By 50 Cent and K. Elliott


The fruit-punch-red Impala had gold Dayton rims. The car gleamed so much, you could see your reflection in the hood. The interior was cream-colored leather. The car had been totally restored. The Impala was the only one that Butter owned and he cherished it. He and Seven sat on the hood of his car, smoking purple haze, listening to Mobb Deep’s “Shook Ones Part I.”

“This was my shit back in the day and those niggas was from round my way,” Seven said.

Butter puffed the blunt. “You knew them?”

Seven reached for the blunt. “Well, not exactly. My manz in’nem used to hang with Prodigy; but, naw, I ain’t know them, but I seen them a few times.”

“I listen to them, when I’m about to do a lick, you know?” Butter pulled out a .380 and cocked the hammer. “It gets my adrenaline going, you know?”

“Man, put that gun away,” Seven said.

“What, nigga? You scared of guns? How the fuck is you from New York and you afraid of guns?”

“Naw; I ain’t afraid of guns—just high, careless niggas with guns.”

Butter put the gun on safety.

“I didn’t know niggas in the South was into that Mobb Deep shit.”

Butter looked confused. He didn’t say anything, he just puffed. Finally he couldn’t control his thoughts or his tongue.

“You know what? Y’all New York niggas always think that we slow down here. I can relate to Mobb Deep.”

“I feel ya,” Seven said. “Calm down, son. I mean, I ain’t mean it like that.” Seven did think southern niggas were slow, once upon a time, before he’d gone to Virginia. He’d met some real gangsters in Virginia. Butter seemed to be through. He’d met him at a temp agency where they both were applying for a job and started talking. After a fifeen-minute conversation he realized they had a lot in common: They both were street niggas and ex-cons.

“So what your all-time favorite gangster movie?”

“Dead Presidents.”

“I expected you to say King of New York, New Jack City, Menace II Society. Never did I expect you to say this.”

Butter inhaled the haze and then coughed. “Yeah, I liked that movie.”

“I liked Paid in Full, myself,” Seven said.

Butter coughed again. “Yeah, that shit was crazy; those mufukas was making a lot of money.”

“You know what my favorite scene was?”


“You know the scene where Mitch calls Rico and tells him he has coke and Rico flips and kills his man for the work?”

“Why is that your favorite scene?” Butter asked.

“Because the lesson learned is niggas will kill you for life-changing money. My daddy always told me two things: Your friends will kill you for the right price, and every bad guy likes to think of himself as good,” Seven said.

“Was you and your pops smoking weed when he told you that shit? Sounds like that weed philosophy,” Butter commented.

“That’s real talk, man, from a man who’s doing life in the pen.”

“That’s why you gotta watch everybody.” Butter blew out a huge smoke ring, pulled the gun out, cocked it again, then kissed the barrel. “I’m ’bout hit a lick tonight, man. I needs some money in a major way.”

“I ain’t got shit myself, and that motherfuckin’ baby mama is nagging the shit out of me. My son is two and can’t walk—he needs physical therapy. The bitch ain’t got no insurance.” Seven thought about his boy and other problems he was having. He hardly ever had money. Sometimes he would detail cars for hustlers but he didn’t have any real paper—not like he was used to—hell, before he’d gotten locked up he had thousands of dollars on him at all times. Now it was down to this petty-assed car washing—he felt like a sucker.

Butter sat back on the Impala. Young Jeezy was now coming from the Chevy. “You know what? I thought you were locked up three years ago in Virginia. Right.”


“How the fuck did you get her pregnant, anyway? I mean, I was thinking about that shit one night. I was high as fuck, sitting outside, looking up at the sky and shit. You know that’s when you high; you have the strangest thoughts.”

“Now that’s got to be a weed-induced thought.”

“I was on that purple haze and my mind was just racing and shit, and I was thinking of all kinds of stupid shit.”

“Well, Adrian was actually a guard that I met while I was on the inside. I started banging her and the warden got wind of it. Fired her and put me in solitary confinement,” Seven said.

Butter’s eyes grew wide. “Nigga, quit lying.”

“I’m serious. One thing about me, man, is that I’ve never had a problem with the ladies, I’ve always been able to pull them.” Seven was indeed a ladies’ man. Very attractive dark smooth skin, wavy hair; his body was well-defined and his teeth were eggshell white. The women loved him.

“Damn, that’s an amazing story,” Butter said.

“Yeah, man. That’s how the shit went down. I got her pregnant. We kept in touch while I was in prison and she moved to Charlotte, N.C., so that’s why I relocated here.”

“Why did you relocate here?”

Seven inhaled the blunt. “Damn, nigga, you a news reporter? Motherfucker, why so many questions—you the FBI or something?”

“Naw, just making sure you ain’t FBI,” Butter replied.

“I mean I got three sisters and three brothers in New York, but I ain’t really fucking with them like that. I mean, the whole time I was down only one of my sisters came to visit me so I ain’t really have no reason to go back to New York and I ain’t going back to Virginia cuz all my niggas locked up.”

“Damn. You came all the way down here not knowing anybody.”

“I wasn’t afraid. The only thing I was worried about was that bitch tripping, and she tripped and put me out. But it’s okay, I got my own room in the boardinghouse and I got some pussy, so I’m good.”

“Nigga, you must not be used to having money.”

“Now that’s where you’re wrong at. I made a lot of money. Ran with a fucking crew—and most of them niggas that I ran with are either dead or in jail.”

Butter rolled another blunt, lit it and inhaled, then blew another smoke ring before coughing loudly.

“What the fuck were y’all doing?”

“Coke, heroin, e-pills…all types shit.”

“I can’t believe that shit, man, cuz it just seems like you are so content with being an average motherfucker.”

“Nigga, you average,” Seven said.

“But I ain’t never got no real money, nigga. I bet y’all seen millions.”

Seven thought back. A few years ago he was driving Porsches, BMWs and shit with expensive rims. Ever since he’d been released from prison a year ago, it had only been a bus pass. He really wanted money too, but he didn’t know anybody who would give him drugs. He was in Charlotte. Nobody knew him. This was both good and bad. It was good because he didn’t have a reputation to keep, but it was bad because he couldn’t get anybody in Charlotte to supply him.

Butter passed Seven the gun. “Got this motherfucker for two rocks, nigga, it was brand-new in the box.”

“What you mean you got it for two rocks, you ain’t no hustler.”

“I know but I have drugs because I’m the type of motherfucker that takes shit from the dope boyz, you know, if they making money I’m making money because they have to give me money or else I’ll rob they punk ass. I actually took the dope from a nigga, gave it to another motherfucker for the gun and when I got the gun I robbed the nigga that sold me the gun and got my rocks back…that’s how ya boy Butter gets down.”

Seven laughed but he really didn’t think that was funny. He’d been around niggas like Butter before and knew he could only trust him as far as he could see him.

“So—do you want to help me with this lick?”

“So, who is this cat, Caesar? And does he have money?”

“He has a Colombian plug, and word in the street is he gets those bricks for thirteen five. He just bought this stripper bitch a Benz for her birthday.”

“How can we get at him?” Seven wanted to know. He remembered the days when he was dealing in Richmond, Virginia. He knew that the streets talk, especially in the South; news spread like wildfire. Things that were just ordinary conversation could be made into major news. He also knew that whoever Caesar was, it wasn’t going to be easy to get to him.

“One thing you have to always remember is that most of these major drug dealers are cowards. You don’t have to worry about them. It’s the niggas around them that you have to worry about; the enforcer-type niggas. Those are the hungry mufuckas that will do something to you,” Butter pointed out.

“Exactly. I know this. I mean I ain’t never stuck nobody up, but I know the fuckin’ streets. I know legendary stickup kids in New York. I’m talking about kidnap-your-mom type niggas, son.”

Butter chuckled to himself. He never understood why New Yorkers called everybody “son.” A motherfucker could be seventy years old and still be called son.

“I know what ya mean. But—back to the business. You with me or not?”

Seven thought for a moment and took a puff of the blunt. He knew that if what Butter said was true, he would be doing a lot better than he had been doing. Hell. He lived in a boardinghouse with twelve other sweaty men and one crackhead woman. He wanted out of that place more than he did prison. He envisioned taking kilos of coke from the drug dealer with the Colombian connection. “Yeah. I’m down, son.”

Butter tossed him a pair of gloves and a ski mask and a sawed-off pump shotgun. “Let’s get that money the fast way the ski mask way.”

“The ski mask way…Hell yeah,” Seven said. He and Butter high-fived.


The subdivision was called Peaceful Oaks. A quiet neighborhood in the southeastern part of Charlotte. It was predominantely white, which meant they had to be very cautious. White people called the police at the slightest bit of suspicion. Two black men rolling through suburbia after midnight was not a good look. Butter and Seven rolled through the neighborhood looking out for Good Samaritans—people that wanted to be on the news saying that they tipped the police.

Caesar’s street was Peaceful Way Drive. Butter went one street over, to Peaceful Pine Drive, and parked the car in the driveway of an abandoned house. He and Seven hopped over the privacy fence in the backyard into Caesar’s backyard and looked around, but didn’t see anybody. Then Seven saw the sign that read ADT in front of the door.

“He has an alarm. Man. What do we do about that?”

“He has a baby, too.”

Seven looked confused. “What the fuck does that have to do with anything?”

“Don’t worry about this shit. I’ve done it before. I got this player.”

Seven put on the mask and the gloves. He thought about prison; the sick old men there, the perverts, the liars and the snitches. He didn’t want to go back to that place. They went around front. Nobody noticed them and the street was dark.

“On the count of three, I’m going to kick in the door. I want you to go in one room and I go in the other, just in case there is somebody else in the house.”

“Nigga, you’ve done this shit before for real?” Seven said.

Butter’s face hardened. “This ain’t no fuckin’ game to me, man. I need to eat.”

“Okay. Let’s do it.”

Butter kicked the door in and ran into the first bedroom.

Seven ran into the second bedroom and found a man and a woman on the floor, naked. He pointed the gun at the man. “Okay, I need you to get the fuck up and your bitch to stay on the floor with her hands on her head.”

The man was shaking and it looked as if tears were in his eyes. Damn, what a bitch-assed nigga, Seven thought.

“Nobody is going to get hurt as long as you do what the fuck I say.”

Butter walked into the room with a little boy wearing Elmo pajamas.

“Look what I have.”

The little boy began to cry.

The alarm went off. Caesar said, “The police will be here soon. You don’t want to go to jail, do you?”

Seven said sarcastically, “Yeah. That what we came here for…to get caught and go to jail.” He slapped Caesar with the barrel of the gun.

“Don’t you say a motherfuckin’ thing.”

He walked Caesar into the hallway to the alarm keypad.

“Disarm the alarm,” Seven ordered.

Caesar punched in the code.

The telephone rang. Butter picked it up without answering it. The caller ID said ADP.

“The fuckin’ alarm company.”

“Well, we knew they had an alarm,” Seven said.

“Don’t worry,” Butter said, and he walked the phone over to Caesar with the infant still in his hand, crying. “Tell them everything is okay,” Butter said. “If you try some slick shit, I’ll blow your fucking block off, nigga.”

“Hello,” Caesar said.

A female voice said, “This is ADP. Is everything okay?”

“Yes, everything is fine. I just didn’t get to the alarm pad on time.”

“Okay. What is your password?”

“My password?”

Butter clenched his teeth.

“Tell the bitch your password or else it’s going to be a fuckin’ bloodbath in this motherfucker. I promise you, man.”

“The password is rubber.”

The little boy started crying louder.

“Okay, sir. Are you sure everything is okay?”

“Yes; everything is fine, ma’am.”

“Do I hear a child crying?”

“That’s my son. The alarm scared him.”

“Okay, sir. You have a good night.”

Butter snatched the phone out of Caesar’s hand and terminated the call.

“Okay, man. Where the fuck is the dope, nigga?”

“Ain’t no dope here, man.”

“Okay, motherfucker. You think I’m stupid?” Seven said through clenched teeth. “You think I believe you worked for this house and that fat-assed Benz you got outside? You think that I think this fine-assed bitch is with you for you good looks?” Seven looked at the female, who was still facedown and shaking nervously.

“Where the fuck is the cash?” Butter said.

“I’m telling you I ain’t got shit.”

“Nigga, you ain’t gonna have no fuckin’ son if you don’t give us what we want.”

“Please don’t hurt my baby,” the woman said, then stood.

Seven pointed the gun at her.

“Bitch, get back on the floor.”

“Where the fuck is the dope?” Butter repeated.

“There ain’t no dope here.”

Butter walked over to the window and pulled the curtains back. “I’ma count to three. If you don’t give me some dope or some money, this little boy is going out of the window.”

“Put the child down,” Seven said as he thought about his own little boy. He never had a soft spot for kids until he had brought Tracey into the world.

He and Butter made eye contact before Butter said, “Nigga, you don’ tell me what the fuck to do. I’m telling this motherfucker if I don’t get what the fuck I want, this little boy is going out of the window.”

The woman stood and Seven aimed the gun at her again. “Get your ass back on the floor.”

“No. Please, please don’t hurt my baby. I’ll tell you where the money is.”

Seven cocked the hammer of the gun. “Well, tell me where the godamned money is, then.”

“Please, put my son down first.”

Butter put the child on the bed.

The woman went into the closet and pulled out a large green gym bag. Butter unzipped the bag and saw bundles of money. He zipped the bag back up.

“Okay; where’s the dope, bitch?”

“There really ain’t no dope in here. I swear to God,” the woman said.


Butter stepped out of the closet.

“Bring him to me,” Butter said to Seven.

Seven walked Caesar over.

“Okay, nigga. Where ya fucking car keys at, and ya guns and shit?”

The woman got the keys from the nightstand and handed them to Butter.

Butter duct-taped Caesar’s hands and feet together and handcuffed the woman to the bed.

The baby was still crying. Seven walked over to him, ran his fingers through the toddler’s hair and said, “It’s going to be okay.”

They left with the money.