Mike W McCoy
<>4<> Now it’s a party.
The elevator unseals into an understated opulent oriental styled salon with the no visible clients amongst the dozen stations ‘cept several slinking at the second to last stall. Silent
saccharine shifting shadows of svelte female servants in silver scrubs, an old Hardman cradling a weapon as if it was grafted to his body, and another woman who stays hidden from view but not sent
or sound, all seem to freeze frame a poster perfect pose for the Reaper’s review.
From the tall glass wall, stage-left, a vicious view of a violated Little Tokyo Two radiates from the Forced Modern and Traditional Touched styles of architecture. The glow drifts over the
small smoldering Shinto shrine behind the burly bodyguard, and highlights his exceptional sand colored camel hair suit with matching Heckler & Koch MP5-SD.
Cajeda carefully continues a casual creep closer, empty eyes dart to each empty cubical as his empty hand twitches to deal a Game, and his grim grin grows on thoughts of a slick stylish shuffle.
The big Japanese bodyguard walks with a strange sort of sidestep, showing the right side moving forward instead of his left. The executioner’s expression briefly wonders if the slanted gait
is the result of a past injury.
Camel Suit keeps the modified barrel of this suppressed 9mm sub-machine gun aimed loosely at the Mexican’s feet, and waves the women back with his machine fingered left hand.
Bright brown eyes, long black hair and a naked female shoulder dash behind the last sliding silk screen. Three steps later, a deep creamy yellow skinned face with high sharp cheekbones peers
back intently but briefly.
The elderly bodyguard begins to follow, suddenly stops, his chiseled chin rolls up slightly, the Tech-glass goes opaque, the flesh becomes a mask of deep concentration, as his knuckles turn
white tightening around the ivory inlay pistol grip.
Suddenly Cajeda idents why the slanted stepping, Camel Suit was keeping the right side forward to hide the cigarette pack sized cybernetic interface screwed into his skull.
Reacting quickly, “Whoa,” realizing his mistake, “it’s not what you think.”
The gun aims straight to stiff empty hands holding wide. The professional personality gives a flat delivery.
“I’m here for Red Top.”
“Umm-hugh,” lowering the aim, reluctantly, then repeating, “Red Top.”
Then the fireplug shaped bulldog tilts his head and rides alongside the other thoughts transmitted over the Wire. “Please wait.”
Clasping his hands tightly as the weapon barrel swerves to ceiling, the professional personality pushes through, bringing a calm and focus to the conflicting anger brushing Cajeda’s mind off
mission, off Vengeance. Unexpectedly, Camel Suit’s stance triggers a memory.
“Excuse me,” trying just the edge of a smile. “Excuse me, I think I know you.”
No visible reaction revises the robots repose.
“I worked with a cyborg once, long time back. Called herself Vegas, ran a Network sixty six wet crew. And I think,” looking hard as the samurai swivels slightly.
“No, I know you were there. At that Lost Bank, remember?” Camel Suit clears his Tech-glass at that reference, exposing oversized orbs.
“Yeah, that psycho metal-bitch was quick.”
“Humgh.” The response is rough with a but-not-quick-enough feel.
“Ao, as a friend,” indicating the door. “Would you give me two steps?” That got the older man to grimace.
“Humgh,” grunted before leading into an oddly jovial tone. ”No friend, I give three.”
Then accidently flashing his titanium grill, “I remember.”
The battle stained and sweaty Mexican giggles into a genuine laugh, and that tip of tension allows the two killers a shared moment between madness. The sentiment stretches as Camel Suit
pushes the floor button, and gives a slight nod of encouragement.
“She was something to see,” no longer worried about being drilled dead by a past acquaintance.
“Yes, an exceptional Something,” ushering the Reaper into the arriving elevator. “You are expected upstairs. They will attack as soon as this opens.”
“Thanks,” into a smile lasting past the closed doors, and until he slowly draws his weapon to wait. Many floors and several slow breaths later, the doors open.
Without hesitation the sharp end stabs forward at lightning speed. Stiff steel strikes straight sliding into the victim’s chest at nearly 112 pounds of thrust, a masterful puncture,
penetrating powerfully to pierce the aortic valve.
A cloudy pink mist shoots from the hole when the executioner whips the blade out, the bruiser is dead on his feet, not even a heartbeat left before falling down like a Las Vegas Casino. The
Soundtrack resets on the body’s bass beat drop into the Ghost Culture.
The First Foyer is an antique Shogun style insisting red be on top of red on top of red. Walls, ceiling, furniture, everything is a complete current crimson variant except the
symbolic winter white-washed Samurai armor flanking the ornate decorative door.
Experience knows to stay in close and cover below the fire line before the Yakuza hitters start stamping out shells pachinko style. Two short steps then Cajeda soars over the
stabbed-still-stiff, hard-8’s a shoulder-roll, and is back up on his feet.
Despite fast footing, the Red Top Yakuza figure the Reaper’s obvious objective, and a beehive of bullets bounce behind him.
“Shi-crap!” a wild one snaps his leg!
“Crap!” into an exit wound spurting a cadence of, “Oh crap, crap.”
Buzzing bullets burn across the room as fast as they can pull the triggers. Sensational screams scratch the mix in a shuffling stereo of terror and laughter. Nothing serious touches
close as the reckless Mexican mouse maneuvers.
A slick sudden silence slithers slowly sideways until only a dry CLICK, CLICK, CLICK of the dying roulette wheel. The stalled street soldiers stare with ugly uncertainty imaging more than
physically. A Death Dealer dance begins.
Blood splattered tattoos twist and turn around his bruised flesh. The leaking right thigh, darkening the denim, hair matted tangled gold chains, and a face of furious frustration all fadeout
behind the blood dripping sixteen inches of life-taking steel
DRIP, DRIP, CLICK, CLICK, double zero.
Side stepping, the blade waits only a fraction of a fraction before striking a young fool unable to reload his big bore revolver. The punk’s frantic blood-shot eyes glare at his fumbling
fingers, unable to ident why he can’t get the bullet held correctly. When he realizes the hand is severed from his arm, e[verything becomes a SCREAM!
Forcing aside his own pain and panic, the Reaper lurches left to spear the next Red Top Yakuza Street Soldier under the armpit and through the lung. The screaming Japanese mixed to erratic
barking of faulty bullets rattles his senses, but training and determination push the near-dead corpse aside and angle into the next attack.
A radioactive round runs a bloody furrow through the muscles of Cajeda’s shoulder!
Anger deals first, forcing the face-off. Stalking straight, smiling brighter on each dragged step Death comes. One bullet, two bullet, three, not even close, but four tugs some
windbreaker, and five snaps so near his ear, it leaves it ringing.
“That was fun.”
The red silk suited gangster and his gun, stand frozen, confused eyes find the Reaper’s smile, then go dark. Some slight sludge of bone fragments, brain flesh and other goo, drip in gory
globs after Cajeda draws the blade free, creating a third eye.
Fumbling on the faulty leg, saves the Mexican. As he falls, a line of bullet holes follow, cutting down two fellow Yakuza Street Soldiers. As the stylized suits crumple, Cajeda slips
fast and furious, finding the shooter frozen in fear, empty gun held up as religious talisman. The thrust is merciful, mandible through frontal lobe.
The last survivor tosses his gun and bangs on the heavy wood door flanked by white suits of Samurai armor. Fast frantic fear flavored pleas get no response.
“Please no,” his back presses tight to the intricately carved red lacquer.
“Please no?” shined with sarcasm as the blade freezes the weak willed wimp.
“What happened to you?” the sharp edge toys with the smaller man’s chin. A short string of stammered Japanese answers, but is shushed by the blood dipped blade.
“Real Yakuza have honor. Not you.”
First strike drills through the white pearl snap-closure in the middle of the soft red, almost pink, silk shirt. A dark stain drains down his chest as the second stab slips sideways skewering
his throat. A garden hose spray of crimson cascades in an ever weakening arc just before the body crumples.
<>5<> We have time.
The wide weathered wood door deploys readily revealing a Penthouse Foyer of scuffed earth tones, shallow stone steps, sliding silk screens, and two dead doormen. Dominating the left,
past the portly underdressed Japanese corpse, sits a sunken karate dojo and several showcases of sharp Samurai swords. Stage-right sits a sparsely lit business suite of cubicles curbing a
crescent concrete conference table.
A great grandpa age XXXL large man in green polyester Polynesian sits at the slab’s far end. He tips an extinct red hair monkey-head coffee mug as a greeting, while behind him two
threateningly thick Samoan safety SShadows fade back and out.
“Hey brah, welcome to the party.” The smirked tone lingers.
The Mexican eyes the rail-thin Japanese corpse trying to die, and steps around, favoring his faulty femur. “Um, thanks?”
The dark skinned Samoan sips from the big hairy hollowed out skull.
“I am Royalles Cajeda.”
Another sip, followed with a questioning glance, so the professional personality volumes up alongside each step closer.
“I came as proxy for my murdered crew captain, Felix Chavezstro.”
“Is that so?” saying it slowly while spilling slightly from the grotesque cup. “Murdered?”
“Yes,” starting out calm.
“Going to cancel the contractor who played that assassin bitch Babi Aura,” sounding smooth.
“Don’t care how big this goes,” sounding serious.
“I need to kill somebody for this,” sounding silly and somewhat insane.
“Looks like you already have, brah.” The elderly eyes behind the coffee corpse caress Cajeda’s current compromised crimson costume of Japanese gore smeared over blood and bullet wounds.
“Do you mind?” Not waiting, the Mexican sets the blood wet dagger on the crescent cement slab then limps into an office chair. “I just need a-”
“Oh no, no, please,” gestured again with the red monkey skull. “I think we have time.”
“Good, um,” stripping off the wasted windbreaker, and wincing as both bullet wounds start to slowly seep. “Time for what?”
The tattooed face of Pac-Isle Activist glances up from behind his great gaudy gold watch. “Oh, for the little-dick to notice his guards are all dead.”
During the man’s end line giggle Cajeda notes his frayed khaki pants above grass sandaled feet and how the left shirt pocket bulges with the silhouette of a small pistol.
“Be any minute now, brah.”
“This, um, dick, he also called Red Top?” The big boned great-grandfather laughs.
“Oh yeah, brah! Unless you know another spoiled Yakuza-wannabe? Little fairy is out parading across the city,” gesturing towards the window view.
“Attracting every goddamn hairy eyeball of our enemies!” slamming the coffee mug.
The Reaper remains resiliently silent.
“But,” the severed skull starts spilling. “But I fixed some stuff. He’ll be back here real soon, brah.”
Suddenly the ident clicks. “You’re, Boss Mao Mao aren’t you?”
“Guilty brah,” leading into another a sip. “Are you really Chavezstro’s brother by a different mother?”
Cajeda can’t hide his surprise.“No worry, brah,” a dismissive tone.
“I get it. Ch’eve was more than your boss, he was blood. Loyal to the last, right?”
“Much respect,” trying out the leg.
“I’ve heard of you too, Mr. Cajeda.” The sound of the Reaper’s name changes the dynamic criminal vibe.
“Whispers of seriously scary stories of a dark one. Everybody somehow knows, but no one wants to say how they know. Just rumors, mostly. Ghost-culture stuff.”
After half the length of the mesa on a noticeable limp, the executioner pauses for a long, long, moment. “I don’t believe rumors.”
“Rumors are like shadows, brah. They walk behind our steps, unwanted but real enough. Big K believed that, and so do I.”
“Sure, Ao.” Then the tone becomes over-familiar with, “But I’m on a mission h-”
“Mission, brah?” The gangster underboss blurts, unable to hide his actual Fear. “What’s your fucking game?” recovering with authority.
Purposely slow the executioner lets the crimson caressed costume, all shiny and sticky, start the word that leaves his split lip. “Vengeance.”
The moment lingers on that sound. The SShadows step as one, creating menacing silent silhouettes, dark and unreadable. Boss Mao Mao tilts the time, trying to figure an angle.
Cajeda grins with eyes that dim darker than his name.
The seconds stretch, taunt tensions fray, then the dead skinny Yakuza passes gas. The flatulent fluctuations flutter across the silence forcing a smile on each focused face a fraction ahead
of the laughter.
<>6<> Going gloom.
A single stainless steel surgical tray sits stoic on the cement slab. The Mexican flashes a query gaze to Boss Mao Mao whose eyes bounce back to the bloody blade.
“It’s for the insurance policies,” reading the engraved katakana label, getting the younger man’s face to soften.
“Babi Aura’s boy called this an insurance policy,” flipping the LAPD evidence bag into the tray with the severed finger of his brother clearly visible inside.
Instantly a high pitched wine accompanies a narrow beam of red light from the ceiling which illuminates the tray for several seconds.
“Damn,” Boss Mao Mao grunts then displays a wrinkled brown paper bag. “Hold on.”
His movements take on a deft reverence as they prepare and place more plastic wrapped human flesh on the tray. In the half light of the office stage the severed hand appears singed and
severely shrapnel shredded around a great garish gold letter ‘K’ shaped ring.
“Overstand me, brah,” Boss Mao Mao’s eyes burn into the saran sealed appendage as the ceiling’s light show repeats. “I’m pissed, not sad.”
“We lost Big K?” studying the sword swipe side situated several inches above the wrist.
“Found that…that,” his face unable to say the word. “Blasted a hundred meters from the car, brah.”
The deeply dark skinned man pulls on the coffee cup and a sad sower face shades his soul. “And that’s all we found…bastards,” hurling the severed monkey head.
Cajeda tightens his bloody leg bandage, letting a silence divide them. “Tell me something?”
“Sure thing, brah?”
“Was it you who called?” reaching out to his brother’s finger.
“A voice said Babi Aura has a flush Contract on my Crew. That call started my Hard Pursuit that’s now killed, what? A dozen plus amateurs and interns since breakfast, at least. I
want the Contractor. I was told it’s Tetsu.”
Boss Mao Mao sits up straighter and his SShadows slip a step sideways for a sure shot. “Sure brah. We could let it happen, right gentlemen?”
The SShadow in abstract red lava print polyester assures by resting his hand on the hilt of a MAC-10 sub-machine gun.
“You call it, you got it.” His brother Samoan in a sky blue sailing print, nods back and pats his own matching weapon.
“Good, we agree,” Cajeda’s words float across the scene like a slow fog. “He gets one chance to lie, then I kill him.”
A slight deep throated chuckle escapes behind a polite cough from the blue costumed SShadow, and is followed with a bigger chuckle from Boss Mao Mao.
“Oh for sure, brah.”
“So,” limping to a chair. “What’s with the light?”
“I heard a rumor once. See wall, brah?” Boss Mao Mao’s face lights up. “A secret vault.”
Cajeda follows the words to eye a door’s cleverly camouflaged outline. “That maybe reason we booth here, brah.”
“What’s inside?” finishing his field dressing, professional eyes scanning for Yakuza punks.
“Um, yeah.” A genuine happy smile twists the Mexican’s features and flashes a scare through Boss Mao Mao.
“I have no idea, brah.” His tone goes gloom on the last breath.
<>7<> One Chance
The executioner starts to say something but a cacophony of crashing sword swipes slicing several sliding silk screens silences his sentence. Sudden loud yammering Japanese thrusts forward
across the Soundtrack with pretty boys, scary girls, and a core group of Red Top Yakuza thugs, all following a frothing mad half-naked pasty skin and fat middle aged man-child swinging the
“Mother!” slashing a severe strike.
“Mother I am here!” the wavy stance sword wielder’s high voice snaps from across the room.
“Mother!” smashing another sliding screen. “Mother, I have father.”
“Have all players now,” stepping crookedly while a babble of Japanese drunken entourage rabble overlaps another wild awkward samurai sword swing.
The crowd goes wild, forced-joy all around, but the little fat man loses steam, so speech slurs to a slow shameful sorrow.
“A game to change…the…world,” ending in tears of a clown.
Both men and the SShadows face the self-proclaimed boss of the recently revived Red Top Yakuza inside Little Tokyo Two, Los Angeles California, Greater United Americas.
“Tetsu Tarashima,” Boss Mao Mao’s baritone booms. “You are drunk. Here, have some coffee.” The smile is sarcasm and not hidden at all by the ugly red-hair monkey skull mug.
The crafty Cajeda eyes the Entourage peripherally with professional poise, while staring a strong ident at Tetsu, now Red Top, the son of the Japanese Corporate Crime Lord Akira Tarashima, and the
dead Princess Ikota.
The huge hand shaped birth mark marring the back of his near bald dome is the moniker’s obvious give away. Short and round, with barefoot ca’ankles showing below a blood splattered once
dove-white funeral kimono. Red Top’s makeup-heavy face, painted Sad and a little bit Mad, slides around his Japanese accented English
“Father, you remember!” the teetering fat man slices the words.“Behind all the drinking, you remember!”
“Father,” delt towards a cluster of petty peacocks behind him. “Father!” they repeat with mixed gusto.
His next swing with the sword is wild and quick. “Father you will tell me tonight. Not yet,” driving the steel into a screen and leaving it there.
”We must greet much on your friends,” indicating the Mexican and Boss Mao Mao.
“Bring him!” and before the phrase fades, the thin limbed eighty something bloody, beaten, and broken body of Lord Akira Tarashima is doggedly dragged towards the trophy topped table by three
cackling Red Breasted Bruisers.
The tallest Japanese big boy wears an eggshell white suit over a red velvet vest now bedazzled with ridiculous ruby capped studs. Their sparkling light matches his red polished finger nails
now holding aloft a four hundred year old Katana.
The second Bruiser lets the plate sized tattoo of a red monkey dominate his naked torso under a matching white suit. His taught and tan muscled body pushes the deposed alcoholic Corporate
Criminal Crime Lord by both bruised and broken naked shoulders.
The finalist of the flamboyant trio has the same red vest and white tie as the first, but a bright red Mohawk crowns his teardrop shaped Kabuki makeup painted face. His thick wristed ornately
tattooed arms hold the heavy chain connected to the quivering scarecrow of Lord Akira Tarashima.
“What’s this shit?” Cajeda stands stiffly, using his still bloody poniard, digging it tip first into the table for support, an obvious affront.
“Stay cool, brah,” Boss Mao Mao assures after setting down the empty mug.
“We going to play professional,” slowly saying the cadence into the Reapers stare.
The thought is underlined back by the tight lipped grins of the flanking Nazi SS styled bodyguards, whose eyes are busy figuring the angles.
“I’m good,” slow and scary.
Just like the callused hands itching to un-leathered the Hardware; twin MAC-10 sub-machine guns each, with a dozen plus extra 38-round clips of .45 caliber 116 grain bullets. At five seconds
a clip, they are walking Death Clocks, blunt, brutal, deductible.
“Ice cold, Boss Mao Mao, sir.”
“Relax a bit Blue,” eying the SShadow. Then he points at Cajeda. “He’s the one I’m worried about.”
“Back at you,” mouthed back but not spoken.
Rapid loud overlapping Japanese yells and hoots rush the scene forward, and finish a few fast-paces from the conference table. A deep far flanking of floozies, fags, and followers stay behind
a loose line of a dozen plus Red Top Yakuza Street Soldiers dressed in full costume and kabuki painted faces.
The beaten body of Lord Akira Tarashima is dumped like so much rice. Blood and pain deals the Reaper in. “Ao, that’s it, asshole.”
The words stun Boss Mao Mao, but get only an annoyed glare from the Red Top persona. Cajeda continues; no pretention hides within the professional manner, but a hint of narrow minded madness
“You forget we…was…here…first?”
A loud layer of Japanese thunders from Red Top. The volume reverbs off a super sumo sized solider then spills onto the Yakuza Street Soldiers who crash violently against the third tier
“Ao, you cut this family fun and square the deck,” bloody blade banging on the beat. “I’ll let you live long enough to apologize.”
“Cutting yes!” Red Top echoes. “Yes, yes!” yells and yells, faster and faster until a frustrated fatalistic fury swings his sword strike wildly.
The nearest Entourage sweet boy sways away, narrowly, but another does not. That body quickly collapses, taking the antique samurai sword with it. The Reaper spits out his own blood and
realizes Red Top isn’t acting crazy, he is, and a laugh starts softly.
“Quite now!” turning violent, clinging for Mr. Sumo’s support. “Or you die!”
After a sidestep into a grin of a man who doesn’t fear death, but brings it forth, the Reaper scrapes his blade across the cement slab, and few errant sparks accent his attitude. “Say that
Boss Mao Mao leans over the mesa, obstructing the flank. “Relax Mr. Cajeda,” winking towards the SShadows who nod in unison. “Give it a minute, please.”
“What?” confusion replaces confidence, forcing a battle field burp.
No one has moved, yet Natural Instinct knows targets have changed. Both SShadows hold MAC-10 sub-machine guns pointed floor-ish, Boss Mao Mao holds a posed pleading gesture, Mr. Sumo holds
something in his hand, Lord Tarashima holds onto mortality, and Red Top holds only a wavering since of sanity.
“My father! The great Lord Akira.” taking another antique sword, now from the tall Ruby Red flamboyant thug who’s deathly pale white suit is splattered with the battered alcoholic’s blood and
“Mother!” The entourage goes quiet. “Father?”
Red Top must lean in close before his father’s bruised beaten face suddenly speaks something startling that neither Cajeda nor Boss Mao Mao understand. Red Top thrusts back, the surprise
nipping his nose.
“No, a lie,” before grunting at red Mohawk headed Bruiser who drops the deposed Oyabun’s ornaately tattooed skinny arm atop the slab.
“Father!” Red Top awkwardly holds the sword strike steady. “Now you show me!”
The beaten Lord mutters something with a half-smile that enrages his son even more.
“You lie,” dragging the blade’s dull side across the doomed man’s neck, all eyes focus on the spoiled man-child’s drama.
“I do this now, Mother demands it.” The father offers no cowering defense beyond a pitiful pained look.
“What secret killed Mother!”
The sword swipe slices strongly askew, angling across almost a quarter up the forearm to produce a gush of blood and agony from the severed limb. Half a scream later, the old man’s torso
collapses, crimson leaking with each last heartbeat.
The Yakuza party is abruptly paused into a stiff silence sourcing from Mr. Sumo. Waiting, he watches Red Top snail-trail the bloody fresh cut flesh across the table with the katana, flipping
it in with the other DNA samples. Immediately the assorted appendages light up red again, as another automatic scan begins. A handful of held breaths later, the wall sized door of the
vault does nothing.
<>8<> A secret failsafe.
Red Top’s violent voice vomits vicious visceral gutter Japanese that cuts into accented English when facing the Samoan giant.
“You did this!”
“Back off Tojo,” Cajada intercepts the mood with a blade stabbing concrete closer, shutting up the daddy-killer like a bitch.
Mr. Sumo moves protectively, Red Top can’t focus the fury, so the tyrant tries toying with the severed flesh again.
Entourage echoes volume-down while watching Testu rub off his Kabuki makeup and blood, exposing a childlike expression of pouting lips below his extensive birthmark. The seconds tick with no
new computer scans, only fatty finger flipping flesh atop an already gory gravestone.
“What is this, brah?” Boss Mao Mao can’t help himself, crossing his arms defiantly, singling the SShadows on the starting gate, both primed to mow the room with radioactive .45 caliber swarms
Red Top brings his fury back to the gory surgeon’s tray by a slam of the steel. “I got all. All of them!”
“Father,” kicking the dead scarecrow, continuing as if he was all alone, despite the massive paws of Mr. Sumo stabilizing his stance.
“Big K was second,” saying it in a way that makes the nervous Street Soldiers scared for themselves, realizing Red Top really is crazy. Some start showing guns and other shapes of shinny
sharp steel when he mutters more.
“I paid!” his gaze turns the next words to the Reaper. “I paid big for Chavezstro-san.”
“What’s he saying, brah?” the Samoan boss’s baritone booms.
A look fumes off the Mexican’s blood speckled sweaty stenciled dome, and makes his dark eyes laugh at the future victim like any other top-shelf predator.
“A confession is all I hear.”
Boss Mao Mao eyes the deepening defensive bruises that dot both of Cajeda’s arms; and how the intricate spine-placed Day of the Dead snake tattoo, marred by blood oozing from the untreated shoulder
graze, and the 9mm thigh surprise still sealed in ripped windbreaker, deal a deft death dealer détente.
“Now hold on-”
“Did Babi Aura go wrong?” Tetsu mumbles towards Mr. Sumo, who eyes show fear, despite being three times the size of the Mexican.
“Impossible…” dropping into deep toned Japanese jumble that is immediately over-shaded by the ornate Penthouse foyer door opening.
“Who the-” Boss Mao Mao starts then stops.
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