Smiley suddenly dropped his ill-fitting suit of friendliness “We didn’t do anything to you. You Americans are the ones who make monsters. I have other appointments and I’m tired of asking nicely. You work for us. Now come along.”
He grabbed my wrist and without thinking about it, I reacted by shoving him. Seemed like I barely touched him, but he went ass over teakettle off the stool like he got hit with a wrecking ball. I jumped to my feet more out of surprise than anything, and one of his dark suited goons had a pistol aimed at me. The others had their hands on their weapons as well but didn’t show them. The smooth talker was on the ground wheezing like he was having an asthma attack so I spoke to the fellow with a gun in my face.
“What’s your plan? If you shoot me in the face I don’t think you’re going to be bringing me in for what your boss wants. You’re in a tough spot here buddy.”
“He can’t understand you, he doesn’t speak English.”
The new voice was a smallish fellow with mussed hair that looked like he had just woken up, possibly from sleeping in the street, although he was dressed fashionably enough. He had thick sideburns that put his scraggy chin whiskers to shame. Everyone else on the street had cleared out when Smiles and his friends turned, but this fellow had come towards the commotion. The wheezing man on the ground finally managed to catch his breath enough to speak.
“This doesn’t concern you Elvis.”
I raised an eyebrow “Elvis?”
He half shrugged “It’s more of a nickname.” He turned to the man in the tan suit who was finally getting up with the aid of two of his lackeys “This is my street, everything that happens here concerns me.”
Tan suit reached into his pocket and came out with not a gun, or even a knife, but a dagger. What’s the difference between a knife and a dagger? I don’t know, but this was a dagger for sure. It didn’t look like something any army man would have, it looked like something out of a Hercules movie, it had symbols etched into it and everything.
Elvis sighed at the sight of the blade “Look man I’m hung over, do we really need do go through this again right now? You don’t have enough guys here to take me, do we have to go through the motions? Do we want to see me snatch this guy’s gun away and then kick this guy here in the throat and beat all your asses? We know how this is going to end, do we need to do it again?”
The dagger-wielder looked mildly surprised “You’re willing to cross us for this white girl? This isn’t like before, this time it means war Elvis.”
Elvis looked unhappy “This is my street.”
Tan suit put his dagger away and waved for his men to back off “So be it.”
Elvis watched them walk away for a moment and then sighed again and sat down at the counter, reaching over and grabbing some weird little round glass bottle which he popped the top off with his thumb and took a drink.
“So, ah, who were those nice gentlemen?’
The glance at me and grunted “Those were some of the Shadow Lords.”
I scowled “Shadow Lords? What kind of name is that? Have I wandered into a Dick Tracy adventure?”
“When you’re an international criminal syndicate it doesn’t pay to be subtle. Shadow Lords probably sounds better in Pilipino.”
“How do you say it in Pilipino?”
He frowned “How should I know? Do I look Pilipino to you?
“Uh . . . . . no?”
He chuckled “Good answer.”