Chapter 5: Private Justice

“Only his name.”

Danillo rocked his head back and stroked his goatee. “Oh, I see. This is about private justice. You were wronged and you alone are going to make it right. Take the law into your own hands, huh?”

Keitaro shunned the detective for being snide.

“Let me just put into perspective what you’re involved in here. Cobrador in Spanish means ‘debt collector’, and everyone owes him. You know how he claims his debts? Torture. Merciless abuse. Even worse, do you know how he rose to the throne? He murdered everyone above him. We’re not talking about a punk kid who gets high and plays with guns to look important. We’re talking about a murdering, arms-dealing drug addict with a basket full of snakes. He plays the right tune, and they rise and strike.”

Keitaro remained emotionally unaffected, which Danillo read as fearlessness.

“You can’t kill him. It’s immoral and unlawful, and I won’t allow it.”

“I’m not a killer,” Keitaro said.

“So what’s your plan then? You just gonna kick the bucket of snakes and run?”

“I’m gonna use my skill to take down his empire.”

For once, Danillo didn’t argue.

Victor leaned on the bed post. “Holy shit. You shut up Danillo.”

“And you’re not gonna tell me what that skill is, huh?”

Keitaro said nothing.

“Digging it is.” Danillo pulled a business card out of his jacket and handed it to Keitaro.

“In case you find the words I’m looking for.” He approached the hospital door. “Oh, and that thing’s been ringing since I picked you up.” He pointed to Keitaro’s cell phone. “Surprised the battery’s still alive.”

Danillo swung the hospital door closed. Victor leaned on the door after it clicked shut and stared out the little window at Danillo in the hall. “You know how hard he’s going to dig now that you left him curious?”

“You can’t find what you can’t see.” Keitaro stretched back to reach his cell phone and snatched it up in a last effort of energy. Defeated by shooting pains in his torso, he relaxed against the pillow a moment.

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