The doorman fumbled with the door handle of the night club. Finally he opened it, and we followed him inside. He led us across an empty dance floor to the bar where five men were standing.
“Boss,” the doorman panted as he pulled on the collar of his shirt to try and stop his neck from bleeding, “this man says he wants to talk to you. They’re dangerous.”
One of the men, older with gray on the sides, looked up and said, “Jesus, Billy, what in the hell happened to you?” His companions said nothing, but simply pulled a variety of guns and pointed them at us.
Eddie reached into his pocket and pulled out a cigarette. He lit it, inhaled deeply, and then blew his exhale into my face. Our eyes stayed locked the entire time.
“Give me,” he started, then stopped to pick at a piece of tobacco on his tongue, “one good reason why I don’t kill you right now and then have my boys spend the afternoon taking turns on those two hotties?”
“Because you can’t,” I replied.
“That’s what I’m trying to say,” cut in Billy the doorman, “those ain’t ordinary girls.”
“Shut up, Billy,” I said before Eddie could reply. “I don’t need an imbecile doorman to help me talk business.”
Eddie arched his eyebrows and looked back and forth among his companions. “Oh, this guy wants to talk business.” He looked back at me and pointed his cigarette. “Listen, asshole, I don’t know where you came from, but no one rolls in here and demands to see Eddie Pastorini for business. I own every racket and black market for miles. I don’t do business, I am business.”
I listened to his speech, then replied, “You’re old news. I’m here to take you into the authorities. Any of your men who want a job can work for me after you’re gone.”
Eddie laughed, so his men followed suit.
“You are comical, but do you know what else is gonna be funny? When Johnny here takes you in the basement and starts shooting you in the feet and slowly works his way up.”
Johnny was standing slightly to my left and had been pointing the gun at my waist. When he heard Eddie’s threat, he raised his hand on cue and shoved the gun in my face.
Billy stopped pressing his shirt to his neck and pointed at Jealousy on my left arm. He yelled, “Johnny, no!” But it was too late.
Like an old-time movie projector that jumps a couple of frames, Jealousy flickered for a moment, then was gone. In her place, an enormous black wolf sprang forward and easily knocked Johnny to the ground. His thrashing and gurgling screams ended quickly. In the next instant, Hate flickered and took out one of the other men holding a gun. I pulled my jacket back and drew both pistols from the holsters under my armpits. One shot to the right hit Billy in the temple. One shot to my left killed another of Eddie’s companions, and two more shots to the right took out the last guy.
Three more henchman burst through the doorway directly behind Eddie. Hate and Jealousy both sprang from their lifeless victims onto the same fresh opponent. He was instantly knocked backwards off his feet, but not before he got a shot off. I heard one of the girls whimper, but I was busy as well. One shot to the left clipped a goon behind Eddie. One shot to the right took out another.
Eddie crouched as the bullets whizzed past his head. He pointed his pistol at me and yelled, “This ends now!” I pointed with my left hand and shot the revolver from his grip. His bullet embedded in the wall behind me and his revolver spun off to the side.
I walked several paces to the crouching crime boss. As I did so, I hit the thumb release on each pistol to eject the half-empty magazines and quickly loaded full ones.
“Hate, Jealousy,” I called, and the wolves instantly detached from the victim they were mauling and turned to snarl at Eddie. Jealousy pulled up one of her hind legs and had a gimp.
I pointed both smoking guns at the wanted felon. Eddie cowered, shaking, with his hands in the air. He looked back and forth between Hate and Jealousy, then over to me.
“Who in the hell are you?”
I holstered my pistols under my jacket, took out a cigarette, and lit it. I looked at him and took off my sunglasses. The same way a cat toys with a mouse, I stood silent and watched him for a minute. He squirmed and kept glancing around for someone to show up and save him. No one showed up. Finally, he sputtered out again. “I…I as-asked you a question. Who are you?”
I pulled in a long draw on the cigarette and then exhaled it into his face. When I was done, I replied, “I am Hate. I am Malice. I am Jealousy. I am your worst goddamned nightmare, because I am Dinlas. Now, move your ass, you’re under arrest.”