The cost of vengeance
The grand jury didn’t return a murder indictment against me. I was so relieved I cried. Now that that was behind me, I had something else on my mind-the women who robbed me. They didn’t follow me from Jimmy’s; they were there at my apartment waiting for me. They had to know that I would be at Jimmy’s, and where I lived. I looked at Teena and wondered how they knew that.
I went home with Shay and Teena. They had a surprise party waiting there for me. “Surprise!” Even though I wasn’t in the mood for a party, I acted like I was having a good time, but my mind was focused on how them women knew where I lived. Sometime during the party, I sat down and watched Teena. She was all over the place, like she always was, being the life of the party. After awhile, Shay came and sat with me. “Something bothering you?”
“Why you say that?”
“This is your party and you’re the only one that’s not having fun.”
“Just got a lot on my mind.”
“That why you been sweatin’ Teena all night?” Shay asked.
I didn’t answer.
Shay stood up. “Come on. We need to talk.”
Shay led me by the hand into the bedroom. We sat on the bed and I ran it all down to her. How no matter how much we talked about not doing business at Jimmy’s, Teena called me to do business at Jimmy’s. I told her about the two women who were watching me, and that it was those same two women that robbed me. “They didn’t follow me from Jimmy’s; they were waiting there for me, Shay. They had to know that I would be at Jimmy’s that night, and they had to know where I lived.”
“Wait here a minute,” Shay said and left the room. When she came back, Teena was with her. “Tell her what you just told me, Nina.”
I ran through it again.
“Hold up. You think I set you up?” Teena asked.
“We just talkin’, Teena,” Shay said.
“I ain’t talkin’ to you, Shay. Nina, you think I set you up?”
“Like Shay said, we just talkin’.”
“You do think I set you up. That hurts bitch. Long as we’ve known each other, as much shit as three of us have been through together, you think I would do some shit like that? That shit hurts,” Teena said, and I could see the hurt on her face.
“If you would stop being so hurt and think about it, you’d understand why we had to have this conversation,” Shay said.
“Think about that shit, Teena. Nina don’t go to Jimmy’s, that’s your spot,” Shay began. “You call her up there and there are two women watchin’ her. The same two women that are waiting at her apartment to rob her. How did they know where she lived? How did they know she would be at Jimmy’s that night?”
“Okay, okay; when you run it down like that I can see why Nina’s lookin’ crazy at me,” Teena said.
“In case you ain’t noticed, it ain’t just Nina lookin’ at you crazy,” Shay said.
“I get it, Shay, I get it. But believe me; I didn’t set you up, Nina. First of all, Shay, didn’t I call you first and you said you didn’t have it?”
“Shay?” I asked.
“True, she did call me.”
“Was I gonna rob Shay’s ass too.” I wanted to say maybe, but I didn’t. “How did I know you was goin’ back to your apartment? You was on some dick when I called you, and you said that you were in a hurry to get back to that dick.”
“Nina?” Shay asked.
“Yeah, that’s what I said.” I had to laugh at myself ’cause I got a little wet just thinking about gettin’ some more of that dick. But for reasons that I understand, Victor didn’t want to see me anymore.
“And if I was gonna set you up to get robbed, why wouldn’t I set it up so you would have to go get the stash where the real weight is, instead of at your apartment, where I know for a fact that you got a key at best?”
Me and Shay looked at each other. “I’m sorry, Teena,” I said.
“You ain’t gotta be sorry, Nina. I understand why y’all had to come at me like that. Shit, if it was either of you bitches, I woulda pulled the same stunt.”
“Anyway, I’m sorry too,” Shay said. And we had a group hug.
“I love you two bitches. I would never do nothin’ to hurt you,” Teena said.
“I’m glad that’s settled,” Shay said.
“No, it’s not,” I said and Teena and Shay looked at me. “The one thing we agree on is that it was a setup, right?”
“Right,” they both agreed.
“The question is: how did they know where I live?”
“Who knows where you live?” Shay asked.
“Not many people know where I live. At least that was the case before this party,” I said and thought about moving.
“So who?” Teena asked.
“You two, Kenyatta, Leon, and Cedric knew, but he’s dead,” I said.
“I think we can eliminate him.”
I thought about that night and that’s when it hit me. “There is one more person that knows where I live.”
“Who’s that?” my girls both asked simultaneously.
“Victor?” the both asked in unison, again.
That night we decided to watch Victor. It felt like we were cops as we took turns sitting outside his house and following him wherever he went. I followed him to a house and waited for him to come out. When he came out, my two female bandits came out with him. When I told Teena and Shay about it, we argued about what we were gonna do about it. “We kill them,” I said quietly.
“We?” Shay asked.
“Yes, we, Shay. We gotta do this,” I said.
“What; now that you’ve killed somebody you’re a killer?” Shay asked.
“That’s not it, Shay. I don’t think I’m a killer, but we gotta do this. We can’t let this go without us doing anything about it. We can’t have people thinking that they can just rob us and we let it go.”
“What you say, Teena?” Shay asked.
Teena looked at both of us. “I agree with Nina. We gotta kill them. Three of us, three of them.”
We planned how we’d do it. Shay was shaky. “We’ll do it together,” I said.
“We’ll both be right there with you,” Teena promised.
That next night, I drove to the house I saw the women with Victor and waited. The three of us sat in the car and talked about everything, except what we were there to do. The only thing that was different was that we all had on bandanas and gloves. We had been there for a couple of hours when the front door opened. “There go one of them,” I said as she walked out of the house and locked the door.