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Sixteen Years Later - Portland, Oregon
Jamal Evans had redefined the playbook on larcenous exploits and, in seventy-six days,
would begin execution. He would be President of the nited !tates "P#$!%.
&', Jamal (avid Evans, do solemnly swear that ' will faithfully execute the #ffice of
President of the nited !tates and to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend) &my
secret offshore accounts. So help me God!”
$hese were his thoughts as he walked to the micro-phones. President-Elect Jamal (avid
Evans smiled charmingly, his dark face mature, trustworthy, and glowing with confidence. He
would remember this moment, with profound clarity, the rest of his life. $he energy of the crowd
was contagious, the city park packed with thousands of supporters, carrying Evans for President
signs, waving, cheering, hands covering faces, wiping away tears, exchanging handshakes, arms
held high toward Heaven, thanking the *ord for yet another miracle, inconceivable in their
lifetimes. Jamal Evans, forty-one years old, +frican +merican, raised in Portland, #regon,s
inner-city, had s-ueaked out a presidential victory at the last hour, beating his .epublican
opponent, Jared .utherford, /0-12 percent. #nce again, twice in twenty-years, +merica had
elected a black president.
+ do3en secret service agents surrounded the president elect and his beautiful wife,
*a!hawn, and led them to the elevated platform set up for this celebration. *ike #bama in 0442,
Jamal Evans wanted a public celebration, echoing the emotional, mega-event in 5hicago,s 6rant
Park. Jamal had been captivated by the $7 footage of 8arack and 9ichelle #bama on the
speaker,s platform, waving thank-you to awed, adoring supporters. +t least a hundred times, he,d
viewed it, studied it : an inspirational image, burned forever into his brain. 't was the single most
important occurrence in his life-time : the reason he, sixteen years later, was president-elect.
#bama had done the impossible, giving encouragement and confidence to a multitude of +frican
+mericans who now knew the presidency was no longer the exclusive club of white males.
8ut Jamal Evans was no 8arack #bama, in looks, style, substance, or motivation. Jamal
had other motives. He was not a friend of the +merican public that had so enthusiastically voted
to make him the most powerful man on the planet. $he public was politically incompetent, he
felt. His motivation to reach the highest position in the land was simple : greed. 5ontrolling the
destination of untold billions of dollars. He knew that his election to the presidency, if he could
pull it off, meant the ability to manipulate and funnel money from the .!. $reasury into
unregulated and corrupt third-world countries, where it would find its way to his secret accounts.
$his was the ultimate in financial security. ;hy else would anyone want to be President
of the nited !tates, P#$!< $here was no substitute for the 6od-like prestige and
extraordinary wealth it promised. =othing else could satisfy man,s ego to be the greatest. He
would take his place along-side the world,s greatest thieves and scoundrels : +merican
$he corrupt, bloody scroll of history dates back to a host of immoral shysters. 6eorge
;ashington and $homas Jefferson, with their slaves, were monumental thieves, having stolen the
freedom, life and liberty of human beings : more valuable than money, more precious than gold.
!urely, ;ashington and Jefferson profited. (uring lysses !. 6rant,s administration, corruption
ruled the land, as the war hero President gave money and land grants to railroad companies,
which gave bribes to members of 5ongress. $he nion Pacific .ailroad profited big time.
(istillers and tax officers defrauded the .!. $reasury out of revenue taxes on whiskey, as the
;hiskey .ing !candal surfaced. ;arren Harding,s !ecretary of the 'nterior, +lbert >all, leased
oil-drilling rights in the Elk Hills, 5+, and $eapot (ome, ;? : reserves to oil men : and
received *iberty 8onds and large &loans@ in exchange. >inancially, the presidency flourished.
John Aennedy had his 9afia associates. !urely, he profited. $ricky (ick =ixon was run out of
office for his role in the ;atergate cover-up. His 7ice-President, !piro +gnew, resigned from
office because of a conviction in federal court on a felony charge of income tax evasion. +nd
probably the granddaddy of all presidential scams, B0 billion taxpayer dollars moved from the
.!. $reasury to subsidi3e rebuilding in 'ra- mysteriously disappeared, with surprisingly little
complaint from the +merican public. 5ompanies like !tealerburton gained multi-billion dollar
contracts in 'ra-, +fghanistan, and the 6ulf 5oast by sealed, noncompetitive bids and were
billing the government CB44 for a bar of soap. $he 5ongress was so corrupt that the old saying
was trueD &How do you know when a politician is lying< His lips are moving.@
9aybe, Jamal thought, he would bomb 'ran, then send C/4 billion in cash for rebuilding
and pull another Houdini act. #nly in +merica. $he potential to steal obscene amounts of money
was unlimited. >rom the outhouse, to the statehouse, and finally the ;hite House, the door was
open. $he genie was out of the bottle. $here would be no turning back.
=ow, as he looked into the shrewd brown eyes of *a!hawn, who shared his secrets, he
flashed the photogenic smile that graced the campaign posters carried by millions of his adoring
supporters. $his was his moment. + moment, too, he thought, for >rederick (ouglass, who could
not have imagined a president of color.
&' am not included within the pale of this glorious anniversary,@ 9r. (ouglass had said at
an 'ndependence (ay celebration on July 1, B2/0. &?our high independence only reveals the
immeasurable distance between us. $he blessings in which you, this day, reEoice are not enEoyed
in common. $he >ourth of July is yours, not mine. ?ou may reEoice, ' must mourn.@
#n =ovember 1, 0442, +mericans of +frican +merican descent experienced a historic
moment, a moment the maEority of them thought probably, one day would occur, but many years
into the future : the election of an +frican +merican president. #h, what excitementF ;hat a day
it was as the nation sat in living rooms, in waiting rooms, in board rooms, in prison cells, poised
to see history in the making. $he talk of the universe, the -uestion on everyone,s lips : black,
white, aliens, and others, was could it happen< ;ould it happen< ;ould +merica elect a black
president as leader of the free world<
+t BBDG4 pm, Eastern $ime, the -uestion was answered. John 9c5ain had fought a tough
race but the +merican people had voted for the most radical change in direction since the
beginning of the nation. 8arack #bama had shattered the glass ceiling with a resounding win, /G
to 1H percent. +nd the nation was celebrating, at least those who voted for him. Probably not
.ush *imbaugh or 8ill #,.eilly, and the gang at >ox =ews. 8ut 8lack +mericans were crying in
the streets. #prah ;infrey, a talk show host and media -ueen during that period and Jesse
Jackson, former presidential hopeful, were seen on national $7 in 6rant Park, amidst the crowd
of thousands, openly weeping. Jackson,s two runs for the presidency in BI21 and BI22 had failed
miserably. $oo black. $oo controversial. ;infrey had helped launch #bama,s candidacy on her
top-rated show, giving him a forum from which to expose his political skills and charisma to
millions. ?our average Joe and Josephine danced in ghetto streets.
+bruptly, brimming with excitement, the local news anchor gushed, &$he networks are
saying he,s won itF@ + bit of shock and awe. $hen, dismissing his personal excitement, the news
anchor,s expression went all business, professional.
&+85 =ews,@ he continued, &has proEected that 8arack #bama has been elected the 11

president of the nited !tates by a margin of /G to 1H percent, GJ/ electoral votes to John
9c5ain,s BHG. 8arack #bama has become the first +frican +merican elected to lead this
Jamal Evans, an unlikely candidate for any public
office, began his own Eourney to the ;hite House on that historic day, =ovember 1, 0442.
+n inmate in the Portland 5orrectional 5enter, he sat with GI other inmates watching the
election returns.
$he room erupted with applause and cheers.
8arack #bama had raised the bar for +frican-+mericans. $he deck is stacked against us.
$rue. $he system is unfair. $rue. 't,s hard out here for a pimp. $rue. !o what< ;ho said life was
guaranteed to be fair : the 5onstitution< $he 8ill of .ights< ?our momma< (espite all odds,
conventional wisdom and every political pundit, 8arack #bama set out to do what most +frican
+mericans and many whites thought impossible, get himself elected president : an +frican
+merican male, the Wretched of the Earth, wrote >ran3 >anon, the black psychiatrist. #bama,s
chances were slim to none. His odds of election were worse than 9uhammad +li,s against both
!onny *iston and 6eorge >oreman, a H-B underdog. ?et he prevailed, the most remarkable
victory in the history of politics.
Jamal, captivated by the campaign, urged his Eail-mates, who preferred hip-hop video, to
tune in $7 news for presidential updates. He rushed to claim the Portland Oregonian newspaper
every evening it was deposited in the module for common reading. $hrough letters and phone
calls to his 6ranny and ncle Hanks, he talked about the possibility of an #bama win and
listened to them explain what an achievement it would be. #bama,s success overwhelmed
Jamal,s imagination and held him captive.
&=ot in my lifetime,@ 6ranny said, &' Eus, don, believe this racist country will elect a
black man president. .emember, ' was there. ' saw Jim 5row preEudice in the (eep !outh as a
girl. ' remember 8irmingham sheriff, 8ull 5onnor, using attack dogs and fire hoses on us and
little kids. ;e had to sit at the back of city buses, attend one-room, inade-uate schools that were
separate but sup,ose ta be e-ual. ;e drank from separate, unsanitary water fountains and
couldn,t eat in most restaurants. 8lack men was lynched for lookin, at white women.@
+nd Jamal wondered. $he hardships of being black
6ranny remembered had not been that many years ago. Had white people changed< #nce they
were in the voting booth,
alone with their personal feelings of superiority and the prospect of actually conceding the most
powerful position in the world to a descendant of former slaves : could they, would they< +t
seventy-two years old, 6ranny didn,t believe it would happen in her lifetime. Jamal could picture
her, sitting in her favorite lounge chair, leaned forward in front of the television, her long gray
hair brushed back in a bun, her shrewd brown eyes s-uinting as she watched news coverage
detailing the possibility of an #bama win. !he probably prayed enthusiastically, pleading with
6od for a miracle. 8ut the reality of her experiences suggested one more disappointment and
many more rivers to cross before +merica accepted black folks as e-ual. +n #bama win was
more than her imagination could grasp.
Henry Hanks, her son and Jamal,s uncle, shared 6ranny,s perspective, up to a point, until
Hillary 5linton lost the primary. $hen he saw a distinct possibility. &$he hand-writing may be on
the wall,@ he said. &#bama is a master mouthpiece, with charisma, and two elderly grandparents,
both white. He can play the white card as effectively as he can play the black card. He,s in a
uni-ue position to touch the deep hunger and desperation black folks have to feel e-ual. He,ll
also tap into the basic good of white folks, giving them an opportunity to demonstrate what
they,ve always maintained : they are not racist. +fter all, this is the .!. of +., home of the
8eyond understanding the psychology of the election, its excitement and entertainment
value, Hank,s interest was purely economic. &;hat,s in it for me,@ was his catch phrase. ;hen
8arack, 9ichelle, and their lovely daughters were settled into the ;hite House lap of luxury,
how would this affect Hank,s financial fortune< =ot at all, he figured. #bama could not do any
more than the predominately white 5ongress allowed him. 8ottom line, it was the same old soup
reheated. &?ou need to find your own niche,@ he told Jamal on the phone and during visits.
&(on,t get your hopes up over any one politician. $he 5ongress is a den of thieves,
congressional gangsters, each lording over his own district. ?ou can bet the 6odfather, the new
president, will get his piece of the action, the biggest piece. 't,s a scam, Jamal, a grand hustle.@
$he next four and half months went -uickly, as Jamal continued to read about the
president-elect - finally the first black president - settling into office, his hectic schedule and the
expectations of the nation for him to lead the country out of the economic crisis left by the
previous administration. Jamal had become obsessed with the success of 8arack #bama and
determined to use him as a model to develop his own plan to enter politics one day. ;ith the help
of his ncle Hanks, offender rehabilitation program, >resh !tart, Jamal had once again dodged
the bullet. 'nstead of time in the #regon !tate Prison, he had been sentenced to one year of
county time, which he was currently serving. His two-year probation was reinstated, and he was
ordered to attend Portland 5ommunity 5ollege upon release. 'f he successfully completed
probation, his felony charge of (' reckless endangerment would be reduced to a misdemeanor.
He remembered the last comments of his lawyer in the courtroom. &Jamal, you,re too smart for
the dumb shit you doF@
His attorney was right, Jamal mused afterwards, in his cell. 9aybe he really would run
for public office, after he received his criminal Eustice degree from Portland 5ommunity 5ollege.
9aybe he would run for the .!. !enate. ;hat the fuck : why not the .!. presidency<
&President Jamal (avid Evans@ had a nice ring to it.
Jamal,s release day finally came. $he correctional officer, the 5.#., on the other side of
the discharge counter asked, &>ull name<@ He was reviewing a card with that information and
Jamal,s photo. +t /,B4,@ fit and trim, Jamal had an athletic built and wide shoulders. His bron3e
complex-ion complimented smiling brown eyes that stared at the document the 5.#. was writing
on. Jamal,s Portland $railbla3er,s gym suit was still clean but wrinkled, as a result of one-year
storage. He was wearing black leather tennis shoes, in need of a haircut, and he could not stop
>inally, the 5.#. said, &Jamal (avid Evans<@
&?es, sir.@
&(ate of birth<@
&9arch B4, BI2G.@
&Have a seat on the bench, Evans.@
Jamal took a seat near the door, waiting for the 5.#. to complete the discharge process. 't
was Eust about over. He would be transported to Portland 5orrectional !ervices, where he would
meet with his probation officer, his P.#., and ncle Hanks would pick him up. He was being
referred to >resh !tart for follow-up services. His ga3e fixed steadily on the door separating him
from the world outside, he thought about some of the old gang - !lam, currently out of prison on
parole, Horseman, Hot 5ollar, =ickel 8ag and !paceman : all his age, doing time in the #regon
!tate Prison. +nd he thought about his past and how his uncle had changed his life. His thoughts
Jamal had grown up in Portland,s 8urnside housing proEects, raised by his mother until
she left him at the age of thirteen, and he moved in with 6ranny, his ncle Hanks, mother.
Jamal,s father, his ncle Hanks, older brother, was a lifelong petty hustler, poor excuse for a
father, and a current resident of the #regon !tate Prison. His ncle Hanks was also a hustler, but
on a different level than his hapless, drug-addicted brother. 8efore the advent of computer
networks and identity theft security systems, Hanks and his crew of &white collar@ ghetto
hustlers had perfected a process that stole tens of thousands of dollars from #regon banks. $hey
were hitting the banks so hard, the state banking association called an emergency summit, along
with law enforcement, to discuss protective measures.
't was about this time that his ncle Hanks moved
6ranny and Jamal from her small, two-bedroom apartment to a -uiet, almost affluent area of
town and into a four-bedroom bungalow. $hen his uncle went to prison and Jamal began getting
arrested for Euvenile curfew violations, graffiti vandalism, and obstructing Eustice.
+nd the letters from prison started, not from his father but from his ncle Hanks, who
begged Jamal to complete high school. Hanks was taking college correspondence courses in
prison. He made Jamal write and promise that he would go to the public library, check out and
read two books, Why Should White Guys Have All he !un" by .eginald *ewis, an +frican
+merican who had made a billion dollars in the corporate world, and hin# and Gro$ %ich" by
=apoleon Hill, a pioneer and guru of the personal success and development movement.
;ith little enthusiasm, Jamal ac-uired the books. ;hile he,d never read a book outside of
the classroom, he possessed a photographic memory. ;hat his eyes saw was burned permanently
and deeply into his brain, and the story of an +frican +merican, born into poverty and generating
hundreds of millions on ;all !treet, held Jamal hostage. He was captivated. $he book was a
page-turner, an awakening, an enlightenment, a super surge of energy and personal power he,d
never known. +t the same time, he felt embarrassed, a sense of guilt over the personal power he
suddenly reali3ed he had been s-uandering on lesser goals.
$he other book, hin# and Gro$ %ich" further enhanced his feelings of self-worth, as it
preached the gospel of &What the mind can conceive and 'elieve" it can achieve.” 't taught that
you were born in +mericaL therefore, you hit the lottery. 6o collect your winnings.
8ut knowledge is not power until it is implemented. + lifetime of bad habits was not easy
to break. Even after graduating high school and working part-time telemarketing and customer
service Eobs off and on, he still had not found his &burning desire,@ referred to in the book, hin#
and Gro$ %ich. He found himself continuing to have negative law enforcement contact, mostly
driving violations, when it all exploded in his face. He was driving with a suspended license and
a police cruiser tried to pull him over for speeding. .ather than stop, he panicked and sped off,
taking five police cars on a half hour, high speed chase before being apprehended. #nce again,
he found himself between a rock and a hard place. ;ithout the help and influence of his uncle,
Jamal would have faced a laundry list of charges, including felonies, for endangering safety. His
uncle, his .ock of 6ibraltar, had saved, his life.
&Jamal. . .Jamal. . .@
!enator Jamal Evans, now president-elect, was Eolted from his thoughts by a gentle nudge
and hand s-uee3e from *a!hawn. He looked out at the sea of faces. $he crowd was going wild.
He had waited so long for this moment, had dreamed of nothing else. 'ndeed, this was his
moment. + moment to savor.
&Anock,em dead,@ *a!hawn said, raising her voice to compete with the Eubilance of the
't was time for him to address the nation. He gave an imperceptible nod and walked
toward the microphones. $he consummate actor, his entire campaign had been the performance
of a lifetime. He was now president-elect, soon to be crowned master of the game.
&$hank you, +merica. ' stand before you humbled by your vote of confidence, and
inspired by the promise of a better future for all +mericans.
&+merica, you have spoken. ?ou demand affordable healthcare, schools that turn out
literate, capable students, Eobs with good pay and opportunities to advance, lower crime and
enforceable gun ownership laws and, for those +mericans whose doctors prescribe mariEuana for
medicinal purposes, that they no longer have to live in fear the government will haul them off to
&$his is a new day, +merica. ' hear you and ' look
forward to your continued input as we move forward. ;e are a family and we will care for our
brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers, close relatives and friends.
&$hank you again for blessing me with the privilege of leading this great nation. 't,s an
honor to serve you.@
*a!hawn came to his side, their eyes fixing on each other in triumph, smiling, wrapping
their minds around the enormity of what they,d accomplished, and their ability to engineer a
deception of this magnitude. *ittle did their adoring supporters or the nation know, Jamal and
*a!hawn Evans came to ;ashington to increase the deficit, to make a multi-billion dollar
withdrawal from the largest bank account in the world. *ike alligators about to feast, they were
salivating at the prospect of raiding the .!. $reasury. $hey smiled about being the 8onnie and
5lyde of BJ44 Pennsylvania +venue. 'n ten weeks, they would be President and >irst *ady.
Beaumont, Texas - o!em"er #, 2$2#
Even the criminal eyes in the federal penitentiary were glued to the presidential election
returns on $7. ;ith all states reporting, Jamal Evans had become +merica,s second +frican
+merican president. Prisoner .obert Parker, number M11J2B, a.k.a., !lam, was holding in his left
hand a photo of two young men, smiling, arms around each other,s shoulders, looking into the
camera : .obert Parker and his childhood friend, Jamal Evans, the new president-elect. !lam,s
cellmate was sitting on the top bunk.
&!hit, you wasn,t bullshittin,. ?ou really do know that dude<@
!lam grinned. &$ole you, man, the nigga was my dog. ;e was close.@
&9an, he the president. He can git you out.@
&=aw,@ !lam said. &;e fell out years ago. ;hen he became big-time, he -uit fuckin, wit
me.@ !lam summoned a deEected look that reflected his disappointment over the loss of
friendship with the new president-elect, who would become in two months the most powerful
man in the world. +ctually, !lam,s outward appearance was bogus. 'nwardly, he could barely
contain himself. He knew the deal had already been sealed, that in exactly four years, after
President Jamal Evans had served his first term and was leaving office, !lam would be the
president,s first presidential pardon, from B/ to life with possible parole in 04 years to
unconditional discharge, time-served. He knew what the nation and his fellow prisoners did not
know : there would be a gangsta in the ;hite House. +nd that gangsta was his partner in crime.
!lam turned back to the election coverage as the announcer again informed the nation
that Jamal Evans was the second +frican +merican elected P#$!.
!lam and the president elect were still tight, although on the low. Jamal Evans, even if he
had a change of heart, could not double-cross !lam, especially with the use of (=+ evidence to
solve old crimes. Jamal,s commitment would be honored. !lam,s thoughts drifted to the
insurance policy he had against the new president elect)
$hey were both B1 years old, out running the neighborhoods, looking for something to
steal, when they intercepted a white paper boy. $hey both pulled knives to frighten him and
demanded money. $he boy didn,t move, looking from one to the other.
&6immie yo, goddamn moneyF@ !lam demanded.
&?eah, mothafucka, cough it upF@ Jamal sneered.
$he young boy looked as if he might resist but reached in his pocket and pulled out a five
and three ones. !lam snatched the money and they turned to run. +nd Jamal heard, &=iggersF@
He stopped, turned back and gutted the boy twice with his knife, then took off running. *ater
they learned that the boy had died and police were searching for suspects. $hat had been 02 years
ago and they,d never been apprehended. $his was their secret. +lready serving B/ to life, !lam
had little to lose by fessing up, if his good friend wavered. $his secret was his get-out-of-Eail-free
$he clock was ticking for him, the countdown to freedom. !till captivated by the election
news coverage, he remembered the day Jamal announced his intentions to enter politics. 'n
reference to 8arack #bama, Jamal had said, &He put white folks to sleep, hypnoti3ed, and when
they woke up, he was sitting in the #val #ffice. =ow, that,s world-class game. He out-hustled
the hustlersF@
$hat had been sixteen years ago. ;ith single-minded purpose, determination, and refusal
to accept failure, Jamal had demonstrated that he, too, had the orator,s tongue and world-class
game. 8ut who the hell would have given him a snowball,s chance< !or real" !lam thought. (y
dog and his girl going to the White House.
'n ten weeks, they would be President and >irst *ady.