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This man was a member of their family, wasn’t he? He couldn’t remember the man’s name right away, but he’d seen him many times around the family’s house. 

With a nod from his father, his uncles snatched the man up by his collar, forcing him up on his knees. His father motioned for him to stay behind as he stepped out of the shadows and into the flickering light. He watched his father lower himself into a crouch and edge closer to the man’s face. 

In a voice that sounded more like a growl, he heard his father say, “Hey Moe, can you hear me? Wake up, brotha. We got a few things we need to discuss here. You hear me? I said wake your ass up.” 

Santea saw the man stir as his father continued talking.

You stole from me, Moe, didn’t you? You greedy bastard, you. You stole from my family? What? You didn’t think we would find out? Come on man, you can’t be that damn dumb. Can’t be. But then again, here we are, huh? Right here, right now.” 

The man’s entire body shook with fear. He tried to shake his head in protest, but Santea’s father stood and launched his right knee into the man’s throat. The blow launched the man backwards into a pile of trash and scrap metal. Clouds of dust plumed and the man’s ragged coughs and wheezes echoed throughout the basement as he tried to catch his breath. 

“That wasn’t a question. I know exactly what you did. Ain’t no mistaking it.” 

His father took a step back and brushed the dust from his black suit with both hands. 

“Pick his ass up.”  

His uncles did as his father ordered, both of them holding the man up by his armpits. Moe slumped forward and looked close to passing out, his glassy eyes rolling as his head lolled from side to side. 

“I trusted you and you go and shit on that trust. All over a few thousand dollars, right? Chump change,” his father said as he lit a cigarette and took the first drag. 

“Tell me something, Moe. Is that all your life is worth to you? A couple-few thousand dollars? That’s a damn shame, man.”

“T,” Santea heard his father call to him, “give me that piece you’re holding. Come on with it. Hurry up.” 

He edged forward and pulled the pistol from the small of his back. He massaged its black rubber grip one last time and handed it to his father. The pistol’s chrome gleamed in the dim light as if the Ruger held a hungry anticipation of what was about to happen. Time for some action, it seemed to say.