After the Lieutenant had left, I took a few minutes to get dressed up in the right clothes for where I was headed. Around there, I was known as Johnny Reede, and I was the best gun in the hood. I had to show up in something that would make that clear - not military slacks, or even jeans.
I threw on some black pants and a white t-shirt, a fake Rolex I'd picked up at some point in my past, mirrored sunglasses, and a leather aviator jacket. Then, I rode my newly acquired motorcycle into town and stopped outside a run-down old hotel. When I walked in, I was greeted by means of a pistol being stuck in my face, then quickly lowered.
"Hey, Johnny Boy," said the man, Dwayne Crawford, as he began to lead me to the others, "there's been some crazy talk 'bout you round here, boy. People sayin' you ran off and joined up with some real big black ops guys. Any o' that true?"
I steeled myself, working up to making use of the typical New York accent I'd quickly grown out of after leaving the area, then said, "Naw. Ain't been out with no army guys. Been out enjoyin' the sights and sounds o' Miami."
Dwayne laughed, then said, "oh, I see how it is. You only take yourself and that pretty girl o' yers. Right?"
"No. Actually, we split up a while ago."
"Sorry to hear that. Ali was the only girl ever learned to like you the way you was. Too bad she's gone."
"Yeah, well, forgive and forget, right?"
"I guess so, in a girl's case."
"Listen, what do you know about Jiyu Pharmaceuticals? They got any good stuff?" I added the last part to mask my true intention in asking - I wanted to know if they'd been carrying out any suspicious activity.
"Naw, man, they all with the new age stuff - that stuff just don't work good as the old stuff."
"Ah, see, I heard different. But I knew you'd know what was up, what was good."
"Hey, since when you into drugs, anyway?"
"Not. Just doin' a favor for a buddy o' mine, can't resist the needle, y'know?"
"Hahahahahahaha! Aw yeah, I know how that is."
"Alright, see ya, I'll catch up with the boss later! Right now I got places to be," I called as I headed back out into the street to head over to the movie theater. I was hoping I could catch my ex-wife, Allison. That was always her favorite place to go when she wanted to hang out. She'd go and sit in the lobby, grab a snack and just sit there, driving the staff crazy when they told her to please, make a purchase or leave, and she would just tell them, "I bought my snacks. That's a purchase! Unless you're gonna comp 'em for me! Whew, I'm just raising all kinds of hell for you, ain't I?" Then they'd bring in security and she'd run outside, make faces, whatever. They wouldn't bother to chase her that far. So, I thought I'd go looking there, see if she was still keeping up the old game.
When I showed up, I went to a movie that I figured was her type - a romance between a werewolf soldier and a human nurse. It was crappy, though; it was all cheesy. But, that's exactly how Ali liked them: cheesy but romantic. As I was exiting the theater, I stopped to grab another bottle of soda and some dark chocolate, when I thought I saw her out of the corner of my eye. I finished making my purchase, then left. When I got onto the street, she was gone. I went looking: I checked a bar where she might go, a restaurant, hell, I even ran down to her house to see if she was there. I knew I'd seen her; just to talk to her again would help - would remind me that it had been real, for whatever amount of time. I couldn't catch her, though. I headed home.
When I got there, it wasn't long until Aden was back from his job at Jiyu. I put on a funny little smile and faked a high-pitched voice and said "How was work, sweetie?" in an attempt to get both our spirits up.
"Oh, it was fine," he said, dropping the charade and being completely serious, "I hate the woman at the front desk. She's always got something to piss and moan about. How'd your little scout trip go?"
"Okay." I suddenly realized that I'd forgotten to get rid of the ticket for the movie I'd went to see, and it was sitting on the stand outside my room. I did my best to draw his attention away from that area discreetly and continued, "I checked in with some old connections. They said that Jiyu was into some 'new age' drugs - stuff junkies don't care for. Then," here I paused for a split second, which I hoped he hadn't picked up on, "I went for some lunch and shopped around for some equipment that we might be able to acquire discreetly."
"Great..." I could tell Lieutenant Aden had noticed something was off. I would have to hope he didn't figure out what.