"Piece of shit Johnny," Mouse said as we got into the car. "I say we grab him and hang his ass out a ten-story window until he talks."
"Exactly what I had in mind," I said.
I pulled out my phone and called Wang. When he answered I said, "Johnny there?"
"No," said Wang.
"When is he back?"
"He's not working until tomorrow afternoon," said Wang, confusion in his voice.
"But he was at the restaurant this morning. Mouse and I talked to him."
"He came by to pick up his pay. But he's not on shift until 16:30 tomorrow."
"Where does he live?"
"East End," said Wang and he rattled off an address. "Why?"
"He wasn't straight with us on something and we're gonna have a little talk. You'd better start looking for a new delivery guy."
"Oh shit, you two..." said Wang.
Johnny lived on the third floor of a six-story apartment building on Crenshaw, near 7th Street, between a corner mom-and-pop market that resembled a narrow hallway and a long row of red-brick walk-ups.
Mouse and I took the stairs up, our boots scuffing along the soiled carpet runner. We rounded the third floor landing and stepped into the main corridor and I spotted the blond-haired, square-jawed man wearing a hip-length leather coat in the middle of the hallway. In front of him stood Johnny, outside an opened apartment doorway.
Johnny was in the middle of saying something to Leather Coat, turned his head in our direction, gave a start, and his face went white.
Leather Coat flicked a glance at us and his right hand flew to his right hip.
Subvocal. World into slo-mo.
The Twins flew into my hands and rose into position as I dropped into a low crouch.
Heard the flap of fabric to my right, saw the glint of metal as a trio of throwing blades sliced through the air toward Leather Coat.
Leather Coat spun away from the blades, then back toward Johnny, drew his pistol and fired three times from the hip, the rounds catching Johnny full in the chest. Pivoted toward us, the gun rising.
Moving at our speed.
Bastard was chromed, too.
I side-stepped left, stroked both triggers, and the Twins spat fire and thunder.
Multiple muzzle flashes from down the hallway, moving sideways to my right.
Felt several somethings buzz past me like angry hornets, the edges of my jacket twitching and flapping.
Flap of fabric, then metal whistling past.
A faint meaty thunk and a grunt of pain.
Slammed into the near wall with my left shoulder, the Twins still roaring.
Leather Coat pivoted slightly toward me, his pistol flashing, and the wall above just centimeters above my head exploded several times, showering me in a spray of dust and plaster.
Ducked lower and crab-crawled right, blinking through the haze of dust and propellant, the Twins tracking.
Leather Coat had vanished.
What the hell--?
Then: splintering wood and shattering glass.
Bolted toward Johnny's apartment and skidded to a halt in the doorway.
Directly across from the front door, a curtain rod hung askew and a pair of burgundy curtain panels were draped over the window sill. The pane was broken, leaving a few shards of glass on the carpet in front of the sill.
Subvocal, and the world snapped back to normal.
I holstered the Twins and turned toward her.
She stood next to me and inclined her head back inside the apartment.
Johnny lay on the inside hallway staring wide-eyed at the ceiling, a gaping scarlet crater in the middle of his chest, blood already spreading and seeping into the beige shag carpet beneath him.
"Mystery Guy?" said Mouse.
I gestured at the broken window. "Bounced."
Sirens wailed in the distance.
"We better bounce, too," said Mouse.
I nodded and stepped back. Took one more look at Johnny, then the broken window.
"Your turn to say it," said Mouse.
Fuck a duck.
(to be continued...)