It's funny how time allows things to change. A beautiful young lady, held down by the struggles induced by a broken home, can turn into a porn star. A man could turn from a nonentity into a compassionless killer, earning a dollar by doing jobs for the underworlds finest. Where a femme fatal hoodlum can be turned to the lover of a man who frequently battles rival gangs over turf. It's funny really, how time can also bring more people into it's midst, watching with the most meticulous gaze over everyone beneath its grasp.
Chapter One: Epiphany
A green-clad man stood in the heart of the suburban ghetto, Grove Street, brandishing an Ak-47 assault rifle and spewing obscenities at another donning the green colors of the Orange Grove Families along with a Los Santos cap. They argued about politics, though their political dispute were more militant in nature and involved the foreboding slaying of a rival gang, the Ballas. The Front Yard Ballas, to be exact, though any other Balla set could easily have their funerals arranged. One spoke of a shipment of guns coming from an unknown source, the other spoke of Ballas pushing in on Grove Street territories. One spoke of preparing for the coming supplier, the other spoke of preparing for the upcoming war. One spoke of the future, the other spoke of the present. Neither was wrong, they just never thought on the same page.
"Carl, put that thing inside for the rollers come through and try to arrest everybody!" The one sporting the Los Santos Cap yelled. By now there was a crowd of Grove Street gangsters gathered about, trying to allay either side. Supporters threw in their own comments supporting this, such as the excess PCP in their homes could get them put away.
"Nah, Sweet." Carl responded, shaking his head. "They have a supplier coming in tonight. I don't know where they're from, but word on the street is that it's a big deal going down. Guns, coke, and they suppliers aren't even asking for much. We could easily make that money and buy it over them. Or we could just take that shit from them!" Others rallied on Carl's side, pulling out arms and firing shots into the sky. By now the neighbors had already ventured into their homes to stay out of death's way.
"If we gon', roll on them busters we gotta be smart about it C.J. Remember, we don't got resources like we used to. You still stuck out there in Las Venturas ain't you?"
The truth was that he was actually stuck out there in Las Venturas. He had gotten so used to the glamour and glitz that he couldn't believe when Narc's swarmed his house. It was funny, actually. When Grove Street had halted their narcotics dealings to try other successful ways of getting money they were rushed by Narcotics detectives and their drugs seized. Immediately everything went downhill. They tried to link everything that wasn't a front as the money laundering sources: Wang's Automobiles in San Fierro, which was used as a front for stolen vehicles, and other shops and hotels he'd purchased in that region; The Four Dragons Casino in Las Venturas, which was used as a front for the casino heist they'd pulled a while back, alongside the numerous hotel suites he'd bought out there. That forced Wu Zi to put C.J. out until the heat was off him. They even tried to link Madd Dogg's career and success to the seized contraband. Thankfully, his ex-business partner had given him his earnings and the name of a good lawyer, Kent Rosenberg, funny how that turned out. Now he was back on Grove Street, the only asset to his name that airstrip out in the desert, but that was a long drive and his money was wearing thin.
"Yeah, I guess you could say that." C.J. finally responded and lowered his Ak, knowing that they wouldn't be committing to his scheme tonight. "So, y'all wanna go get something to eat?"
"Hell yeah!" The mob of Family shouted in response.
It was ridiculous how powerful the Grove Street Families had gotten, now that some of the OG's were restored to their former power, like Big Bear. Years before, when the Grove Street Families were threatened by the influences of crack, he had fallen victim to the epidemic. He was a slave to his treacherous brother, the OG B-Dup, but finally turned to rehab and restoration of his previous self. Now, he was bigger than ever. However powerful their influence over their gang was, they still had trouble when it came down to the surrounding gangs, the Ballas especially. They waged a war for decades, with the next of kin in a family stepping up to the title their former father or brother, or even mother or sister used to represent. Now they were on the brink of extermination on both sides, with Narcotic detectives cracking down on Grove Street and having the homes of many Grove Street Families raided, and still watching the Ballas. C.J. was never fond of the law, and he would take it up in his own hands when the crackdown on the Ballas would occur.
The winds caressed those that walked among the mob, as they conversed about whatever crossed their minds. Ballas, the potency of the herb they passed around, commenting the eye-catching ladies and putting down the ones who weren't eye-catching in that way.
"Isn't Madd Dogg shooting his video tomorrow?" A Family member clothed in a checker-patterned plaid shirt inquired, arousing a further discussion.
"Yeah, you still got hook-ups wit' Madd Dogg C.J.?" Another asked, lowering his green-tinted shades, though his face was still concealed behind his green flag.
"You already know we're goin' down there. They shootin' it by the beach." Although Madd Dogg was under suspicions for his ties with Carl he stayed by his side, reminding C.J. that he'd be dead if it weren't for live-saving actions he'd performed when Madd Dog was at the nadir of his life. For that Madd Dogg got love from all of the Grove Street Families, even claiming it. His initiation was due for after the video shoot.
"Look at them busters right there." Someone said, pointing ahead at the Ballas who were gathered in front of the Cluckin' Bell that they were about to eat at. "We gon' dump on these fools, right?"
"Yeah, just make sure that you don't get caught on camera." C.J. pointed out that they were shooting a music video. The Ballas were about thirty deep, though the Grove Street Families didn't stray in numbers at all. They were, just about, balanced. C.J. looked back at the Orange Grove Families to see they were all concealing their faces with their flags, so he followed suit. "Aight, move out then."
Amongst the gathering of Ballas stood two OG's from the Temple Drive set and three from the Kilo Trey set, who posed in the background for a shot that the cameraman promised, would look nice. Headache, a Front Yard OG was the star of this video, being told time and time again that he should stop threatening the crew or else they'd leave him. Time and time again, he told them to shut up or they'd hold shots.
"Camera 1, ready." The Director of the video, Charles Simmons said aloud. "Action."
Headache stepped into the viewpoint of the camera as the catchy tune began pulsating gently, and started throwing up Ballas signs before he started rhyming:
At first Madd Dogg said there was no beef, damn,
Why he went and got initiated to the Grove Street fam;
He didn't know right out here by this Cluckin' Bell,
I had his girl in the Majestic, and yeah she was suckin' well;
Goddamn, Dogg—Oh shit! Grove Street!
"And just like that the video shoot was ruined by thugs armed with Ak-47 assault rifles and toting Tec-9 Uzi's." It was the female anchor of WCTR. "No one knows who did it, but we did manage to get a few witnesses on the scene of the crime."
"It was the esse's from the eastside." A voice that could have only been C.J. spoke up. "Them dudes is crazy, I mean I just came out side to go get somethin' to eat. O.G.F, and I wanna give a shout out to my girl Denise out of Ganton."
"That was in Ganton, Los Santos. I don't know why you'd give a 'shout out' to one of your 'shorties' when you're down the block from her house. I mean that's like tearing off a dogs testicles with your bare hands it just makes no sense. Anyway, we're moving on with our program…"
And Carl Johnson turned off the radio, and then stepped from the green Banshee. He had to fly out to San Fierro to import one of these, only because Narc's were watching him the entire trip. It started to pester him, being spied on by cops who didn't give a damn, but he'd gotten his clean. It was a lot of cash he didn't have, but he'd even managed to get a clean paintjob, and fully load it without getting it scratched on the drive to the beach. It was the day before when he'd run up on the Ballas video shoot and it was only ironic that Madd Dogg was shooting his video the day after. After being swarmed by a mob of persons, C.J. managed to get through the crowd and into the residence he'd purchased by the beach side. Within Madd Dogg, Sweet and Big Bear talked about Madd Dogg's initiation. Apparently, there wasn't talk of retaliation from the Ballas yet, so the video would go on.
"What you got in the garage C.J.?" Sweet asked.
"I got the Banshee out front—," But Sweet cut him off.
"In the garage, not the front." Sweet responded.
"All I got's a Yosamite, why?"
"We gonna go dump on some Temple Drive busters after the video. They pressin' the Family we got out there for turf." Sweet responded nonchalantly, then looked to Madd Dogg. "Have fun, 'til the video shoot's over then meet me under the pier."
And with that Sweet left, followed by the rest of the crew. Outside there was a mob of supporters being held back by the security that was hired for the day. On the beach the Grove Street gangsters congregated, then Madd Dogg went to talk with the director about the shots. Before anything could go down properly shots went off, scattering the crowd and leaving the families flabbergasted to not see where they were coming from, or who got hit.
"You okay?" Madd Dogg asked C.J., checking for wounds himself.
"Yeah, I'm aight…" then it dawned on him. "Shit, Sweet!"
C.J. took off at a dead sprint towards the place Sweet said he'd be. There was a crowd gathered and his heart started to pump faster in his chest as his head grew lighter. There was too much adrenaline rushing through him, or was that even adrenaline? He parted it with no problem, at least for him. At least two people were knocked aside when C.J. came through, and even more when the rest of the Families arrived on the scene. There, lying in a pool of his own blood, was Sweet Johnson. C.J. nearly lost consciousness when he saw him there, sprawled across the floor and half-expected Cesar to pull up in his Savanna and peel off and out of there. Then he remembered Cesar had taken Kendl and their newborn child and moved out to Liberty City, stating it was in their best interests for the child. His name was Carl.
C.J. wanted anyone to come to his aid then and there, knowing that when the ambulance arrived they'd be taking more than Sweet along with them. The ambulance drivers were renown for being the most reckless in the state. He didn't want to abandon his brother to get his car, he wanted to take him along with him.
"C.J.!" Madd Dogg yelled over the crowd, gunning the engines of his Phoenix.
Madd Dogg came to C.J.'s aide, helping get Sweet into the passengers seat, then another round of shots went off behind them. Ballas were on the scene and C.J. wanted to kill every last one of them. However he had a higher priority.
"Don't worry, get him to the hospital. Now, C.J., go!" And C.J. floored the pedal, taking off towards the hospital and leaving the Families behind to fight a war that he should have wage in.