Featured image swiped from ENM.
Hilscher, their host, quickly made his way to Lung and did namaste. Lung, without cracking so much as a smile, bowed in return. Both men were gigantic, though Hilscher was the more intimidating of the two, as Lung had put on fat in recent years.
Iron Lung was a notorious gangster who ruled the drug trade in most of Southside, especially the massive slum called Harijan Basti. He and Rags had tangled more than once—and it was a testament to his resourcefulness and power that she had always come off the worse in those encounters.
Rags slipped away from the ladies cooing over her and walked brashly up to the huge men. She didn’t bow, but merely placed her fists on her hips and gave the two of them a childish scowl.
Hilscher’s voice came through Nicky’s earpiece. “Ah, Fräulein Rags, you have met Herr Lung, I presume?”
“I have,” Rags said.
Now a small smile cracked Lung’s stony face. He bowed slightly. “Ragamuffin. I am … surprised … to see you here.”
So this was what he was after—sending a message to one of his greatest rivals in the drug trade. Word would get out quickly, if it hadn’t already, that Rags was in Hilscher’s pay.
“I’m afraid Fräulein Rags cannot talk for long,” Hilscher said. “She is working tonight, ja?”
“How unfortunate.” Lung reached into his jacket, and Rags tensed, but his hand came out holding a pack of cigarettes. He stuck one between his lips, and Hilscher offered him a light.
After a few puffs, Lung said, “The Ragamuffin and I have much to discuss—but it will have to wait for another time.”
Casually, Rags cracked her fine knuckles one by one. “Y’know I use riot rounds,” she said quietly, “cuz I got a rule for me an’ my guys: don’t kill nobody. That’s my rule. But I carry just one half-jacketed hollow-point. Got it with me all the time. An’ you know why?”
Lung took a deep pull on his cigarette and slowly blew out a thick stream of smoke, but didn’t answer.
“I got your name etched in that bullet, Iron Lung, an’ one o’ these days, I’m gonna use it.”
Lung leaned down until he was almost eye-level with Rags. His smile again broke through his stony face, like sunlight shining through a chink in a rock wall. “Oh, I’m sorry. It’s terribly rude of me to meet a child like this. Next time we see each other, Ragamuffin, I’ll bring some toys, hm? Sharp ones … but I’ll be the one playing, you understand?” Continue reading “Will Kill for Money, Part 4 (of 4)”