Notes on this:
It is told from two different perspectives, one from a crips gang member, and the other from a cop investigating gang related crimes.

Chapter 1 – Loneliness and Constant Failure
[spoiler:1mldbmhn]Another hard day at the office, I breathed a sigh of relief as I entered my modest one bedroom, one bathroom apartment. No greeting for me coming home, no children to run out of their rooms and hug me, no wife to breathe her own sigh of relief for my safe return home. Not even a dog to loyally run to me and barrage me with an assault of licks. Nothing but loneliness, willing and ready to draw me into its caliginous depths. I was left to ponder and think about the stacks of cases, those that were solved, and those that still remained a mystery. These infuriated me. They stared at me, laughed at me, and haunted me. Everywhere I went, I saw a suspect. No one was to be trusted. Was this why I am lonely? Do I have trust issues? It’s certainly hard not to have trust issues in this city. Every corner has a drug dealer, prostitutes and the possibility of being mugged. Not to mention the countless acts of fraud and extortion by the big corporations. For an outsider looking in, California is paradise. Great weather, beautiful people and let’s not forget the lights of Hollywood. But for me, I see the city for what it really is. Though I guess I’m just as much of a phony as the city. People look at me and see a happy go lucky bachelor, free to come and go as he pleases. But you and I both know that this is not the case. Well, I know, you will find out.
For me, failure is inevitable, and I cannot escape it just like I cannot escape this lonely void I’m trapped in. Infinite crimes, with finite time to solve or prevent them. I can’t read the newspaper, watch T.V. or even talk to strangers without my failures being thrown into my face. It’s as if God likes to watch me suffer. I hang my coat up on the rack at the front door, and walk over to my couch, my one sanctuary, the one place I feel at home, the one place I feel comfortable. I fumble around in the darkness, searching for the remote, hoping that the television will drown out my thoughts. The slight click of the T.V. turning on echoes around my hollow apartment, the radiating screen is the only source of light. It took only a few seconds of the late night news for me to jab at the off button on my remote in anger.
“Police are still in search of the culprits responsible for the mass brawl, but from what one can gather, it was gang related.”
Gang related. Those two words have followed me through all of my cases.
“The scene suggests the two most notorious gangs in our city of Los Angeles were involved...”
Before she could continue, I violently turned off the television, and tossed the remote aside.
Not today news reporter. I could not take seeing that again, another gang related incident. They could walk into my apartment and beat me senseless and I wouldn’t struggle. I could work, I mean, it’s not like I haven’t worked my ass off all day already, but I am tired. I made my way to bed, no shower, no brushing of my teeth. A normal man would go for a glass of warm milk; I reach for the bottle of scotch, take a few swigs, and allow myself to slip into a sleep with the dirty stench still emanating from my mouth.

I wake up, sprawled all over my bed, the taste of dry, moldy scotch in my mouth. A raspy cough escapes my throat, as I roll out of bed and head out to another day filled with failure and misery. Sorry, that was meant to be felicitous and mystery. A glance in the mirror, I look terrible. As always, the black sagging bags of sleep deprivation are noticeable under my eyes. Spiky stubble scratched at my arm as I wiped away the dried spit from a night of sleeping with my mouth open. I removed what little clothing I had and headed over towards the shower. Ah, the shower, the one place where my thoughts go from senseless convoluted nonsensical ramblings, to intricate and precise ideas and reasoning’s. The drops of purity cleanse not only my physical being, but my mental self, allowing me to think clearer, and be at peace. Though this euphoria is short lived, and I am dragged back to my barrage of thoughts with no order and no organisation. Work has already infiltrated my mind, even though I’m still at home. I sigh heavily, and begin to dress. The same clothes, the same deodorant and the same aftershave. Am I a creature of habit? Or stuck in a rut? Great, another thought added to the pile of the already overflowing thoughts from today, and it’s not even eight o’clock in the morning yet.

I leave my apartment, double locking it. What’s the point? Who would want to look into my boring dismal life? It’s not like there is much to rob either. I walk down the stairs; it’s a beautifully sunny day, the normal for California. For me, clouds hang overhead, and torrential rain soaks my mind. My mind is gloomy, dreary and depressive. Another day brings another case to follow. What would it be? Drugs, murder, assault? With this gang rivalry it is impossible to tell. Bloods, Crips, who knows who the victim would be, and who the aggressor would be. It chops and changes every day. And it’s up to me to find out, unfortunately. Walking to my car, the first crime of the day appears before me. A man carelessly tossing a piece of rubbish out of his car window, littering a city already filled with rubbish and scum. And I’m not just talking about the plastic bottles and aluminum cans. Wearing the uniform in a city like this feels like I’m painting a target on my back. A very large one. Every dirty look, every disrespectful gesture, even the odd lunatic spitting at my feet drilled another nail into my already dreary life. I breathe a sigh of relief, as I step into my car, and battle the traffic to start another day at work. Another day of failure.[/spoiler:1mldbmhn]

Chapter 2 – The Robbery
[spoiler:1mldbmhn]Another day, working my ass off to earn some serious paper. The work was tough, gritty and in most parts, illegal, but at least the pay was good.
“You ready bro?” Andre looked over at me. I nodded, and pulled down my balaclava. “Just remember, make sure everyone is visible and on the ground with their hands behind their heads. We go in, grab the money, and fuck off back to the street.” I nodded, anxiously.
“Countdown?” I asked.
“Sure thing.” He said, reassuringly. “3. 2. 1.” Andre and I both started counting.
“Wait!” I called out to him. Andre stopped in his tracks.
“What?” He looked at me, confused, and slightly angry. I took a deep breath, and cracked my neck.
“Just nervous...” I said, sighing heavily.
“That’s normal. Just remember, we’re in this together. It will be over in a few minutes.” He smiled at me. He always had a way with words, a way to comfort anyone in any situation.
“Now!” He screamed, and we charged into the factory.

“Everybody get on the fucking ground; get on the fucking ground now!” Andre yelled. Scared, the workers did as they were told. I strolled in after Andre, my confidence had returned.
“Hope y’all motherfuckers are ready to be robbed!”
“Yo Carl, go and find the rest of the employees, get them in here, as soon as possible.”
I walked around the back, nine millimeter held ready. I walked into a small room; a crowd of people were huddled in the corner. There were no more than ten people there.
“Please, don’t hurt us. We’ll show you where the money is!” I grinned; this man was my personal hostage.
“Alright, nice and slowly, get the fuck up, and walk out the door. Single file.” I shouted.
“Yo Andre, I got more coming through the door.” I pointed to the man who said he would take me to the money.
“You last cracker.” He nodded, and they slowly walked out, hands above their heads. They joined the rest of their colleagues, in a line, lying on the ground. I grabbed the man by the back of his shirt, and pushed him towards Andre.
“He says he’ll take us to the money.” Andre smiled cheekily.
“You go Carl; I got these guys under control.” I laughed.
“Fucking Norteños spics will have no idea what hit them.”

I prodded the man in the back with my pistol.
“Keep up the pace.” I ordered. “How much further?”
“Just around the corner, Sir.”
“Sir?” I laughed to myself, “I like that.” The man allowed a forced laugh to escape his lips, though it came out more like a quiver of fear. We reached the end; a large bolted door blocked our path.
“Open it.” I ordered. He nodded, and did as he was told.
“This may take some time, Sir, the door is very secure.” I grunted heavily, looking around the factory, and the vault we were in. I could just hear the echoes of Andre taunting our hostages.
“So why do you work for these dirty spics?” I asked, feeling it necessary to make small talk to my hostage.
“My family struggles, they pay well.” This man couldn’t be older then nineteen. I feel sorry for him, knowing how hard it is to try and support your family. Andre and I are willing to do anything to keep our family alive, safe, and able to buy food. A few odd noises came from Andre’s area, but I was focused on the door, and getting to the paper.
“Hurry the fuck up!” I said, impatiently. And then, a click. The door opened, filled to the brim with our pay. I couldn’t help but wipe the grin off my face. I threw a bag at my hostage.
“Start filling it.” He nodded and began, as I did the same. One hundred dollar bills and lots of them, we hit the jackpot. I picked up about thirty bills.
“How much do they pay you?” I queried.
“Between two-hundred and four-hundred dollars a day, depending on how generous they are feeling.” So much for good pay. I snapped a band around the bills I had in my hand, all up three grand. I threw it to him.
“Look after your family, but do not mention anything that has happened here.” The man looked up at me; tears began to well up in his eyes.
“Sir, thank-“
“Shut the fuck up and keep putting money in the bag.” As I said that, he filled the bag to the brim. “Good work.” I grabbed him by the collar and pulled him up. While I was picking him up, a sound made my heart sing. A gunshot pierced the air, an echoed throughout the entire factory.
“Andre!” I whispered to myself, slinging the bags over my shoulder, and running out towards the main hall.

My hostage bailed, bills in hand, thanking me as he was running in the opposite direction, but I took no notice. I reached the hall, and remained hidden around the corner. I peered around, and saw Andre; gun pointed at some of the Norteños members.
“What the fuck do you think you’re doing, Ese?” One of the Norteños members shouted at Andre.
“Back the fuck off, before I blast you.” Andre replied, remarkably cool with three guns pointed at him. I had to act, and act fast. I spun out from the corner.
“Drop your guns, don’t make me –” Before I had time to finish, a bullet came whizzing past my right side. Andre reacted, shooting one in the chest, jumping behind a crate. I slid, hiding behind a barrel, and shot at the two members left. I hit one in the leg, and once more in the neck. Blood squirted from his wounds as he dropped with a loud, echoing thud. The hostages on the ground were screaming in fear, with their hands over their heads. A daring few were watching the gun fight, waiting for an opportunity. Andre and the last member traded shots at each other. I moved out from the barrel, and blasted off two shots in quick succession, both collecting him on each side of his chest. Aiming at the door, I edged cautiously over to Andre, the bags of money still slung across my back.
“Yo Andre, you ok?” I called out. A raspy cough answered me. I walked around, my heart pounded, everything slowed down. His right hand was clutching at the left side of his chest. Crimson red blood flowed between his fingers.
“No.” I cried, tears were flowing down my face and landing on Andre. “Andre, hold on.” I picked him up, and threw him over my shoulder, running out the door and to the car. I started the car, and quickly sped off away from the factory.
“Answer for fucks sake. Answer.” I shouted at my phone, trying to call every member I knew. Crips were usually reliable. Andre coughed once more.
“Carl, I’m not going to make it.” He coughed; blood flew out of his mouth. “Take care of the family. Get out of –” He fell silent.
“No Andre, wake the fuck up!” I smashed my foot onto the accelerator, racing to the gang’s main location. Andre stayed quiet and still.[/spoiler:1mldbmhn]

Chapter 3 – The Briefing
[spoiler:1mldbmhn]I arrived at the station. The media were all over the place. I ducked the cameras and weaved through the sea of people demanding an interview, or any information on the latest crimes.
“Sir, Can you please stop and speak to us for a few minutes.”
“Hi, I was wondering if you could explain why the gangs are practically ruling the city.”
“No comment.” Useless question after useless question. Why can’t these parasitic journalists leave me alone?
“Could you please give us an insight on the murder of Crip member Andre Wallace?” I stopped.
“What did you say?”
“The murder of Andre Wallace, do you have any leads?” I was stunned.
“Out of my way.” I pushed and shoved until I reached the doors of the station, flinging them open. I closed them quickly behind me and snapped the lock shut. Captain Dirk came rushing out as soon as he heard the door close.
“Carlyle, I’m happy you’re here.” I snapped my hand to my head in a salute, but he quickly waved it off.
“No time for formalities, Detective, get your ass into the briefing room, and quick.”
“Yes Sir.” I called, quickly running to the briefing room. It was a fairly small room, with a whiteboard placed at the front, and a circular table in the middle. Files were strewn across the table, filled with information on what we were to be briefed on.

“For those of you who haven’t heard, notorious Crips gang member Andre Wallace was killed in a gang war between the Crips and the Norteños. Three previously unknown members of the Norteños were killed, as well as a large sum of cash being stolen from a factory we believe they were operating out of.” Dirk reported, “Rumor has it, Wallace was operating with his brother, Carl Wallace, who has basically flown under our radar until now, though there is no proof he was involved whatsoever.”
I was amazed at the lack of emotion in Captain Dirk’s voice, and the faces of the officers he was briefing.
“We’re going to search the factory for clues, find as much as you can, I want every scrap of evidence brought here as quickly as possible.”
“Who is going to be leading this investigation?” One of the newer Sergeants asked.
“Detective Sergeant Carlyle will be leading this search, if he is okay with that?” Dirk and the rest of the room all stared at me. I began to turn red, and sweat collected on my forehead.
“Uh, sure. I’ll take this one Captain.” I muttered, slightly nervous about this case.
“Good, head out there now, collect as much evidence as possible. A forensics team will meet you there.”

I open the door to the factory, and I was immediately greeted by a foul smell. The bodies of the Norteños members were beginning to rot; the forensics team was snapping photos of them. A flash protruded from their cameras, every angle was covered, and every spec of blood was shot and photographed for evidence. The case was becoming urgent.
“Good morning Detective!” The lead forensic officer greeted me, in a much more friendly way then the smell did.
"Morning." I grunted, bluntly. "What happened here?"
I could tell the forensics officer was hurt at my lack of care for the niceties. But, in a professional matter, he put his emotions aside, and began to explain what had happened.
"Well, from what we can tell, there was an all out gunfight. Three of the Norteños were situated here, in the open area, with no cover. Over there, near the barrels and such, was Andre Wallace, a member of the Crips gang -"
"I know that." I snapped. He didn't look entirely happy with me butting in.
"Yes, of course Sir. Anyway, Andre Wallace was hiding behind those barrels over there. But, unlike the Norteños, his body was not found. We tested the blood from that area, and it came up as a match as Mr. Wallace’s. He was later admitted to the hospital with a singular bullet wound through the left side of his chest. The bullet wound suggests he was shot by one of the Norteños members. But the wounds found in the other three bodies, seem to have come from over to the left of Andre Wallace."
"So he had an accomplice? Any leads?"
"Yes, exactly, but unfortunately we have no idea who he was working with. I'd say it was another member of the Crips."
"Thank you Officer. I'd love a copy of your report as soon as it's ready."
He nodded his head violently.
"Yes Sir, of course Sir."
I strolled over to where Andre Wallace was supposedly shot. The remnants of a pool of blood were easily noticeable. There was no sign of a struggle, or any blood leading away from this pool. I stood, staring at it, puzzled.
“Did you find it odd that no other traces of Mr. Wallace’s blood have been found?” I questioned.
“We have discussed this, but have no leads on how the blood remained in that singular position, when his body was obviously taken away.” I scanned the area. The industrial factory looked normal enough, a large open area, with only two rooms added in, both with small hallways. Remnants of old industrial gear was evident, an abandoned factory was a perfect place for a gang hideout.
A few minutes passed, and I gave up, figuring it was just my perfectionist self coming through, making sure to check every detail, any sign for a clue to end this all. I walked off, and headed back to the office, ready to read over the forensics paperwork, where I hope to discover who this accomplice was.[/spoiler:1mldbmhn]

Chapter 4 – Blue Funeral
[spoiler:1mldbmhn]It has been a difficult time for me lately. Everything is jumping from bad to worse. I can’t stop it, nor can I control it, everything seems to be moving so fast. Everyone on the outside is worried about us and the Bloods and our “gang war”. That’s just the top layer, the visible fight to the public. The real war is hidden, or not yet discovered by those not involved. I bleed blue, through and through, Crips for life. Our war with the Norteños is gradually growing more violent, and more uncontrollable. They’ve stolen trafficking clients, routes and even our lowest customers. We fought back, they retaliated, and the cycle continues. They even shot down my brother, Andre. And that’s where I am today.

“Today we are gathered here to mourn the death of Andre Wallace...” the eulogist spoke. This was the fake funeral. The funeral to show the public we had a soul, that we had a heart. Not to mention the fact we are waiting for an ambush from the Norteños. The real funeral would take place on our turf, back at our stomping grounds. But for now, I must painfully endure my brother’s fake funeral.
“Andre left behind his family, and friends.” Here’s my cue. “His brother, Carl, would like to say a few words.” I swallowed hard, and stood. My black suit was slightly too big, as I made my way to the pedestal. I could feel the eyes of my family burning into my back as I approached the stage; they knew that he died because of what we were into. The eyes of my fellow gang members, my friends, eying me closely, making sure I made no slip up. Sweat began to bead on my forehead, with a single wipe of the back of my hand; it was smeared across my face, and all over my sleeve.
“A-Andre was everything a brother could ask for.” I stuttered. “He was loyal, and brave, and willing to do anything for his family, and his friends. No cost was too dear, no job too hard, no friend or family member not worth his time.” I had to pause. I could feel the tears welling in my eyes. Look at me, so much for a tough gang member. I looked over to my mother, her face covered by a black veil, yet I knew she was staring at me, through tear soaked eyes.
“Andre was my rock. Andre was the soul of our family, the one who brought us all together. In reality, Andre was the glue that stopped us from falling apart. What brings me comfort is that Andre is watching from high above, in a grand mansion, away from all the evil in the world, looking out for us all. May you rest in peace brother, save me a place up there, I’ll see you soon.” A slow, mandatory clap emanated from the depressed, gloomy crowd of people, I took a large breath, willed away the tears, and took my seat back in the crowd, joining the dreary, mindless people, left dumb struck from my brother’s death. The eulogist took over once more, but I drifted into thought about my brother, and tried to fathom the extent of our reaction to the Norteños.

We reached the final place, the real funeral. I was still burdened with the stares of the people around me. Some blamed me for his death; others think I should have died instead. Truth is, it wasn’t my fault, nor was I in the position to be killed. There was nothing I could do to save him, unless we go back to a time before the gang. That’s the real truth, it was the gang life the ripped my brother from me, and sent him on his way. Kahn, our leader, stood to pay his respects to Andre.
“Andre was a true brother.” He started; everyone was captivated, more so out of fear of Kahn then out of respect for my brother.
“He bled blue, through and through, and will be a brother to me, and the rest of you for life.” Lying through his teeth and everyone knows it. He doesn’t care for any of us; all he cares is for the money, and the power. He was corrupted by his greed and lust.
“We will never forget what he did. We will get back at those who did this to him.” Once again, that same mandatory clap, but this time it was energetic and exuberant. Everyone was clapping both to respect Andre, and to please Kahn. Except me, I sat in the back, arms crossed, thinking about my brother. He would be turning in his grave if he saw this, the grave we just placed him in. Andre and I were the only two who saw Kahn for what he really was, for what he was really after. Everyone else was blinded by fear and loyalty, but we saw through both, and saw the greedy selfish man who lay beneath the confident leader.

The after party for the funeral, a celebration to remember my brother’s life and not remember his death, everyone was joyous, drinking, smoking, socialising. Me? I sat in the corner, and drinking straight from the bottle of scotch I picked up. I studied the crowd. Kahn was eying me off, as well as his crew. I took a big swig from the bottle, wiped my mouth, and exhaled, satisfied with the strength of the drink. I looked around; my close family had left, obviously mourning in private, away from the gang that took Andre away from them. They said nothing to me, no goodbye. Another gulp. Seems I need to drink away the pain the people around me have caused. The only person who had caused me no pain, was now gone. I looked back around; Kahn was still looking at me. Our eyes locked, he gestured for me to walk over. I took another drink, and sat back in my chair. His face grimaced, a mixture of anger and surprise, but there was a hidden emotion he wanted no one to see. Empathy. He knew better than anyone the pain I was going through. He began to walk over towards me, his crew following behind loyally, but he willed them away. Confused, they turned and walked away, glancing back every few seconds to make sure he was ok.
“What’s up man?” Kahn asked me. I looked at him, and replied bluntly.
“I know where you’re at, Carl. I know because I been there.”
“Yeah, then you should know to leave me the fuck alone.”
Kahn was taken back; I guess he didn’t expect anyone to talk back at him like that.
“Don’t withdraw man. I did that, it didn’t do shit. I’m telling you I got a plan.”
“Yeah?” I was listening.
“Yeah. We hit back. Get those Norteños spics and teach them not to fuck with us.” I stayed silent. Revenge would be sweet, I know I want this.
“We’ll talk about it later man. Just take some time. Do not shut us out, you hear? We’re your brothers too man, your brothers in blue. Stay real.” This is the first time Kahn has ever spoken to someone so kindly, the first time he’s acted human. I was ready. He had the plan, I’d follow it. Crips will strike back at the Norteños.[/spoiler:1mldbmhn]

Chapter 5 – The Infiltration
[spoiler:1mldbmhn]I sat at my desk after reading over the paperwork. Nada. Nothing. Zilch. We had no leads on who accompanied Andre Wallace on the assault on that factory. The only lead we had was that it was Norteños turf. I sat, flicking my pen, watching it spin round and round, unable to take my mind off the case. I tried to let my mind wander, but it was stuck in a loop. Who was the accomplice? Who killed those Norteños members? Who took Andre Wallace’s body? Why were they there? This case had me frustrated and stumped beyond repair. The only thing that would fix it was solving it. Guess this meant another month of no sleep. Insomnia would creep in and take my mind, and tire it out. My body will be weary, and my soul will be shattered, but I will not give up on this case. I won’t be able to. No ideas sparked in my mind, not a drop of intelligence and brainpower was giving itself up for this case. I was furious with myself.
“Come on!” I shouted, slamming my fists down on my desk, shaking the heavy computer monitor, the pens and pencils shook in their holder. The entire office was looking at me; I placed my face in my hands and shook my head, rubbing my eyes, nose and mouth as I withdrew my hands down. And then, I noticed something. A side note in the report, not printed from ink, but a pen scribbled note.
Andre Wallace funeral – Friday the 8th of November 1990 – Long Beach Forest Lawn Memorial Park
I smiled, snatched at my keys and ran out the door of the office. My co-workers stared at me as I passed them.

The traffic was light, but I still weaved and sped my way through, trying to get to the cemetery in time. I pulled up, and stayed in the car. I found what I was looking for, rolled down my window, and listened in to what was being said.
“Today we are gathered here to mourn the death of Andre Wallace...”
“Just in time.” I said to myself, as I watched. A young man wearing a baggy suit approached the stage, and began to speak. It was Andre’s brother, Carl. I watched as he blinked away the tears, and swallowed his choked up words. The entire audience sat in silence, not out of respect, but what seemed to be out of disappointment and blame. I pulled out my notepad, and took a note; Crowd acting hostile towards Carl Wallace. I began to listen to what he was saying, rather than focusing on the crowd’s antics and reactions. The emotion was evident in his voice, he spoke from his heart and spoke it well. It is easy to tell he was close to his brother; the way he so proudly speaks of his life makes this evident. I took note of this, and kept listening. He now spoke of his death. Guilt and shame filled his voice, and I looked up from my notepad and towards the stage. His shoulders, slumped, his eyes were diverted down, though a slight gleam of what was seen of his eyes was noticeable, he was fighting back the tears. His hands lay resting on the lectern, keeping him balanced. He finished, sliding his hands off, slumping slightly under the weight of his emotion. A monotonous clap emanated from the crowd, no meaning or emotion came from them. He sat back down, no one comforted him, and no one said anything to him. Noting this in my pad, I had exactly what I needed, and raced back to the office to share this with someone, anyone I could find. I started my car, but something caught my eye, causing me to cut the ignition. It was the leader of the Crips, Kahn, he was just arriving.
“A shame…” muttering to myself, “he missed Carl’s speech.”
I made on last note in the notepad, before starting my car and taking off.
Kahn arrived late to the funeral, will investigate further[/spoiler:1mldbmhn]