Dutch, p.1
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       Dutch, p.1

           Teri Woods
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  Dutch thought of where he was and where he wanted to be.

  He contemplated his next move, knowing that stealing cars was a thing of the past. He would always love the thrill of the chase, of stealing cars, of speeding. But the short bid he had served brought on an accelerated maturity, and he realized that the rewards were no longer worth the risks. He wanted bigger rewards. His mother’s unusual and unexpected talk had convinced him of what he had already known.

  He could never go back to prison.

  He thought about an offer Angel had made to get Barrett to put him on. Dutch couldn’t see it though, nickel and dimin’ for somebody else. Hell no! That wasn’t for Dutch, but the lines had been drawn while he was away.

  He was young, black, and free, with nothing to lose, and there was nothing more dangerous than that combination.

  Just then an idea hit him like a brick in the face, so hard it almost physically staggered him. Kill Kazami! Take Kazami and his blocks.

  “A major pioneer of street fiction.”

  —Library Journal


  “Raw… gutsy.”

  —Essence on True to the Game II

  “Four out of five… Wonderful… a great story… a fast-paced exciting read that will surely keep you on your toes.”

  —Urban-Reviews.com on True to the Game II

  “Explosive… excellent… masterful… A must-have… definitely worth waiting for… solidifies Ms. Woods’s place as one of the Queens of Street Lit.”

  —The RAWSISTAZ Reviewers on True to the Game II

  “Vividly depicts the 1990s drug culture… urban fiction fans will welcome the melodramatic final entry in bestseller Woods’s True to the Game trilogy.”

  —Publishers Weekly on True to the Game III


  This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, or persons, living or dead, is coincidental.

  Grand Central Publishing Edition

  Copyright © 2003, 2009 by Teri Woods

  Story by Dutch

  Reading Group Guide questions copyright © 2009 Hachette Book Group

  All rights reserved. Except as permitted under the U.S. Copyright Act of 1976, no part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, or stored in a database or retrieval system, without the prior written permission of the publisher.

  Grand Central Publishing

  Hachette Book Group

  237 Park Avenue

  New York, NY 10017

  Visit our website at www.HachetteBookGroup.com.


  First eBook Edition: November 2009

  Grand Central Publishing is a division of Hachette Book Group, Inc.

  The Grand Central Publishing name and logo is a trademark of Hachette Book Group, Inc.

  ISBN: 978-0-446-55845-7

























  This book is dedicated to Chucky Booker, my big brother. For everything you do for my boys, Lucas and Brandon, you are the best uncle in the world. And for babysitting me in my darkest hours, I do love you.

  And to my assistant, Tracey Braithwaite, I truly thank you for all your dedication and hard work. Your loyalty is priceless; it’s like a commercial.


  I would like to thank my family, Phyllis and Corel, Chucky, Dexter and Judy, Andrew, Christopher, Carl, my children, Jessica, Lucas, and Brandon.



  Is the state ready to proceed with its opening statement?”

  “Yes, Your Honor, we are,” said District Attorney Anthony Jacobs as he turned to look at the defendant, Bernard James, aka Dutch.

  He couldn’t help but sneer as his lips tightened, eyeing the notorious Dutch. He savored the sight of the Armani-clad black man as he imagined the wooden chair Dutch would sit in while begging for his life as electric shocks jolted the breath out of him. Jacobs had been waiting for this moment his whole life. The day he’d prosecute and convict the infamous “Dutch.” Anthony Jacobs had risen through the District Attorney’s Office by making himself indispensable to his mentor, District Attorney Fred Ligotta. Old Man Ligotta, as Jacobs referred to him, had brought Anthony up, priming him for this very moment.

  Ligotta himself had an illustrious career. He managed to amass the most trial convictions of all of his New Jersey contemporaries within the last thirty years. And although most DAs preferred a plea to a long and costly trial, Ligotta never gave a defendant the option. It’s not my fuckin’ money. Besides, any time some piece of shit breaks the law in my county, I want the bastard to pay in full. And they usually did, either under the table into Ligotta’s pockets or by serving years in prison. It was Ligotta’s way of saying either pay through the nose or pay out the ass. But, then there was Dutch, the only trophy that had constantly eluded Ligotta, and he was now sitting across the floor at Jacobs’s mercy.

  How the fuck does a piece of shit nigger like Dutch keep getting away? Christ! This was Ligotta’s attitude whenever an informant conveniently came up missing or the police seemed to make stupid errors that allowed cases to be dismissed. Why don’t they make those errors with anyone else? Ligotta was constantly questioning the cat with nine lives. Even judges seemed to shy away from cases dealing with him. Dutch’s talons were sunk deep in the machinery of the city and Ligotta died not knowing why or how. But, for some strange reason, within the past few years, lady luck had defected from Dutch’s camp as top men in Dutch’s organization took big falls, landing right in Jacobs’s lap. I know you’re smiling, old man, Jacobs told himself as he thought of Old Man Ligotta. I got him. And this was true. Jacobs did have Dutch where he wanted him. Along with the informants, there was a mountain of evidence, and even though it was all circumstantial, it was enough for Jacobs to do what Ligotta had failed to. And it felt good, damn good. Nothing, not graduating law school, not his first conviction, not even his election as district attorney, could compare to the feeling of power and surge of potency he felt as his dick hardened right there in the courtroom, something that rarely happened outside the courthouse, let alone in it. As he rose, he tried to discreetly readjust his crotch, then cleared his throat and approached the jurors’ box.

  “Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, I am District Attorney Anthony Jacobs and I want to thank you for your attendance. I know some of you may deem my gratitude unwarranted, because I am sure if you didn’t have to be here, you wouldn’t.”

  The jurors acknowledged the truthfulness of his statement with slight body gestures and nervous smiles.

  “But who would be here? I know I wouldn’t. Trust me, I feel the same as you. I do. I mean, I would love to be somewhere playing golf or at my daughter’s p
iano recital or just enjoying a quiet day at home, but I can’t. I can’t because this is my duty,” he said as he brought his hand down firmly on the jurors’ box railing to emphasize his point. “It is my duty to be here just like it is yours. Your duty to assure your fellow citizens, whom you represent, who are playing golf, or at the piano recital or just relaxing at home, that the streets will remain safe to do such things. Just as it is the duty of the police to do the same for you and me,” then, pausing, he added, “duty,” for more effect. “But above and beyond our civic duty, above and beyond the inconvenience, duty sometimes imposes on the dutiful; therefore, it is our right!”

  The word “right” got the attention of the apathetic yet patriotic all-white jury, as it would that of any other red-blooded American of their ilk.

  “It is your right to be safe in your homes. It is your right to oversee justice and the workings of your judicial system and it is your right to be heard as citizens. Especially when citizenship is taken for granted and…” he paused, glancing over at Dutch.

  Who the fuck he think he looking at? thought Dutch to himself as he eyeballed Jacobs’s cracker ass right back.

  “… when the uncivilized play mockery on our sense of security,” said Jacobs, finishing his sentence.

  Who the fuck he think he calling uncivilized? Dutch thought of the nerve this guy had as he listened.

  Jacobs walked slowly away from the jurors’ box as he cleaned his glasses. Turning back to them, he placed his glasses on his face and began again in a more subtle tone.

  “I know we are all God-fearing human beings, and those here who aren’t, well, you wouldn’t be here if you didn’t recognize the law, and you certainly wouldn’t be sitting here if you didn’t know the difference between right and wrong. So, I say to you, what if I could present to you the very embodiment of wrong?” he questioned, pointing straight at Dutch. “What if the cause of murder, thievery, victimization, and cruelty stood before you? Would you hesitate to look wrong in the face? Would you banish wrong from our society? Would you turn away from guilt if it were staring you in the face?”

  No one budged. The jurors were too busy remembering all the wrong that had ever been done to them and feeling Jacobs’s every word as if he was preaching to them from a Bible. Dutch just looked at the jurors as they sat there listening to this motherfucker like he was Santa Claus or somebody. One lady was taking notes, another had her mouth open, and an old man was clinging to Jacobs’s every word. You got to be kiddin’ me.

  Jacobs stood there, inwardly smiling gleefully, as the look of vindication subtly played across the faces of the jurors. I knew I’d get them with my opening statement. Jacobs had picked the jurors sitting before him precisely and to the T. Despite Dutch’s defense team’s attempts to dilute the jury pool, Jacobs had succeeded with this jury.

  “Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, I know what you would do if given that chance. I’m here today to give it to you. I will prove to you beyond any reasonable doubt that Bernard James, aka Dutch, is the embodiment of this city’s wrong. He is the root cause of the blanket of fear prevalent in this city and the degradation of our civil order. It all stems from the actions of this man!” blustered Jacobs as he pointed his finger straight at Dutch’s head.

  “Yo, man, who he think he pointin’ at like that and shit?” whispered Dutch as he leaned into the ear of Michael Glass, lead counsel for his defense team.

  “Don’t pay him any mind; just act like you’re writing notes. Don’t let the jury see you get upset,” said Michael Glass as he watched Jacobs give his opening statement.

  “I will show a path of corruption and waywardness for this man’s short life of twenty-eight years. Bernard James is an instigator, an antagonist, and he’s the head of the organized crime that has terrorized New Jersey for the past twelve years.”

  Jacobs stopped for a moment and wiped the sweat from his brow with his silken handkerchief as he gauged the temperament of his captive audience. He felt satisfied, so he continued in the same vein to drive it on home.

  “Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, I will prove to you that no man, no woman, and no child will be safe in this city until this man, Bernard James, is behind bars for the rest of his life. So, I’m giving you the chance of a lifetime today to do what no man under the sun has ever had a chance to do… find guilt in Bernard James and destroy him. I’m giving you the chance to look evil and wrong in the face and once and for all in the name of the state of New Jersey say that one word: guilty. Ladies and gentlemen, it may be your duty to oversee justice, but it’s your right to guarantee your own safety. Thank you.”

  District Attorney Anthony Jacobs looked over at Dutch as he slowly returned to his seat and sat down. The only thing missing for the starry-eyed jurors was the closing of a curtain.



  Delores Murphy picked up the morning edition of the Star Ledger once again to read the headlines splashed across it like the still-fresh blood of a dying victim. Trial of the Century Begins Today, she read to herself. Underneath was a picture of her son, Bernard James, being led into the courtroom with his lawyers in tow. She let the paper fall from her limp hand and hugged herself as if the room had suddenly turned cold. She shivered as she approached the double-glass doors that led to her balcony overlooking the city. As she looked down from her thirtieth-floor penthouse apartment, it seemed to her that the earth and its inhabitants were tiny. But, when she looked up, the heavens seemed vast.

  “Please, Lord, I know who he is and I know what he done become, but he mines, Lord. He all I got,” she said, frowning as if God was supposed to know that. It was the umpteenth time she had prayed since awakening three hours ago.

  She glanced at the antique clock to see that it was only nine-thirty in the morning. She knew the trial was set to begin at 9:00 A.M., and she wondered what would be the fate of her only child, her only son. She delicately reached for the bone china teacup, half filled with herbal tea, and took a sip. The warm steam from the tea soothed her confused mind, but only momentarily. She was so torn between the blood of her son and the blood she knew her son had spilled. It was an evil, twisted plot she knew she was a character in, and knowing what her son deserved in this lifetime and in the next was an ache only a mother could feel when wanting to protect all she had.

  She looked around the million-dollar penthouse Dutch had bought her on the East Side of Manhattan and she thought of her beach house in Boca Raton, Florida, and her place in the Hamptons overlooking the bay.

  “Son, what’s an old lady like me need so many homes for?” she had asked him one day.

  “Wherever it rains, I want you to have a roof over your head.”

  Then he copped the joint in Southern California for close to a mil, even though it never rains there.

  Just then as she thought of her son’s insatiable smile, the phone rang. She didn’t even look at the caller ID box. She just sat in silence thinking of the many gifts Dutch had lavished upon her over the years, changing her destiny, changing her life, and changing her fate as he had changed his own. She heard her machine off in the distance, “I’m not home right now…” and then the beep sang in as a familiar voice came through the speaker.

  “Yo, Ma, it’s me, Chris. Dutch… I mean, Bernard told me to call and check up on you. I guess you sleep, but when you get my message call me and let me know you all right.”

  She heard Chris’s voice and a smile stretched across her face and she felt the warmth of the sun as it beamed down on her. Chris, aka Craze, was her son’s best friend, or rather his only friend, and the only person besides Dutch who knew the numbers to reach her.

  He called my baby that stupid name, Delores thought to herself, hating the word “Dutch,” clinging forevermore to Bernard James, Jr., her only love’s son. But to the world, he was Dutch, the most feared black gangster to hit New Jersey in thirty years. Her mind traveled back over the years to the beginning, to the love that had started it all.
  The year was 1971 and Newark was in a state of slow recovery from the devastating effects of the riots four years earlier. It had all been over regentrification of the Central Ward and the plan to convert too much of the area to an overly expensive hospital. But that wasn’t all. The truth was there was overtly practiced racism within the city’s political system and total corruption of the police force during the 1960s. All of this, coupled with the militancy of the young impoverished blacks, added up to one thing. TOO MUCH! The answer from the city was a resounding, NO MORE! So, once a black cabdriver was pulled over in 1967 in an infamous traffic stop and was shot, Newark brothers were up in arms. Things would never be the same, and nevertheless, nothing changed. A black mayor was elected in an effort to stop crime, but the riot continued to fester, leaving whole areas devastated and whole city blocks looking like an old woman with a toothless smile.

  Delores was seventeen at the time of the riots. Her mother had raised her in a strict Christian environment, or as strict as poverty would allow the hungry to be. ’Cause when there’s nothing to eat on the table, nobody blames you for eating from under the table, not even the Lord. So, Delores’s mother did the best she could under the circumstances and Delores had respect, if not love, for her mother. But after the lawlessness of the riots and the exhilaration the disenfranchised feel whenever given a chance to attack the enfranchised, Delores’s mother lost her to the riots… literally.

  Delores was over her girlfriend’s house in the projects the day the riots broke out. From the eleventh-floor window she could see the tanks of the National Guard rumble down the middle of the streets surrounded by soldiers carrying automatic weapons. She saw the distant fires and smelled the smoke of the near-raging flames.

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