She’s standing outside, it’s raining, her hair is soaked but it doesn’t matter to her. She still has that smile on her face, nothing in the world could wipe that away. She pauses as she see’s me from across the street, the neon light above her flashes “ FIRE” makes her look majestic than ever. She’s waving for me to cross the ocean between us so we can be together. I’m too scared to move, I don’t want to take that leap, so many uncertainties, more than now. But her warm reassuring smile tells me everything is going to be alright. So I cross. And this is where our paths become one. For better or worst, to death till us part.


*  *   *

“ What is this place?” I hate when that happens. Julian stares an awe at the nightclub FIRE in Korean Town. The music is blaring, the line to get in is longer than I remember it to be. Than again, back then it was just starting off. “ Your friend work here?”

“ No, he owns the place.” A silent wow comes out of her mouth. “ Let’s not waste time.” We both hurry as we jaywalk over to the club, does our law breaking have no end. The bouncers on the door seem ready to pounce the moment they see our bloody damaged outfits, can’t blame them.

“ Easy now, they’re friends.” I know that strong femme voice anywhere, Moon-Choi. “ Look what the cat dragged in, haven’t seen you in a long time.” She appears out from the entrance. Long blonde hair, with purple and blue dye on the tips. A very dangerous soul in a small package.

“ It’s nice to see you Moon.” Politeness is always the way to go.“ Is Ren in?” Julian hides behind me, there’s really no need for it.

“ That depends. What do you need him for?” She stands mighty at the top of the stairs, looking so harmless, but if I was a betting man, I’d say she was carrying a small handgun behind that long pink coat she has on.

“ I need to cash in my favor.” She rolls her eyes, knowing the history between Ren and I, for some reason this doesn’t set well for her.

“ Give me a second.” She pulls a walkie out of her back pocket and radios in. “ Hey, it’s me. You’ll never guess who’s here.”

“ Moon I don’t have time to guess, just tell me.” Ren sour ass voice is on the other end.

“ It’s your buddy, he’s here to cash in that favor you owe him.” You could hear him almost topple on the other end.

“ Let him in, what the hell are you waiting for!?”

Moon takes the walkie and puts it back inside her back pocket. She waves for us to come in. The guards break a path for us to enter. “ Thank you, kind sir.” I tip my hat off to them and walk up the stairs with Julian closely behind.

“ What favor does he owe you?” Julian ask the second we past through the door and enter into a loud and illuminating atmosphere. People are dancing to POP/Electro music, so many of them too drunk to see how much of an ass they look like, people grinding together, looking like they’re inches away from ripping the clothes off themselves to have sex…well the couple in the corner didn’t wait, his girlfriend leg is raised high, her skirt is flapping in the air, showing exposed bottom. Her boyfriend is supporting her leg up as he unzips and takes out his cock, he doesn’t waste any time to penetrate her in the corner of the room as hard as he can, one of his friends asks if he can joy, the girl nods uncontrollably, the boyfriend’s best friend takes the other hole, the girl is just smiling, she’s living her dream. Kinda nice to see he’s not threaten about other man fucking his girl, even if it is her asshole.

Time to answer the question. “ I helped him out of a jam.”

“ More like saved his ass from being fish food.” Moon turns around, almost upset at me. “ Why do you always have to down play everything. For a violent man, you sure are fucking polite.” Politeness is always the way.

“ Pardon me, Moon.” Again, politeness is always the way.

We near the back room, four men built like steel are guarding the door. The moment they see Moon they all move aside, allowing us in easily.

“ WHOOA!” There’s a huge commotion  going on, the LCD tv is blasting a NBA game, Heat vs Lakers. Ren is halfway across the room cheering on with his new friends. He’s changed since I last saw him. Back then he was just trying to survive in the city of devils, aka Los Angeles, wearing worn out clothes, running odd jobs for the mob, in debt with the wrong people, coming so close to death, only to have me save him. Now he’s this big shot, wearing the flashy suit, the rings to go with it, but two things haven’t changed, his black do-rag covering that long black hair and his personality.

“ IT’S YOU!” He cheers as loud as he can, he shoves all his new friends aside and runs over to hug me. He lifts me off the air. “ It’s good to see you!”

“ Likewise.” I pat him on the back. “ You made a name for yourself.”

“ I did.” He smiles all big and wide and puts me down. “ Thanks to you.” He pauses and looks at my bloody clothes. “ Should I ask?”

“ It’s the reason we came here.” He’s confused at the “we” but I point out Julian to him, whose standing in the corner, doing her best and not being seen by others and it’s working.

“ Whose the chick?” Ren eyes her from head to toe, then glances at me. Wondering if we both have a thing going on.

“ No.” I tell him.

“ So many years past, I thought you’d move on.” That’s not going to happen.

“ You wanted to cash in?” Moon cuts through the small talk. “ Why?”

“ Moon,” Ren snickers at her. “ Cool it.”

“ I wouldn’t have come here if I didn’t think I could handle it myself.” Ren nods his head in agreement.

He waves for me to follow him. “ You guys enjoy the game, eat, drink, fucking enjoy!” His guest cheer, never noticing us. “ Let’s talk.” We all follow Ren up the stairs leading to his private office, Moon is behind us, watching our every move. I can feel her eyes glaring at me, why so defense little Moon?

The moment were inside, Ren jumps on his comfy couch, flashing his big smile at me. Gesturing for me to take a seat, there’s cheese, ham, chicken and crackers on the table. He see’s Julian staring at them intensely. “ Eat girl, eat, no one is going to tell you anything. You’re in my home, my guest are always treated right.” Moon closes the door and stands two feet behind me, Julian runs to the table and is filling her mouth with food, me I’m just enjoying the moment, I mean you have to, stress kills.

“ You’ve done really well for yourself.” Ren jumps up back to his feet, he’s happy to hear the compliment.

“ Thank you, friend. If you hadn’t been there, I’d be dead for sure. What happened after that, where did you go?”

“ Why are you here?” Moon cuts in again, straight to the point. Not bad.

“ Moon, chill. Take that stick out of your ass.” Ren plays around with her. “ She hasn’t changed at all, still a serious little fucker.”

“ Someone has to be.” She snickers at Ren as she heads over to the wet-bar to make herself a drink.

“ I’m not?” Ren blows her a kiss. I wonder if these two became an item?  “ She’s crazy about me.” Ren winks.

“ How familiar are you with the South Side Sinners?” I say to him.

“ Very.” Now I got his attention. “ They’re a big network,” That’s a nice way of saying cartel. “ They fucking destroyed MS-13 over a turf dispute a year back. Los Zetas had a deal with them,  but Sinners decided to end that contract, so they could move into their territory. They expand here in North America, Mexico , Canada and growing strong in Central America, the Colombians love them, mainly cause they can put up a show.” Ren runs his finger around his neck, just like a knife. Nice to know the South Side Sinners are big in theatrics.

“ Better question, why bring them up.” Moon puts the drink down and waits for the bombshell.

“ I might have killed one of theirs.”  I carefully down play it.

“ One?” Ren chuckles. “ Who cares!” Honesty is the best policy. “ Ok, not one.” They both pause. “ Sixteen.” “ You’re fucking me?” Both Moon and Ren say together

“ And I think I killed a leader of theirs. Some old lady, she had a grandson by the name of Ortiz.” That makes their jaws drop.

“ Ortiz,” Ren can’t believe what I’m saying. “ Ortiz Ramos..”

“ That’s him.” Julian says with a mouth full of food.

“ He needs to get out of here!” Moon shouts at Ren. “ They can’t stay here!”

“ Why did you kill him?” Ren puts his hand up, telling her to stay calm, Moon bites down on her words.

“ It’s a long story.” I tell him.

“ I got time.” Alright, I should start from the beginning.


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