Gang Smasher Episode Four
Two Days Later, Eddie's Apartment
Eddie had nights where he'd lain awake, something on his mind. Some people called him the poster boy of narrow thinking, since he'd usually be on about something pertaining to fighting or the martial arts in general. He didn't really care about things like fashion, having a fancy car, or sports games. In fact, the only sport he actively followed, to an extent, were Mixed Martial Arts and Boxing matches.
Eddie sparred with several of the athletes fans follow on television and the Internet. They were good, but the experiences the young man had while on his Musha Shugyo, or his Warrior's Journey, put him at a level above such athletes.
Eddie desired a new challenge, something that would push him to his limits and inspire him to get better. The Kumite was the catalyst for this method of thinking, and, despite all of the happenings that occurred during the days of the tournament, Eddie was thankful for the overall experience. His fight with Allen Belle helped him gauge his level of skill and technique, the meetings and dealings with those who ran the Kumite helped Eddie to identify shady actions, and overall, it helped him evolve as a person.
Yet, in the midst of all of this, there was one constant that lingered in the young fighter's mind – Eddie desired a challenge. The kind that gave him the right kind of inspiration to get better and come out on top. Eddie rolled over on his futon, his hair splayed all over the pillow like dark, immobile snakes, and sighed. His thoughts drifted back five years to Tokyo – well, back when it was still called Tokyo, before all of the retro-futuristic additions – and remembered fondly of the challenges he faced as a young man fresh off of the plane and walking into a high school where near-superhuman fighters lurked.
Yeah, those were some harrowing battles.
Eddie sighed and looked at the clock. It was five thirty in the morning and the sun peeked out from behind the building, ready to illuminate the sky. He sighed again, this time more exasperatedly; Eddie hated the fact that all he really needed to do was sleep for up to three hours and he'll be good to go. Bedtime for him the previous night was 11:30, so Eddie spent the past three hours staring at the ceiling.
For the first time in a while, Eddie allowed his thoughts to drift elsewhere. He thought of Tamiko, whom he made sure got home safely three nights prior, and how fascinating her music is. She had a tight grip on her ideals and knew that the city needs to change, but somewhere along the lines, Tamiko was forced to change her entire style. Now it was just parties, guys, clothes, and dancing. Despite this, Eddie knew, somehow, that Tamiko struggled with this drastic change to form.
Eddie kept thinking about her, and then the fleeting thought of him not wanting to drag her into what looked to be a street war. He could tell Tamiko wasn't cut out to fight guys like the Children of King gang or any of the other factions.
And then came the thoughts of Elisa Wayne. He was instantly attracted to her ever since she German Suplexed Joker during the failed bank heist. Eddie was always fond of women who can take care of themselves in a pinch. While he respected Tamiko for who she is and what she was trying to do, Eddie felt that she needed to take more precautions with her methods of self-defense.
"Hmm. Elisa. Boxing champ of the ICPD. That's quite an accomplishment," Eddie muttered to no one, a smile creeping across his face. He hadn't masturbated in a long while.
Eddie's thoughts of the lady detective were interrupted by the loud ringtone of his new cell phone, a gift from Willy, ringing and vibrating on his nearby night stand. He raised himself up, leering at the phone as he reached for it. Brad was calling, and Eddie had some choice words for his brother.
"What?!" Eddie was not a morning person; his word emerged roughly, akin to a dog's bark.
"Wake that ass up, Eddie! You know what time it is!"
"Yes, I know what time it is!" Eddie quickly peered at the phone's clock to keep up his harangue. "Five thirty in the goddamned morning!"
Brad laughed raucously over the line, causing Eddie to growl in frustration. "Aww, did I interrupt happy time?"
"What do you want, Bradley?" Eddie's voice was immensely firm.
"The last few days have been rough, getting you settled in, and all of the shit going on with the gangs. Why don't you come out to lunch with me and Tamiko?" Brad was right; Eddie, although he hated to admit it, was a bit on edge due to the encounters of his first day back. He wanted to fight more.
Maybe Brad was right; he should take a break from combat. "Where's the lunch going to be?"
Brad chuckled and responded, "The Mikado Café. It's pretty popular in town."
"Do they have Chicken wings?" Eddie grew fond of chicken wings during his time in China, although he actively questioned whether or not the content inside of said wings was actual chicken.
"Some of the best in the city, man!" Brad's confident swagger made Eddie consider it. After a brief moment of deliberation, Eddie came back with his answer:
"Sweet, bro! I'll pick you up at ten! Gives you enough time to finish happy time--"
"See you at ten, Brad!" Eddie said curtly while hanging up the phone, cutting Brad off mid-sentence. He placed the phone back on the charger and laid back on his futon.
The sun rose steadily over Indigo City's buildings and locales, and the early birds emerged from their brick and mortar nests. Eddie stepped outside of his apartment and allowed the cool wind slide effortlessly over his bare, fit chest. It was a beautiful morning, and Eddie, as a part of his daily routine, used this time to work out.
Hours later, when Eddie was nice and sweaty and warmed up, his cell phone rang again right as he was in the middle of a shower. It was Brad once more, and Eddie peeked his head out of the shower to look at his phone's clock – the time was ten thirty, and Brad was probably calling from downstairs.
"What?!" Eddie screamed over the rushing noise of the shower.
"You're just now finishing? Holy shit, you must've been pent up for a while —"
"Brad, I swear to God, I'm going to slap…" Eddie cut himself off mid-sentence to calm down. "I'll be down ASAP. Don't get your panties in a twist."
"Oh, I sent Tamiko upstairs to get you, so don't keep her waiting!" Brad's cackles trailed off as he disconnected his line, prompting Eddie to furrow his brow as he continued to wash himself, albeit a couple of steps faster than before.
Eddie emerged in a shroud of steam, mist, and muscle as all that were visible was his form tying a towel around his bare waist. As he finished, he looked up to see Tamiko's smiling form sitting on his futon with her legs crossed.
"How was your shower?" She said in between a giggle.
"First: What the hell? And second: how did you get in here?"
Tamiko raised her hand and brandished a key, the spare one that he gave Brad to his apartment. Eddie took the key and furrowed his brow once more, turning to look at the window as if Brad was cracking up at him outside of it.
"I see," Eddie responded to her action. "Would you mind staying put while I put on clothes?"
Tamiko nodded and Eddie walked over to his dresser, withdrawing a black tee shirt with the Kanji for the word "Technique" emblazoned on the front, tan cargo pants with pockets on the sides, a pair of black socks, and his Converse All-Stars. Retracing his steps backwards blindly, Eddie did so in order to deny Tamiko a view of his bare ass, which was not covered by the towel.
She giggled as Eddie cloaked himself in the shroud of steam once more, the sound of clothes whipping about becoming noticeable as the young man used his incredible speed to get dressed. As the steam dissipated, Tamiko's lecherous smile grew and instantly faltered as the mist revealed a fully clothed Eddie tying his dreadlocks into a single ponytail.
"Aww!" Tamiko groaned.
"Expecting a peep show?" Eddie said with a confident smile on his face.
"A girl can dream," she responded as she pulled out her cell phone. She texted Brad that they were on their way downstairs; the phone vibrated with Brad's response:
"Did you get to see him shower?" Tamiko found herself furrowing her brow into an irritated scowl as she typed back an angry message laden with curse words as Eddie motioned for them to leave.
Eddie and Tamiko walked out of the apartment; Eddie looked down from the second floor that the apartment was located on, directly above the Williams Dojo. As the two walked down to Brad's car, a black truck, Tamiko and Eddie peered into the dojo to see Willy teaching a group of kids kickboxing; one kid was working on his kicking drills when a wayward strike nailed a passing Willy right in the balls.
Willy keeled over, Eddie stifled laughter, and Tamiko cracked up as she climbed back into Brad's truck. Eddie climbed onto the truck's bay since there was only enough room for two people and tapped the side, signaling Brad to drive off.
Eddie was granted a view of the city as they drove further into town; behind its pristine polish and shine, he saw the gradual decay of Indigo City as kids were fighting in nearby alleys, the homeless were pandering on street corners, and some were even strung out while they begged. Eddie could do nothing but shake his head in disbelief. The Deep, the slums of Indigo City, spelled an unfortunate dead end for anyone who wound up living there.
Cluttered, noisy, and crowded, the Asian District was chock full of kiosks and different foods and locations. It took a few minutes to find a parking spot, as Brad knew that if one left their car in the wrong area of the Asian District, they'd might as well go looking for a new ride. Luckily, they managed to park close to the Mikado Café, which looked to be chock full of patrons.
"I remember the last time we went here, Brad; Willy took us here for your birthday," Eddie recanted as he slid both hands into his pockets.
Brad chuckled as Tamiko walked to his side. "Yeah, and I got into a fight with some wannabe boxers."
"How did that go?" Tamiko inquired, predicting how the story would end long before Brad answered.
"I knocked both of them through the ropes! Pretty good for a ten year old, huh?" Under Willy's tutelage, both Brad and Eddie were stronger than some fighters twice their age at only ten years old, and they only grew in skill as time went on.
"Yeah, pretty good," Tamiko uttered. Eddie could sense that she felt a bit of envy at the fact that her cohorts were doing this since they were in Elementary school while she'd been in training for about two years. Tamiko couldn't hope to touch fighters in their league.
Brad picked up on Tamiko's vibes and buttoned his lip, humming as the three walked up to the entrance of the café. Venturing inside, past the waiting people who stirred up complaints of the three walking unimpeded, they were met with the sight of several dozens of men, all Asian and clad in black suits, lining the walls of the restaurant. Eddie forced himself to stop balling his fists, as he chose to assess the situation before violence became a choice.
"What the hell?" Tamiko uttered as she took a head count of the men. There were nearly sixty five in total, and she prayed there didn't come looking for a fight.
The restaurant had two floors, the first being used for the bar and grille, the second serving as a makeshift fighting stage; the owner of the café, Terrence Aohura, enjoyed hosting amateur boxing matches due to his interest in Mixed Martial arts, and welcomed any fighter who sought to make some extra cash. But today, members of the Long Sing gang decided to pay Terrence a visit.
Terrence, a twenty-eight year old man of a five-foot-five tall portly stature, frantically shuffled checks and papers in order to straighten his messy desk. He tried his best to look more professional for the older, Chinese gentleman standing in front of him with two of his suited bodyguards taking up post by the office door, but Terrence knew innately that the man did not care.
"You know you can take a seat, Mr. Shuwen," Terrence offered, bending his head down to shove a stack of papers into his desk drawer.
"I would, but I'm not sure if your chairs are stable enough. They look quite old." Shuwen's accented English was surprisingly clear when he spoke.
"Now that's just mean," Terrence replied. "Indulge me; take a seat."
Boss Sing Shuwen, a man of fifty with a body that looked thirty, save for his graying hair, cut a look at Terrence that could only mean disgust and irritation. He sat back in the chair that was presented to him earlier in their meeting, and let loose a slight approving grunt when the furniture didn't collapse. It was actually quite comfy. "May I ask where did you get this furniture set?"
"Parker's Number One Imports."
"I may have to pay them a visit while on my way home. Now, about our business at hand?"
"Well, to be frank, I'm not sure if you'll honor our original deal. Sure, your family owns almost all of the big businesses in the Asian District, but that doesn't mean you can just barge in here and wave money around. I do have respect for my establishment."
"My apologies, Mr. Aohura: it seems you've got me all wrong. I came to visit you, in person, by the way, to extend a greeting and to tell you that you're under the Long Sing's protection. My old associate, the now-late Mister Lao Hu, had you paying monthly premiums that would've extended past your budget, had he'd been allowed to continue. Protection under us means no more premiums."
"No more payments, no strings attached? I don't have to offer my firstborn or anything?"
Boss Shuwen shook his head. "None. We'd just like to be respected patrons of your establishment."
Terrence didn't take long to come to an agreement with the Boss. "All right. Well, I hope this works out for both of us." The owner extended his hand for Shuwen to shake and the boss complied, sealing their agreement. What in the hell did I just agree to? Terrence had hoped Shuwen could not read his face.
Meanwhile, Eddie, Brad, and Tamiko were seated faster than they expected. Eddie and Brad couldn't take their eyes from the members of the Long Sings, especially the latter. He looked as if he could explode in anger at any moment.
"These are the Long Sings, right?" Tamiko asked to get the boys' attention. "They're the peaceful ones, right?"
"Peaceful or not, they're still a gang," Eddie said.
"They're just bad guys to me. Just give me a reason..." Brad was suddenly interrupted by the words and appearance of Elisa, who was clad in street clothes that showed off her midriff like before.
"Patience, Mr. Yong. I'm sure you're looking for a good excuse to break some skulls, but remember, the Police are still watching." Elisa looked at Tamiko, who had a curious expression on her face. "I'm sorry for not introducing myself," she began, extending her hand while taking a seat at the table. "Chief Inspector Elisa Wayne, ICPD."
"I remember you," Tamiko said, recanting the time when the Inspector came to the Williams Dojo to speak with Willy. "What brings you here?"
"It's my favorite place to eat, actually!" Elisa was an avid patron of the Mikado Café, coming here on her lunch break whenever she could. "I love their wings and fries."
Eddie shot her a glance of interest and Elisa noticed, returning a quick wink. Tamiko, managed to turn her head at the right moment when the facial exchanges happened. Brad chuckled after seeing it.
"So what's the real reason you're here?" Eddie questioned, picking up a menu to look at the entries.
"Besides lunch, I'm here checking on the Long Sings. They've been running around like Donald Trump, buying out all the properties in the Asian District. Of course I'm curious and I want answers but I'm playing it by ear. I just pray this isn't connected to the King gang and that stunt they pulled at the bank."
"Is this all in the same case?" Brad inquired, turning to signal a waitress to attend to their table. The waitress came over and the group all placed their orders in turn, waiting until the employee was out of earshot to continue their conversation.
"The PD's getting real antsy about the gangs. They move like goddamn ghosts and the only time we get close is when unexpected variables come into the equation."
"Wait, what? You kinda lost me there, Detective." Brad raised his eyebrow inquisitively.
"During the bank heist, we managed to nab about five Kingsmen, thanks to Eddie and Willy. So I figure that I'll use a bit of a gambit: I "turn a blind eye" to you fighting the gangs. While it is for the greater good, lawmen won't see it that way." Elisa punctuated her points with hand and finger movements. "They'll bring you up on charges of 'Disturbing the Peace' and 'Aggravated Assault'. Although they won't admit it, we need guys like you to lend us a helping hand." The Inspector was brazen in laying out her plan. Elisa was praised for her on-the-job brilliance with her work; she was known for taking many risks to get the job done.
Eddie sat in silence for a few minutes, as did Brad. Tamiko did the same, and miraculously, they looked at each other and knew they were on the same wavelength. "We'll do what we can."
"Smashing." Elisa turned her attention to Tamiko. "Miss Brown, how's the music business these days?"
"Same old, same old: singing about bullshit you could say is worth two dead flies smashed, the boss always trying to get in your pants, etc."
Brad turned his head to Tamiko in curiosity. "Chris Sable? That guy's trying to get in your pants?" Tamiko nodded and Brad seemed to spiral into an emotion that teetered between docile fury and bleak understanding.
"Chris Sable?" Eddie questioned.
"He owns the label that Tamiko is signed to. He's using that as a front, Tamiko – he's one of the city's biggest smugglers. He's got Transporters working for him all across town, all with nice beemers, clean haircuts, and black suits."
"Well, that narrows things down," Eddie remarked.
"And it adds another name to my list, though I can't stick his face on our board with probable cause." Elisa knew that the last time she put someone's name in the bowl with other bigwigs, the name succeeded in suing the ICPD, as well as getting 11% of the Police Force fired. She needed hard evidence on him.
Moments later, men in white entered the Café. They were small in number, although the head of the group stood out: he was cut with lean muscle and had a look that could freeze friends at twenty paces. When he came into the room, the mice jumped on chairs. Brad was the first to notice the men in white and immediately knew who they were:
"The White Lotus Punks." This prompted Eddie, Tamiko, and Elisa to look at the group of men walk up the flight of stairs, past the boxing ring, and into the back office with Boss Shuwen and Terrence.
"New faces to me," Eddie commented.
"An off-shoot of the Long Sing Family. A snitch mentioned that they were considering a re-pairing in order to keep out of the eyes of the police. Fat lot that did for them," Elisa chuckled through sips of her water that the Waitress brought as the White Lotus Punks entered.
Tamiko had her back turned when she detected a presence behind her and immediately whirled around; it was one of the White Lotus Punks who stayed behind to watch the door. He extended a hand without making so much as a peep to touch Tamiko's face, only to get his wrist grabbed by Brad.
"Dude, I don't think the lady wants to be touched."
The punk quickly snatched his hand away and attempted to touch Tamiko again, this time catching a blow to the ribcage by her elbow. "He just said I don't want to be touched!"
Elisa saw Eddie itching to handle things, just as she noticed the Punks at the door taking notice to their comrade writhing on the floor in pain. "Don't get messy, Eddie."
"I think it's time to turn that blind eye, Detective."
"You think Willy wants you scrapping with these guys?"
"Didn't stop us before."
In an instant, Eddie was out of his seat, clearing a table in a single leap, and sent two of the Punks flying backwards. One punk attacked from behind with a wooden chair, smashing it over Eddie. The fighter, who was now grandly irritated, merely turned and gave the punk a look that silently told him to prepare for pain.
The punk went sailing out of the restaurant and into a nearby convenience store.
The commotion drew the attention of Boss Shuwen and Terrence, who rushed to the balcony and looked to see Eddie standing over a defeated White Lotus member. A mystery male figure who kept himself concealed in the building's shadow looked on, an approving smile present on his lips.
Boss Shuwen called down, "Who are you?"
"My name's Edward Lewis."
The leader of the White Lotus Punks rushed out and shouted at Eddie, "Stay right there! We'll make sure you'll leave in pieces!"
Eddie and Brad looked at each other and share a brief laugh. The White Lotus boss, clearly angered, snapped his fingers, which gathered the remaining members of his group that was with him.
"Yo bro, why you take 'em?" Eddie said, offering the path to Brad, who was eager to vent some "frustration".
"Giving me the small fries while you take the main course?"
"Naw; you can have your cake and eat it too," Eddie responded through a chuckle as he backed up.
The White Lotus members came to the first floor to surround the group. Brad put himself in a firm stance, ready for whatever. "All right. Let's go them; I take sole responsibility, so attack me if you will."
One White Lotus Punk charged on and was instantly floored with a broken jaw, thanks to a swift spinning back heel kick. The other punks roared to begin the fight, and Eddie simply said, "And we got a Ballroom Blitz."