Episode 6 “Ride or Die”
A Rolls Royce is on cruise control at 100mph headed due south on the New Jersey Turnpike. Normally, the police on this road would never tolerate speeds this high from a car this flashy at any time on any day. There is nothing normal however about this very moment. This moment marks an ordained time on a unique day. It is high noon on Tuesday September 11, 2001 and every policeman, fireman and willing volunteer is headed in the opposite direction. Almost everyone in the Tri-State area for that matter is distracted by the conflict of the day. A select few are focused in spite of the events of this date that will be remembered for all time. Some are focused on contacting loved ones and helping where they can. Others are focused on revenge and searching for the direction in which to point they’re bloody fingers for blame. The man behind the wheel of this impressive machine is focused only on his legacy which he glances at from time to time. “Objects in mirror may be closer than they appear” Bendito smiles as he sees Simony’s face hover above the words at the bottom edge of his driver’s side mirror. He thinks about the truth and irony of those words. The object in the mirror is the object of his affection. The two appear to be isolated and distant as a driver and wealthy passenger might be when in fact they are father and daughter. He has never been closer to his blood line than right here, right now. The thought overwhelms him with a sense of purpose when he sees the desire to win inside of her eyes. Bendito’s gaze does not go un-noticed by his sexy, sassy, street wise and ever observant cargo…

     “I appreciate the ride but I believe your eyes would serve you better watching the road instead of me” Simony complains. Her tone is usually venomous, curt and direct when dealing with men she doesn’t know. She takes her tone down a notch with Bendito because he did her a favor and there’s something about him that she actually likes. Yet her tone is disrespectful none the less, and disrespect with Bendito Chiavary is never tolerated. He slows down the luxury vehicle so that he can pick up a ticket for the up coming toll. This route will usher them off of the Turnpike and on to I-95 South. After the complete stop, and after picking up the ticket, he mashes the gas and exploits the true power of this flagship vehicle. The acceleration is enough to pin Simony to her chair. The car sounds like a jet turbine when a plane reaches for higher altitudes. The spine tingling speed generates enough force to push the air from her very lungs. He accelerated back to 100mph well inside of a quarter of a mile. After the G-forces in the cabin even out, he finally speaks. “Your talents would serve you better if you used your Brain instead of your body” he replies and watches as Simony’s eyes slim with anger through the rear view mirror. “We barely had one drink together and you think you know me?” she says, which is typically a girls best card to play for most games. Ask a question that can help you gauge the knowledge of your opponent. However the driver is not her opponent, and she’s about to find out that this situation is certainly is not a game. ” I know you are wanted in several states for fraud and petty theft. I know you are wanted by the Atlanta police for questioning about the murder of a Waffle House employee and mother of five, a kidnapping pedophile by the name of Trevor Quallis and a highly decorated police officer who left behind a widow and two children” Bendito says as he merges his way into the far left lane.

     Simony is shook for a second until her instincts take over her paranoia and replaces it with a confident persona. “OK wise guy” she says and continues. “You know a lot about me, but I know some things about you too. If you were a cop you would have locked me up by now so that you can run to the Towers like the rest of them. Your not tight enough around the collar to be the Feds, and too respectful to be your average bad boy-mafia type of guy. So be a man and tell me who you are, and then state your business” As Simony speaks her mind calmly she also makes an exit strategy just in case her fairytale day doesn’t go so well. There are plenty of tolls everywhere, so he has to stop eventually. If she doesn’t like what she hears from him, she will bail on him without hesitation. “You are an extremely clever girl” he says to his confident passenger. “Who I am is not as important to your survival, as what it is I am going to propose” He says as he slows down in preparation to pay another toll. “Simony wishes he would get on with it so that she can determine weather to bail or not. “The fate of a women who lives like Naive Niesha comes often in the form of a death that arrives too soon” He says with a calmness in his voice that echos much of his wisdom. Simony is stunned that the man she meet four hours ago seems to know more about her than she knows about herself. The massive car comes to a complete stop smoothly and quietly. Bendito keeps an eye on his passenger who is torn about staying or leaving. “Ride or die!” Bendito“Ride or die!”

     Simony’s hand was on the polished silver door handle wrapped in wood grain trembling. She always knew deep inside that she was on the wrong path. The second time Bendito yelled was exactly what it took for the substance of his words to really sink in. He was right and she knew it. Thinking things out to conclusion, she’s smart enough to know that bailing on this man with all of his wisdom, wealth and willingness to help is not a wise move. Being on the run alone fending for herself is a recipe for an early death just like he said. If not by a man’s hand then from her own due to suicidal thoughts that dance in step with her lonely ones. The toll attendant raises the candy cane striped arm so that the Rolls may continue and a father turns around to look his daughter in the face as he asks her “What’s it going to be?” “I’ll ride”she says under her breath but loud enough to hear. Bendito puts the car in drive and they continue. As they ride Bendito makes his pitch. He explains to her that he is a business man who is very guarded about the nature in which he makes his money. He explains to her that even though he is doing well, he is always looking for different ways to make money. He tells Simony of a business proposal that’s been brought to him by a man who he has done business with before. The man is Victor Etienne, a hot shot Wall Street investor who wants more out of life. The proposal was for Bendito to be his partner in a mobilized brothel designed specifically to meet the needs of elite men who are powerful, famous and wealthy. Simony is all ears now but she can’t help but ask “So what’s the catch?”

     To which he replies “The catch is you will be completely on your own. Victor will help you get established and front you the necessary funds. I will get my cut through him. I am your silent partner that no one knows about. You will be the face and the one who is solely responsible for its success. You will also be the one who takes the fall should things go wrong. Just keep every client satisfied and you shouldn’t have a problem” He says to her convincingly yet she’s still filled with questions. “I have had these type of offers before, but nobody has ever stepped to me correctly. If you want me to do this I’m going to need you to set me up properly and that’s going to cost you some real paper” She says wondering if he’s going to press the gas again due to her tone. “We are headed to Maryland which is the best place for you to set up shop since it’s the one state where you don’t have warrants out for your arrest. I will set up in a loft, apartment or house anyway you want. After that I will provide you with the contacts you will need and you should be on your way to real independence after that” As much as Simony needs this and wants this, her mind can’t let go of the “Too good to be true” feeling that pierces her belly like a dull blade. “You have plenty of money Mister, and I know you don’t really need me to make more. If you aren’t pitching me the greatest con of all time, why on Earth would you help a ghetto princess like me?” Bendito is silent for a time before he answers her. He looks at her through the rear-view mirror with his eyes glassed over from possible tears. “All I can tell you is that you remind me of someone I lost long ago. You are my chance at being close to her again. However, my chosen profession puts all of us in grave danger. So to you and my lost love I must remain as an anonymous ghost, to protect you I must never tell you. If ever you want to know who I am just search your heart for that’s the one thing that never lies too us”
     The rest of the ride is filled with the feelings of a new beginning. Bendito turns on the jazz low while he gives Simony abundant earfuls of his wisdom and game. She soaks it up like a sponge and she clings to his every word. As he speaks she watches his facial expressions, his style of speaking and the way he carries himself and it becomes clear that this man indeed may very well be her father. In her heart she feels it but she doesn’t want to ask him out right since she knows he wont tell her. As they pull closer to Maryland she thinks to herself. If this man is her father and he feels like her knowing will put them in danger, then who is she to go against his wisdom? She makes a vow only to ask her Mother about her father if she fells like her death is imminent. This way she can confirm his existence without hurting anyone since she going to be dead anyway. They say it’s lonely at the top and before today Simony Chiavary never knew what that meant. Now, on the verge of success, so close but so far from from home as well as a stranger who may be her father, she knows that success is not without a price. Considering her alternatives, why not go all the way with this hustle? Why not go hard enough to become a street legend? Why not get the money and help run the world like the men do? What other choice does a young girl have?
Next Up:
A Guest Blog by the Author Madison Lake of 

  “Guest Number Thirty-three”