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7:00 A.M.

"Why the hell did you sleep there?"

I peeked out of one slitted eye to see Nick looming over me. "Because that bed is very tiny and you kept trying to spoon me," I answered groggily.

"Well... whatever. It's time to get up," he said.

I sat up as he moved away and felt a sharp pain shoot through my neck. I clutched at the crick. "Ouch," I groaned. "Crap."

Looking around, I could tell Nick had been up awhile. That was so un-Nick like it was ridiculous. He stood by the bed, and was rooting through his duffle bag. He unearthed a sheath of papers and pulled out what looked like a print out from Google Maps.

Because every agent for the FBI uses Google Maps to find out where they're going.

He turned to look at me. "Might wanna load your gun," he said, "You might actually need it." He was now rooting around again, pulling out thick black cartridges for the gun he had in his hand.

I stared at it as he fiddled with it. The barrel warbled around and, at one point, was aiming at his crotch as he tried to figure out what he was doing. He hit the cartridge with the heel of his hand, trying to get it into the hole. "Nick!" I snapped. I quickly took the gun away. "You almost blew your nuts off," I said, aiming the gun away and pulling the cartridge out. He had been trying to shove it in upside down.

Nick watched me as I expertly loaded the gun.

"So you know how to work it then," he said, smirking.

"I'm from Kentucky," I answered, "They teach you this crap before you can talk."

Nick laughed and reached for the gun.

"Wait," I said. I pulled it out of his reach. He raised an eyebrow. "Rules for the gun. One, no aiming it at anyone. Two, no touching the trigger. Ever."

Nick snorted and snatched the gun away, "Seriously, it's not like I'm 12 and I'm gonna accidentally blow someone's brains out, Frick," he said, laughing.

"No. You're right. But it is like you're Nick and you're gonna blow somebody's brains out," I said, "Ground rules for the deadly weapon is a safety precaution."

Although I didn't think we'd use it, I loaded my own gun and tucked it into the holster on my hip. Nick tucked in his shirt and wrapped a bright red tie around his neck. I struggled with the contact lenses and, ten minutes later, we both looked... well, we looked like ourselves, but just... different. Now it was more like people you'd say, "You look an awful lot like...." to, than "Oh my God that's..." about. You know?

"Okay, so what are we doing again?"

"Visiting the Japanes Mafia," Nick replied.

I raised my eyebrow.

Nick shrugged, "Well," he said, "I mean..." he paused. "At least we have the guns, right?"



"Here it is. Yazuka headquarters."


"One of them."

We stood looking at a simplistic door. "Sooooo," Bri said, drawing out the word. "What do we do?"

I tugged on my jacket, making sure that it was clearly covering my gun. "I'm going to act like a dumb American who heard about a little gambling opportunity."

"You're kidding. They'll see right through it. They'll take their swords and slice and dice you."

"Do you have a better plan?"

"What am I doing while you do that?"

I pointed to my left. "You're going to figure out a way to look through the windows and see if you can spot J anywhere."

Bri narrowed his eyes. I didn't know if it was a glare because he was pissed or a squint because he couldn't see that well. I pressed the glasses up on the bridge of my nose. I made a fist and banged on the door. I pushed Bri out of the way. He pressed himself up against the wall.

The next few minutes played out like something out of the movies. A tiny little rectangular part of the door slid open. Two teeny tiny eyes looked out. A harsh voice rambled something in Japanese. I just smiled.

"Howdy!" I said. "I'm Buck McAllister. I'm from the good ole' state of Texas. A little birdie told me that I needed to come and see you."

The eyes disappeared for a second. When they reappeared, they shone even more suspicious. "What you want?" the voice snapped.

I leaned in closer to the door, lowering my obnoxious southern oil-tycoon voice. "A friend reckoned we could see you if I could talk you into letting me, er, play. I've been told you're entertainment specialists."

"What friend?"


"Wilbur? We no know no Wilbur."

"Well y'know what they say," I said. Brian rounded the corner. "Two no's make a yes."



The guy shoved his hand through the slot and pointed at me. I felt sick when I realized he was missing part of his finger. The tip had healed, but I could clearly see a jagged X.

"Show me money."

I slowly reached into my jacket pocket, being mindful about the gun. I pulled out a roll of cash. It was a hundred dollar bill wrapped around a shitload of one's and five's. I held it up. "Here."

Initially, I didn't think my plan would work. I had an inkling I'd have to make a run for it. To my shock, the dude disappeared and a second later the door swung open.

I hesitated.

"You. Come."

I didn't want to go in alone, but I knew I couldn't go chase down Brian. "Where am I going?"

"You want to see show? You come with me."

Now I was confused. "There's a show?"

"Give me money."

I pressed the money to my chest. "No. How do I know you're going to show me anything if I give you my money?"

The dude was a lot shorter than me but he didn't hesitate to bring the mean. I couldn't believe I was arguing with someone who had most likely killed before. The tension mounted until finally the guy nodded. "You come and pick one out first. You pay before show though."

"O-ookay," I said. The guy walked sideways, keeping an eye on me as we entered the building. The wooden door slammed shut.

The inside was pretty dark. The only light was coming from the small windows. My heart was pounding loudly as I thought I saw Bri's face appear in one for a fraction of a second. I made sure not to look at the windows as I followed the money-hungry mafioso. He turned down a hallway and I looked around, making sure I could retrace my steps before moving myself forward.

"One, two, or three. Peek quick. Give me number. Then show."

I was expecting robots. Or roosters. As I stepped up to the first door and my short mafia guide slid back a small rectangular window in the door, I wasn't expecting what my eyes drank in. The room held a pole, a couch...

And a chick.

"Are doors two and three the same?" I asked. The dude smiled. He was missing a lot of teeth.

"Different color couches."