Loyalty by Ali Shakur

Hugo looks over his shoulder, he calls on me to come to him. But I don’t move, I’m frozen, my eyes
widen, stuck on Ronnie as he struggles to get up. Hugo turns all the way around, snaps his finger, points down to
the ground. “Zeke! Come here! Now!”
I hesitate, but I slowly walk towards him. He’s sizing me up, his eyes full of flames. He places both hands on my
shoulders, looking me in the eyes. It’s hard to make eye contact with him, the evil in his eyes has me trembling with
fear. He hands me a gun and in a low soft voice, he says to me, “Kill him!”
Stuttering, “Hugo… I…” Breathing heavy, my eyes water up. I point the gun at Ronnie, he closes his eyes, my
finger on the trigger, I never been this scared in my life. My mind blacks out … I hear Hugo whisper, “Kill him.”
I lower the gun, unable to lift my head to face Hugo, my voice cracks, I fight back the tears. “I can’t do
it… I’m not a killer.”

Excerpt:

The more I work at The Pizza Joint, the more I see how close Hugo and G have become.
Pulling G to the side I ask him what’s up with him and Hugo acting like best friends.
He rolls his eyes, “Man come on! You about to start tripping!? Hugo is paying us a few G’s a month to watch these
motherfuckers count money and deliver pizza. I don’t know about you, but I’m trying to get paid.” Unsure if it’s the
money or the whole lifestyle that Hugo provides that G is in love with, but I try to reason with him in a way he
would understand where I stand.
“G, if we keep working for Hugo, everything we worked for would be for nothing. There is no good ending to this
shit G! Come on man think.”
G drops his head down. Annoyed, he looks back up at me, shakes his head and quickly steps in my face, with his
finger pointing in my chest. “Everything we worked for? Nigga, you mean everything you worked for! You got the
scholarship to go play ball, and you want me to follow behind you, you want to dictate my life and my every move.
Well, guess what Zeke, I’m not your fucking flunky! I make my own decisions, and if you can’t handle that shit,
then you know what? Fuck you! College Boy.”
G walks to the back room where the money is being counted. Wow! So, he does feel some type of way with me
going to school! He must have been harboring his feelings for a while. If I knew before now, he was feeling some
type of way I would have done things differently.
Walking into the money room, still trying to talk to G. But without even looking at me, he tells me to get the fuck
out of his way, intentionally bumping into me as he walks past.
A few days go by, and there haven’t been any signs of G. No phone calls, no text messages. No nothing. We’ve had
our share of disagreements, but we always squashed it before the day ended. But this time, I don’t know, whenever
I call his phone it goes straight to voicemail. He’s not coming in to work, and I have no clue what’s going on with
him.
After a couple hours of checking into The Pizza Joint, Hugo comes storming in with both Bear and G. They walk
past me as if I was invisible. Bear snatches Ronnie from out the room. Hugo tells Bear and G to take Ronnie
outside to the alley. Hugo turns to me pointing his finger, “Follow me.”
Out in the alley, Ronnie is taking a brutal beating. Hugo orders them to stop, I move closer to G, “What the hell is
going on?”He ignores me.
Hugo bends down next to Ronnie, and one by one he breaks each of his fingers. Hugo stands, stares down in
disgust at Ronnie’s bloody and beaten face. Hugo removes his shirt displaying his muscle frame through his wife
beater. “Why steal from me? After I take you off the corner and put money in your pockets, you still take from me!
If you needed help with finances, you could’ve come to me. You were one of my favorites, but now you disappoint
me.”
Ronnie manages to get on his knees, begging for mercy, crying for his life to be spared. Hugo kicks him back down to the ground. Hugo looks over his shoulder, he calls on me to come to him. But I don’t move, I’m frozen, my eyes
widen, stuck on Ronnie as he struggles to get up. Hugo turns all the way around, snaps his finger, points down to
the ground. “Zeke! Come here! Now!”
I hesitate, but I slowly walk towards him. He’s sizing me up, his eyes full of flames. He places both hands on my
shoulders, looking me in the eyes. It’s hard to make eye contact with him, the evil in his eyes has me trembling with
fear. He hands me a gun and in a low soft voice, he says to me, “Kill him!”
Stuttering, “Hugo… I…” Breathing heavy, my eyes water up. I point the gun at Ronnie, he closes his eyes, my
finger on the trigger, I never been this scared in my life. My mind blacks out … I hear Hugo whisper, “Kill him.”
I lower the gun, unable to lift my head to face Hugo, my voice cracks, I fight back the tears. “I can’t do
it… I’m not a killer.”
Ronnie immediately begins pleading for forgiveness.
Hugo violently slaps Ronnie to the ground. “You want forgiveness? You beg for my mercy? I want you to confess
your sins you have committed towards me.”
Ronnie gets back on his knees, his hands in a praying manner. “Please Hugo!” Ronnie’s face is full of tears mixed
with blood. “I was wrong, and I will do whatever I have to do to repay you. Please … Please, Hugo, I’m sorry!”
Hugo grabs Ronnie by the neck, his lips draw back in a snarl, Ronnie’s face is turning blue from lack of oxygen.
Hugo releases his grip, dropping Ronnie onto his hands and knees. He pats Ronnie on the head. “I forgive you.
forgive you for your sins that you have committed towards me.” Ronnie back on his knees, “Thank you! Oh God
thank you!” “But I cannot forgive you for your disloyalty.”

**Bang**

Hugo shoots Ronnie right between the eyes with a .45 caliber Desert Eagle. Watching in horror as brain matter
flows out the back of his head and his body drops, as blood leaks from his head.
Hugo kneels next to the body, pulls out a knife and sticks it in the wound. The blood of Ronnie covers the blade.
He walks towards me slowly with death in his eyes, he holds the blood soak blade in front of my face. I’m
trembling uncontrollably. Taking the tip of the blade, he taps it on my forehead. I feel the blood from the knife drip
down my face. Am I next? He closes his eyes, takes a deep breath, “Show me the palms of your hands.” My hands
shaking uncontrollably, but I do as I’m told. He holds the knife to my face again, using each of my palms he wipes
the blade clean. He takes another deep breath, “You now have his blood, on your hands.”

He walks away, leaving me to stare at my bloody palms.

How to Find the Author and the Book:

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