, we don’t live in a perfect world. Mitch feels like whatever works. Of course, when asked by his guys how he pulled it off, Mitch lies and tells them it’s the way he planned it all to work out. He figures it might just as well have been his plan, because by hook or crook, he did get out of it. Lana gets pregnant, and Mitch thinks damn, after Lana halfway insinuates she wants to keep it, because it’s Mitch’s. “Bitch, I don’t give a fuck whose it is, I don’t need another fucking kid.” “You’re having one with that guinea bitch you married. So all of a sudden I’m not fucking good enough to have your ki

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