Ok, just breathe and try to calm yourself... That guy is not going to get up again, you already deal with it... NO NO NO, dont think about it! dont puke again!... Ok calming myself, calming myself... cmon, straighten your back and dont stare at it, turn away and leave the alley, lets go home... This wasnt like before, oh god... This was... I need to go home

How am i going to get this blood of my jacket? Lisa cant see me like this... Mort can do me a solid now... He should know what to do and he can keep it a secret. Cmon, just getting there... This traffic is insane, really... Just like that guy that I kil- NO, dont think, snap about it and concentrate on the road, watch the lights, im almost there.

Mort is there, and he is waving at me... he doesnt see the blood through the glass window.

"hey Mort... i need a favor"

"Hey man, knew you come around here... Whats that in your hand?

"my jacket, i need it clean"

"I'll keep it a secret... I have to give you your other jacket too, here"

Mort handed me another jacket, now red and white, with the pockets full of something

"Thanks Mort, i'll see you around, i think."

"Be carefull, the night is young"

The night is young... and the hot air of the Maimi palm trees made me a little sick... it was as it somehow the brisk of wind bring itself the smell of blood once again.

Im going to get used to this, until i can repay my debt... whatever it was. Lets go home, a nice shower and to bed.

I made the drive to there in 5 minutes, recalling lisa's face and blocking the guy's head i smashed an hour ago, but getting recurrent.

She is waiting me on the sofa, almost sleeping... She always do that after i go do my thing. She thinks that i work as a bodyguard for a mobster (which isnt that far off), thats why sometimes i came home smelling funky or bruised. I always head straight to the bathroom and shower... I dont want her to see me with blood. I cant let her see it.

After a fresh pair of clothes and a nice shower i curled up next to her in the sofa, watching a re-run of that talking car, Kity or some freak name like that. I never watch T.V, my life is as real as it gets... Even more tonight. Inconsciusly I made a little laugh

"Hon, are you alright?"

"Yeah babe, go back to sleep"

"you work too much"

she seemed to be asleep, and i cant blame her... Between the rounds at the hospital and tending the house she is exhausted, more so like me... I wonder if she had seen my work.

"you get something from someone, is a package... I left it there on the counter. Who is richard?"

That was a very nice question and the thing you said in situations like mine is:

"just a friend"

I had a hunch what the package was... Until now everything has been in the shadows, a silenced shot here, a throat ripping there... Always easy marks, blue collar workers, lawyers, bussinesmans... And alley, a rooftop, a suite. Always one. Always crooks in their own game. But tonight, tonight was the test... The mark was an enforcer for the Pavlovich gang, a whole different kinda crook. And i had to take him... With a bat.

I knew i stepped out the minor leagues and into the majors... And the package was a mask, one that would seal my face for the autorithies and the public.I dont know what to feel, sad, happy, angry... But after the sound of cracking the skull and his little scream... I dont know. Now that i think of it was sort of satisfiying

The night is young said mort... but for me, all i want to do is curl up next to lisa on our bed and call it and end.

I shoved her a little to wake her up, with a sort of dead drowsiness she got up and headed for the room.

"coming?" she called from the bedroom

"in a sec, i want to watch how this end"

The T.V wasnt holding my attention, it was what was inside my pocket that called my senses. My payment... It was fatter and heavier than before. and the cash had spots of blood... This made me smile a little i must confess... Blood money. That was the exact thing i held in my hand.

I turned the TV and the next thing you know, the phone rang... I should have expected it.

Click.

...

"Hey man, yeah, listen, we have a problem with one of our guests here in the hotel... So, yeah, we need someone like you to, you know, give one of your lectures to him... Pass through the reception at the hotel on the Fifth and Cornell... Wear something fancy and bring along your materials."

...

Click.

I hang up the phone and opened the packege to find me staring back at a rooster mask... Richard was a clever name. Right there I had no second doubts about it.

I smile.

I walked out the apartment without waking up Lisa and into my car.

I smile a little more.

I recalled the job from earlier.

I smile more

I reached the hotel and grabed the bat from the backseat and put on my mask.

I think im going to enjoy this.

The elevators door opened at the second floor and in front of me was a guy with a shotgun with his back turned to me. I readied my weapon and got close to strike... And just as it landed i thought:

The night is still young...