Two hours later I heard footsteps in the hallway. The door jiggled and someone laughed.
I prepared to bluff my way out. I needn’t have bothered.
The door swung back and a slick haired young hood slipped into the room, moving to his right. A second followed, moving left, then a third came through and straight ahead. They wore wide legged pants, slung low, earrings, and tattoos. Chicano gang bangers.
Five years ago, they would have been Asian. Ten years ago, they would have been Black. Fifty years ago, they would have been Italian. A hundred years ago, they would have been Irish. There are always gangs; only the nationalities change. And they are always for hire for the kind of head smashing, knee breaking enforcement that fits in with their limited self-image.
Their leader carried a baseball bat. The two outriders no doubt had knives, but they were still out of sight. Three-to-one gave them confidence. It was a good thing for me that it did.
Suddenly, I was pissed. The anger I had had bottled up since Raven left me had not come out in Venice. That had been too serious. Davis with a gun was as dangerous as ten of these street punks. Last night, in my apartment, the wheels had begun to come off of my restraint, and the sight of these three smug faces finished the job.
I came around from behind the desk and went to meet them, moving lightly through the debris. Nothing in the room retained enough structural integrity to make a weapon. The only implement of destruction in sight was the baseball bat, and I meant to have it.
The leader slapped it lightly against his palm and snarled an insult. There was such a roaring in my ears that I missed the actual words he said.
He read my eyes and brought the bat up. I kept coming. He swung.
I went under the swing and pivoted. I hit the kid to the leader’s right with an open palm to the chin, hard. His skinny neck snapped back and I could feel something important give way. Continuing to pivot, I put a hard heel in the batboy’s kidney. He went to his knees and the bat spun out of his suddenly lax grip. I caught it in mid air as I jumped for the door.
The third kid went for his knife – only it wasn’t a knife. It was a small automatic.
So much for running. I dropped forward in a shoulder roll that brought me back to my feet right in his face with both hands on the bat, high and low. I hit him, double handed, with the center of the bat, right across the nose. He hit the floor spraying blood.
Their leader was coming to his feet. I hit him full bore with the bat. It took him in the forehead and slammed him back into the room. Then I was gone. more tomorrow