C4: Slave to Stray

The passenger laughed.

“I mean, your parents really fucked you naming you Kim. How you supposed to get pussy with ‘Kim’?” Gunner said.

“That’s like a movie extra’s name. Someone whose ass Jet Li would kick,” the passenger said.

The Cadillac steered into the parking lot of a building with a giant analog clock on the front that had struck the thirteenth hour. A line of people waited to get past the doorman to the bumping music of the nightclub.

The Cadillac parked. The driver and the passenger stepped out. The Mexican with the goatee opened Keitaro’s door.

“Out.” Gunner kicked Keitaro out the door into the buff Mexican’s arms.

The Mexican grabbed Keitaro by his collar, dragging him by it like a dog’s scruff. Keitaro stumbled nearly incoherent toward the nightclub. Not the entrance, but to the rear of the building, and up five steps to a metal door. The polished Mexican unlocked and opened the door, holding it so the Mexican with the goatee could shove Keitaro through.

Keitaro could no longer open his left eye. With his right eye, he strained to see maroon carpeting and dim circular lighting on the ceiling of what appeared to be a private hallway. One door to the right, another door, another door. Three closed doors before they turned left at the end of the hall. Just past the door up ahead what sounded like a club partied on. But Gunner led Keitaro sideways into the open doorway, down five stairs into a private den.

Fire.

Trophy case.

One man on the couch.

The only details Keitaro gathered in his six seconds of visual receptivity before the Mexican with the goatee forced him to kneel in front of the coffee table, presenting him to who Keitaro assumed to be Cobra.

A baggie of cocaine lay next to a Glock on the coffee table top. Cash in twenties stacked next to a cell phone that vibrated with an incoming call. A black bottle of Rosé emptied into a whiskey glass.

In sunglasses and smoke from the joint between his forefinger and thumb, the Mexican across the table lifted his head to acknowledge the offering of his henchmen.

“Kim Keitaro.” Gunner handed the boss Keitaro’s wallet.

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