Talon poured himself a cup without hesitation. Wang joined Talon at the bar and poured himself some tea as well..
“You always had the best tea, Wang.”
Talon paused for a long while, enjoying his tea. Tiger-heart made his way to the back of the bar replacing Grey-wise. He made eye contact with Wang and put his hand underneath the bar countertop where the 12 gauge shotgun was stored. Wang shook his head subtly. Tiger-heart put his hand back onto the bar, pulling up a teacup. He then poured himself a cup of tea.
“Employing Chang Sing. Speaking in public against Chinatown leadership. Spying on Chang and Han at the Mayor’s Gala. Are you trying to destroy Chinatown, Wang?”
Tiger-heart snickered, “When was the last time you were in Chinatown?”
Tiger-heart knew Talon well. Both of their fathers were Chang Sing and they were indoctrinated into the gang together. They fought the Wing Kong side by side many times. They considered each other brothers. But that all changed when Talon became Tong Elite. When Tiger-heart left and took the rest of the Chang Sing (those that did not become Tong Elite) with him, Tiger-heart and Talon ceased to be brothers.
Talon took a long sip of his tea then put down his cup.
“I’m here every day, brother,” Talon responded with a scowl.
Wang interrupted, “No, not the new Chinatown where all the rich and famous hang out.”
Wang took a long sip of his tea then continued, ”He means the old Chinatown where we grew up. The parts you’re going to buy, demolish, and build your shopping malls and condos.”
On the other hand, Wang and Talon were civil to each other. Up until Tiger-heart left Han’s leadership, Wang often acted as referee between Tiger-heart and Talon during their many arguments. Wang even tried to keep Talon and Tiger-heart’s friendship together. Although futile, Talon appreciated the attempt.
"I think what General Chang did to your beautiful Miao Yin was terrible,” Talon sipped his tea, “but necessary for progress, if you think about it. You of all people should know the burden of leadership. You shouldn’t let your hatred for the man’s deeds cloud your judgment, Wang.”
“Miao Yin has nothing to do with this,” Wang spoke slowly and clearly, “This is about Han destroying Chinatown.”
"The old Chinatown was nothing more than a tourist trap,” responded Talon.
“Tell that to the people that still live there,” said Tiger-heart.
“Can’t you see we’re building something great here? Han is making Chinatown a center for commerce. Chinatown will no longer be just a tour bus stop. It will be the new Wall Street. A few people like you and the Chang Sing are standing in the way.”
Wang was furious, “You are the one who is blind. It’s people, people like us and waiter and the cooks who ARE Chinatown. Chinatown is not a power, it is a community. You get rid of the people and you destroy Chinatown.”
Talon tipped his head and the teacup back, finishing all of his tea. In satisfaction, he smacked his lips and said, “Ahhh.”
Without missing a beat he continued, “You would have made a good politician, Wang. You should have applied to Han’s college when I did. Maybe by now you would have enough influence to do something and work within the system instead of being an annoying outsider. For your own sake, Wang, as well as your daughter’s, it’s time to stop. I’d hate to see you hurt.”
The statement took both Wang and Talon by surprise. Talon may have once or twice been curt with Wang but never had he threatened him. Although as the divide between the Chang Sing and the Tong Elite grew wider, anything was possible.
Tiger-heart decided to press the point, “Will you be the one to hurt him, Talon?”
Talon placed his empty cup by the teapot. He paused for a moment then spoke kindly, “You always had the best tea, Wang.”
Talon laid a crisp $20 bill onto the bar and walked out. His companions followed. As they left, the Chang Sing collectively let out a sigh of relief. Then the room fell silent. Everyone found a spot in the restaurant and turned their thoughts inward as they became engrossed in their own heavy concerns for their future. They all had doubts about what they were doing and what Chang was doing. Were they really standing in the way of progress? Would they pay for it with their lives? Talon’s appearance made it all too apparent who had the power in Chinatown and who didn’t. Perhaps it would be best to forget about Chang and the Tong Elite and get on with their lives.
Eddie came out of hiding behind the kitchen door. “Phew!” he groaned, “that was pretty tense. I thought for sure someone was going to grab a sword, or a knife, or an axe start a fight. Thank goodness that didn’t happen. The press would have been terrible.”
Eddie came up behind Wang and patted him on the back. He grabbed a cup, poured some tea into it, and sat down next to Wang.
"Can you believe that guy?”
“What?” asked Wang only half listening his mind still on Talon’s words.
"Talon… Mr. Tong Elite,” Eddie replied mockingly pushing his chest out, “He was so obvious.”