Electric Boogaloo Chapter 4: Lin Koyobashi
12 April 2010 Leave a comment
Author’s note: Yeah, yeah, I know I haven’t exactly been sticking to that “one story chapter a week” schedule. There are several things I could blame–writer’s block, poor planning, school work, Slacktivist (it’s a time sink–an awesome time sink, but I’m always like “Go Fred! It’s your birthday!” before I realize that, hey, I’ve just lost an hour), friends, 9/11… In any case, I’d been having severe trouble with this chapter, but finishing it has at given me a better sense of direction of how I want to go through the rest of the story, and if all goes well, new chapters should appear on a more frequent basis–maybe not once a week, but more frequently. So yeah.
The first thing that Sean Kessler noticed as he slowly regained consciousness was just how cold it was. Is this hell? He’d always expected it to be hotter. Heaven, then? No way he was that lucky.
Although he was awake, his eyes remained closed—not only did he feel as if he’d spent several rounds on the ring with Hun, he wasn’t sure he wanted to face the world just yet. With nothing else to do but lie there on his back, he began filling in the gaps on his memory.
A few hours (years?) ago, he’d been “watching over” a meeting between the four members of the Foot Elite when he was spotted by one of their foot soldiers. Fortunately, the syndicate’s receding fortunes had apparently taken its toll, as only one of their ninjas was sent after him, and a couple of bullets had quickly taken care of him. Unfortunately, the ninja had managed to take a battlefield trophy—namely, his left forearm, leaving him no choice to seek the nearest hospital.
Hospital. Hospitals are cold. He tried to feel if his arm was still missing, but the cocktail of painkillers he had undoubtedly been administered made it impossible to tell, and like his eyes, his right arm wasn’t responding, making manual confirmation an impossibility. Had the hospital staff told him they could or couldn’t reattach his arm? He’d brought it with him, so it seemed logical to him that they could, but he couldn’t quite remember what they’d said.
So yeah. Heaven, hell, or hospital? Kessler wasn’t a regular church-goer, but feeling numb, cold, and immobile didn’t feel like anything he’d ever heard about the first two. Then again, being immobile and unable to see for all eternity seemed hellish enough. Only one way to find out. After a Herculean struggle—he’d always loved Greek mythology—he opened his eyes, only to find what a appeared to be a New York City detective staring at him. Hell!
The detective, it turned out, was named Longer (no first name given). He’d apparently stumbled across the Foot Ninja’s corpse and had decided to go looking at various hospitals until he’d found the man responsible (a.k.a. him). He was eventually joined by Koyobashi, who immediately entered his internal sexual fantasy DVR; and Hacker, FBI. The gave him the spiel about how he was In No Way Under Arrest and how They Were Just Here To Ask Him A Few Questions.
Drug cocktail or not, Kessler had plenty of experience dealing with the police—more than a decade’s worth, in fact. After finagling a meal out of them, he proceeded to give him the silent treatment, demanding to see his lawyer. Eventually, officer Asian McHottie called a time-out to restrategize, leaving him a measure of peace.
Alone, Kessler, found himself dozing off again, until the return of Officer McHottie, this time without her back-up, shook him back to alertness. For a minute, he dared hope that life, for once, would turn out to be just like a porn movie, but when had life ever been that fair?
“Purple Dragon Sean Kessler, your superior addresses you.”
* * *
Meanwhile, Lin’s two partners made their way to the commissary; once there, Longer ordered a cheeseburger, Hacker an egg salad sandwich.
“So what do you make of all this?” Longer asked, as they awaited their food. “The whole gang war thing—had you ever dealt with anything like it?”
“Once: I was working on the Dracon crime group during their fracas with Tomas Brod back in ’96—’97?—anyway, it lasted a few months, including a pretty bad day or two—although nothing quite as bad as this. You?”
“Not really—I’d just started at the academy back then, so I managed to just miss that one. There really hasn’t been any huge gang war since—until now, anyway.”
“Funny thing about that…” Hacker commented. “Back then, we were on top of things—we might not have been able to build a solid case against the Five Families, but we had a solid idea of who they all were. Until one day, we didn’t.”
* * *
Kessler felt as all the blood drained from his face. He felt his left arm burn like mad, even thought it was no longer there. “You’re Foot…?” he stammered.
Foot Ninja Lin Koyobashi gave a small smile, the kind one gave to a particularly stupid pet after it pissed itself on the carpet, because really, who could get mad at something so adorably dumb? “Sean Kessler,” she repeated. “You have betrayed the Foot Clan and killed one of your own. Retribution must be exacted.”
* * *
Longer waited for Hacker to continue, but it was clear he was waiting to be prodded. “So what happened?” he obliged.
“Well, we’re not quite sure. Suddenly, a log of bigwigs are let out of prison, and their people on the street are nowhere to be seen. The Purple Dragon gang steps ups in a big way, taking over every group and disappearing any that wouldn’t join. Now normally, this wouldn’t be at all strange, except for one thing: no bodies. No blood. Absolutely no chatter. One day the Purple Dragons were lucky to hold on to three blocks, the next, they’re the fucking C.I.A.”
* * *
What the…what the fuck? As Lin prattled on, Kessler struggled to keep his breath steady. Whatever drugs he’d been administered seemed to have worn off, and now he seemed to be in the middle of a full blown panic attack. His vision became unsteady. The curry the FBI guy made several trips up and down his esophagus, never quite spilling out. “What the…what the hell did you do to me?” he pleaded.
* * *
Longer and Hacker were finishing their lunch when they heard the hospital’s P.A. system switch on. “Code blue over at room 394.” However, they did thought nothing until they arrived at Kessler’s floor and witnessed a gaggle of hospital personnel hurriedly making their way through the halls.
“You don’t think…” Longer began.
“Yeah, I do…”
The two men sprinted in the direction of Kessler’s room, and found Lin standing outside, downcast.
“What the hell happened?” Longer asked.
“Cardiac arrest,” Lin said. “I was just talking to him when he…he just began convulsing.”
“Is that so.” Hacker commented, icily. He stared at Lin’s eyes and found them unexpressive. “Interesting.”
At a nurse’s request, the three lawmen retired to a waiting area so as not to interrupt the hospital staff. They did not have to wait long for news, however; within ten minutes, Sean Kessler was pronounced dead from cardiac arrest.
* * *
Six years ago, Elisa would have relished nights like this, when she didn’t have to do anything; it meant she could have dinner with or go flying with Goliath, or simply spend the night with the rest of the clan.
Of course, that was no longer possible. Goliath was gone, as was most of the clan. Worse, the reason she didn’t have any work was because the detail had shifted her hours to the daytime hours, which wreaked havoc on her internal clock; now she was exhausted but couldn’t find it within herself to fall asleep. By two a.m., she had prepared two days’ worth of spaghetti, finally finished the fifth Harry Potter book, cleaned Lacey’s litterbox, and was still nowhere near falling asleep. In the end, she resorted to turning on the TV and watching C-Span. It nearly worked; as she found herself nodding off, a harsh knocking on her door returned her to consciousness.
Muttering obscenities, Elisa made her way to the door. As she pondered possible places when one could hide a body at this hour, she looked over the peephole to find a complete stranger. Caucasian male, white hair, mid-to-late forties, average body type, ragged appearance—nobody she knew.
“C’mon Maza! Open up! I haven’t got all night!”
Elisa went to her kitchen cabinet and removed her gun from its lockbox—the man seemed sincere, but that was no excuse for being stupid. “Okay, here’s what’s going to happen,” she told her visitor through the door. “I’m going to let you in, but I’ll let you know I have my gun out; try anything, and you’ll be lucky if you ever manage to eat solids ever again. I’m tired and I’m cranky, and I do not have time for this crap.”
She opened the door and let the man in. “Oh, thank god, Maza! I swear, you have to help me,” he rambled.
“Forgive me if I’m skeptical, but I need answers. Who are you, for starters?”
“What? Oh, come on, sugar, don’t be that way!”