Gang Smasher Alpha – Episode Three


The clock seemed to move slower the more she kept drawing her eyes to it. An irritated glare moved back and forth between the bulky men clad in business suits, the soundboard and soundproof mirror that was positioned as a barrier between her, the recording booth, and her exit, and the big clock on the wall.
            “Last time I leave my watch and phone at home,” the young woman muttered to herself, crossing her legs tightly as she sat like a ball on her stool, the only seat in the booth. In front of her was a microphone that picked up nearly every clear sound she made, which is why she chose to utter her comments underneath her breath.
            Tamiko Brown was a singer who was making headway with her career ever since she signed with Sable Records, a label who founded themselves in Indigo City and, amongst other rappers in the city, made their name known through Tamiko’s voice.
            Tamiko was content that she achieved her lifelong goal of being a singer; she abstained from things that would deter this goal, like peer pressure, boyfriends, dropping out of school…
            Oh damn. School. She had assignments that were on the verge of being considered overdue from her college. The Indigo City University had a surprisingly good Music Program; her mother always taught her to do for herself if she was not fond of her situation.
            Lately, Tamiko noticed that the CEO of Sable Records, Chris Sable Jr., has been taking an interest in her, which understandably caused her to develop a concern. As would be expected when a pretty young lady like herself worked underneath a guy like Sable who figured that with his clout, his money, and his toned abs, he could get anything and snag any woman he wanted.
            Tamiko ran her frustrated fingers quickly and delicately through her dark, curly bushel of hair, sighing roughly while she still awaited the go-ahead to leave. If she left before it was okayed by the production manager, they might need her to return to re-record a part of a song. A lot of yakking and editing later, and she might not get home until midnight. She adjusted herself in her sleeveless blouse, light blue plaid skirt, knee-high socks, and black sneakers, sitting impatiently and waiting for the sound guy to give the thumbs up.
            He must’ve listened to her track over fifteen times. Fifteen times multiplied by three minutes and fifty two seconds is 52 minutes and eight seconds. Her eyeballs widened with a growing pain of madness that seemed to nearly capsize when the thumbs up finally came.
            “Oh, thank God!” Tamiko yanked her iPod from her pocket and bolted for the exit, skipping her usual goodbyes to the sound guy and bodyguards. “If I pick up the pace, I can probably avoid--”
            Her words were stopped short as she barreled down the main hallway to the front door and ran right past the line of sight of Chris Sable Jr. It wasn’t fast enough for the CEO of Sable Records to perceive the young woman as an unintelligible blur.
            “Tamiko! I was hoping to catch you before you left the booth!” Chris said in his forcibly smooth voice. He was thirty five but could easily pass for a twenty eight to twenty nine year old man. He was clad in a black designer suit and his head was clean-shaven; Sable admitted to shaving his head in order to save money on shampoo and trips to the barbershop.
            Shit, Tamiko thought as she immediately halted in place as the sound of his sentence rummaged through her ears. She couldn’t just bolt on her boss. She’ll only play the young fool until circumstances denote she should act otherwise. “Yes, Mr. Sable?”
            “I was listening to your session earlier; girl, I always told you that you can blow!” Sable chuckled, revealing his pearly whites.
            Now when he says ‘blow’, is it a dirty statement? Tamiko thought while fighting the urge to avoid rolling her eyes. She knew butt-kissing in all methods of speaking and actions. “Thanks, Mr. Sable. I just let the music flow right out of me!”
Inside, Tamiko felt contractually different about the content of her music; she sang about partying and finding the right guy. Tamiko couldn’t lie to herself; they were trying to turn her into one of those young women who’ll be desperate to stay relevant in the world of music. She felt like one of those child actresses who suddenly discovered they could carry a tune and decided to jump headfirst into music.
Her passion lies in two things: telling tales through song, and martial arts.
Immediately she thought of Master Willy; why wasn’t he here? Usually he’d be in the lobby making an ass of himself and Tamiko would find him on the verge of being “politely asked to leave”.
“...miko? Tamiko!” Sable’s voice raised an octave to catch Tamiko’s attention as she drifted off on her thoughts. Obviously, in his eyes, she was already tired of hearing him speak.
“Yeah! You were saying?”
“We’re all going out to dinner to celebrate the completion of the album. You should be ecstatic; this is all thanks to you!” Sable continuously blew smoke up Tamiko’s butt in an attempt to keep the seemingly-clueless singer under his thumb.
As she mentally mused before, she knew a kiss-off when she heard one. Yeah, yeah...more like you had me voice what you think girls are only good for. She spoke, fighting to continue her semi-ditzy masquerade, “Oh, I’m sorry; I can’t tonight - school’s really been laying on the work and I need to catch up on some homework. Since we’re done with the album, I may need some time off.”
Sable’s face twitched slightly upon hearing the words. She was lying, and he hated it when people lied in his face, yet he masterfully kept this emotion hidden from view. “Well, school is important. I suppose you can take some time off to finish your schoolin’,” Sable falsely admitted as he brought up a fake smile.
“All right, well, I’ll drop by tomorrow to see if there are any re-recordings that need to be done.” Her words picked up in speed as Tamiko made a beeline for the door.
Sable walked over to one of his security detail and leaned in closer to speak. “She’s trying to play me. Trying to act smarter than she is - thinking she doesn’t need me. I got somethin’ for her ass. Get some of the boys and get her alone. Don’t hurt her; just scare her.”
“Got it, Mr. Sable,” the security agent said simply. He knew the drill; Sable was aiming to keep Tamiko under his control by injecting fear into her heart.
Oh, I met many little chickies like you, Brown. Thinking that just because you take some Karate and you’re in school, you don’t need my help. Free thinking always pissed me off, especially with women; every time a woman opens her mouth, I hear nothing I should take heed to. But I got something for yo’ ass, Tamiko. Sable reached into his suit jacket and withdrew a pair of sunglasses. Opening them, he put them on when his phone vibrated in his jacket’s pocket.
“Yeah? Yo, Joke! I thought yo’ ass was in jail!”

In Front of Sable Records
Tamiko looked frantically back and forth to locate Willy’s car. She reached into her pocket for a cell phone that wasn’t there, and cursed roughly. “Damn it! Why isn’t he here?! And why did I forget my PHONE?!” Her final words coming out in the vein of a bark than a frustrated shout.
            Tamiko calmed herself and looked ahead. The elevated rail was still running; Tamiko dug into her pocket and pulled out some change. She had just enough to catch one ride and she’ll jog the rest of the way home.
            Just had to move to the far side of town, didn’t I? Tamiko thought as she broke into a balanced run, keeping her breathing steady just as Master Willy taught her. Why didn’t I use that money to buy a goddamned car?!

Freight Express and Elevated Train
The express line served a dual role - transporting heavy equipment and items as well as other people with a passenger car. Tamiko saw the passenger car sail above her head on the rail line and cursed, picking up the speed by breaking into a mad but futile dash.
            As she reached the Train station a passenger car was still there, luckily; she sped up to the Conductor and frantically handed her money, moving to enter the car when the conductor stopped her short.
            “Fare’s no longer a dollar; you’re fifty cents short.”
            Out of breath, Tamiko pleaded, “Please, sir; just this once! Long day at work, the boss keeps trying to hit on me, I need to get home!” She spoke, but her words came out as separate but cacophonous sentences.
            “I’m sorry, miss; I don’t make the rules,” said the balding conductor as he signaled the train’s driver to begin moving the car. He handed her back her money and Tamiko calmly stepped free of the closing doors of the car, muttering angrily to herself.
            Bald-headed son of a bitch! If I was less of a lady, I’d knock you flat on your ass, then I’d cut the rest of your hair off!” The man didn’t hear Tamiko’s declaration of violence as he was safely in the confines of the train while the young woman was left at the empty train station.
            She looked back and forth, trying to gain an understanding of her surroundings and assessing her situation. “Okay, just calm down. Do what Willy taught you - make sense of where you are, always have an escape plan, and only fight if you have no choice. Who’d want to rape a pretty, skinny little black chick like me anyway?”
            Tamiko jumped in surprise as a loud CLUNK rampaged through her ears, and she quickly switched around, firm in her powerful fighting stance.
            It was merely a cat knocking over an empty soda can. Tamiko approached it angrily and swatted her foot at the can, sending it and the cat flying out of sight.
            Speaking in a boastful tone to whoever may have been listening, she said, fighting the fear in her voice, “Yeah! Brothers don’t want to run up on a chick who know eighteen different forms of kung-fu!” She completed her boast by making an exaggerated sound of a hit confirmation from a 70’s martial arts flick.
            Tamiko paced back and forth until she couldn’t fight the feeling that someone was nearby. This feeling was confirmed as a taller man emerged from the shadows of the train station, just out of her range of sight for her to make out who it was.
            “Master Willy?”
            The man didn’t respond; this was enough for Tamiko to immediately about-face and shoot herself into a fleeing dash. Almost instantly she smacked into a brick wall of a man wearing sunglasses and a head full of braids. His arms shot out and gripped Tamiko on her shoulders, lifting the girl effortlessly off of the ground.
            “Get the hell off me, you--!!” She was silenced as a third man stepped quietly from her blind spot, brandishing a knife. Tears began streaming from Tamiko’s eyes as she could do absolutely nothing to defend herself.
            A loud WHAP rung itself into Tamiko’s ears as one of the men groaned and fell roughly to the ground. She snapped her face around to see what was going on and found a young man with a bushy tuft of hair standing firm in a stance similar to hers.
            Who is he? Tamiko questioned herself, his face coming up nil in her mental databank. And has he also studied with Sensei?
            The man with the knife swung at Eddie and he dodged effortlessly, taunting the thug with a chuckle. “Form is good, but you’re heavy handed!” Eddie then landed a stiff kick into the man’s side, causing him to gasp loudly. His kick clearly broke something.
            As the thug dropped, Eddie grabbed the man’s wrist, forcing him to drop his weapon. “You swing a knife incorrectly, you could wind up breaking your wrist!” As he mentioned damage to the wrist, he did just that, his action sending out a loud SNAP.
            The thug that held Tamiko dropped her and charged Eddie, followed by the third man who initially scared Tamiko. Eddie blocked a strike meant for his face and parried, which was quickly followed by a strike to the back of the knee that dropped his assailant. The third man came into range and Eddie picked up the discarded knife, kicked the man’s leg into his reach, and shoved the knife completely into the man’s knee cap. To ensure he got the point, Eddie dragged the knife from the knee all the way down to his ankle.
            The thug that Eddie knocked down prior popped up behind him, ensnaring him in a tight bear-hug; Eddie rapidly rammed his elbows into the man’s sternum to force his opponent to loosen his grip; once Eddie was free, he drove his elbow into the man’s rib cage, fracturing it, and landed a sweep kick, causing the man to smack his head on a bench underneath him.
            The three would-be thugs were on the ground, the two who were still conscious groaned loudly as the pain wouldn’t stop any time soon.
            Eddie walked over to Tamiko, who was picking herself off of the ground and wincing at some scuffs received when she was dropped to the ground. Eddie spotted an iPod on the ground and picked it up; luckily it wasn’t scuffed and the screen was intact. His own was in his pocket, so he assumed it belonged to the damsel in distress he had just rescued.
            He handed the iPod to Tamiko, who took it back expediently, and immediately sucked her teeth when she realized what she’d done. “I’m sorry,” Tamiko began, shoving the iPod into her skirt pocket. “I’m still overamped from all of that.”
            Eddie held in his pleasure to meet this girl; all he could think about was her breakout music, where she has sung about more conscientious subjects. “Miss Tamiko, I’m Eddie, Willy’s nephew. He sent me here to pick you up.”
            “Without a car?” Tamiko pointed out, making Eddie grow a “crap, she’s right” look on his face.
            “I do admit, that was stupid not to take the car. It’s also stupid to let someone without a license drive around,” Eddie responded, holding up a finger to wag it cautiously.
            “I think Master told me about you once, that you were traveling abroad. How long have you been gone?”
            “Two and a half years, just got back today. And I have not been to sleep yet.”
            Tamiko kept sneaking looks at his chest, which moved in sync with his breathing. Her light-skinned cheeks blushed a little as she couldn’t help but think naughty thoughts.
            “We should get back to the dojo. Willy was talking to me and Brad about something really important. These shitbirds strengthened his point.”
            Eddie and Tamiko left the train station and broke into jogs in order to clear the area before more thugs showed up.

Black Sedan, Minutes Later
Sable watched the entire events unfold from the safety of his car. The driver in front looked straight ahead; he knew not to meddle in his employer’s personal affairs or business, nor did he recognize or remember the face of the hulking black man sitting in the back with Sable.
            “We almost missed the fight picking you up! You ever hear of catching up with me?”
            “You ever hear of, ‘I can hit you so hard, a nigga in Afghanistan will feel it?’” Ganryu retorted, his threat being followed by the crunching of the man’s fists.
            “Make your move,” Sable said simply, keeping his Poker face stable. “Remember, you need my money to enact this little plan of yours, and you need my money to pay Joker. Say, where is he, anyway?”
            “Joker, greedy fuck that he is, is playing his part in the King gang. I’m surprised he’s keeping up appearances as well as he’s doing. The only reason I haven’t broken his goddamned neck is because he’s a good scrapper.”
            “Oh yeah? What about the French guy? Belle?” Sable asked as he tapped the driver’s seat, signalling the Chauffeur to leave.
            “Don’t you worry about him; I got him handled. He wants payback on Romeo there, so I’m gonna designate the time and place. You better be ready to rock and roll.”
            Sable looked at Ganryu for a long while before saying, “You’re too fucking dramatic.”



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