Das opened his eyes to a ceiling. A plain, monotonous ceiling. All white; a spread of grime here and there. He hadn a clue why hed stopped to scrutinise it. Perhaps his senselessness, perhaps his state of disorientation. But granted such state, he questioned the action. And as he questioned it, he remembered why he was looking up at the ceiling. Hed lost the money —but no, it was even bigger than that. Hed been drugged.
He pitched upright; looking left, looking right. Nothing. He was merely amidst a room. A room even plainer than the ceiling. A bed in one of the corners, a nightstand next to it and smut magazines atop this nightstand.
Barring foregoing word, a foreboding vacancy stretched across the room. Every tile on the floor, every roof panel, every last bit of air. Nothingness. And the nothingness reminded him that he was a sitting duck for every minute of his period of still.
”I could have been killed, ” he muttered to himself as he stood.
He could have been killed but he was not. And for that, he was one lucky bastard. Now blessed with the privilege constituting his lifes continuity, he had to ensure he was alive to repay the debt to his Godfather.
He reached in his pocket for nails. Hed fished out naught but paper: pocket change, which was supposed to pay for the rent. Since he had no more nails, he had to use his environment wisely. Anything metal could do the trick.
I can believe that piece of shit betrayed me, Das thought as he started toward the door.
He stopped at the door. He revolved the door handle. It didn budge. It was busted, this he knew for certain. The ones responsible for his capture seemingly locked him in the room.
Das sighed. ”Its locked … ”
He could not bend the door handle because it was not metal. Copper was out of his gifts reach. And he was far too weak to bend it with his hands. The only other option he thought of was breaking it down.
He retreated a few steps back. Then he furrowed his brows and charged toward the door. He raised a foot. He kicked the door down. He collapsed atop the door. He sighed. Easy as pie. He slowly climbed to his feet when …
”O, good evening, Das, ” sounded a familiar voice to his left.
Das stood, turning left. Ray stood across the room, back turned. Smoke emanating from the front. He fanned the smoke and slowly turned around to face him.
”I didn expect you to be out so cold, ” Ray said, smirking.
Das sneered. If only he had a nail—just one would have done the job perfectly. ”I am not sparing your life this time, Ray. ”
”Look, ” Ray said, ”Im not looking for any trouble. ”
Das took a step forward. ”What, putting a drug in my drink was a deed of a pacifist? ”
Ray tittered. ”I did that for a reason, Das. You weren willing to listen to me. ”
”You were conspiring against me, Ray, ” Das took another step forward.
”I was? Man, I don — ”
” Das sprinted toward Ray,
”and now you
e going to pay for it. ”
Ray theatrically pulled a baseball bat from his mouth. ”Whoops, whered this come from? ”
Das punched. Ray swooped. Das dodged. Ray elbowed Das to the face. Das punched Ray to the face. Ray kicked Das to the chest. Das staggered into the kitchen. Ray whacked Das to the head. Das slammed into the counter.
Das grunted. Ray charged. Das clenched his jaw. He thrust a hand forward. Three knives pitched toward Ray. Ray knocked them away with one fell swoop.
”Partner, ” Ray swung, ”I don mean to fight ya but— ”
”Shut up, ” Das dodged.
”Im just having fun with this, ” Ray swung again.
Das dodged. Ray was open. Das kicked Ray to the head. Ray stumbled backward. Das pivoted on his feet. He furrowed his brows. He spun. Ray slammed into a wall, head-first. Ray collapsed.
Das ambled toward Ray. Ray retreated. Das raised a hand. Ray coughed. A knife entered Das hand.
”Please, man, ” Ray said, ”Im sorry for doing what I did. ”
Das thrust a hand forward. The Knife stuck Ray in the shoulder, pinning him up on the wall. Ray groaned. Das caught another knife. He thrust his hand forward. The knife impaled Rays left shoulder.
Ray groaned. ”Come on, Im your partner, Das. Don do this! ”
Das raised a hand high. Metal knives and spoons and forks pitched into the air. They hovered. Das neared Ray. He was trained for this. Godfathers lessons had taught him to kill the untrusted. And that he must do.
”Fare well … Ray, ” Das said.
He thrust a hand forward when …
”WE CAN GET THE MONEY BACK! ”
Das balled his fist. The knives were fast. He clenched his fist. He wrapped his hand. He pulled his hand toward him. The knives trajectory was interrupted. They pitched backward. Weak. One stuck Das to the chest. He groaned.
Ray shielded his head. He peeked. ”Am I dead … yet? ”
Das yanked a knife from his chest. ”Not yet … ”
”You … saved me? ” Ray grimaced.
”Speak, ” he said, ”about what you told me in the nick of time. ”
”Ohh … ” Ray yanked the knives from his shoulders seamlessly, ”that. ”
Das scowled at Ray, looking his nose down at him.
Ray stood, smiling as though nothing had happened.
”The kids from this morning,
” he said,
e coming here. I know its crazy but, like I said, partner, they need to trade in the jewelry for cash and they only know Lenny does illegal trade like that. ”
”When and where is here exactly? ” Das asked, sighing.
” Ray said,
”figured Id bring you here to help out. Heard those kids are some tricky bastards and I honestly thought youd be unconscious and not able to help but … you
e here, ” he smiled.
”Is that why you drugged me? ” Das asked.
”In part, yes,
” Ray said.
”You just weren listening. See, I know those kids like the back of my hand. I know they
e gonna be here and Lennys going to answer the door and well be lurking and well be attacking. And theyll be … ” he leaned in, ”sorry. ” He smirked.
Das narrowed his eyes. ”I thought you said Lenny operated only at the garage. You said he doesn take that kind of business to his house. Wasn that why we swerved into that sketchy alley? ”
e worried too much, ” Ray drew toward him. ”You just are. And thats a problem — heck, anything oo much is always a problem. ”
”You haven yet answered my question, Ray, ” Das said.
”The kids know Lenny, Das,
” Ray said,
”he used to give food to them and whatnot, at least thats what I was told. So they know where the old man lives and they
e choosing dusk to come here because thats when he closes the garage and goes home. When hes home, they
e thinking, we, campers, won be sneaking around with an eye out for them. Thats how they think they
e gonna trade the jewelry and call it a home run. ”
Das gawked at Ray, thoughtfully. A rivulet of blood running down his mouth and nose: the withdrawal symptoms of using his gift. Ray seemed legitimate with this plan and it looked as though, to him, there were not going to be double crosses this time. Das knew he could really use the money back; maybe trusting Ray one last time before they part ways was okay?
Das sighed. ”Fine … you had better be telling the truth, Ray. ”
”O, please, partner, ” Ray said, ”I always have. ”
”Didn look so to me when you drugged the shit out of my— ”
”Das, ” Ray placed a hand onto Das shoulder, ”that was to get you to stay until this evening. When did I even lie back there, huh? ”
”Take your hand off me, ” Das said curtly.
Ray removed his hand. ”Fine, big guy, seventeen-year-old dick. ”
”Yeah, bad joke, ” Ray surrendered his arms.
”How exactly are we doing this thing? ” Das asked.
”Oh, we just wait until the kids show up, ” Ray said. ”Lennys on the porch, waiting for them. When they show up, though, we have to … ”
”Make sure they
e inside the house first, ” Das finished. ”When they
e in the house—we lock the exits and beat them till they relinquish the bags. Yeah, Im not a fool, Ray. ”
Ray stared, thoughtfully. Then a smile trickled on his face.
e so alike, partner. ”
”Not in a million years, ” Das said.
”You know, I think kids shouldn be beaten, ” Ray said. ”Maybe that kind of morally grey stuff should be applicable to adults only. A scare there and a scare here should do the trick just fine. ”
”If it doesn , ” Das said, ”Im beating them into submission. ”
”Sounds like a plan to me, ” Ray smiled.
Das sighed. ”Look, Ray, its been a long day. Im hungry and Im tired and I want my money back. When will they show up? ”
Lights flashed through the windows. Screeching tires. A rumbling engine. Then, a slammed door.
Das and Ray looked at each other in unison.
”Looks like they show up now … ”
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