I know, I shouldn't be starting new stories when I already have two to finish. But I worship "The Replacement Killers". I've thought about writing this for years, so I just decided to. Meg Coburn is a sexy badass, and John Lee (one of my favorite roles for Chow Yun-Fat) is a man I could fall in love with. This movie BEGS for fanfiction.
In twenty-two days there are 528 hours, and in those hours are 31,680 minutes, and all those minutes contain 1,900,800 seconds. Which leads me to the actual point of this observation: It had been three weeks. Three long, quiet, goddamn weeks. When a person has 1,900,800 seconds to think during the day (and dream during the night), you can imagine how restless that person can get.
I woke with a start from my bed, my hand twitching towards the gun on my bedside table. Sweat soaked my cotton sheets and the nightgown I was wearing stuck to me like a second skin. Deep breaths kept me focused as I rubbed the sleep from my eyes. Street lamps poured dim lighting through the only window in my room and illuminated the droplets of rain thundering against it.
This wasn't unusual for me. A few hours' sleep, plagued by dreams that were either flashes of my past or nightmares of the future. I saw Lester leering at me from the kitchen next to Joey's dead body. I saw a group of stupid thugs kicking the shit out of some poor old woman and her daughter. I saw a beautiful man closing his eyes as bullets tore through his body, his blood soaking the streets of Shanghai. And then I would wakeup, curse a little, and make myself a cup of coffee. During the day I checked my phone messages and my mail slot like Jesus Christ himself would pop out of it.
I missed the old days of saying, "What the fuck do I care? It's not my problem." Because that wasn't true anymore. John's problems had become my problems, and as much as I'd like to hate it, I didn't. Not really. But I sure as hell liked to bitch about it.
The clock on the wall read '1:30'. I had handled those three weeks pretty well, but somehow it bothered me that a whole new week was starting. It just…shouldn't have taken that long to find his mother and sister…and those passports I had made were flawless. Surely he wouldn't have staid in China for good?
"Damn it, John." I hissed, shoving a filter into my cheap coffee pot. I had no guarantees he would come back. Sometimes I imagined him walking into my apartment with a smile on his face, as if he would come back to the states just for me. He wasn't like anybody I'd ever met, and I wanted to protect that so fiercely that it made my heart ache sometimes.
Meg Coburn has a heart? Yeah, right.
Morning took forever to come, but when it finally did, it seemed too soon. I jumped in the shower, brushed my teeth, and dressed in a clean set of bra and underwear. Light blue, with a touch of lace on the edges. I was still 'unemployed', not sure whether to get a real job or continue dabbling with forged documents, so getting dressed seemed really overrated. And besides, what better way to distract some asshole pointing a gun at me?
My hair hung wet around my shoulders, and as I started putting my silver rings back on, I noticed my henna tattoos were starting to fade. Now I know what you're thinking, so don't even start with me. Hennas are such a New Age fad; they're for hippies and losers who burn incense and are too afraid to get real tattoos. I happen to like incense, as a matter of fact. I also happen to really, really hate needles. Somehow my thought process drifted to a certain China man again, and I felt relieved when the phone started to ring.
"Yeah?" I tried to sound as annoyed and put-out as possible.
"Yo, babe, you gotta' learn to relax."
"Loco," I sighed. "What have you got for me?"
"Mm, lot's of things. I'm like your personal fucking Santa Clause."
"I'm hanging up now."
"Wait! Wait! Just kidding, babe. I heard some news down in Chinatown."
It was his turn to sigh now. "Got it through the grape vine that a first class package was delivered to a local temple. Some people got itchy about it, thought maybe it had to do with Terrence Wei or one of his drug-running friends. Turned out to be a telegram or somethin'."
"Do you have the message?"
"You have to pick that up yourself. I think your name got mentioned somewhere in there."
"You think? Loco, your information has more holes than Swiss cheese."
"Whatev. I don't owe you shit. As a matter of fact…I think you owe me a car and a case full of guns and ammo."
"You better crawl back to your gutter before I pop a cap up your ass," I laughed before dropping the phone back in its cradle.
Though I didn't have a name to go on, I recalled the temple John had taken me to after he had been shot, and I figured that was it. It was a private establishment for real worshippers- not one of those tourist stops that seems to pollute L.A.. The entrance looked like a rundown martial arts center; a great flashing sign of 'WE DON'T HAVE ANY MONEY, AND WE CAN KILL YOU WITH OUR PINKY FINGERS.' I stepped through to the desk in the center of the room and waited until someone approached me. An old, bald man with liver spots and plain clothes stared at me for a few minutes, trying to discern if I was trouble.
I'd thrown on my nice white coat, a pair of khaki slacks and a white t-shirt, so I wasn't blaring the 'tourist' vibe. I'd hoped I was throwing off more of the 'friend of a professional killer' vibe, but you never knew. The old man hobbled forward and asked me if I was lost.
"No, I'm looking for someone."
His smile brightened a little, but I couldn't tell why. Why are all Chinese men so damn mysterious?
"Who?" he asked.
"No John Lee here. Sorry." His English was very shaky, I noticed.
"I didn't think he was here. I'm pretty sure he's in China right now. Could you deliver a message for me?"
"Lot of John Lees in China," he spoke thoughtfully.
"I just want one," I sighed. "If you hear from him, tell him Meg Coburn was here for him."
"Meg?" came a voice from down the hall. The old man I was speaking to looked sharply over his shoulder. A slightly younger man appeared, dressed in full priest's robes. He looked excited.
"Come," he beckoned. "I've been waiting for you."
The old man in front of me stepped aside in compliance as I headed towards the hall. My brown sandals echoed loudly off the scuffed wood as we walked down a long hallway and started into a familiar room. Candlelight and incense made it hard to see and breathe for a moment.
"This is it." He handed me a piece of paper that looked a little worse for wear. My heart beating wildly with excitement, I opened it like a kid at Christmas.
My face fell.
"I can't read this. It's written in Chinese characters."
"Darn," he muttered. "I was hoping you could read it yourself. My Chinese is terrible. "
I blinked at him in disbelief for a moment. "Can you try?"
He took the letter back and slipped a pair of reading glasses on his weathered face, then looked back up to me.
"Meg Kaburn. Coburn, I mean. Tell." He squinted a little more at the next few lines. "Something about…help? Need help? Soon. Be fool of care. No, no, full of care. Careful."
My eyes closed tightly. I knew it, I told myself. John ran into trouble, and he needs my help. My nightmares probably weren't too far from the truth.
"Where is he?" My voice was a little shaky. My mind, however, was busy adding up numbers and contacts, imagining ways to find Wei's old allies and making deals for weapons and ammo. It would be some serious work on my part.
I felt an envelope being pushed into my hand. The sender address was blank- no way to know. But the priest looked at me for a moment and smiled excitedly.
"Canton." he said. "I heard one of the other priests talking about it. John Lee's family was moved to Canton."
I managed a quick thank-you and ran as fast as I could up the stairs, down the hallway and out the door. The next flight to China was mine- unless I was already too late? I tried not to think about it.
Somewhere behind me the old man with liver spots started yelling at the younger priest in furious Chinese, and boy did he sound pissed off. My car (Loco's, for now) started with a roar, and I was already turning onto the main road by the time the two had run outside to call me back.
Author's Note- I'm sure nobody will read this, seeing as this movie is pretty old and had some bad media hype. I think there are only two other stories for it here on . But if you do read this, know that I totally appreciate it.