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Michigan Jones: Hit Man: Chapter 16 Michigan Jones: Hit Man: Chapter 16
by Asa Butcher
2009-02-02 10:03:57
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Subtlety, understatement and nuance are just some of the words that could never be used to describe Wan's personal taste, especially when it comes to interior design. The first time I had experienced his hospitality the décor had even made my hardened stomach nauseous and his style had certainly not improved during the intervening years, if anything it had worsened. I mean, shit, I'm not an expert, not by a long shot, but we each have a basic sense for aesthetics hard-wired into us and this house was overloading the system.

Zee and I had been escorted by one of his guards to his bastardised version of what he thought was a pagoda, now bereft of any soul and painted with a hue of orange that should have been banned decades ago, along with CFCs – I'm not sure which actually causes more damage to the environment. The focal point of the room, in which we now stood, was a towering portrait of Wan, dressed in what appeared to be a sheet speckled with vomit and surrounded by woodland creatures that he would probably greedily consume later... pelts and all.

I looked over at Zee and she was also trying to adjust her senses to the 360-degree visual assault: I'd almost forgotten that this was the first time she had been inside the grounds of Wan's monstrosity and she was perhaps a touch more overwhelmed than myself. Granted, I'd spent a good many years desensitising myself with murder and bloody corpses to soften the experience, but she was coming in fresh and innocent like a virgin to the slaughter.

“Ah-ha! I see you are admiring my latest portrait, Madame Zee! I never expected you to see it, but it seems fortune shines on the wicked!” boomed Wan as he wobbled into the room wearing a pure white suit and white sandals looking like a lonely Cumulus cloud; he was also accompanied by two male bodyguards, a female personal assistant and a young boy. “And the good Mr. Jones too! Well what brings you both to my humble abode on this fine morning?”

A roll of Zee's eyes clearly told me that she was not ready to converse with her business rival, so I picked up the gauntlet and wished I could bring it heavily down upon this idiot's skull. “It's been a long time, Wan. I still see you're dressing in those well-tailored suits,” I observed. Zee snorted, “Yeah, it's a shame they weren't tailored for him though!” Wan laughed, “So she does speak and it seems her tongue is as sharp as ever... it's a shame the rest of body has sagged!” Zee's face flushed with anger, but to her credit she didn't reply.

“What do you know about our current situation?” I asked trying to bring the focus back on me and also attempting not to give anything away too early; the last thing I wanted was Wan holding the entire deck of cards, including the box. Wan beckoned to us to take a seat opposite, as he lowered his own bulky frame into his own chair, “I have heard some rumours over the past couple of days that have piqued my curiosity, especially when they concern my dear Zee-Zee. I even investigated a bit but there seems to be a black hole where she is concerned and that piqued my curiosity to a whole new level!”

“Your involvement, Mr. Jones, and appearance here is a bit of a surprise, which is why I am humouring you both with this information. However, I do know something is, how should I put it, out of place because you develop a sense, a cranial tickle if you please, about certain facts when they are actually fiction,” continued Wan before nodding to the young boy who proceeded to pour three cups of coffee. “Would you like anything to eat? We have great selection for breakfast... no? Okay, then, well, I am a man that likes to know the whys of the world yet this current why is currently languishing in that aforementioned black hole and I don't like it. Call me anal... ha, or even offer me anal!”

There was silence as Zee and I tried to understand what Wan had actually told us. I think we were both a bit shocked he had actually told us so much, but, then again, he hadn't really told us anything at all. We were both still alive, which suggested that Wan actually was curious about this case, and I knew that his curiosity was driven by self-preservation, since information is power and he liked being the most powerful, so should we trust this man? I looked over at Zee for some help, but she just shrugged her shoulders and took a sip of coffee. What have we got to lose? I took a sip of my own coffee, it was pure Hawaiian Kona, very sweet and black, and it set my mind on fire, “What the hell, Wan, here's the deal so far...”

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