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About | Introduction | Excerpt #1 | Excerpt #2 | Excerpt #3 | Excerpt #4 | Excerpt #5
Part 3 :

50's descent into the world of illegal narcotics sales is well on its way and there's nothing pretty about it. He's lured by the money but at the same time feels conflicted about the violence that comes with it. He's been around the harshest of realities, and in this excerpt he remembers a tandem who were never shy about murder.

I f anyone aside from Godfather knew their real names, he never told. We just knew them as Grits and Butter, which made sense because they were countrified and inseparable. Where you saw one, you saw the other; and where you saw both, you saw trouble. All anyone could ever really say about Grits and Butter was, "I'm glad they're on our side." And if Grits and Butter weren't on your side, there wasn't much to say about them because you'd never take them for silent killers.

They had come from North Carolina. Actually, they had been sent out of North Carolina not quite chased out, not exactly banished, and not running. Definitely not running, because first and foremost, Grits and Butter ran from nothing. I don't even think those n---as knew how to run. According to them, it was totally their own decision to leave the only home they had ever known to journey north. The multiple life sentences they faced if the authorities picked them up? Oh, please. They chose not to face those charges, just like they chose to leave three men dead, one paralyzed, one child in a coma, and two women seriously wounded during what was supposed to be a routine cash pickup. The story was that the mayhem was the result of no more than ten bullets, despite the fact that all but one of the victims was running at the time of being shot.

When Godfather introduced Grits and Butter to me, he said that they were there to be enforcers. I couldn't detect anything especially "enforceful" about them. I figured the old man was either keeping tabs on me or practicing more nepotism, like he was doing with Derrick. Grits and Butter immediately took a liking to Markie because of his slick talk. They looked at his joking like, Markie don't give a f--- about no one. They had never spent much time around kids their own age, so to them there was no such thing as n---as cracking on each other no "your mama" jokes, no dozens. It's like Grits and Butter weren't raised inasmuch as they were bred for destruction, like the top students in a mercenary training camp or something.

I didn't realize that Grits and Butter played by different rules until the day I was complaining about this kid Phil. Phil had owed me money for weeks, but I couldn't track him down. Either I had bad luck or Phil had radar, because I would run into people who had just been with Phil, who swore he was still just around the corner, who were expecting him any minute, or what have you but I never ran into Phil. So I said, "When I find this n---a, I'm gonna kill him."

Grits and Butter were checking out the new set of guns Derrick had given them twin P-Series 9mm Parabellum Rugers, stainless steel with black rubber grips, just like they had asked for. Me, Ray-Ray, and Markie were working in an assembly line: Ray-Ray was bagging the capsules into G-packs; Markie was in charge of stuffing the rocks into vials; and I was the first in line, slicing the coke cookies into pebble-size pieces. I was complaining about Phil when I cut my thumb with the razor. "F---in' Phil," I said. "You see what happens when I think about this motherf---er? I think about this motherf---er and I cut myself. I tell you, I'ma kill this motherf---er when I see him." Now, I'm just talking sh--. I meant kill figuratively. Plus, I was pissed because I had just chopped off a chunk of my finger. But Grits and Butter just didn't get it. If I had known how they were, I would have said, "Listen guys, I'm a little heated right now. I don't mean for you to go out and shoot Phil." But I didn't know how they were, so I didn't say anything and Phil was shot dead in his chest at point-blank range that night.

The next day, I was telling everyone that I heard Phil got killed. Even though it kind of f---ed me up, I was like, Good for his ass. But what really f---ed me up was that Markie was laughing when he told me that Grits and Butter killed Phil. That part scared me.

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