The Jersey Wars
While laying in there dying, he reflects to a time when life was VERY different for him. Can a notorious criminal find redemption while on the brink of death?
Follow Jason through the events which make him question everything he's ever known, all while in the midst of a bloody battle with The Mafia for control of New Jersey's streets. Follow him through THE JERSEY WARS.
Prologue - Walk Like A Boss: April 2013
For a big man, Jason Centerville walked with a graceful calm like he was strolling through a garden smelling roses.
At 5'11", 310 lbs. and 52 years old, Mr. Centerville possessed the vitality of a man half his age. Not wanting to fall victim to some sort of cardiovascular dysfunction, Mr. Centerville had adopted a strict exercise regimen that few people would be able to follow: Monday, Wednesday & Friday: a fifteen mile bike ride through the Central Ward, Tuesday & Thursday: a three mile swim (two hundred sixteen laps) at the twenty-five yard long YMWCA swimming pool in downtown Newark, NJ, Saturday: a leisurely stroll around Downtown Newark while shopping, and Sunday is rest.
Six months earlier and 70 lbs. heavier, Mr. Centerville had been told by his cardiologist that if he didn't lose some weight and modify his diet his heart would most surely quit on him. Since then Mr. C., as the neighborhood kids affectionately called him, got his workout on and hadn't looked back.
As he walked around Downtown Newark on this particular Saturday, Mr. C. checked out the bootleggers hawking the latest theater releases. Had this have been the old days, he would've been controlling all of their action. He slightly wondered just how much these guys (and girls) were pulling in from selling all of the up to date musical efforts of Rick Ross, Lil Wayne and Mary J. Blige, as well as the new theatrical releases Pain & Gain, Scary Movie 5 and Oblivion at the reasonable hood price of three for $10 or seven for $20 mix and match. Mr. C. imagined it to be a pretty sweet score being as though CDs and movie theaters were so fucking expensive nowadays.
Nonetheless he didn’t allow his mind to wander about such petty schemes. He had been retired from the life for twenty-four years and he intended to stay that way. He had amassed millions of illegal dollars by way of the hustle, and the fact that he was still alive after The Jersey Wars only enabled his belief that God Almighty Him/Herself was personally looking out for him.
Mr. C. didn't think about the life anymore because it slightly depressed him, so many friendships lost, so much money wasted, all in the name of war. He thought about Tre and Dunna and KC and Ghost, all of his comrades who were down to die with him, and for him.
So much senselessness that he wish he had the car from Back To The Future so that he could go back in time and try to talk some sense into the heads of his younger self and friends. With all of the money that he had, too bad he couldn't buy it.
As Mr. C. continued walking up West Market Street toward Essex County College, he stopped at another bootlegger's stand in front of the Modell’s Sporting Goods store since he saw that the guy (or girl, hard to tell these days) had bootleg DVDs for children. His cousin's granddaughter Sara was only 3 years old and he enjoyed spoiling her immensely. Since he had no children of his own, he took every opportunity to monetarily put a smile on the little girl's face.
As he was looking through the various kiddie movies, two masked men appeared from around the corner on Halsey Street. One of them was holding a sawed off 12-gauge pump action shotgun while the smaller one had a gigantic Rambo knife that looked as though it could peel potatoes from five miles away. Wow, Mr. C. thought, stickups in broad daylight. What is this world coming to? These kids have no fucking respect....
“Come up off that gwap big man before I bust your fucking head open you heard?!” Shotgun yelled at him while spraying a fine mist of spit in his face.
“Alright young man, there’s no need to get crazy,” Mr. C. calmly replied. “You have the balls to rob someone in broad daylight on a Saturday afternoon in Downtown Newark?! You’ve earned this buck like a mu’fucka, I respect your hustle boy.”
Mr. C. noticed that Shotgun handled himself smoothly as though he were a stickup vet, while Rambo Knife was a bit antsy and nervous.
“Hurry the fuck up old man,” Rambo Knife yelled at him. “Don't make me stick your fat ass out here!”
Mr. C. looked into Rambo Knife's eyes and saw the bitch in his soul. Fucking kids nowadays, he thought to himself. No fucking heart either…..
“Fuck you nigga!” Rambo Knife yelled as if he had heard the thought and proceeded to repeatedly bury the knife in Mr. C.'s neck and chest up to the hilt. Mr. C. didn't immediately feel any pain due to being in shock that the little nigga actually had the nerve to stab him. Once Rambo Knife finished, Mr. C. couldn't feel his legs anymore and collapsed onto the sidewalk.
The stickup kids ran back around the same corner from which they came without having gotten any money and the whole thing from beginning to end took about forty-five seconds.
As Mr. C. lay looking up at the sunny Newark, NJ sky, he couldn't help but to chuckle at the irony of life. During his criminal career he’d managed to survive a car bombing attempt, numerous mis-aimed bullets and other potentially fatal circumstances only to be stuck like glue on the same streets that he once controlled.
“Aye Dios Mio!” an elderly Puerto Rican woman screamed as she knelt down and took Mr. C.'s right hand in her own, not seeming too concerned about AIDS or any other blood -borne diseases.
“Somebody call 911!” the woman yelled out in English as she then closed her eyes and began to speak rapid fire Spanish in a way that Mr. C. assumed that the woman was praying for him. The way those Spanish words rolled off of the woman's tongue sounded like music to his ears.
He had done plenty of business with Puerto Ricans in his time, but never did they speak the Spanish language like this woman was doing. Maybe it was because she was a nice looking female with a sultry sounding voice that it sounded so good. Just because Mr. C. had more holes in him than old underwear, it didn’t mean that he’d gone blind too.
Just as the woman was concluding, a young dark skinned Newark police officer ran up and knelt down beside the woman.
“Can you hear me sir?!” the officer asked him with urgency and getting no response. Truth be told Mr. C. could hear him fine, he just didn't feel like answering. He didn't think that he was seriously hurt due to the lack of pain. The officer yelled at him again,
“An ambulance is on the way sir, PLEASE stay with me!” The officer then shined a small pocket flashlight into Mr. C.'s right and then left eye. Look at all of these people, running around here trying to save my life as if they really give four fucks, Mr. C. thought.
“Don't close your eyes sir!” the young police officer screamed to Mr. C. with much more urgency than before. “Stay with us gotdamnit! Fight if you want to live! Help is on the way!”
Mr. C. heard the ambulance sirens screaming as it came roaring down Washington Avenue and made the right turn onto West Market Street. It came to a sliding halt right on the corner of West Market and Halsey as the young paramedic, who reminded Mr. C. offhandedly of Kevin Durant, exited the vehicle and knelt down with his partner who Mr. C. could see was a slightly overweight Caucasian woman.
KC would have loved her, he thought as the woman began taking his vitals and the man cut his silk Stacy Adams shirt from off of his considerable chest with a pair of small scissors.
While everyone went on about their respective business, Mr. C. laid there in a pool of his own sticky and rapidly spreading blood and thought back to a time when all of the young punks in the city were on his payroll and doing dirt only at his behest. It was a time when Mr. C. was known as Don JDC, Boss of the North Jersey faction of The Garden State Syndicate. My oh my, he thought to himself, what a glorious time......