"That," I said, finally breaking the quiet, "is insane."
"Fucking nuts," said Mouse.
"Yer outta yer mind!" said Specs.
Steele chuckled. "Lady, you've got big balls. I'll give you that."
Sakura inclined her head at Steele then swept her gaze at all of us. "We're not going after the entire syndicate. We're just going after one man. Harada."
"We do that," I said, "and another one's just going to take his place."
"Except that new wakagashira isn't planning to overthrow Hosaka."
That made everyone else sit up in their chair.
Mouse said: "Ho. Lee. Fuck."
"You're not kidding, are you," I said.
Sakura shook her head. "Harada's planning to kill Hosaka and name himself the new oyabun. If he succeeds, he'll use the full resources of the syndicate to go after you and Mouse. That's if he hasn't greased you before then."
"And you expect us to believe you?" I said.
Sakura held my gaze for a long moment, then reached into her coat pocket, pulled out a cellphone, and spoke into it.
A knock sounded on the front door. Three sharp raps.
Sakura inclined her head at the door. "If you don't believe me, believe the man at the door."
I glanced at the others.
Revell gave me a quick nod, picked up the shotgun from the tabletop, rose from his chair, and turned toward the door, shotgun at the ready.
Mouse and Steele re-drew their weapons, rose from their seats, and went to either side of the door.
Sakura gestured to the door. "Go on," she said.
* * *
Takeshi Hosaka, the silver-haired oyabun of the White Lotus syndicate, stepped into the Red Dog Bar followed closely by a bull-necked muscle in a dark suit.
I closed the door then turned to regard him.
Hosaka was in his mid-seventies, short and wiry, dressed in a fitted gray double-breasted suit, and reminded me a little of Vincent Righetti. His dark eyes radiated restrained energy and just a hint of mischief.
"I am Takeshi Hosaka," he said in a melodious raspy baritone and gave a short bow. He glanced at Sakura then turned back to me. "I take it Sakura-san has told you what is going on."
"What she claims to be going on," I said.
"It is true," said Hosaka. "My sources tell me Harada is planning a coup. And tomorrow, I am going to be assassinated."
"You don't look too worried about that," said Mouse.
Hosaka gave us a broad smile. "Because you two Ladies will make certain it does not happen."
"We were just discussing that," said Sakura.
Hosaka gestured toward the table we'd just vacated. "Let us sit down, please. And continue our discussion."
A short series of buzzes sounded from behind the bar.
I looked at Revell. "Delivery?"
Revell frowned. "Not expecting anything."
"Parcel Express truck across the street," said Steele, standing by the front window.
"Can't be good," I said, and one of the Twins, Bonnie, leaped into my hand. I turned to Steele and gestured toward Hosaka.
He gave me a quick nod.
I headed toward the back door, followed closely by Mouse, and Sakura.