DOPE (The Cartel) Episode 1 by Erasmus Ugochukwu Okafor

DOPE (The Cartel) Episode 1 by Erasmus Ugochukwu Okafor

DOPE (The Cartel) Episode 1 Written by Erasmus Ugochukwu Okafor


The weather in Copacabana, one of the suburbs of Rio de Janeiro, was so clement as the whistles of the birds kept droning into Ramon Fuentes’s ear but he was just reluctant to get up from bed, especially thinking through the bloody fight that took place the previous night between him and Breno, his best friend when he discovered that Breno was a mole who wanted to bring down Mortos Rio (Dead River) cartel.

Ramon has always been killing his enemies and rivals to stay in the drug business but killing Breno was painful to him because he never imagined that his best friend could betray him.

The drug baron was a very vicious man, unsmiling and deadly as a weapon but amid his ruthlessness, he was always conscious of keeping his family safe, especially after losing Amanda, his wife during one of the bloody fights with another top rival; a cartel downtown.

Keeping his only son, Hugo safe was a top priority on his list and he was determined to do anything humanly possible to keep him protected in order not to lose another family as he lost his wife.

The rays of the morning rising sun stormed his spacious room through the slit of the curtain but he wasn’t ready to wake up yet, so he snuggled himself in the duvet to avoid the light rays.

Ramon had sleepless night thinking through how he killed his best friend which made him need more time to recuperate from the shock but it’s not usually easy for him to sleep in the morning hours instead of attending to his business.

As he was twirling in the bed and pulsating whenever the flashes of how the dagger pierced through Breno’s heart crosses his mind, Hugo entered the room.

Hugo was taken aback to see his dad still in bed; unusual indeed.

He walked towards the curtain and drew it, “Dad, this isn’t you,” he mouthed and came to his bed and jerked the duvet away, “You have a meeting to attend. Why are you still having a romance with the bed while you always taught me that punctuality is the soul of business, especially in Brazil?”

Taking a deep breath, Ramon heaved a sigh, even though he wasn’t happy that his sleep was disturbed. “I’m just so tired, son,” he yawningly said and forced his body up from the bed, “But thanks for waking me up,”

“How was your night, dad?” he inquisitively asked in his usual ways. He was grimaced because he noticed that his loving dad seemed perturbed.

Seeing the looks on Hugo’s face, Ramon winced and knitted his brow into a frown, “You seem disturbed too,” he said and went closer to him, “did you go for your training class yesterday?”

“You’ve been too busy these days to notice that you’re backsliding in your parental duties,” Hugo audaciously replied.

Hugo is a very handsome man, with a close resemblance to his father. He was fifteen years old innocent teen who knew nothing about the real nature of his dad as a drug baron and a ruthless man. He’d always believed that he had a loving and caring father who runs a genuine and legal business that fetches him lots of cash.

Ramon had to fortify his son for the task ahead as the heir to the drug business; therefore he hired a Chinese guy, Yin Yen, to coach him through hard training to learn martial arts and how to make use of the gun.

Hugo was so fast in learning as a very intelligent teen but he always asked questions to know why his father started giving him such training starting from when he was ten years old but there is always one answer that his father gives-we’re in a tough world, therefore, stay tough and survive.

Those words keep rumbling like a thunderbolt in Hugo’s head even to the extent that he could recite them even in his dreams. He still had to figure out what’s tough about the world because he never met any tough situation and it was already five years since he started the training. He was at advantage because some of the bullies in high school couldn’t threaten or challenge him because they knew he was very strong and good in martial arts and karate.

Notwithstanding his physical strengths which he acquired through training, he was an innocent boy with a lucid mind. It was unfortunate that his mom died when he was six years old, so he had no vivid memory of her, except through photo books and family pictures.

“I apologise for that,” Ramon said and pulled his boy into a hug, “How has life been with you? I know that we’ve not seen each other for about five days now. I had some things to take care of but I need to put you through some things that are important that you should be abreast of,”

Having heard that, Hugo became more curious and enthusiastic to have a discussion with his dad.

“Can we have a chat about it now?” he curiously asked and remained cosied up in his dad’s arm.

“Herdeiro, I want to show you some things about my business and also groom you into the man that can succeed me and do me proud, even when I’m gone,”

“But, dad, you’re still forty-five years of age, so you aren’t old to always be talking about when you’re gone,” Hugo objectively said without knowing what his dad was talking about.

“Meanwhile, I don’t understand why you suddenly started calling me Herdeiro since my fourteenth birthday,”

“You may not understand, but the nature of this business, no one knows tomorrow,” Ramon said and patted his back without answering his last question, “but with time, you’d be privy to some of the information that you need, to understand the modus operandi of this cartel,”

“Cartel?” he thoughtfully asked, “which cartel, dad?”

Ramon just realised that some words were best left unsaid, so he had to take back his words to outsmart his son, “In every business, there is a cartel, which is aimed at making us stand firm against competition and also affect the price changes and be in control,”

“Hmmm, that sounds good, dad,” he mumbled, “But what actually is the nature of your business? You’ve promised times without number that you’d take me to the business site for me to see for myself. In three years I’ll be an adult and be welcomed officially to the table of men and the world of alcohol, so I should be in the know. Don’t keep me in the dark because I’ve already started asking questions and being impatient about answers,”

Hearing the last words made Ramon jittery because he knew that Hugo would stop at nothing to see that he digs some truth out and it would be so dicey to allow him to hear the truth from another source.

“What…what did you just say?” Ramon stutteringly asked and heaved a sigh, “I hope you’re not thinking that your dad could be into secret deals,”

“Not at all, dad,” he said and looked into his eyes, “I expect you to tell me what’s going on because I’m no more getting younger. I’m no more twelve years old,”

“Okay, I’ll tell you everything but it won’t be today,” he said, making Hugo despaired because he’d been hearing that promise since he was thirteen. “Meanwhile, take Herdeiro as your personal password,”

Herdeiro means heir in Brazil which Ramon chose to be his son’s password as a way to keep reminding him that one day, he’d be taking over the drug business. Every drug dealer has a password in case of exigencies.

As they were discussing, one of the numerous guards that guard Ramon in the white mansion came in.

“Boss, Mr. Stone Anthonio is here to see you,” the hefty black guard said and remained gallant as he expected the boss’s reaction.

“Where is he now?” Ramon asked and got up to tie up his robe to meet him.

“At the poolside,” the tattooed guard said and left like a soldier he represents.

“Son, we’ll talk about the business at an opportune time. I think it’s time for your training class and your trainer must be waiting,”

Hugo didn’t respond because he felt that he was being kept in the dark and his dad was just being unyielding to his demands. He simply left for his training class to meet Ying Yen but still feeling dispirited and daunted.

Ramon knew that his smart son wasn’t happy but he didn’t just want to expose him to the secret drug and blood deal of his business yet until he felt he was ready to face the wicked world and vendetta that exists in the drug line of business.

Getting to the poolside, Ramon saw Stone as he was already gulping down a juice as he waited for him.

“Who do we have here?” Ramon said and opened his arm for an embrace.

Stone quickly stood and hugged him, “I came to tell you that we’ve succeeded securing the new farm land that we proposed,”

The news was thunderous and endearing to Ramon’s ear which made him so happy to have Stone who could go any length to secure a business deal and ensure that he carries it out to successful fruition.

“I’m just so proud of you and I hope that one day I’ll repay you,” Ramon smilingly said and embraced him again, “I appreciate your efforts,”

Stone was the personal assistant to Ramon and the deadliest who Ramon should be afraid of, but unfortunately, Ramon thought he was his best friend and confidant without knowing that Stone was already having a secret plot to oust him from office by killing him to take over the ownership of Mortos Rio’s cartel.

Another threat to Stone because of his greed and callousness was Breno but unfortunately, Ramon murdered him without knowing that the chip that was found in Breno’s pocket was planted by Stone so that he’d be permanently kicked out from the picture to pave way for him; to make it easy hatching his deadly plans against the boss.

It was only Breno that knew Stone’s secret but was still carrying on with his covert investigation to ascertain the culpability of the malicious man but Stone was always one step ahead which made him discover that his steps were being trailed by Breno. For this reason, Stone planted the secret information to make him seem like a spy and enemy to the cartel.

Being that Ramon had so much trust on Stone and believes everything he says without investigation, he made the mistake of believing him. Ramon was quick to temper too, that was why he didn’t feel remorseful when he pierced his best friend’s heart with the dagger, without knowing that he killed the wrong guy.

“I think we should celebrate this,” Stone suggested, “Rowland’s Bar won’t be a bad idea,”

Ramon was always careful about the places he goes, so he wasn’t quick to fall for that trap because if he did, lots of thugs were already waiting for him but he got away with that because of his wits.

“If we must celebrate, it will be done in my house,” Ramon said and took him into the apartment through the hallways.

Stone, being convinced that his plan just became a dismal flop; he quickly sent a text message to the gang leader of the ‘brotherhood of the deadly skull’ to abort the mission since the prey didn’t fall for the bait.

Ramon and Stone had much fun that very day as they celebrated the secure of the new land for marijuana and cocoa plantation since the business was seriously expanding.

Even though Ramon trusts Stone, there was a secret he couldn’t trust anyone with, even his own son- the secret of where his treasure was hidden. He had a huge sum of money that he hid away from the eyes of the world which served as a backup or contingency plan in case he meets any heavy misfortune that could pull his business down.

In order to conclude the business deals of the newly acquired hectares of land for the plantation, Ramon thought it pertinent to involve his son, and once and for all, let him know about the real nature of the business, though he was still reluctant about it because of the repugnance of the business.

Hugo was even surprised that his movements and freedom suddenly became restricted.

Whenever he wants to go out, he was always expected to go with a bodyguard, even to school. This development made it hard getting along with Larissa, who happens to be a girl that caught his interest in school.

It wasn’t just being easy for Hugo because he was beginning to grow suspicious by day because of the feelings of being grounded for no just reason but he still believed his dad’s actions because he must have his reasons for that.


To be continued…

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