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Interlude Eight point One, Shockwave's Turf

"Yo! Hold up!"

The thin, little man did hesitate, his head turning to look behind him. When he saw Shockwave, he took off, a look of terror marring his face.

Mike looked down at the front of his clothes--black jeans, black t-shirt, black leather jacket--then back up at the little man just disappearing around the corner. "Ain't my threads," he said to himself. With a sigh, Mike began a loping run after the man. He wasn't in a hurry as he knew the man had just turned into a dead-end alley.

"Whatchoo want with me, man?"

"Why is it that every fool has to start off with that dumb question?" Shockwave countered. "Bet you were 'Not Guilty' in the joint too."

"Damn straight," the man said nervously. "You just gonna fry me, man? I never did nothing to you or yours."

Shockwave shook his head. "Dummy. Everyone in the 'Parts is my family if they want to be. You do something against them, you do it against Shockwave!"

The man's neck cracked as he swung it around to look frantically for an exit behind him. Forty feet of brick wall stared back at him.

"I'm just doing my thing, man, that's all. You know how it is."

"I'm supposed to be yo' brother just 'cause we got the same skin color. You are a fool!" Shockwave took several steps toward the man. "You going back to the joint for what you did to that little girl."

The man rolled his eyes. "Man, she wanted it! I didn't take nothin' she wasn't already offerin'!"

The grimace on Shockwave's face had the man back-peddling before conscious thought could give way to further denials.

"You..." Shockwave stepped toward the man.

"drugged..." Another step.

"that..." Another. The man turned and sped toward insanely toward the dead-end.

"girl!" Shockwave crouched, and with a crackle of energy, leapt over and in front of the fleeing man--

--who ran right into a freight train of a right cross.

Shockwave picked the rapist up by the thin material of his shirt, his free hand crackling, arcing electricity in front of the man's terrified face. "You want to FRY or you gonna be STAND-UP and CONFESS to the Man?"

Shockwave looked down at the dark asphalt, taking note of the man uncontrollably relieving himself. "Water and electricity don't go together, homes. Whatchoo gonna do?" Shockwave's tone mocked the man.

"--fess. Gonna confess! Gonna confess!"

Shockwave let the man fall into his own mess. "Good. I knew you would. If I stop in the precinct and you ain't already been there, next time you wake up, you gonna see my pretty face. You dig me, my bru-tha?"

"Yeah, yeah. Dig! I d-d-d-dig!"

A few onlookers stood at the mouth of the alley and as Shockwave walked up to them, a few began to clap and offered their hands hoping he'd slip them some skin. Shockwave nodded knowingly.

No one better mess with the 'Parts.

"Good day, Mister Henry."

Mike looked up from his computer where he had been entering his latest expenses into Quicken. He eyeballed the man still standing in the doorway. To Mike, the man looked like your typical uptown, white, corporate drone--a man far from home in the 'Parts.

"'Mister,' huh?" Mike let his gaze linger over the man, as if he were some equation to be solved.

"Simple formality; nothing more. I do not presume to know you, and wouldn't use your Christian name."

Mike thought this cat had a real large broomstick up his backside. He said nothing as he nodded. "Okay, mister...?"


A shrug. Mike didn't care what the man wanted to call himself--as long as he was paying. "Whatcha want from me, holmes?"

"Mister Henry, please. I know your urban vernacular is but an accent you adopt, and with great verisimilitude."

Mike's eyebrow cocked at the man's patter. Sounds like this chump's reading from a script he didn't even write.

The man stopped short, taking a note of Mike's look of distaste. "Mister Henry?"

"Whatchoo think you gonna find in the 'Parts, man?" Mike was scowling now, insulted by the man's assumptions. "You dancin' around, but I'm getting bored wit' da show." He thought it funny to play to the man now, just to counter this cracker's pretensions. "You ain't even good looking." Mike made a point of checking out the man's ass, or lack of one.

Flustered, the man sought to collect himself. Mike was hip to that and cut him off. "If you suggest you gonna go outside and come back in to start over, I'm gonna fry you."

"No, no. Mister Henry, I wish to employ you. I--I realize now I should have stated so from the outset. I apologize."

Mike was big enough to accept it. He nodded. "It's cool, holmes. What can I do for you?"

"I wish you to recover something that was stolen."

Straightforward, Mike thought. Finally. "Something. And what would that be?" Don't play me, sucker.

"I am a chemical engineer, Mister Henry. It was a chemical formula that was taken. I would like you to retrieve it."

Retrieve it like it was a bone? "Your only copy?"

"I beg your pardon?"

Mike stood slowly. He adjusted the hang of his leather jacket. "Don't presume for a damn second that I am stupid."

"No, no--"

Mike held up a hand. "Don't try to work me, man. You just gonna piss me off. I know you ain't stupid either. I know you got copies and I know whoever swiped your 'formula' already done made copies."

A look of surprise registered on the man's face.

Mike went on. "You a certain type--no, not white--think you clever, gonna hire yo'self a scary black man to do your dirty work. See...I can read your mind."

"What?! They didn't tell me about that ability!"

Gotcha. "No lie, fool, 'cause it's an expression, as in 'I know what you're thinking'. Damn, they pull you outta the temp pool? Just give you a token and tell you to read your dialogue on the way downtown?"

"I don't know what you mean."

"Aw, that's it. This has gone on long enough." Mike rounded his desk faster than the man could believe. "Get out; you wastin' my time. Tell yo' boss to stop wastin' yours. You coulda probably already had a pile of corr-e-spon-dence typed you behind." Mike showed him the door and slammed it for emphasis.

"Motherscratcher thinks he gonna hire himself a goon." He sat back down in front of his PC and resumed entering his expenses. Too bad there were no entries in the Deposit column.

Last Updated 28 July 2000