Now, their deadly display of violence and bloodshed has drawn heavy attention and heat to the family name. Once their mothers catch wind of their dangerous activities, they call in a favor from an associate they are confident can guide the boys in their absence. They ask him to help the Santana boys develop their game to a successful level.
Little do they know it’s already too late.
The feds are already on their every move. In an effort to get a closer look into the family’s affairs, the feds begin recruiting and making deals like it’s an NBA draft. Power struggles ensue that cause the family to be divided and severely weakened. Under those circumstances, the feds take full advantage and go to great lengths to bring the Santanas down—permanently.
The deception, disloyalty, and dishonor escalate to an all-time high, leaving a path of death and destruction in its wake. When the walls close in, who will live and who will die? Who will snitch, and how many will lie? Who will ride hard when freedom is on the line?
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Mean Streets of Philly
Ten Years Later
A few mourners stood around the candles and teddy bears that marked the area where Li'l Reek was executed last night on Fifty-fourth Street. His mother was on her knees touching the area where his blood still stained the concrete. At that point, she let go of all hopes and denials that maintained the little bit of sanity that still existed within her. Without warning, she let out a loud horrifying scream — one that only the brokenhearted, stolen soul individuals can relate to. Several of his family members and friends rushed to her side with the intent to provide comfort, aid, and support. To no avail was their efforts. Nothing anyone said or did could bring her child back. The realization of that alone left her mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually ruined.
The site of the memorial had become one of deep sadness and grief as friends and loved ones bonded and grieved the senseless killing of their lost loved one. Among the many mixed feelings in the air, some wanted peace, others wanted justice, vengeance was promised, and, of course, everybody wanted answers. As if a dark gray cloud suddenly appeared and hovered over the memorial, the triple-white 750 BMW and its occupants had indeed possessed the same threats, dangers, and destructions as that of an unexpected, unpredictable storm. Pulling directly alongside the memorial, their thunderous sound system blasted over the crowd as if it was an outdoor concert. Gangster music echoed "Murder One" lyrics loud and clear for all to hear. The Clipse classical hood anthem, "What happened to that boy?" produced an obvious message to anyone that could read between the crafty violent punch lines. "He was talking shit and we put a clap into that boy."
Neither the luxury vehicle nor its occupants were a stranger to the mourners or the neighborhood. No introductions were necessary. These individuals needed no invite, permission, or inquiries. They made ways, broke rules, and did as they pleased, establishing order and control through murder, extortion, and intimidation. These men were none other than the infamous Santana boys. On the streets of Philadelphia they wreaked havoc, made money, and set examples of how to do it, how to take it, and how to keep it.
After a few minutes of observing the crowd from their vehicle, the doors on the BMW swung open. The three young men stepped out and walked through the crowd until they reached the exact spot where Li'l Reek was murdered. Each of them wore a white T-shirt with what appeared to be tributes to Li'l Reek's memory. Upon closer look, the true writings inscribed on the T-shirts brought about shock, fear, and disgrace. The front of the shirts read, "Rest in Peace." below a picture of Li'l Reek. Below the bottom of the picture the words "Kill All Rats." At that very moment, the smart ones among the mourners began to walk away. They didn't dare to protest, accuse, or defend. Ain't want to see nothing or hear nothing. But for the few that decided to stay and take "a stand" for their neighborhood and against violence, they would soon learn the consequences of their actions.
Ka'Leaf Santana, known in the streets as just Leaf, was the wildest of the family. His brother Sha'Ron and cousin Gus were shooters as well but not like him. Leaf was an animal. It was clearly displayed in his actions. After walking up to the pole where the mourners had placed teddy bears, candles, and balloons, he unbuckled his pants, pulled out his johnson, and urinated all over them. Li'l Reek's mother was the only one to defend her son's honor.
"You sick motherfucker. How dare you. How dare you. I know you killed my baby and —" Before she could speak another word, Leaf cut her off.
"Man, fuck this rat-ass nigga bitch," he said before removing his gun and shooting wildly over the heads and under the feet of the mourners that mistakenly stayed behind when they could have left. "Get the fuck off my block, crying over this bitch-ass nigga!" he screamed with agitation and hatred. The crowd dispersed and ran for cover. They were shocked, scared, and hurt that someone would bring more pain and grief to them during a terrible time like this. And just like that passing storm, after unleashing rain and fury, the Santanas disappeared into the darkness as fast as they appeared.
What Li'l Reek's family and friends didn't know was that there was a reason he was laid up in the morgue. A few nights ago, the police did a raid on a few blocks that the Santana boys controlled. Several workers were arrested and charged with drug possession. Li'l Reek was among those arrested. After being bailed out, two of the workers swore to Gus that in the middle of the night, a detective came downstairs at two in the morning and removed Li'l Reek from the cell. When he returned hours later, they said he smelled like cheesesteaks and Newports. In instances like this, it could only mean one thing.
Immediately after bailing them out, they were all ordered to come to the block for a meeting. Once there, everyone was given a chance to speak. When confronted with the accusations made against him, Li'l Reek broke down, crying and begging for mercy. His pleas fell on deaf and uncompassionate ears. To set an example to the rest of the workers, he was executed by Leaf in broad daylight. Shots to his head and face ensured that he would get a closed casket. Leaf felt as though Li'l Reek wasn't worthy of a proper traditional funeral.
Meanwhile, across town, Trish was just wrapping up a phone conversation with one of her girlfriends. Her friend was always up on the latest news, gossip, and rumors going around the neighborhood. The information Trish had just heard not only disappointed her but enraged her like never before. Having already texted Gus 911, she knew he'd be walking through that door any second. As she impatiently waited, she paced back and forth in the living room, anticipating the second he came walking through that door. When she saw his BMW finally pull up in the driveway, she rushed to the door to meet him. As soon as the door opened, the first thing she saw was the T-shirt. It only added more fuel to the fire.
"What the fuck is wrong with you, Gus? Are you using your fucking head? You niggas think y'all untouchable. If y'all don't get killed, y'all going the fuck to jail," she snapped. Her eyes started to tear up from that thought alone.
Trish and Gus had been together for four years and had been through a lot of ups and downs in that time. She was five feet eight, with a petite build, bronze complexion, hazel eyes, and long, curly hair. Although her frame was thin, she had hips that curved and a plump, round ass that could be seen from the front. Not only was she beautiful, but she had charm and brains to go along with it. She loved Gus, but she hated the way he behaved when he was with his cousins. It was as if they brought out an ignorant side of him. She knew he wasn't on the right side of the law when she got with him, but he didn't act like a typical street dude. He always treated her with respect and wasn't the type to walk around acting like a thug. Whenever he got with his cousins Sha'Ron and Leaf, though, he became a completely different person. She always feared the worst whenever he hung out with them.
Gus stood there at a loss for words. If it was one thing that he couldn't stand, it was to see his girl cry. Besides that, he hated how the streets talked and how fast word would get back to her. Rats on top of fucking rats, he mumbled softly. The smooth talker he considered himself to be, he figured he could easily talk himself out of it. Producing his charming smile, he wrapped his arms around her waist and spoke softly.
"Come on, Trish, calm down, baby. It ain't even that deep," he calmly downplayed the situation.
"Not that deep? Gus, you're running around with your dumbass wild cousins shooting up everything, and then broadcasting it with these fucking T-shirts. What the fuck you mean it ain't that deep, Gus?"
"You're right, baby. I'm slipping. These fucking streets don't understand no other language. But I promise you this time, I'ma move different," he swore before removing the T-shirt and throwing it in the trash.
"Gus, your mom left you in charge because you're a thinker. You've got to control them niggas. If you can't, cut them off. Because that's what your mom told me on the last visit, and I'm not trying to hear her fucking mouth. That shit make us look bad and incompetent."
He knew in his heart she was right. Women like her were hard to find, and he was very appreciative to have her in his corner. To express his love, he grabbed her by the waist and held on to her tightly while moving his hands through her hair. He found her lips with his and gently inserted his tongue into her mouth. The intense kissing quickly escalated. Once he removed the rest of his clothes, he did the same to Trish.
Starting at her neck, he placed soft, wet kisses all over. Making his way down, he caressed her breasts with his hands and gently took one of her nipples into his mouth. He then began licking at her nipples and used his fingers until they became hard. Trish couldn't take the anticipation. She wanted to feel the warmth of his mouth in her pulsating woman's cave. Pushing the top of his head downward, she didn't let go until his tongue was inside of her vagina. Even then, she grinded, stroked, and bounced until she came, holding the back of his head until he sucked every drop of it up. In exchange, she sucked on his manhood as if it was coated with sweet candies. The way she pleasured him, it didn't take too long for him to explode in the back of her throat. His favorite part was when she smacked his shaft against her tongue and slurped up any extras. Oral sex was just an appetizer. Rough sex always followed. Gripping her up roughly by the hair, just the way she liked it, he pushed her up against the wall. From this position, he was able to enter her on an upward angle. This stimulated her clit with each stroke, causing her eyes to roll to the back of her head with satisfaction. Their moans and wet sounds of sex were the only noises that could be heard throughout the house. As they shared a pleasurable orgasm, they stared into each other's eyes with ultimate satisfaction. To them, makeup sex was sometimes better than the traditional, everyday sex.
That night, Gus and Trish were relaxing in the living room watching a movie when out of nowhere, Trish shut the TV off and turned to face her man.
"So, are we going to finish what we were talking about earlier today?"
"What, babe? What are you talking about?" Gus acted like he had no idea what was going on, but when Trish looked at him like she was about to lose it, he became serious. "Trish, I know how you feel about Leaf and Sha'Ron. I'm gonna talk to them and tell them we need to be more low key," he reassured her.
"Gus, baby, I need you to be careful out there. You and your cousins act like y'all are untouchable, and that's dangerous. Look at what happened with your mom and aunt. They got lucky that the judge only gave them fifteen years. Your mom tells me all the time to keep you in check with all the shit you be doing out here. You think she doesn't know, but she has eyes everywhere." Trish had become very close with Connie over the past four years that she'd been with Gus. She had met Connie during one of Gus's monthly visits. Gus insisted that she come and meet his mother because he felt himself falling in love with her, and he refused to be with a woman that his mother didn't approve of. The two ladies hit it off from that first visit, and it wasn't long before Trish would write and visit Connie on her own.
"Trish, I gotchu. I don't know what else you want me to say. I know Mom and Titi Consuela expect me to look after Leaf and Sha'Ron. I been in charge and taking care of them since they got locked up. Why would I stop now?" Gus wasn't lying about his last statement.
Ever since his mom and aunt were arrested, he was forced to man up and take care of his little cousins. Sha'Ron was nine and Leaf was just a year younger than Gus when the women were taken away, but Gus had always been the mature one of the two. He made sure to look out for his cousins when they were sent to foster, and when they tried to split them up a few years later, he ran off with them. His mother had left a large stack of money with a good friend of hers, and she was able to give Gus all of the information before they shipped her off upstate. With a good amount of cash, Gus was able to keep him and his cousins together and take care of them. As they grew older, though, that hustle mentality took over, and they decided to live up to their names and pick up where their mothers left off. They'd been ruling the streets for a few years now, and things couldn't be better.
"Gus, I love you, and I just don't want anything to happen to you out there," Trish said as she leaned in and gave him a soft kiss.
"I love you too, babe. Don't worry. I promise I'm gonna talk to the guys and get shit under control. I'm gonna start doing things different from here on out," he promised her.
Federal Detention Center: Philadelphia
"Connie, Consuela ... Wake up, y'all! Fifty-fourth Street is all over the news. They said it's the seventh body this year up there, and now federal authorities are stepping in," said Monique after busting in their cell. Because she was one of the twins' closest associates they had in the jail, she was always welcome in their cell. Especially being it was a matter that concerned her family.
Connie and Consuela Santana were twin sisters raised on the streets of West Philadelphia. A mix of Cuban and Puerto Rican, their exotic features stood out and represented sheer beauty. Often referred to as "Queen Gangsters," the twins had had their fair share of good times and bad times. Ups and downs. Even though they were short "dime piece" classy women, they were down for the cause and always prepared to move. Barely standing four feet eleven, both had gorgeous, long, jet-black hair that hung slightly below their behinds. With the face of a goddess and curves like a Cola-Cola bottle, they were high commodities on the streets, as well as in prison. These were women that hustled and outhustled. Gunned and outgunned. Poor and rich. Standing tall for what they believed in earned them a fifteen-year sentence in the federal system. Charges stemming from murder to drug possession, firearm possession and money laundering. Connie was Gus's mother, and Consuela was the mother of Leaf and Sha'Ron. The sisters not only were twins, but were also best friends and cellmates finishing up their tenth and final year in Philadelphia's Federal Detention Center. They had been sentenced to fifteen years but were getting out in a few months due to good behavior and because they took some college courses while they were in there. It was all a part of an incentive program that they had for prisoners. If they showed that they were willing to behave and take courses to better their lives, it showed that they would be productive members of society. The twins had no intentions of having regular jobs when they were released, but they did whatever they had to do if it meant cutting their sentences down.
The twins watched in silence as the reporter spoke about the man killed in cold blood. The news was upsetting and disappointing. Not only were they just awakened from their sleep, but they knew their children were likely responsible for any shootings that took place on Fifty-fourth Street. Nothing went on without their knowledge. Just the mention of the feds gave them an adrenaline rush. They hated the feds. They had already learned the hard way just how vicious the feds were. Their current situation was proof of it in itself.
"Damn, Connie, didn't you tell Trish on a visit to let them crazy-ass fucking boys know to pipe down?" asked Consuela.
"Bitch, you know them hardheaded-ass niggas ain't trying to hear what nobody got to say," replied Connie as she brushed her teeth and washed her face.
"Well, we can't afford to have the feds' eyes on the boys. We damn near at the fucking door, yet they still out here killing shit. It's about time we made an OG call and reach out to someone that we can trust and show them what this life and hustling shit is really all about," said Consuela. Connie agreed.
Before stepping out of their cell, they discussed the matter at hand and came up with a well thought of solution. From the very beginning, their connect, Curtis "Black" Campbell, remained loyal and gave them his 100 percent support. He always reminded them that they were his heroes, and if ever they should need him for anything, to never hesitate to reach out. Today, they decided to cash in on that favor. In the feds, all personally placed phone calls were monitored and recorded. The only way around it was to place a legal call to your attorney. These calls were unmonitored. Client-attorney privilege. This was how the twins communicated their criminal activities. Upon placing their call, all it took was the mention of their last name. The receptionist acknowledged them immediately. After a brief conversation, she was connected to her attorney, Ken Edelin. Hands down, he was one of the best criminal attorneys around. "Courtroom Bully." was his well-earned nickname.
Excerpted from "Thin Line Between Death and Dishonor"
Copyright © 2017 Amir Sanchez.
Excerpted by permission of Urban Books, LLC.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
Mean Streets of Philly,
Federal Detention Center: Philadelphia,
Somewhere in West Philly,
1 ... 2 ... Feds Is Coming for You,
Change Going to Come,
And So It Begins,
Streets Is Watching,
Shoot for the Moon If You Want to Find Stars,
Guess Who's Back?,
Get the Patrón and Tell 'Em That I'm Home,
Becoming a Star ... (Rats),
Now or Never,
Foot in the Door,
When You Gamble with Safety, You Bet Your Life,
Take 'Em to School,
A Thug Changes ... Love Changes ... and Family Become Strangers,
Gangsta's Gone Wild,
I Can Do Better on My Own,
We Got 99 Problems,
What a Night Can Do,
Snake in the Grass,
The Takeover in Effect,
When Blood Gets Thinner Than Water,
Mo' Money ... Mo' Problems,
The Beginning of the Ending,
From Hopeful to Hopelessness,
Payback's a Bitch, Literally!,
Smiling Faces Tell Lies,
Ready or Not, Here They Come,
All Eyes on Me,
When the Hunter Gets Contacted by the Prey,
Thin Line between Sleep and Death,
Tied Ball Game,
Over the Edge,
Karma Has Come,
Decisions and Drastic Measures,
Showtime ... All for All!,
The Greatest Trick the Devil Pulled? Fooling the World He Didn't Exist,
B.O.R.E. — Bitch on the Run Eating,
Stand Up, Nigga!,
Where I Need to Be,
Time Has Come,