Monday, April 6, 2009


Act 16: Hooker Fu

"He is just exhausted, I think," Hanna said. He will be fine after some rest, Daddy."

"Thank you Hanna, but are you sure that is all it is?" Akira asked.

"He is old, daddy. You yourself said he was old when you were a child," Hanna replied listening to Sensei's heart again with her stethoscope.

"Yes, he was, but not as old as he is now," Akira replied.

"The only way I can know for sure is to run him through a battery of tests," Hanna said. "Blood tests, urine, feces, EKG, treadmill, the works."

"I understand, Hanna. He is probably too stubborn to take all of those tests," Akira said.

"No doubt, knowing Gramps," Hanna said. "I'll check what I can, though."

"I'll be fine," Sensei said, waking up a few hours later. "Will you quit worring about me and take care of Annie?"

"Alright Gramps, but you let me know if you have any unusual symptoms or pain, you understand?" Hanna asked.

"I will, Hanna. Now off you go," Sensei said. "It is past my bedtime."


"Come now, Annie you have to eat," Hanna said.

But like the last few days, Annie just sat there staring blankly at the floor saying nothing. Hanna had tried everythung she could think of, except for setting up an intravenous feeding tube. It was still a bit early for that, and Hanna considered a tube as a last resort.

"Daddy, I can't get her to eat," Hanna said, looking up at Akira who had knocked and entered the room.

Akira approached Annie who was sitting up in bed, propped by pillows.

" must eat. I know it is hard right now. I know you are hurting. I felt the same way when my wife...lost her life," Akira said, kneeling down beside Annie.
"But you must live. It is not your time."

Annie briefly looked at Akira and went back to staring at the floor.

"I'm going to get Gramps," Hanna said. "Maybe he can get her to eat. Thanks for trying, Daddy."

Akira shook his head slowly. Mentioning his wife brought painful memories. He had returned home to discover his wife hacked to pieces. Thankfully, Hanna was spending the night at a friends house at the time. Akira also found her bodyguard. He had put up a quite a fight at least, as had his wife. The kitchen and living room was a mess and there was broken furniture and items strewn everywhere.

Not as broken as his heart, however. If it had not been for Hanna, Akira would have been much like Annie. After he exacted revenge. Oh, he had tried to find who had done this to his wife, but he never found the person or persons who had done this foul deed. He could not think of any reasons why someone would do this. All he did know was that it was not random murders. Still another reason he had chosen to help Jim and Mack.

"Annie," Akira said softly. "You must eat to sustain your strength. Without strength you cannot get revenge," Akira said.

Annie turned and looked at Akira, her face contorted by anguish and...something else. Anger.

Akira knew that look very well. But after that brief flash in her eyes, she went back to staring at the floor. Akira sighed, and lightly touched Annie's hand before standing up and pacing the room.

Hanna returned pulling a reluctant Sensei behind her.

"It will not hurt to give it a try, Gramps," Hanna said, scolding him.

"I still do not see what I am possibly say that might..." Sensei was saying.

"Shh! We are here. You do not want her to think we are talking about her do you? That would be rude," Hanna said.

Sensei hesitantly approached Annie. He was not good at this sort of thing.

"Well now," Sensei said, "how are you, Annie?"

"Gramps!" Hanna exclaimed rolling her eyes. "You can do better than that!"

"Yes, yes. Do not rush me now. Ahem. Annie, Mack would want you to eat and go on living. I know he would," Sensei said, trying to get through to her. But Annie didn't move or reply.

"He gave his life so you can live!" Sensei said, raising his voice. "Are you not going to honor his sacrifice?"

"It's my fault!" Annie said, breaking out in tears and hugging Sensei. "I should've checked. I thought the blast had killed her. I should've checked."

"There there, Annie it is not your fault. You were still recovering from the blast yourself, as was Mack. I would have thought the same thing you did as would anyone seeing that much blood and damage to the Witch. She used her dark magic to get revenge. But her black desire was denied. She had hoped to kill you and make Mack suffer. But Mack stopped her. For you, Annie. Mack showed the greatest love a man can have by giving his life for you. Will you honor his desire for you to live or let the Witch have the last laugh?" Sensei said, hoping he had not gone too far.

"I-I will...I will live...for Mack!" Annie exclaimed, as more tears flowed. "It hurts Sensei! It hurts so bad!" She said, overcome with anguish.

"I know dear Annie, I know," Sensei said softly, holding her gently.

"And you're right, Akira! I will destroy that GrandMaster scumbag with my bare hands!" Annie shouted, shaking her fists. "And any of his goons that stand in my way!"

Akira nodded and bowed to Annie. "I will help you," he said, his eyes flashing.

"Good, now that we have settled that, let us eat," Sensei asked. "Are you up for cooking, Annie?"

Gramps!" Hanna shouted.

"What? Too soon?" Sensei muttered.

Akira went outside where the sun was setting, casting red and golden light on everything as the night moved in to take over. He loved it here at night, so peaceful and quiet. It was no surprise that Sensei had chosen here to live.

Akira felt his phone buzz in his pocket and ignored it. Probably Yukio, he thought. He had called Yukio yesterday after mack had been killed, and the conversation didn't go well.

"What do you mean he was killed? I sent you there to prevent that!" Yukio shouted.

Akira had explained the circumstances, in between Yukio's rants to no avail. He had also did as Sensei advised, and gave Mack the credit for killing all of the ninja's and the Witch, only saying that Annie was with him at the time.

"What makes you think I care about the circumstances?" Yukio asked. "Do you realize how valuable he was? He was my ticket to taking over Yakuza! Arguably, the GrandMaster may have killed him in any direct confrontation, but I could have cleaned up what mack could not do. Now I will be lucky if I manage to get rid of Suzuki. Although, the GrandMaster is not one to take failure lightly, so he may get rid of Suzuki and give me LA as appeasement. Yes, that would be nice, but it is still a long way from taking the GrandMaster title that is rightfully mine. You were charged with his protection, Akira and you failed. End of story you idiot!" Yukio shouted, no doubt spitting into his phone during the process.

Akira was so angry he nearly decided to drive back and kill Yukio on the spot! He took a few deep breath's and tried to calm down. There would be a reckoning, but now was not the time. Besides that, Yukio was right in saying Akira was the one responsible. But he could not change the past.

"Hei, Master Yukio. You are right, I have failed," Akira said, biting his tongue.

"Be that as it may, I am willing to give you another chance, Akira. I expect to see you by tomorrow. Bring Annie with you. She will be a nice addition to my new whore house, or perhaps I will sell her to one of my Saudi clients. Ha! That sounds much better. They do like white women there and they pay top dollar. Yes, I would take great pleasure knowing that bitch is forced to service Muslims. Imagine the look on her face when she finds out! Hee hee! Can you just picture her wearing one of those bags over her head?" Yukio said.

Akira's blood ran cold at the thought. Was there no depths of depravity Yukio would not stoop to? I will take great pleasure in choking the life out of that monster, Akira thought.

"Akira? Are you there?" Yukio asked.

"Hei. You are...ster Yukio. ...morrow," Akira said turning his phone off.

And here Yukio was calling again. Yukio turned the power off. Yukio could wait until after the funeral. However, instead of getting Annie, he will get Akira's sword drenched in Yukio's own blood! Sleep well Yukio, for tomorrow you die!
Perhaps I should tell Jim, Akira thought, pondering his options. No, Jim was an honorable cop. Still, if he told him what Yukio had planned would it not be honorable to end his life? Certainly, Jim would understand. There was only so much the law could do. And by the time Jim gathered enough evidence to lock up that animal, it would be too late for Annie.

I cannot allow that to happen, Akira thought.

"Time to eat, Daddy!" She said, much more upbeat now that Annie was up and about.

"F*ck!" Yukio shouted. "What is taking that idiot so f*cking long to get here? And why the hell isn't he answering his goddamn phone? He had to pick f*cking hicksville to visit and still he fails to protect that moron, Mack. F*ck!"

"Ryu!" Yukio shouted.

"Hei! Master Yukio?" Ryu replied rushing to Yukio's side.

"Unless you hear different from me, I want you to go see what is keeping Akira, tomorrow morning. Perhaps he is having car trouble. Obviously he is having problems with his f*cking cell phone," Yukio said.

"Hei!" Ryu bowed.

Yukio's phone rang and he quickly answered it. "Yes?"

"Yukio, this is Haru. GrandMaster will be flying down to LA soon to oversee some shipments. He wants you to send ten of your men to help," Haru said.

"Haru! How are you old friend? Why of course I will. These must be very important shipments if the GrandMaster himself is coming to oversee them," Yukio probed.

"Not only that but if this goes well, I hear you may be promoted," Haru said, watching Suzuki commit hari kari.

"The GrandMaster is most kind," Yukio said. "Whatever he may need, I am at his service."

"He will be pleased to hear that. Send your men to Suzuki's headquarters in LA then, the sooner the better," Haru said.

"Yes, as we speak," Yukio said. "How is Suzuki, old friend?"

"Not well at all, Yukio. He has had an unfortunate...accident," Haru said.

"That is too bad," Yukio replied, smiling. "Please give my regards to GrandMaster."

"I will be sure to do that. Goodbye," Haru said.

"Goodbye Haru," Yukio said.

Things are looking up, Yukio thought, rubbing his hands together and calling Ryu to pick ten men to send to LA.

As the next day dawned, Hanna realized they had nothing to wear to Mack's funeral.

"Gramps, there you are. We have nothing to wear to Mack's funeral!" Hanna exclaimed.

"Not to worry. I bought some clothes last time I was out," Sensei replied.

"You bought some clothes for Annie and me?" Hanna asked, not believing her ears.

"Of course. Now where did I put them?" Sensei said, looking around the house. "Oh yes, here they are," he said, opening the hallway closet. "They should fit. I still have a good eye for sizes."

"Gramps! They!" Hanna exclaimed.

"Lovely are they not?" Sensei said, smiling.

"But...but they!" Hanna repeated, in shock.

"No need to thank me," Sensei said. "It was the least I could do. Red is a good color, yes? Only the very best dresses for you and Annie. The saleslady said so."

Hanna rubbed her eyes as if they had betrayed her.

"Um...what about shoes, Gramps?" Hanna asked, hoping they would have time to stop before the funeral.

"I also thought of that," Sensei replied. "Here they are, over here. I got matching pairs," he said, handing Hanna a box.

Hanna opened the box to find black, high-heeled stilettos.

"I-I...dont know what to...say," Hanna said, rubbing her eyes again.

Was Gramps kidding? She wondered. But he didn't look like he was kidding as he stood there, beaming.

"I know what you are thinking," Sensei said.

"You do?" Hanna replied, hoping she wasn't hurting his feelings.

"Yes, you are thinking, how did he know we would like these dresses and shoes so much? And you are also thinking I am so very thoughtful, and despite what Akira told you I am not cheap. Yes, it was difficult to part with so much. Who knew that your clothes were so expensive? Well, I know, now. Ha ha! Quick! Go show Annie. You two are going to look so beautiful!" Sensei said, smiling broadly.

"Er...thanks...Gramps," Hanna said, walking slowly with the clothes and shoes to show Annie. She is going to kill me, Hanna thought. But I do not have the heart to tell Gramps he messed up.

"Are you kidding me?" Annie asked. "We look like...hookers!"

"Shhh! Gramps will hear you," Hanna said.

"But they are so...short, and...and red!" Annie exclaimed, exasperated. "And stilettos? Where did he find these? At a porn shop?"

"I do not know. I am sure he tried his best," Hanna replied looking in the mirror and furrowing her brows. "You really think we look like hookers?"

"Yes, we look like hookers! Haven't you ever seen one?" Annie asked.

"Well, I think so. But in college almost everyone dresses like hookers, so I am not entirely sure," Hanna replied.

"You probably have a point there," Annie said. But trust me, we look like hookers. Low cut, high hems, plenty of leg and bosom showing. Yeah. To be sure, we would probably be high priced call girls, but hookers nonetheless. And these dresses are so tight! My boobs feel like they're going to pop out!"

"Well, we don't have time to stop anywhere now," Hanna said, looking at her watch.
"So we wear this or some of Gramps old clothes."

"Oh! Okay, but I'm not wearing the fishnet stockings!" Annie exclaimed. "I can't believe I'm letting you talk me into this. Good thing there won't be anyone else there. One thing's for sure, Mack would approve of these dresses," Annie said, smiling.

Hanna giggled and Annie joined in.

"So...I should not wear the fishnet stockings?" Hanna asked, after they stopped giggling.

Annie giggled again and Hanna joined in. I guess not, Hanna thought.

"What is taking them so long?" Akira asked, pacing back and forth. "We are going to be late."

"Hurry up, or we will be late!" Sensei shouted. "Stop that, Akira, you are making me nervous."

"You are only nervous because you have to attend a funeral in a Catholic Church," Akira said.

"Well, I am not Catholic. I know very little about their customs. Thankfully, we will be the only people there, besides the Priest," Sensei said.

"Well...there may be a few more," Akira said, hesitantly.

"What do you mean?" Sensei asked, "a few more?"

"I had to tell Mack-san's partner and friend," Akira replied. "And he will probably bring his wife."

"Oh. That is only two. I can handle that," Sensei said.

"Why are you going, Sensei? You never go to funerals," Akira said.

"I would go to yours. Besides, I too feel like I failed Mack-san. I know he would not blame us, but this is the least I could do," Sensei replied.

The door to the bedroom finally opened and Hanna came stumbling out, trying to keep her balance. Annie grabbed her arm and helped her.
Akira's jaw hit the floor.

"They look so lovely," Sensei said, smiling.

"These do take some getting used to," Hanna said, clutching onto Annie.

"Yes, they do. I take it...oomph! You never wore them before now?" Annie asked, catching Hanna again.

"How did you know?" Hanna asked.

"Lucky guess," Annie replied.

"Are they...joking?" Akira whispered to Sensei.

"Shh. You will hurt Annie's feelings," Sensei said. "Pick your jaw up and smile, Akira. See? Hanna dressed like Annie in solidarity. It is the least we can do."

Akira tried his best to smile, ignoring his fatherly instinct to demand that Hanna wear something decent. Sensei was right, he must not upset Annie. Poor girl. She must have lost her good sense to wear that to a funeral. She did look...what is the word he had heard the young men say? Oh yes, hot. Akira forced himself to avert his eyes.

"I will get the jeep," Akira said, thinking that driving would help keep his eyes off of Annie.

"You both look absolutely gorgeous!" Sensei said, as Annie helped Hanna hobble to the door.

"I should say so!" Tadao said, peeking from the living room.

Sensei shot him a look.

"I better get started with the cleaning!" He said, hastily, disappearing from view.

"Remember, do not hurt his feelings," Hanna whispered. "I am sure he meant well."

"Why thank you, Sensei. You and Akira look very handsome," Annie said, smiling.

"Yes, well...ahem. Why thank you," Sensei replied, clearing his throat.

Akira brought the jeep around so the girls wouldn't have to walk in the sand. Especially in those things, he thought, worried that Hanna would sprain her ankles.

As they left Sensei's property they got about where Akira's driver had gotten days earlier to find another car stuck there. Akira slowed down, and drew his pistol, but kept it out of sight. Ryu got out of his car and waved.

"Got stuck I see," Akira said as Ryu approached the jeep.

"Yes, I didn't realize I would need a four wheel drive out here. Master Yukio sent me. He could not reach you by phone, and he assumed you would have car trouble. Were you going back now?" Ryu asked.

"Yes, we flagged down this old man and he was kind enough to let us use his jeep," Akira replied. "Tell Master Yukio we are on our way. My phone is broken. Seems one of the ninjas was still alive and attacked me. Unfortunately he broke my phone before I could finish him."

"Okay, I will call him and tell him to expect you," Ryu said. "May I get a lift?"

"Sorry, there is no room," Akira said. "Have Yukio send another car for you."

"What are you dressed up for?" Ryu asked, looking inside the jeep.

"Oh hell!" Akira exclaimed, smacking Ryu on the side of his head with his gun and knocking him out cold. "I was tired of lying anyhow."

Akira got out and took Ryu's phone, keys and gun. Then he quickly tied him up and placed him in his car with the windows down. He left a canteen of water in case he managed to get free. Otherwise, sensei could free him on the way back. Akira finished, got in the jeep and took off.

They made it to the Church with just minutes to spare. The plan was to have a short memorial at the Church and then to drive to the cemetary for the actual funeral.

As they entered the church, Annie was lookin down, as she helped Hanna walk. Annie stopped and reached over to get some holy water on her fingers to cross herself. She let go of hanna as she did so and looked up.

"Oh my god!" She whispered, as she crossed herself again. There were at least twenty people here!

Sensei froze. Akira was trying to nonchalantly push him to the nearest pew.

Annie spied the nearest pew herself and thought it best to sit threre before anyone turned around. So far, only the Priest had seen them, from the look of his wide eyes.

"Ohh!" Hanna shouted, before crashing to the floor loudly.

Naturally, everyone quickly turned to see a hooker trying to get up off the floor, and her hooker friend who was trying to help her.

"Those poor things. Probably booze or drugs," Sarah whispered to Jim, who nodded.

Was that Akira with them? Jim wondered. What's Akira doing with two hookers?

Several of the wives glared at their husbands who soon realized, one by one, that they were spending far too long looking at the hookers. Even those who looked away within a few seconds.
Most of the men and a few of the women were all fellow police officers who had served with Mack or had known him. A few more were friends from his Navy days.

"Sorry!" Hanna said, struggling to get up.

This of course caused everyone to turn and look again. Annie tried to help Hanna up, and she almost made it, but she was more concious of all the eyes on them than she was on her balance, which she lost, and she soon crashed onto the floor on top of Hanna.

After that there were a few audible gasps from the parishioners. Annie tried to quickly get to her feet bt so did Hanna and they were too tangled up for either to catch their balance which only made things worse as they both fell again, gams and arms flailing desperately to find something besides each other to hold on to.

Akira quickly ran over and helped them both up. Then he waved self-conciously, before Annie smacked his hand. He helped them into a pew, and they both bowed their heads, not so much to pray as to hide their faces. Annie pdid pray to become invisible.

"Did Mack have any hooker friends?" Sarah asked.

"None that I know of, but it's possible," Jim replied. "I don't know how they would know he's dead though."

Akira tried to pull Sensei into the row that Annie and Hanna were sitting in but Sensei was still frozen.

"Oh, that poor man. He must be mentally challenged," Sarah whispered.

Or retarded, Jim thought. What's Akira doing with two hookers and a retard?

"That's not nice, dear," Sarah scolded.

"I didn't say anything," Jim replied.

"I know, but you were thinking it," Sarah said.

"Well, that's what everyone called the mentally challenged when I was a kid. You know I mean nothing by it," Jim said.

"I know, I'm just giving you a hard time for staring at those hookers so long," she said, smiling.

"It's not everyday you see that happening in Church," Jim said, "and at a funeral. Besides, I know that man. He was with Mack when he..."

"The retard?" Sarah asked.

"No, the other guy. He's an informant," Jim replied.

"God be with you," Father O'Sullivan said.

"And also with you," the Catholics among those present said.

"Thank you all for coming." He said. "We are gathered here today to pay respects to and to honor the memories of Mack Westphal, a Navy veteran, a police officer and a detective. Mack devoted his life to protect his fellow man. Before I get started would anyone like to say a few words?"

Jim stood and approached Father O'Sullivan who sat down.

"Hi, I'm Jim Taylor, and I was Mack's partner for several years. Before that I served with him in the Navy. I tried...I tried to prepare a speech, but you know what? I couldn't think of the right words to say, so I'll just speak what's in my heart. I think that's what Mack would want anyway. Mack was the best friend a guy could have. He has saved my life quite a few times, but he has also been there for me over the years to hear the least of my problems. And you know, he had a great sense of humor. Yeah, Mack's humor sure kept many of us sane over the years. I would repeat some of his hijinks, but not here," Jim said, smiling. Which drew some laughter from the crowd.

"Then tell us later, Jim," Father O'Sullivan said, to more laughter.

"You got it, Father but you're buying," Jim said, smiling and to more laughter.

As many of you know, Mack lost his family three years ago, and he lost more than that. He lost what he loved doing. I wish...I wish I could have prevented that, as I'm sure you all do. Excuse me. Ahem. I tried to stay in touch with Mack, and well, I'm ashamed to say I didn't do a good job of it. Mack would be the first to say I'm exaggerating, or being too melodramatic, but that's how I feel. Anyways, thanks Mack. Thanks for enriching our lives so much. Thanks for being our friend. Thanks for all the laughs through the good times and bad times. Godspeed, my friend." Jim said, sitting down.

"Thank you Jim, anyone else?"

A few more people spoke, incuding Sarah.

"Is that everyone?" Father O'sullivan asked.

Annie found herself walking down before she realied what she was doing. She was so moved by Jim and Sarah she had to say something.

"Hi, um, I'm Annie. I was with Mack when he...when he died. You see, Mack died saving my life...and...and I didn't know him very long, but I love him. You know? I thought you should all know. Please excuse me," Annie said, sniffling. "I love you Mack, and God bless you. Thank you all for coming," Annie said, quickly walking back to her seat.

"Thank you, Annie," Father O'Sullivan said, wiping a tear from his eye.

"What a sweet lady," Sarah whispered, wiping her eyes. "We should help her, Jim. I bet she could use the money. We can't let her go back to the streets."

"Yes, of course, dear," Jim said. I don't think shes a hooker though, Jim thought, after watching her move, although why she was dressed like one was beyond him.
Above my paygrade, Jim thought.

The Priest finished the memorial and asked everyone to pick up a flyer if they needed directions to the cemetary. As everyone arose and turned, after genuflecting, they could see Akira and the hookers dragging Sensei out of the Church...literally.

"Are you okay, Sensei?" Akira asked as they screeched out of the Church parking lot.

"That was...horrifying," Sensei said, the color drained from his face.

"Why don't you just wait in the jeep at the cemetary then," Akira said.

"Yes, I think I will. You just had to tell a few of his friends, eh?" Sensei said.

"Well, I had no idea Jim would get that many people together," Akira replied.

"Those people sure stared a lot," Hanna said.

"Aren't you glad you didn't wear the fishnet stockings?" Annie asked.

Fishnet stockings? Akira wondered. Hanna actually considered wearing those? We have to have a long talk about clothes. Then again, maybe not. What would he say?

When they arrived at the cemetary, Sensei did indeed stay in the Jeep.

"Hold it," Annie said, before Hanna could get out. "You better take those off first. They are worse on grass than they are in Church," Annie concluded, taking her heels off.

"I will take your word for it," Hanna replied, taking hers off.

At the gravesite there were also some veterans who were the color guard, which Jim participated in, as well as Mack's Navy friends. They all wore their uniforms and taps was played. Jim hadn't decided who should get the flag, which he bought, but after hearing Annie speak he thought it best she should have it, since Mack had no surviving relatives.

Father O'Sullivan began the service and ended it after the 21 gun salute and taps.

As they walked to the jeep, Jim ran up to them.

"Hi Jim. Sorry I missed you at the Church, but we had some...difficulties," Akira said."This is Annie, and this is Hanna, my daughter."

"Your daughter?" Jim asked, shaking their hand and giving them a quick hug.

"Yes," Akira answered succinctly.

"Thank you for the wonderful ceremony and flag," Annie said.

"It was an honor, Annie," Jim said. "This is my wife Sarah," Jim said introducing her as she caught up.

"Hello," Sarah said hugging Hanna and Annie. "Here dear, you keep this as a gift from us, okay?" Sarah whispered, placing a check in Annie's hand for $5,000 dollars.

Annie looked at it and did a doubletake.

"What? I can't take this," Annie said.

"Really, dear, it's no problem at all," Sarah said. "Mack would want you to have it. And here's our number if you ever need anything at all. We can help you into college too, if you want. You never have to go back."

"Go back? What do you mean?" Annie asked. "College?"

"We can talk more later, Annie. About anything you want," Sarah said. "Any friend of Mack's is a friend of ours."

"Thank you, Sarah, but I...I don't...know what you mean," Annie said, flabbergasted.

"Yes, do call us later when you can," Jim said.

"I will," Annie said, "but I still don't see why you would give me this."

"Let's go, Jim, we mustn't pressure the lass," Sarah said, pulling on Jim's hand.

"Wait, what did you give her?" Jim asked.

"Come on, Jim," she tugged, giving Jim the look that every man dreads.

"Okay, okay I'm coming," Jim answered, waving goodbye. "Seriously, call us Annie. You too, Akira."

"I will do that, Jim. Thank you," Akira said. "Nice to meet you Sarah."

"I still don't understand why she gave me $5000 dollars," Annie muttered, shaking her head as they headed back to the car.

"Maybe she thought you were a hooker," Hanna quipped.

"Oh my God!" Annie shouted.

She turned to run After Jim and Sarah but they were already gone.

"Oh no! Now it makes sense!" Annie said, putting her face into her hands. "I have to call them later and explain."

"Explain what?" Akira asked.

"Explain how we didn't want to hurt Sensei's feelings after he bought these dresses," Annie replied.

"Wait, Sensei bought you those dresses and shoes?" Akira asked.

"Of course he did, Daddy," Hanna replied. "He is so sweet. We did not have the heart to tell him this was inappropriate at funerals."

"Inappropriate everywhere, really," Annie quipped.

"Why that conniving little..." Akira said, muttering to himself.

"What's wrong Daddy?" Hanna asked. "You look upset."

"Sensei told me that Annie had decided to wear that dress and that you went along out of solidarity," Akira said.

"He what!" Annie shouted.

Akira had Sensei drop him and the girls off at the Marriott and advised Annie to use a false name, giving her several thousand in cash as well as giving Hanna a credit card. They all said their goodbyes to Sensei who sported a knot on his head after Annie found out the scam he was running.

"Does this mean you will not be my cook any longer?" Sensei asked, rubbing his head.

"You are impossible!" Annie said in a huff. "But I love you anyway," she finished, kissing him on the knot she had created.

"It hurts here too," Sensei said, pointing to his lips.

"It surely will hurt there if you don't knock it off," Annie replied, waving a fist.

"I do love feisty cooks," Sensei said, laughing.

"Take care Gramps!" Hanna said, giving him a hug.

"You too, little one. Watch out for your father, he needs you," Sensei said softly.

"I will, Gramps. When we get settled I want to examine you more completely, okay? If you have any problems you call me," Hanna ordered.

"Okay," Sensei replied gruffly. "Caring doctors sure are busybodies."

"You both go on in," Akira said. "I need to have one last word with Sensei."

The girls waved and headed towards the door. Sensei whistled and they both turned to wave again and giggle. Then he took their picture.

"I'm going to contact Toshiro now, and then go home. I can see what you have planned, Akira. Be careful, okay? You have my blessings," Sensei said, placing his hand briefly on Akira's head. "I better get out of here before the ladies confiscate my camera, hee hee!"

"Thank you Sensei," Akira replied. "We will visit more often."

"But not too often," Sensei said. "I need my beauty sleep." And with that, Sensei took off.

Annie and Hanna had run back towards the jeep...well, Annie did, and Hanna just managed a fast walk, trying not to fall.

"You decrepit old coot!" Annie shouted, shaking her fist at Sensei as he drove off.

"Well, look at the bright side," Hanna said, catching up to Annie. "We will all laugh about this the next time we are together."

"Oh I'll laugh alright," Annie said, "after I kick Sensei's ass!"

"Please, get some new clothes," Akira said, after getting the girls to enter the hotel lobby, turning to Annie and Hanna and giving her several more thousand dollars. "And take this," he said handing Annie his gun. "You may need it. I'll send a car after I check in with Yukio. I may be driving myself but if not, the driver will have a password, which will be...hooker," Akira smiled.

"Daddy!" Hanna exclaimed.

"Ha ha, very funny, Akira. Are you our pimp?" Annie asked, laughing when Akira turned red. Hanna joined in.
Akira hailed a cab and gave the driver directions. He hoped that Ryu hadn't gotten free or warned Yukio what he had done, but just in case, he had a cover story ready.
Akira arrived, and paid the cabbie.

He approached the door but sensed something was wrong. He looked around but saw nothing. He opened the door with his key and entered, immediately resetting the alarm. He snuck into his room and grabbed his sword and another gun.

So far, so good, Akira thought. He thought for sure he would run into a guard, at least by now. Akira slipped through the house silently. A sword in one hand and his gun in the other. Now he knew for certain something was wrong when he saw the slain guard. Akira moved from room to room, clearing the first floor. He had found three more slain guards, all dead by the sword, and all but one decapitated.

Akira crept up the stairs, the hairs on the back of his neck standing on end. He wasn't one to frighten easily, but for someone...or several men to enter the house undetected and kill four of his men thus far without any sign that any of them had any warning, meant he was dealing with the very best. Perhaps Yukio had done this. Yes, that would explain it, but why?

Akira saw a shadow out of the corner of his eye, upon reaching the top of the stairs, and quickly turned. But all he saw was another decapitated guard. He searched the north wing, finding three more dead guards, all with their throats slit. Akira searched every room carefully, and then backtracked. He felt the blood of one of the guards and checked to see if rigor had set in. No. The killings were recent.

Again, another flickering of shadow, this time dead ahead! But he couldn't focus on it and it was gone as fast as it had appeared. Sensei? He wondered. He could have gotten here first with time to spare, Akira thought as he searched every room he came to, fast approaching the last one...Yukio's room.

The door was open, and two guards were lying dead outside of the threshold, there faces frozen in fear, their throats slashed. Akira entered Yukio's room. Inside was another dead guard, this one decapitated. Akira checked the closet, opening the door quickly, ready to fire.

"Eek!" A woman screamed, covering her head with her arms.

"Silence!" Akira whispered. "You are Yukio's consort, are you not?"

She nodded. "Who did this?" Akira whispered softly.

She just looked up at him, shaking her head no.

"Please! Do not leave me," she begged.

"I will not leave you, I promise. I just need to check the restroom," Akira said.

Akira checked the rest of the room and stopped at the bathroom. Last room, he thought, other than the attic and basement. He didn't relish searching those areas.
He opened the door as fast as he could and stood ready. Inside there was blood everywhere. Yukio's blood. On the bathroom floor laid Yukio, hacked to pieces, his eyes relecting the horror of the hell he had seen as death came to claim him.
His sword lay on the floor next to him, but Akira could tell Only Yukio's blood was on it, as the top side was clean.

Sensei? Akira wondered, shivering as a cold wind blew by him. Yes, Sensei would allow the woman to live. The GrandMaster or some other assassin would not. Akira backed up into the bedroom and felt another rush of wind. The woman screamed again and Akira whirled as fast as lightning. Nothing. Just the wind, Akira thought.
Except all the windows were closed.

Akira backed up to the wall. He was a hard man. He had seen all manner of horrors throughout his life. Akira didn't scare easily. But right now, Akira was more frightened than he could remember being in recent memory. Sensei's vengeance is an awesome force, Akira thought, shaking from the cold...or something else.

Akira scanned the room and caught a brief glimpse out the window on the bacony. A shadowy figure.

Wait! Sensei said he was contacting Toshiro. Maybe he did this, Akira thought. Is that him? But when he blinked the shadow was gone. The light of mid day, which had earlier been so dark, shone brightly in the room once more. Akira considered chasing the shadow, but he decided against it. First of all it may have only been a trick his eyes played on him and secondly, he had to ensure the safety of the girl.

Akira mustered his courage and went to the closet, holding his hand out for the lady hiding in there. She hesitantly took his hand and he helped her up.
She is a knockout! Akira thought, trying not to stare at her naked body. He tried hard to recall her name.

"Mika? You are Mika, right?" Akira asked.

"Hei. I am Mika. Please get me out of here kind sir," she pleaded.

"Here, let us get this on you," he said, grabbing a kimono and helping her put it on. "I am Akira."

Before he could close it she hugged him tightly. He could feel an exciting heat radiating from her bare, alabaster breasts, and supple, well groomed body.
Akira hugged her back.

"It is okay. I will protect you," Akira said softly, caressing her hair as she sobbed.

Her hair smelled of cherry blossoms, and the aroma was heady. Akira didn't want to let her go, but they had to get out of that house. He didn't know why, they just did. Akira looked down at Mika and her wet eyes gazed up at him, drinking in his masculinity. She kissed him, and he kissed her back. It just felt right to do so.
It was a long, and very hot kiss, and it took all of Akira's willpower to gently pull away.

"Here," Akira said. "Wear these sandals. Come with me, Mika. I have a few things to get from my room and then we will leave this evil place."

"Thank you," Mika said, her voice heavy with the sexual tension they both felt.

I think I love her, Akira thought, smiling as they headed for his room. Akira grabbed an overcoat to conceal his sword, and several clips for his gun. He also took some cash he had handy and stuffed his pockets. Yes, $50,000 should do it, he thought.

At the bottom of the stairs he saw a backpack that wasn't there when he entered.
He carefully examined it. There didn't appear to be any traps. Slowly, he unzipped the main pouch. Inside of the backpack were stacks of cash! This must be close to a million dollars, Akira thought, hefting the pack. Who left it? Where did it come from? Akira decided to take it. Who knows when I will get another job, he thought.

Outside, on the porch was another backpack. This one too was full of cash. What is going on here? Akira wondered. Mika had not seen the contents of either pack. She sure will be in for a surprise, Akira thought. He entered the garage and chose the decked out black caddy. He opened the door for Mika and she smiled sweetly, kissing him on the cheek. Akira smiled back.

"Let us take the scenic route back to the hotel, shall we?" Akira asked.

Mika answered with another kiss. Akira was sure the girls would be fine for a little while. He took off from the compound and headed for the beach.

Inside the Marriot Annie asked for a room. "Do you have a penthouse suite?" She asked.

The man behind the desk looked at Hanna and Annie with disdain.

"Are you sure you can afford it?" He asked, sniffing, his nose up in the air.

"Do you take cash?" Annie asked, waving a pile of bills under his nose.

"Why yes! Yes, of course, Madame! Please accept my apologies," he said, a contrite and fearful look on his face.

"You know, you should not judge people so quickly," Hanna scolded.

"Quite right, Madame. Thank you for that kind advice," he said, bowing.

After paying for the room Annie and Hanna headed for the elevator. Just before it shut two men in suits entered. They were both very large men, but apparently in good shape. They both ogled the girls.

"Would you care to join us for an afternoon drink?" The blondhaired man asked.

"No thanks," Annie replied curtly.

"What? We aren't good enough for you?" The blackhaired man asked.

"No, you aren't," Annie answered, glaring at the men.

"You were waving a lot of cash down in the lobby," blondie said, moving closer to Annie.

"You guys better turn the f*ck around and shut the f*ck up, right f*cking now!" Annie shouted.

"Or what, slut, you'll call for help?" The black haired man said, hitting the emergency stop button.

Annie brought her knee up, but blondie was expecting it, and Annie knew he was expecting it. So instead, while blondie preoccupied himself with blocking her knee and grabbing it, she gouged his eyes, really hard!
Blondie screamed in pain and surprise. Then Annie kneed his groin, with all her strength. Blondie fell like a sack of potatoes, and Annie kicked him in the throat.

As Blondie was gasping for air, Hanna jumped up and kicked his fellow goon in the gut. The stilettos she was wearing enhanced the effect. As he was bent over in pain, trying to catch his breath, Hanna brought her knee up into his face. Crunch! Breaking his nose and splitting his lip. She finished him off with a kick to the groin, for good measure.

As both men writhed with pain on the elevator floor Annie restarted the elevator.

"Is everything okay?" A voice asked through a speaker. "This is security. We saw what happened on the video. Man! You gals rock!" He exclaimed.

"Yes, we are fine. You can pick up this riff raff on the twentieth fllor," Annie replied.

"Oooh! I got his blood on my knee!" Gross!" Hanna exclaimed, her face twisted in disgust.

"That's alright, Hanna. We'll just take a long, hot! shower together," Annie said, smiling at the camera.

"Now that's cold, ladies," the voice on the speaker said. "Thanks for the image though," he said, chuckling. "You gals are hot!"

Annie and Hanna giggled, waved to the camera, and got off on their floor.


julie said...

Hah - I knew it! Hookerware :D

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...


LOL! Better than tupperware! Sensei is purty sneaky. :^)

mushroom said...

Hey, Ben, catching up and I see that your health is improving. That's really good news.

This is a return to those great old serials like Flash Gordon -- or A Princess of Mars which I think Burroughs first wrote as a serial. Just keep 'em comin'. Er, uh, yeah, something like that.

Robin Starfish said...

That fer sure puts the fun back in funeral.

walt said...

In Noir, the men are very amorous, and the women are ... kinda easy -- or maybe just lonely. Yeah, that must be it, and the adrenalin from the violence just heightens their loneliness. Or something -- but hey: good-natured gals, one and all.

I think my surprise at all the casual sensuality is just a product of my not getting out and about too much. I kinda lose touch, so to speak. Know what I mean?

Also, I note that the characters seem to have access to "ready cash," which has gotta be nice in this troubled economy. Sometimes I, too, find backpacks of money -- but only in my dreams.

Hey, wait a minute: is Noir just a dream? Hah?

As a footnote to this story, and since I sense that Sensei is being written out of his starring role -- having been "used" like one of Mack's old handkerchiefs ... though not in a degrading way, really -- I have posted a photo of the backside of Sensei's hut at Froth tomorrow. Folks who follow this story closely will want to refer back and forth several times, I'm sure.

Your writer's itch is in full bloom right now!

jwm said...

HA! You'll get this one, Ben. When I read Sensei, I'm starting to see Master Roshi in all his cantankerous horndog glory. Only without the restrictions of afternoon TV- even Japanese TV. Annie and Hanna- Chi-Chi, and Bulma? Only grown up. Will somebody on a waterbed do the Kamehameha wave...


jwm said...

A happy, and blessed Easter to you and yours my friend. May peace be with you.

John M

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Man, I thought I already answered all the comments. My apologies.

Thanks Mushroom, that is high praise indeed! :^)

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...


Ha ha! I hope my funeral is that fun! :^)

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Good Waltervations, Walt!

As for Sensei, I would'nt write him out just yet. He ain't happy about it though.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Hi John!

Ah yes! Master Roshi! Ha ha! Good eye! Dragonball Z was a bigger influence than I realized.

There was a Jackie Chan movie, the Big Brawl, where the Master (Mako) was also much like Sensei. Great flick if you get a chance to see it. :^)

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Thanks John!
And Peace be with you.
Happy Easter to you and yours! :^)