"Are we expecting somebody?" Hal asked a little nervously,
remembering the threatening message from Manny on their
"I ordered Chinese, about an hour ago," Todd said, still
working on an explanation to the editor as to why their
submission was so late.
"Oh, okay," Hal said and moved toward the door. Ever
cautious, he stopped with his hand on the doorknob and asked,
"Delivery," came a muffled voice from the hallway.
"All right," Hal muttered, then unlocked and opened the
Standing outside was an extremely large Chinese gentleman,
wearing traditional coolie clothing. The man looked vaguely
familiar, but since they ordered in a lot, he had probably
dropped food off to them a few times, before. His unusual
outfit struck Hal as being somewhat odd, but he was holding
two large bags of what--judging by the smell--could only be
steaming, hot, take-out from Fat Fong's. From somewhere behind
the delivery guy, Hal could faintly hear the elevator door
Hal took the bags from the man. "Hang on just a sec," he
said and turned toward the kitchen door, which was just off
the entryway. As he turned, he glanced over the Chinese man's
shoulder and down the hallway, noticed a pair of feet sticking
out of the elevator, the door repeatedly closing on them,
producing the chime he had heard.
"Hey, what's up with--" Hal started to say, but saw that
the Chinese guy now had a really wicked grin on his round,
smooth face and suddenly Hal recognized where he had seen him
before. This was Charlie Tong, one of Manny's strong-arm
enforcers; he was a collector for over-due loan payments.
"Oh, crap," Hal muttered, beginning to back away from the
door. He started to turn and warn Todd, but a short-handled
axe appeared in Charlie's hand and quick as a snake, Charlie
let the axe fly, directly at Hal's head.