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   Mitch Black is a young and handsome entrepreneur who became a millionaire before the age of thirty by playing the stock market and opening up a nightclub with his cousin, Wesley Hunter. Mitch is married, but he also still enjoys mingling with the ladies. However, karma would soon catch up with Mitch when he crosses paths with the beautiful Brea Jones. He falls hard for her, and his life goes downhill and doesn't stop until he hits rock bottom. He then experiences heartbreak, betrayal, and tragedy. Will Mitch pick up the pieces of his fractured existence and turn things around, or will he be consumed with anger and thirst for revenge? 

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    Mitch Black’s daily routine was interrupted at the 147th East exit with a lane closure and traffic buildup all the way to the Bishop Ford Expressway split and beyond. He lived in the township of Lynwood, Illinois, a southern suburb on the outskirts of Chicago.

    “Man, this is unbelievable!” Mitch shouted to himself. “Why is there road construction going on in the middle of rush hour?! Do they even care that some of us still have to go to work? Damn.”

    He decided to exit the expressway at Ninety-Fifth and Stony Island, instead of enduring the bumper-to-bumper traffic jam and traveled east on Ninety-Fifth Street to Jeffery Boulevard. He hated taking side streets to work, even though he loved passing through his old neighborhood from time to time.

    When he was fifteen minutes from downtown, he thought of stopping for a breakfast sandwich and coffee before work. Before the light turned green, he saw his college roommate crossing the street. He turned right on Seventy-First Street and parked his car.

    “Yo, Max!” Mitch shouted, trying to get his attention. “What’s up, man?”

    “Black?” Max asked, looking in Mitch’s direction with blood-shot eyes.

    “Get in, man. I’ve got a few minutes to spare, and I can drop you off wherever you need to go.”

    “Thanks, Black, I appreciate it. So, I see you got it going on, man...got fresh chrome rims on the Benz and everything. Life must be good, huh?”

    “I can’t complain, Max. I got a job as a financial analyst after graduation, and I got married four years ago. We bought a house in Lynwood.”

    “That’s good to hear, man. I’m truly happy for you.”

    “Where are you coming from?”

    “My man Mack’s spot. I got high as hell last night, so I crashed over there.”


    “Yeah, bruh. I was pissed off because my job is trying to block my unemployment. They said I was drinking on the job...that I basically fired myself. I got drunk and smoked a bag to keep my mind off of it.”

    “Were you?”

    “Yeah, I mean...I had a couple of beers at lunch, and someone smelled liquor on my breath. My boss found out and fired me on the spot.”

    “Damn, man, I sorry to hear that. So, where can I drop you off?”

    “I live on South Shore Drive in the high-rise on the corner.”

    “I know the one. We used to stay there a couple of years ago.”

    “Did you? I didn’t know that. I’ve been here a year.”

    “Yeah, it was our first place after college. Hey, if you need anything, let me know, okay?”

    “Do you have some cash on you? If I don’t pay this rent, they are going to evict me on the fifth.”

    “I got you covered, Max. I’m going to call my assistant and tell her that I’m running a little late. How much do you need?”

    “Damn, you got an assistant...lemme hold five hundred. I’ll pay you back when I get back on my feet.”

    “Don’t even sweat that. Consider it a gift.”

    “Thanks again, Black. You are a true friend.”

    “You’re welcome.”

    Mitch reached in his pocket and pulled out a gold money clip full of hundreds and twenties. He then took off the money clip, counted out five one-hundred-dollar bills and handed them to Max, short for Gary Maxwell, before he drove off.

    Max was a slim but wiry guy who was about six feet in height, and he had a rugged look like a construction worker or a carpenter. He also had deep, sullen eyes that seemed to look directly inside a person’s soul.

    “Thanks, bruh. You’ve always had my back, and I appreciate you.”

    “No problem, man.”

    Mitch pulled up in front of the high rise about five minutes later, and Max said, “Well, this is it. Stay up, Black.”

    “Hey, man, wanna grab some breakfast somewhere?”

    “Don’t you gotta be at work?”

    “Don’t worry about it, bro. It’s been over seven years, and we need to catch up.”

    “Alright, bruh, lemme tell Jill what’s going on, and we can go to that waffle house off 87th and Cottage Grove.”

    “You and Jill are still together?”

    “Yeah, we’re still going strong.”

    “That’s great, man.”

    Mitch dialed his cell phone and said, “Hello, Connie, something has come up, and I won’t be in today. If my wife calls, tell her I’ll be in meetings all day. Okay, bye.”

    Mitch then disconnected the call, and Max got out and went inside the high rise. A few minutes had passed before he came back outside.

    “I like that waffle house spot, too,” Mitch said after Max hopped back inside the car. “I took Sandra there a few times.”

    “You married Sandra, huh?” Max asked.

    “Yeah, I brought her to Chicago after graduation, and we tied the knot a year after that.”

    “I can’t believe a playa like you got married—I mean—you had more honeys than any guy I ever knew.”

    “Yeah, I’ve settled down a little bit, but that doesn’t mean a playa don’t play every now and then.”

    “I ain’t mad at you, Black.”

    Mitch drove off and asked, “What about you? Did you marry Jill?”

    “Yeah, and we got a baby boy,” Max answered. “So, do you have any kids?”

    “Nah, not yet. But it’s not like I haven’t been trying though—I’m beginning to think Sandra can’t have any kids, or I’m shooting blanks—one or the other.”

    “Y’all will be aiight. You know, I wondered what happened to the whole squad once I got kicked off the basketball team and out of school. I’m glad you’re livin’ the dream.”

    “I wondered what happened to you, too. I never heard from you after that—I tried calling your mom’s house, but she told me you didn’t live there anymore and hung up on me.”

    “She kicked me out the house once TSU revoked my scholarship and kicked me out of school for selling weed.”

    “I’m sorry your mom did that to you, bro. I didn’t play anymore after you left, either—I blew out my knee before the season ended.”

    “At least you graduated, bruh.”

    “How did you end up in Chicago?” Mitch asked, changing the subject.

    “I got a cousin that stays on the west side, and once I got outta jail, I moved to Chicago and crashed at his place until I got on my feet,” Max answered. “Jill followed me up here a few months after that.”

    “That’s cool. I had no idea you were in town all this time. We definitely have to keep in touch.”

    “Yeah, man, and Jill would be happy to see you.”

    Mitch parked in the lot of the waffle house moments later, and they went inside. The hostess promptly led them to a booth by a window viewing 87th Street.

    “I haven’t been on this side of town in a minute,” Mitch said.

    “Nothing has changed,” Max said. “If anything, it’s gotten hotter over here since I first moved to Chicago. Seventy Ninth Street is just like the ‘ho stroll on Madison Avenue.”

    “That’s messed up, man. This used to be a thriving community growing up.”

    “That was then.”

    The server brought their food to the table—Mitch had bacon, eggs and grits, and Max ordered a waffle and sausages. Mitch also ordered an orange juice, and Max stuck with water.

    “What you got going on later?” Mitch asked.

    “Nothing much,” Max answered. “Me and Jill gotta take Gary Jr. to the clinic this afternoon.”

    “Is he sick?”

    “Nah, I don’t think so. He might have a slight cold, but you can never be too careful.”

    “Indeed. So, you named him after you, huh?”

    “Yeah, that’s my little man.”

    “That’s what’s up.”

    “What you got going on since you’re playing hooky?”

    “I don’t know—maybe I’ll hit up my girl, Jada. She should be in class right now, though.”

    “One of your honeys?”

    “Yeah, you can say that.”

    “Same old Black.”

    They finished up their food, and Mitch paid the bill and tipped the server handsomely.

    “You want me to drop you back off at your apartment?” Mitch asked.

    “Nah, you can drop me back off at my boy Mack’s crib,” Max answered. “I gotta hammer out some biz with him before I take Junior to the clinic.”

    “Where does he stay?”

    “A few blocks from here on 87th and Indiana.”


    Mitch parked in front of Mack’s apartment complex a few minutes later. Mitch handed Max one of his business cards and said, “Call me if you ever need anything, and write your number on the back of this card.”

    “That’s what’s up, Black,” Max said. “I’ll holla at you later.”

    “Peace, my brother.”

    Max got out and went inside the apartment complex, and Mitch drove off. It was now late morning, so he decided to head up to the DePaul University campus in Lincoln Park to find Jada.

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