Killing The Buddha
Killing The Buddha
- 4 -
Big Sung and Little Sung
I'd noticed the white Cadillac limo when I first entered the temple. It was parked discreetly at the far end of the lot under an elm tree turning yellow with disease. It was a Fleetwood with tinted glass and the ridiculous wide, white sidewalls that went out in the 50's.
Now the limo was parked directly behind my Ford, conveniently blocking my exit. There was a large Asian gentlemen in a too-tight black chauffeur outfit giving me the hawk-eye as I crossed the asphalt. His face was dripping from the heat and the sausage suit. He looked a little like Odd Job in Goldfinger, minus the derby. The asphalt had gotten hot and was sticking to my Converse All-Stars.
"Mr. McDermott," the chauffeur barked at me as I tried to end run the limo.
He rolled over the hood of the limo with the grace of a ballerina and popped up again in the middle of my path. The really amazing thing was that he kept his arms crossed during the roll.
The chauffeur said, "Mr. Robert Dunbar requests pleasure of your company."
"It's too early to drink and the only Dunbar I know plays drums in a rock band."
"Not same. Please come now."
I thought about jack-hammering this guy inside the knee but his size and the slick way he moved was dissuading me. He was looking at me like a dog that his master had lost but there would be no problem returning me.
The chauffeur pointed to a limo door which had miraculously opened and a little Asian guy got out. He was dressed exactly like the big Asian. I wasn't sure if he was reinforcements but, for all I knew, he was more dangerous than the big one. Once, in a Stuttgart bar, I'd seen a one-hundred-forty-pound martial artist crunch a big staff sergeant in five seconds flat. Not pretty.
"It's never too early to drink," I said. The little one knocked me forward into the limo door and methodically patted me down and removed my Beretta from its holster in the middle of my back, a safe place where people weren't supposed to look. His big brother then shepherded me through the limo door where he protected my head, like a good cop would, as I leaned in to take my seat.
Out of the corner of my eye, I saw some long red hair waving and a small pale face peaking from behind the wooden Buddha on the second floor balcony of the temple. Even at this distance, I'd bet she was Mary Magdalene. She was wearing black and standing near the circular windows illuminating the main temple. It wasn't a long shot that she had been watching Daniel Roshi and me the whole time.
Door slam and we're gliding up Chicago Ave, going north. The engine of the old Caddy purred like a tiger after a big meal. It was a beautiful day out but it looked like midnight through the tinted windows. The little guy next to me was twenty years older than the chauffeur and gave me the once over. Guess he didn't approve of Levis and a well-worn jean jacket for these big meets with his boss. There was a large, chromium bar in front of me with every expensive booze under the moon but I thought it would be impolite to tip a glass before my host.
In fifteen minutes, we'd made our way into Kenilworth and were driving past mansion after mansion. Where the high mucky mucks live, my old man would say. Lots of Victorians and Queen Annes with a sprinkle of Frank Lloyd Wright rip-offs.
Finally, we pulled into a driveway that cut through a large grove of oak. We went about a hundred yards when Dunbar's house came into view. It was four stories tall and some kind of strange amalgam between a Victorian and a stone fortress. It had four towers like in those Victorian novels. Plenty of places to stash a crazy relative. When we pulled into the garage it contained two other white Caddies, exactly the same as the one we'd arrived in. Dunbar liked what he liked.
Big Chan and Little Chan, my new buddies, escorted me into the foyer of the