Overlords Karma: Miami's Urban Chronicles
by Thomas Barr Jr.
A policeman remembered the day of the death of Miami commissioner Amp Tate. Blood oozed over the marble floor of the most prominent news institution in Miami. Powerful commissioner Anthony "Amp" Tate laid stretched out with a gaping hole in his chest. With the gun still clutched in his hand, he attempted to speak to those gathered around him as he gasped his final breaths and died. Days before, Tate was indicted on corruption charges and profiled in Miami News as the City of Miamiís most corrupt politician. Tate, a towering 6 foot -5 inch tall African American, was the commissioner of the only black district in Miami. He previously held the position as chair of the commission and was current head of the Overtown Development Corporation, with additional duties of entertainment permitting. Tate a self-made man represented the interests and concerns of Miamiís black community.
The policeman stationed in the lobby of the Miami News building rushed over when he heard the shot and screams. An elderly woman with her hands filled with a stack of papers fainted and littered the floor with her correspondences. The papers were soon matted with the commissionerís bright red blood as it leaked over the floor of the lobby. The cop stood over the commissioner uncertain what to do, as he had seen many fatal gunshot wounds of this sort. This man has bought it, he thought to himself. People scattered sprinting for the lobby stairway and exit doors. He yelled for someone to call 9-1-1. The cop jumped back from the body being careful not to get blood on his shiny black boots. Blood spewed from the hole in the commissionerís back as the bullet had ripped clean thru his chest. The cop looked on in pity as the commissionerís body initiated a series of involuntary jerks from his stiffened limbs. Two men initially in line ahead of the commissioner peered over the officerís shoulder at the body. "I wonder what he was trying to say," said one man looking down on the corpse.
It was a sunny day, as Tate strolled into Overtownís community center in the heart of Miami. He scoped his surroundings looking for a nearby trash can to discard his empty juice container. He viewed a group of young men as they played basketball on the court. One tall lanky kid was about to go for a dunk and was flagrantly fouled by a shorter rotund kid with long arms. The shooter came down hard with a loud thud on the floor. "Tough break kid," snorted Tate in his baritone voice as he headed to the front office. He had an informal meeting with the department director and hoped to meet with him before the day got busy. The Overtown Community Center was a state of the art building of modern design. The building contained high vaulted ceilings and glass walls throughout its design. The centerís state of the art sports complex made it the cityís Mecca for wayward youths. As Tate rounded the corner he ran face to face into Terrence Kemp. Kemp was Head Director of Overtownís community center.
"Howís it going Amp?"
He asked as he set his footing from the unexpected run in with the commissioner. Tate was a bit peeved with the unexpected bump in with the director. Tate disliked surprises and he especially disliked it when his toes got stepped on. Kemp a diminutive wiry framed man didnít possess an athletic bone in his body. It seemed odd that he would hold sway over athletic programs administered to city residents. Tate amused himself with that thought.
"Canít complain Terrence, Iíve been trying to reach you on your cell but was not able to catch up with you," said Tate his voice tinged with contempt. "I thought I would stop in and chat with you about the fundraising event I want to have in the district," he continued. "I could really benefit from you supporting me; I could use this facility as ground zero." As they stood in the hallway he eyed Terrence suspiciously for a response.
Terrence in a squeamish voice replied, "Letís step into my office for a bit Amp."
Terrenceís office was full of exercise equipment and his desk was cluttered with case files.
"Amp my budget looks bleak this year, Iím not sure I could support that sort of event this year," said Terrence nervously clearing his throat.
Tate stood stoned face as he wrung his hands peering out the office window. He then turned, walked behind the desk and stood facing Terrence as their eyes locked.
"What does it take to get you on board with building this district to mirror Coral Gables or the Hamptons?" asked Tate. Terrence paused for a minute and replied, "Effort."
Tate maneuvered his black SUV Cadillac through the congested traffic of the downtown Miami streets. He was happy and lighthearted as he drove thru traffic. He enjoyed driving a powerful SUV such as his. He sat up higher than the other cars and could feel the vibration of the engine titillate thru his fingers as he gripped the steering column. He mentally planned the specifics of the fundraiser and took care to be detailed in his timeline agenda. He successfully solicited the support of many district organizations to include Overtownís community center.
Tate considered himself a hands on administrator. He enjoyed seeing projects develop and come to fruition. As he pondered, he pulled into the back alley of The Venetian, a residential and commercial condo complex. The Venetian was a towering art deco designed skyscraper. Many noted and well-connected Miamians utilized the facilities. He planned to meet with a couple of producers and artists concerning music projects they pitched him. He sat in his parked car, took out a long fat Cuban from his inside coat pocket. He lit it and blew the sweet aroma of its tobacco through his nostrils. The rush from the cigar made Tate feel elevated, as if he had hit a marijuana joint. Just as he took a second puff, there was a knock at his window. Tate let the window down and cut the engine on the Cadillac.
"Howís it going Amp, you ready to hear some banging new tracks?" The young man said. "YoÖ Sun, I been working for weeks on these joints!" He exclaimed in street lingo. Cigar smoke bellowed from the open window as Tate looked out, his eyes blood shot red from the smoke.
"The whole crew is in da studio, weíre ready to show you some hot stuff." He eyed the skinny kid with dreads. Jeremy Coons was a neighborhood youth of Overtown and Tate had gone to college with his Aunt. Before Tate first won election he met the kid at one of his campaign rallies and was impressed by the kidís hustle. He seemed relentless in his pursuit to be a success in the music game.
Jeremy slipped him a CD, "Keep this for da ride and letís take the service elevator to the studio," he said. "But be careful when you play it Amp, the base will bump those speakers and expose that million dollar system of yours," Jeremy replied with a wide grin.
Tate stepped from the elevator and winced from the coldness of the room. I shouldíve brought my coat he thought to himself. He entered a short corridor which led to a high ceiling room, with a glass enclosed booth in the center and leather couch chairs lining the walls. There was an office at the far end of the room; Jeremy motioned for Tate to enter. The group Haze and Mammoth were seated in the studio recording room, chatting about the performance they did last night. The group members of Haze were a multicultural mix of Latin, black and white youths. Members of the group called Mammoth were of Haitian descent which was reflected in their music. The studio walls were lined with large bass bin speakers. The electronics displays of the recording booth were highly technical. Jeremy hit a button on the large keyboard within the room and the thudding sound of 808 bass filled speakers vibrated with music.
Tate returned to his office in downtown Miami and contemplated his meeting with Jeremyís group. He felt anxious. He had always been a business man at heart and although he chose the public service route as a career, he considered himself an astute executive. He believed like the blues, rap was a misunderstood music form. Its message is diverse as the many performers that promote the art. He could see the benefit in building a business model around the movement, which could benefit him personally as well as professionally.
Jeremyís groups have been getting positive feedback on a national level and they were a talented bunch of youth. He would resolve to keep Jeremy close so he would have inside knowledge on the groupís progress. He had seen in many instances when non-business minded hustlers wasted money on street or youth founded art forms. One such example, street group DJís, they yielded no return on investments for investors. The Group Honey Hill DJís were very popular in the community and achieved regional acclaim back in the day. Tate believed if he had the opportunity of working with them in the community, he could have made them a national success with his professional business model. Ambition was a driving force for success and he had plenty of it. He had always been competitive in athletics as a youth and he loved the feel of empowerment in being good at a task. Such a feeling gave him a godlike confidence which he embedded in his persona.
His secretary buzzed him on the intercom to notify him of his pending luncheon at the Optimist Club. As he bounded out of city hall he ran into Raul Sancho, a politically conservative White American of Hispanic descent, "Amp are we still on for a round this weekend?" He responded with a quick nod and was out the door. He felt a pang of guilt in being curt with his response, but he needed to be on time for his appointment.
Sancho was one of the city commissioners along with Tate and he was a good ally when in session. He valued his relationship with Sancho. They often golfed and played an occasional hand of poker together. Sancho was a graduate of a local Ivy League school in the community, and was overall well respected. He was an aide to the former mayor and was said to have been groomed for the Miami political system. Sancho met Tate as an aide when Tate worked for a local nonprofit community center. Theyíd established a good rapport back in those days and worked on many community projects together. As they both rose in political positions respect became mutual between the two.
Tate whipped his Cadillac into valet parking outside the club; he pulled on his black suit jacket as he entered the establishment. He walked swiftly with wide strides and within a couple of seconds was thru the door. The Optimist Club was headquartered in a Mediterranean styled building with Terracotta roof tiles. Its many archways were flanked with leafy coconut trees. He was greeted by the mat idťe, "Commissioner Tate your party is located on the outside patio." He gave a nod as he bristled pass the young man toward the back. He greeted the diners as he took a seat at the table. The luncheon had just begun moments ago and Tate was under the impression that he was horribly late. He was especially surprised to see Jeremy seated at the table, Jeremy shot him a quick salute. He felt a quick flash of apprehension as he looked away from Jeremy. His curiosity was peeked upon seeing him. The moderator of the luncheon, a balding gentleman with thick spectacles, discussed the local business owners concerns regarding the community. He listened intently with one burning question in the back of his mind, what the hell is Jeremy doing here?
Jeremy stood talking with individuals after the luncheon as Tate approached him, "Howís it going?" Tate inquired. Jeremy replied in the most professional voice he could conjure up, "Commissioner let me introduce you to a friend of mine Lisa Shilling." Tate laughed inwardly thinking to himself what a house Negro. He then turned his attention to Lisa. Lisa Shilling was CEO of Light Star Entertainment, a nationally recognized music record label. She had young sparkling eyes and a pleasant smile. Her stature was tall and imposing as intimidating as her elegant beauty. Tate was not familiar with the company, but immediately thought of how he could better relations with Ms. Shilling.
"Lisa invited me to this luncheon and thought that it would be a good place for me to meet the community business owners," said Jeremy.
Tate said with a chuckle, "I was surprised to see you here Jeremy but you are definitely in good company," as he winked at Ms. Shilling.
She nodded and replied, "Commissioner."
"I hope to see you all at my upcoming fund raiser," Said Tate as he walked out to retrieve his car. He had tested Lisa with his wink and she had taken it in stride. This meant she was a team player and well adept with dealing with powerful men. He would need to watch her.
Many of Tateís associates viewed him as a man of appetite; however he viewed himself as a regular guy with a working class upbringing. His parents were from the south; his grandfather had been a sharecropper. His grandmother was the local beautician for black women in their small town in Georgia. Tate was programmed from an early age to be the best at whatever he endeavored. Success was the American dream which translated into money, respect, and power. He saw glimpses of this growing up as a kid in Georgia. As he would go out with his grandfather to the tobacco fields to work men respected him. His grandfather was a hard worker and a manís man when associating with people. His personality was gruff, direct and to the point. He had endured long years of share cropping and dishonest bank loan agents. This in turn gave him little patience for entertaining foolishness.
Tate tried to emulate this character in his dealings with people as he navigated thru life. He phoned his secretary after leaving the luncheon to inquire about his fund raiser. He planned to have it in the district, accessible to the community. However his wife insisted that it be at the home in order to exude a more family values appeal.
Cherry Tate was a college professor and held a PhD from a prestigious Ivy League school from the Northeast part of the nation. She met her husband while in graduate school, got married and conceived Tate Junior. Cherry was an attractive, tall women that dressed and looked the part of a trophy wife. Cherryís family was from the New England states and they prized education. Self-reliance was always taught in her household as a child by her parents, who both were educators. He phoned Cherry as he sat in his car in the parking lot of the restaurant. "Hey honey how is your day going?" He asked.
"Excellent," chirped Cherry. "Have you given much thought to your fund raising party?" Cherry inquired. He felt uneasy letting strangers into his home and was suspicious of spies. He believed in not giving his enemies ammunition. He knew Cherry wanted to show off her home and interior decorating skills publicly; which could jump start her entrepreneurial ambitions. He preferred a more public venue for the event, but feared he would have to relent to the wishes of his wife.
"Iím still working out the details in my head, but you will certainly be the first to know," replied Tate.
He instantly thought he may need help in organizing the intricate details of his fund raising event. He was vaguely familiar with one of his constituents, whom wrote him concerning completing volunteer time with his office. As he concluded his call with Cherry, he gave his office a call.
"I need the number for any constituents that offered volunteer services in my district," said Tate.
"Just a minute sir," replied the secretary, "The name is Ray Sutter."
"Great," replied Tate, "Text me the contact info."
He pulled out of the parking lot and turned his car towards the interstate. He considered taking the quick route to his district and traffic was light today.
As he drove he clicked on the radio and the DJ had just announced the next song playlist. The DJ caught Tateís attention as he mentioned the last group.
"We got a banging new song from the group Haze, they are home grown," replied the DJ.
Tate pulled up to 411 East State Street located in the more seedy part of the neighborhood in Over-town. It was a white dainty
house with a wrap-around porch that sat behind a white picket fence. Tate swung the front gate open walked up the steps and rang the doorbell twice. A tall older woman with silvery gray hair, styled in a long pony tail, answered the door.
"Can I help you?" She quipped.
"Yes Iím looking for Ray Sutter," Tate replied.
"Thatís my son," the woman said. "Come on in commissioner and have a seat, Iíll get Ray for you," the women said in a wry voice.
The women led Tate to the Florida room; which consisted of a worn T.V., tattered sofa and a few bamboo chairs with the seat backs missing.
"Iím surprised you knew who I was," Tate replied.
"Everyone in this community knows of you," remarked the women as she gestured for him to be seated and exited the room.
In a dark smoked filled room lay a slight figure of a man lounging on a small twin sized bed. A small black and white television played in the background with the volume turned down low. The door of the room opened.
"Lord Ray you act like your still in the pen," said the women with the pony tail. The ash end of the cigar lit up as Ray Sutter took a long pull of his stogie.
"Thatís how I feel living with you," he replied to his mom.
She chuckled, "Clean ya self-up you got a visitor."
Ray Sutter a black Latino was a natural born U.S. citizen, his mom was from Cuba and his dad was from South Bronx, New York. He had a slight build, black wavy hair and was an ex-felon. He had contacted Tatís office weeks ago to do some volunteer hours for his probation requirement. In prison he took up boxing and was rather quick with his hands. He fought on the prison circuit and had a record of undefeated with a 100% knock out rate in the ring. He spoke fluent Spanish so white Latinos would often take their foot out their mouths when making disparaging remarks of him, not knowing he understood them.
"Ray," Tate replied as the ex-felon entered the room.
"How are you commissioner, I am honored to have you in my home," Ray shot back.
As Tate stood the two shook hands, Tate was a good three feet taller than Ray. Tate sized him up physically, but would see what raw moral substance the ex-con was made of.
"I hear you want to do some volunteer work for me," asked Tate.
"Yes I do but I have to let you know up front that I am an ex-con," stated Ray sternly. Tate liked playing it straight but often found he had to play dirty when the need called for it. In politics it was hard to play fair when everyone else was playing dirty. He represented the only majority black district in the city and had to play hard ball with other politicians in getting things done. Ray would be perfect in building a coalition in getting things done for his fund raisers in the Latino community. He could also be useful down the line if he was successful with this job Tate thought to himself.
"No problem your honesty says it all," Tate replied shaking Rayís hand a second time.
Tate seemed content in his spirit about how things for his planned fund raiser were turning out. He planned to hold the event at Kempís place in the district, but because Cherry insisted that it be at their place, he would have to go along with her plans. His inner thoughts would not let Terrance Kemp off so easy. He would utilize the community center for his fundraiser in another way. He decided to assign him the task of setting up a Tel-la-thon for fundraising activities in the district. Such an event would be good publicity for circulating his name in the community and it could serve essentially as headquarters for the reelection committee. A black commissioner often does not have the support of the mainstream business firms and developers in bankrolling campaign fund raising efforts. The grass roots effort is a more viable and acceptable avenue of operation in the Overtown district. Tate believed that Terrence Kemp could mobilize the grass root effort, making the community center the central hub of operations.
Terrence Kemp and Tate had a good professional working relationship in the Overtown community. Within the professional arena blacks were held to a different standard of operation as compared with other professionals. Their operations were more closely scrutinized, as he often would reminded Kemp on functional processes of the community center. Tate frequently remembered growing up as a kid his father telling him that he should work ten times as hard as the average white man on a job. He never truly understood this until he started work in the real world. While he would be on a job with other workers in a diverse setting he was not safe to feel secure as the others. For the works of black employees were more readily scrutinized than all others. He made calls to schedule an appointment with his barber at Beale Street. Beale Street was a local community barber in the Overtown district. Most of the black professional bourgeoisie came through for light networking; as well as cosmetic touch ups, haircuts, etc. Tate also made arrangements for Terrence Kemp to meet him at Beale Street.
It was bright and sunny outside of Beale Street Barbershop and the air held a sea salt ocean beach smell. The barbershop was located in Tateís Overtown district. It was a stucco designed store front located among the many retail shops of Beale Street. Tate walked into the shop and was instantly greeted by a dreadlock haired brown complexioned man.
Speaking with a heavy Jamaican accent the man said, "Hello commissioner Tate, have a seat rite here mon."
The barber was Movay Garvey; heís a well- known community barber who cuts hair for NFL, NBA and other professional athletes. He was well connected in this way, when black athletes want a recharge of the black cultural experience they often look up Movay. Theyíre guaranteed to not be harassed and just hang out with genuine fellas for a minute or two.
"Same cut," Tate replied as he sat in the barberís seat.
Movay replied, "Terrance should be in directly."
The shop was a bustle with music blaring and multiple conversations going on at one time. Tate shut his eyes to relax while being lined up by Movay. He could hear one guy talking about his babyís momma and how she was threatening him with child support if he pissed her off in any way. Another guy talked about the best all-time NBA player and how much money he made. One other guy was talking about who was the biggest street hustler back in the day and how he met his demise. The shop walls held autographed commemorative photos of celebrity patrons; such as Rick Ross and Dewayne Wade among others.
Terrence entered the shop and took a chair beside Tate, "Line me up," he said to the barber.
"Amp," he said. "I talked with Chris Mogoya and he is interested in developing a site located on the community center property." Terrence commented. "He is interested in building a housing condo complex with merchant shops in the lobby," he said. "This could boost the profile of the center and generate revenue for the district."
"I plan to work with him on some of the details and we will be meeting later in the week," said Terrence.
Changing the conversation, "I heard you were going to have the fund raiser at the house so here is a grass roots donation to help out."
Terrence leaned over and slipped a check into Tateís pocket. Tate had not said a word, but continued to keep his eyes shut as he took in the surrounding bustle of the shop. Terrence all lined up, stood shook the hair from his coat and slipped out the shop. Tate was not sure what to make of Terrenceís revelation about having one of the community centerís site developed. He had heard of Chris Mogoya, but had never met him. Chris was known as a carpet bagger, he moved from city to city exploiting communities for financial gain in the opinion of most. Terrence was young and in Tateís opinion a little naÔve.
"All done commissioner," said Movay as he applied rubbing alcohol around the shape up.
"I will apply it to your tab," said Movay as Tate walked out the shop.
Tate entered his office in downtown Miami and as he passed the receptionist she handed him a brown envelop.
Tate replied, "Thanks," and continued on to his inner office. As he walked in the doorway he was greeted by his secretary.
"Good Afternoon commissioner," she said. "Would you like coffee sir?"
He replied, "No thanks," closing his door, he sat behind his desk.
He plopped the brown envelop down and opened it. It was a note from Commissioner Raul Sancho, Tate Iíve scheduled a meeting with some people and I want you to join me, the note read. There was an address and directions listed. The meeting was to be a brunch scheduled tomorrow morning at the golf pro shop. He rocked back in his chair and thought what in the world could this be about. He then made a few calls and headed home for the day. "Forward all my messages to my cell," he said to the secretary as he walked out.
Sitting in his study Tate pulled the check from his pocket, thirty-thousand dollars certified it read.
"Thatís my boy," Tate said aloud as he placed the check into his home safe under his desk. Tate was overcome with a sudden impulse to read. He pulled an old tattered law journal from his library shelf and thumbed through it. He had completed a couple of law courses while in graduate school. He loved reading legal briefs and old case law. There was a page that was folded with a page tag attached. He opened the folded page and read the highlighted subtitle, Beyond the Scope of Law. He continued to read. Death precludes prosecution of a proposed defendant in any court of law. He heard the doors to his study push open and Tate Jr. entered.
"Howís it hanging dad," he yelled.
"A little to the left son, a little to the left," Tate chuckled as he greeted his son. Tate Jr. was 7 years old, the only child of Tate and Cherry. Tate Jr. was a big kid for his age and Tate worked with him on his sports endeavors every chance he got. Tate wanted the best for his son and supported him in all his endeavors. He tried to make every little league game and parent teacher conference. He was also careful not to let his career aspirations diminish his family life. Legacy was very important to Tateís father which was instilled in Tate as he became a man. The key to prosperous black families is a successfully taught son he thought to himself.
"Junior did you practice your passing technique today," he said to Tate Jr.
"Yes sir," Tate Junior replied. "I worked out for an hour dad!" He exclaimed.
"Good job you need to do that also with you studies," said Tate. Tate was heavy into athletics as a youth and as he matured he realized the importance of academics in college. He wanted to teach his son how to balance the two. Tate Junior replied as he kicked an imaginary rock, "You always say that dad, I know." Cherry stuck her head in the door, "You guys ready for dinner, I made Chili," she said with excitement in her voice.
"Letís eat," said Tate to his family.
Tate returned to his study after dinner to look over a few things scheduled on his out of office work itinerary. He had a few meetings scheduled for the entire week and a morning brunch with Raul the next day. He made a mental note to himself to meet up with Jeremy as soon as possible to see what was going on with the music thing. He heard the release on the radio from Haze earlier and it sounded pretty good. He also was thinking he should have them perform at his event to give them some exposure and for networking purposes.
He thought to himself he would have Cherry call his secretary for a contact sheet in the morning and have his invitation sent out as soon as possible. He thought about Ray also and how he would fit in to his planning for the fund raiser. He would need to schedule another meet with Ray to lay down the law and let him know what time it was. He was unsure rather to keep Ray off the books as a type of body guard or keep him on as a personal assistant. After all Ray was an ex-con and could bring negative attention to him when he less needed it. However, he could be seen as representing rehabilitation efforts in revitalizing the community.
"People first, generate economics second!" He exclaimed. "Iíve just developed my campaign slogan," said Tate aloud.
Miami Gardens Golf was a well-manicured club house that catered to South Floridaís finest residents. With its wooden doors, courtyard patios and arcades the architecture was impressive. It was a well-entrenched establishment that has been around since the late 40ís and 50ís in the community. A lot of old money hung around the place many west palm beach golf pros played casual rounds for club promotional purposes. Tate strolled into the lobby around 10am and was met by Raulís staff person. He led Tate down a side hallway onto a closed in patio which served as a cigar room.
"Good morning Amp," Raul said as he sat puffing on a cigar. The assistant shut the door and the two sat alone in the room as CNN blared on a 62" flat screen over a bar.
"Have a cigar?" Raul said.
"Not before lunch," replied Tate.
He figured Raul sought to give him the rundown of what was to happen before the meeting. Raul represented the Latin syndicate and what he says goes.
"Amp Iím going to be straight with you," Raul said. "I am working with a developer on a couple of projects. One of those projects for example is to bring casinos to downtown Miami and I want your support." He said. "I need the support of the African American community and thatís you." Raul stated. "We take care of each other on the commission and I have always seen that you were taken well care of," said Raul.
Tate thought to himself that he had to play this situation smart as a black commissioner. He despised him for his manipulative ways but had to respect him. If he went against Raul he could face alienation in commission votes regarding important issues pertaining to his district. He was also a minority on the commission and depended heavily on coalition building to close on any proposed new projects pertaining to his constituency. Tate was being forced to make a commitment, he decided to play it safe and cover himself. It was not a matter of trust but one of self-preservation.
Tate stated, "I am with you 100% Raul but I will not be able to stay to meet with your guys for the meeting." Tate folded his arms. "I am working with a donor and need to be at a workshop regarding fundraising for my campaign." Raul puffed an O ring of smoke as Tate talked.
"I do think that downtown casinos could generate a lot of revenue," said Tate. He knew he would have to convince Raul that he would not rock the boat on this. Raul lowered his cigar and looked Tate squarely in the eye.
"Amp do not jerk me around on this issue," said Raul, "There is a lot of money to be made on this thing," he straightened his tie. "I suppose checking on your own dollars is a good enough reason to sit this one out," chuckled Raul as he slapped Tate on the back. Tate almost choked as he coughed.
"I will be in touch," said Tate as he exited the room.
"Sure you will," Raul replied as he walked Tate to the door.
Tate could foresee a major issue with this whole developer slash casino dilemma and knew he had only bought time to devise his own strategy for dealing with it. He would not want to shake hands with anyone on a deal before deciding his true feelings of an issue. He dodged meeting with Raulís developer friends because of this exact reason. Tate knew that he was measured at a different standard than Raul in the eyes of the public. Tate was a black politician and walking that fine line of fat cats versus community need was an art form.
The phone rang. In a darkened, smoke filled room the T.V. is on tuned down to a faint lull. A flickering shadow of a person lay slumped off a twin sized bed, fidgeting in ashtrays strewn around the floor underneath the bed. There was a knock at the door.
"Ray," the person said from the other side. "Pick up you got a call from the commissioner." Ray picked up the phone in his room.
"Hang up," he yelled out. "Yes Sir," Ray replied into the mouth piece of the phone. He listened intently.
"Got it," Ray again replied. "Will do," said Ray as he put down the receiver. He lit a cigarette butt and took a long drag. There is another knock at the door and a voice asked, "What he wants?"
Ray replied, "Mom will you mind your business and get me a new suit!" He smiled inwardly. "I need a black suit," he said under his breath to himself.