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At 4 AM the deserted city street was black and uninviting. Don swallowed hard hoping to moisten his parched throat. It didn't work. When a cat overturned a garbage can lid the deafening clatter made him jump and shriek like a bitch.


He looked around quickly. What was he doing here? He should'a been outta New York. Hell, he should'a been on a whole goddamn different coast by now. Hanging 'round the city with a contract on your head accepted by Black was suicide. Don gave a deranged chuckle. Suicide shit, more like murder, if Black caught up with you. But what did it matter? If the stories were true, Black would haunt him across a dozen cities and states. There were only two ways out of a contract with Black at the other end of the trigger, either Black killed you or you killed Black. Don was betting his life on the latter as he got a firmer grip on the revolver in his pocket. He pushed the Fedora up on his forehead and wiped his wet brow with the back of a cuff, leaving a grimy streak on the lily-white fabric. He may have been a murdering pimp but Dapper Diamond Don was always well turned out.


A devilishly handsome man Diamond Don also had the gift of words. Back in the day, the girl's weren't above murder to get into his stable. And he'd never been above murder for any reason. He chuckled evilly: This one 'ho he'd had to beat down almost dead to keep her black ass acquiescent. Hell, back in the day, he'd been the biggest Mack Daddy Pimp uptown. Bitches was standing in line to suck his dick. And he had plenty dick to go 'round. Diamond chuckled again. Ah those was the days. But now, times they were a changin'. Fewer girls on the stroll. The ones walkin' wanna work for themselves. Could you imagine, whores pimpin' themselves? This feminist shit was gettin' way outta hand.


But that was the least of his problems right now. He had Black on his ass, 'bout close to a week now. It had to be Black. Diamond could smell him on him. And everybody avoiding him like the fucking Plague. And when Black took your contract it was the muthafucking Black Plague cause somebody was gonna end up dead fo' sho'. Yeah, the writing was on the wall. His number had come up. But Black had better be man enough to take him. Diamond didn't become one of the top pimps in Harlem to go out like some bitch. And for some dead 'ho. Shit, plenty dead 'ho's in his past. But this one had to be kin to Black. He laughed, even murdering muthafuckas got family too. Just his dumb luck.


The bitch had been asking for it. Sniffing 'round him all the time. Wanting this, wanting that. Pushin' them titties up in his face and shakin' that fat ass. She hadn't thought she was racking up a debt? And with them commercial curves. He was gonna make a mint on her. Just had to break her in first. And look what she went and done. Cause of a little dick? He ain't even put it on her hard. But she had to go swallow a sleeping pill cocktail with a malt liquor chaser.


A virgin. Shit. And 16. She'd said she was 18. Hell, she'd looked at least 20. They sho' was growin' 'em big these days. Don shook his head. She's the one went and fucked up. She was green man. Fucked up shit happen every muthafucking day and the dumb bitch had to go kill herself over it. Who knew she had family? Mother, father, sister. They should'a kept a better tab on her. Now she dead, they gone put a hit on him. And goddamn Black was try'na collect. Ain't that a mutha?


He didn't know much about this Black cat, just gossip, whispers about people disappearing. Some kinda silent, shadowy figure. A hat pulled low, big lips, a slight frame, black leather gloves and boots. And always cloaked in the deepest darkest midnight. So dark you almost couldn't see him until you was almost dead. Hah that was a nursery tale to frighten young boys into staying square. It was far too late for Diamond; either way he knew the stories couldn't be true. Black was just another hustler, same as him. 'Cept Black traded in death and not flesh. Stone-cold killer. Didn't care about the mark just the job.


Diamond stopped in front of the Apollo, and looked up and down the empty Avenue for a gypsy cab. He wanted off the street. Something didn't feel right. Not one car in sight. Damn. He'd have to hop the 4 uptown to the Bronx. He longed for his El Dorado, but he'd lost his choice ride doing a bid. This Dominican cat who owned a domino spot took it as payment for an old debt. That was the thing about debt; you always paid it, one way or another.


Unknown to Diamond Don standing about 5 ft. to his right in a darkened doorway was Black. Not a man known for subtlety, Diamond had been easy to find. Black had learned early in the game, to catch a rat, find the people who most want him in a trap. For Diamond Don that meant just about everybody. Not much street love for an over the hill pimp, the north side of 35 who was fast losing the bling and bucks to ensnare a fresh stable of young whores. The few of his girls left, were ready to find another Daddy and his boys all wanted him dead. It was understandable; Diamond was an evil man, who, drunk on perceived power, had thrown out the rules of the street for his own type of twisted law. The rape of a 16-year-old civilian had secured his place in hell with a quickness. And Black was looking forward to seeing him off.


Black flicked flame to a cigarette and exhaled a gray poltergeist of smoke. Diamond inhaled sharply. He hadn't even known someone was there. A slight figure cloaked in black, with a hat pulled low across her face.


Black smiled, cocked the hammer and looking Don in the eyes, pulled off her hat. Her face was almost identical to her dead sister's. Then she pulled the trigger and blew him to hell.


This story owes a debt to Iceberg Slim.