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A thief, a thug, and a gangbanger are drinking at a bar. The bartender’s fine with it. Most of his clientele are criminals or in bed with criminals. As long as no one makes any trouble, everyone can get drunk and have fun. People have forgotten what the word sanctuary means. There are rules, old rules, that govern people. The one about no killing isn’t one of them. That’s been happening since the beginning. It’s hospitality. A safe haven. All of Jet City was a storm at the moment and the bar owner, let’s call him Eddie, wanted this place to be for those seeking refuge. Sure it was a risk. Cops came sniffing by every once in a while. Mobs of various persuasions came courting, looking for exclusive rights and VIP privilege but Eddie knew enough people that it hadn’t become a problem for him. So, for a while, a kind of peace settled on Eddie’s bar.
Then the Spiders came to town. No one knew their game. Some said they started as a rat sack of a gang from Everett and were looking for new digs. Others thought they were gangsta wannabes who lucked on some money or guns or both and were trying to make a name for themselves. Some thought they had some secret mojo that was boosting their foot soldiers. Magic? Knock-off Russian Super Soldier drugs? Regular drugs? Whatever it was, they were taking over like roaches. Street by street, corner by corner. The Gold Street gang, Rico’s Boys, Noche Reyes, they’d all turned Spider and now people were getting spooked. It was all anyone talked about anymore. The gangs were losing the city without a shot fired. Figuratively speaking. Someone was always shooting someone else in this town.
That’s what Eddie was thinking about when a nearly eight foot tall, muscle bound mofo came strolling in. Everyone who noticed turned to look. Silence fell. It was like the place had become a saloon for a moment. If there was a guy playing the honkytonk he would have fumbled the keys. The giant was wearing the Army surplus store special. Faded camo pants, army jacket that barely fit over his bulging muscles, beaten to hell combat boots, and for some reason a black executioner’s hood. Everyone instinctually reached for their guns.
“Who here owns a Dragon?” the giant asked. No one answered. “2004 Volkswagen Dragon? It’s a nice car. It’s double parked outside. Thought I’d let y’all know. Anybody? No? Okay.” He walked toward the bar where Eddie was washing a glass. “I’m looking for someone, barkeep. Hoping you’ve seen him.”
“Can’t help you,” said Eddie.
“I don’t think that’s true… what’s your name? Eddie? His name is Nobody. Some people call him Mr. Nobody. I’m looking for him.” Some of the other patrons whispered nervously. Eddie’s face changed ever so slightly. “Oh, so you’ve heard of him.”
“I can get you a drink or my friends can show you the door. What’ll it be?” Eddie asked. He hoped he sounded brave just then. His knees were shaking like maracas. The giant looked over his shoulder and chuckled.
“I’ll have the most expensive thing you got,” he said. Eddie hesitated.
“It’s… in the back. Hold on a minute,” said Eddie. He disappeared through an Employees Only door. The giant grabbed a bowl of bar pretzels to munch on and waited.
Eddie grabbed a key off his key ring and opened an old drawer behind his desk. An ancient looking machine waited for him. It was dusty from so little use. He put it on the desk and plugged a telephone wire to the back. He pulled the attached keyboard out until it clicked and started typing out a message. It was a pre-Qwerty keyboard so it took a minute to find the right keys and get the message typed. Once he hit send, the message would make its way to the one who gave him the machine. The one the giant was looking for. Eddie hoped trusting this Nobody character wouldn’t come back to bite him in the ass. How long did he have to be an informant before his life debt was paid? He realized he’d never actually asked the masked man that question.
No one had approached the giant yet. No one had the guts. He finished the last bar pretzel and turned to look at everyone there.
“I’m starting to think our friend Eddie turned tail and ran. I don’t wanna chase him down though. So I’ll ask again, and I want a straight answer because I know all you fuckers know. Where can I find Nobody?”
“Man, fuck you!” said a thug from the Killaz gang.
“Did prison turn you gay, boy? Why you wanna fuck me?” the giant asked. A bunch of guns came out.
“Get the fuck out of here,” said a rough looking man with a glock. The giant smirked and grabbed him, his huge fist completely covering the man’s face. He pivoted and threw the man through the front of the establishment, breaking three ribs and two vertebrae.
“This ain’t a fucking Zen koan, motherfuckers. It’s a simple question. Where is Nobody?”
Four men jumped him. He knocked them away quite easily. Two Noche Reyes enforcers shot him point blank. He lurched back, holding his stomach. Then he started laughing. More panicked men started shooting. The giant yanked a bar stool out of the floor, screws and all, and chucked it at a cluster of them over by the darts board, knocking them down. He grabbed another pair of thugs and slammed them down on the pool table, breaking it into splinters and loosing a few teeth in the process. He kicked someone clear across the bar into a broken juke box player, breaking it even more and collapsing his lung. He threw someone else over the bar and into a row of tequila bottles, dislocating the thug’s shoulder.
“Where the fuck is Nobody! Someone knows!” the giant screamed. People started running. It was GTFO time. “Come back you animals. You, in the hoodie. Where can I find Nobody?”
The teen in the black hoodie peed his low rider jeans. “No one knows. He shows up and fucks people up and leaves.”
“I have it on good authority that he has informants. Spies. That’s how he found out who my brothers and sisters in the Order were. Someone snitched. All that money we throw your way and you fuckers fucking snitched.”
“It wasn’t me! I don’t know anything. I just sell drugs, man.”
“Who owns the Dragon out front? The one that’s double parked?”
“Uh, Lorenzo. Yeah, he’s the Noche Reyes guy over there.”
“Thank you,” said the giant. He picked the guy in the hoodie up and shoved his head through the ceiling, crushing his skull. Eddie returned from the back and his jaw fell. “Hmm…. this needs a snappy one liner. Let’s see. Put it on my tab. No wait! I got a better one. Sorry about the mess. Boom! Always wanted to try that one.”
The giant grabbed the keys from passed out Lorenzo and drove off in his new car. He was going to drive to the next bar, and the next, and the next until he found someone who talked. The Order took care of its own. Thanks to Nobody, an entire arm of their operation, the one based in Jet City, was gone. The fight for Law, Order, and Justice would not stop because some fuckhead in a mask decided it. The Order had survived for a century and it would continue for many more. The giant’s phone rang.
“Yeah?” he answered.
“Progress?” the voice asked.
“The investigation is ongoing. I gotta dig deeper on this one. No one knows who this guy is or where he is or anything. He’s a ghost’s silent fart,” said the giant.
“Nothing The War can’t handle, right?”
“I’ll have Nobody’s head on your desk by morning, sir,” said the giant.
“A picture is fine, War. My secretary doesn’t need another heart attack. Besides, it’s an election year. Wouldn’t want my hobbies to get in the way of my day job.”
“Yes, sir.” The Dragon’s engine burped as he flew over a speed bump. “God I love this car.”
Meanwhile, in a safe house in the heart of downtown, a stock ticker printed out a message. Nobody finished polishing the last of his knives and read the slip of paper. He sighed. It was going to be a long night.
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