Author's Note: I decided to portray a more serious Neon than I usually do. ;o) For the first time in a while, she's not going berserk from being around a certain rasta-braided freak. (Yeah, it was tough, not mentioning him. ^_^) But, due to the nature of her work, this fic is rated R. If you skip Ch. 4, it's just PG or PG-13. Comments?
Kurei slid the photo across the desk's surface. "He's
the one we're after," he said, tapping the face of one of the men depicted
in it. I picked it up and scrutinized it. While I wasn't expecting an 8x10
glossy portrait, this small photo was rather fuzzy and off-kilter. Not as good
as some of the others. The photo had obviously been taken on the sly… it
looked like our victim was hard enough to corner, let alone photograph.
I nodded. Ignoring the blur, the face that looked back at
me wasn't particularly anything. There was nothing striking about him at all.
It was a man of somewhat middle age, of middle height and middle weight, with
average features. He didn't look particularly handsome, or cruel, or
intelligent, or anything. He was just an ordinary faceless man that you pass on
the street without thinking. You can speak to one and not remember your
conversation five minutes later; you can watch them melt into a crowd and not
give them a second thought.
They were usually like that.
"His name?" I asked, scrutinizing the image.
I nodded. While I wasn't as familiar as some others were
with the members of the different crime families in Japan, I at least recognized
the name. So that was the face that went with it… how boring.
"What does he do?" I inquired. If he looked more
intelligent, he might have passed for an accountant.
"He handles the Oonishi interests in gambling, and
dabbles a little bit in drugs and prostitution," he replied. "But mostly the
casinos… his brothers take care of the other interests."
I finally committed his face to memory, and pocketed the
photo. "Is this a hit against him, personally, or is it in general against the
"Both," came the terse reply. "Him, specifically,
because Mori Kouran hasn't been receiving his cut from the casino interests.
It was made more than clear that if he didn't receive his percentage from the
gambling operations which infringed on our territory, steps would be taken. For
the last six months, the flow has dwindled to practically nothing. He has been
given one warning, which he disregarded. Now it is time for steps."
"And his family hasn't encouraged him to cough up?" I
asked wryly. Sometimes, people were just stupid. It was easier to pay the money
than deal with the trouble. Did they think they were making some sort of
statement by refusing to pay? Hardly, unless expressing an interest in a death
wish can be counted.
Kurei made an affirmative noise. "Hn."
"He looks easy enough," I remarked. No pun intended.
"What should I know about him? Quirks? Likes? Dislikes? Allergies?"
I remembered one nearly-botched assignment early on in my
career. My intended target had been severely allergic to my herbal shampoo…
it's hard to seduce someone when they're having an adverse reaction to your
Another object came sliding across the table. This was a
dossier, in a manila folder. I opened it up. About five pages of typed
commentary were paperclipped to the inside. There were two or three blank pages
with newspaper clippings pasted on, with passages highlighted, and about seven
or eight additional photographs. Amazingly, these were of even poorer quality
than the one I had initially seen. The pick of a bad lot, I thought.
"I'll get on it," I promised Kurei, rising from my
seat. "I'm assuming we'll make the move Friday night?"