By Pete Moss
Dragen is glum. He has something on his mind.
We sit around in the kitchen. Yakuza comes in.
"We going back to Japan," he says. "I am very grateful for your hospitableness."
"You're welcome," I say.
Spela is eating the last of the Dolmas.
"Where's YoYo?" I say.
"Haven't seen her," says Jonathan. He pours some Scotch. He looks at me. I nod. He pours me some scotch.
I sip the scotch. It has a less peaty flavor than the Laphroig. I take another sip.
"I make a Scotch drinker out of you yet," says Jonathan.
I take another sip.
"Maybe," I say. "At this point I'd drink about anything."
"Been kind of stressful lately," says Jonathan.
Dragen clears his throat.
Spela taps her computer.
Nobody says anything and the silence stretches out.
Spela stops tapping on her computer. Spela looks at Dragen. Dragen looks at me.
"What?" I say.
Right then the pops start out front of the house. Then there's whizzing and debris. Splinters and plaster dust everywhere.
We all hit the floor.
"Goddam niggers shooting us up," says YoYo, coming in from the backyard. She belly crawls out to the front room and grabs Dragen's Tommy gun.
The bullets are still flying in through the front of the house.
But then I can hear the click. Funny how I can hear that. It's not my imagination. The shooters are out of ammo.
YoYo jumps up and pokes the Tommy gun out the splintered window and starts firing. Tires screech and a car patches out off down the street.
"Anybody hit?" says Jonathan.
"Nobody hit. Those niggers can't shoot to save their momma from anal gang rape," says YoYo.
"My laptop!!!" wails Spela. The laptop has been shot off the table. Its screen has a nice bullet hole dead center.
We all shake it off and look at each other. Amazingly, everybody is in one piece.
"So yeah....it might be time to think about getting out of here," says Dragen.
"Getting out of here?" I say.
"Sooner or later one of these bullets is gonna hit somebody," says Spela.
"Run for it?? like some chickenshit punk?" I say. "Leave this place...just like that? Give up?"
"Maybe not give up. Just, you know take a break," says Dragen.
"No no no. I will not let myself be chased off. I'll stay and fight..."
"Fight what?" says Spela. "We still don't even know exactly who's behind this."
"Uh...well...right...as soon as we find out who is behind it....we'll fight them to the bitter end."
"You can't fight them," says Jonathan. Everybody looks at him.
"Why not?" I say.
"Cause it's the Invisible Hand of the Market. You can't fight something you can't see," says Jonathan.
Spela and Dragen and I look at each other. Jonathan takes a self satisfied nip of scotch.
"Well where we supposed to go?"
"I hear San Diego is nice," says Spela.
"You think this Invisible Hand of the Market is down there in San Diego too?" I say.
"I can't just move to San Diego willy nilly," I say.
"I understand," says Spela.
"You don't know anybody in San Diego?" says Dragen.
"Never been there in my life," I say.
"Well we have to split up," says Dragen. "We stay here we're a sitting duck."
"What's your point?" I say.
"The point is to hang onto the property," says Dragen.
"But is I can't live here..."
"So I'm like a refugee fleeing a war zone?"
"Exactly," says Spela. "Then after the war is over you come back and get things get back on track."
"But I'm an American. I don't know anything about being a refugee," I say.
Dragen and Spela look at each other. "There's nothing to it. You're a smart guy. You'll catch on right quick."
"So you don't know anybody in San Diego?" says Dragen.
"I might have a cousin in some place called La Jolla," I say. "I don't have any money either. I mean how am I going to pay rent? Or gas money to get there?"
"You still have your van," says Spela. "Just drive it down to San Diego. I'm sure they have a neighborhood where you can park up same as in Frisco."
"I could front you some gas money," says Dragen.
"Yeah? For a cut of this property?"
"A modest cut, sure," says Dragen.
"I have to think about it," I say.