Adam Wykes


Someone flicks the light on and off rapidly like the shutter of an old movie, and for a moment Jordan’s mind flutters between the light of consciousness and the black of sleep. Then he is awake, thrashing around in his covers as he searches for the switchblade under his pillow. A woman is standing in the doorway of his tiny rental, white-washed skin and French twist in stark contrast to the black office-krieg one-piece that begins like a sports bra and ends halfway down her muscular thighs. Restyled combat boots. Sunglases. A silenced USP .45 and dragon tattoos all down her left arm.


This is 100% Yakuza Ninja 2.0 – American Edition, which means one thing to Jordan. He puts the switchblade away and gets out of bed, then holds out his hand. The ninja chick whips out a piece of plastic with a bank logo on it and slaps it into his hand.


“It’s five hundred grand, if you’re up for it.”


Jordan is already shaving his bed-head black hair off with a set of barber clippers plugged into a dirty white power strip next to his milk-crate nightstand.


“I was up for this shit before your first tit job.”


The ninja chick looks down at the floor, which is covered in clothing and food wrappers.


“I hope for his sake that you’ve been taking much better care of your body than your room.”

“If you woke me up at… one fifteen in the morning, I think you don’t have time to be playing hitgirl-cum-housewife.”


“Suck my cunt,” she says, but before Jordan can consider the proposition she retreats to the hallway, whence she returns a minute later with two ogre-sized manservants carrying the EEG equipment and a big suitcase on wheels. In a matter of seconds the trio have pushed all the trash on the floor to one end of the room, located all of the electrical outlets, and extrapolated the contents of the suitcase into a rather complex-looking contraption involving what looks like a motorcycle helmet wired to a camping stove but is in fact the world’s smallest blackmarket fMRI device combo polycore number-crunching box and high-output microwave transceiver.


“Just don’t burn the house down,” Jordan says as he lights up a cigarette scrounged from the floor. He inhales most of it in a single drag and for a moment the room spins.

The ninja chick is starting to brief him on the situation.


“Right now Mr. Tatagarami is being attended to just like you. When we get the signal you’ll make the switch and start running immediately. He is currently located in the back of The Great Wall restaurant on 105 Street, and he’s surrounded by about 100 members of a rival gang. Mr. Tatagarami’s bodyguards have been fighting a delaying action for now, but we need you in there as soon as possible.”


The ninja chick shows him a schematic of the restaurant and surrounding street on the screen of her smart phone, complete with the location and status of Mr. Tatagarami and his entourage, hunkered down in a store room. Several former bodyguards decorate the restaurant floor and register counter. Jordan takes a moment to soak all of this up, then looks up at the ninja chick.


“Do I get any heat, any support?”


“If you know how to use a Benelli Auto or a Daewoo DR300, then yes and no respectively.”


“I’m going to fuck some people up.”


“All you have to do is get Mr. Tatagarami out of there and make it to the checkpoint on 3444 109 Street. Of course if you fail, the money will not be put in the account and Mr. Tatagarami will retain possession of your body for as long as he desires.”


“Done. Just let me earn my money.”


“Looks like you get your wish. Just got the signal. Put your head in here…”


The sound of bullets passing through wood is distinct and the first sound to pop into Jordan’s emerging consciousness, like the beat of a song all karaokied out. Then he’s there, dressed in a grey business suit and a cigar clenched in his mouth. Tastes like Cuban.


“Of course a gangster godfather would be out of shape and balding.”


One of the bodyguards, a thin Mexican in a pinstripe suit cradling his Benelli in his legs and reloading it shell by shell with his one un-bloodied arm, turns in surprise toward Jordan.


“What!? Uh, don’t worry Mr. Tatagarami, we gonna get you outta here.”


“Mr. Tatagarami is already outta here,” Jordan says, removing the headset from his new head and giving it to the attendant who had been operating it a few moments before. “Now it’s just a crazy pasty motherfucker who’s been waiting his whole life to collect on this alternative to school and the Cubicle Putrefaction Process. Sooner I get this done the sooner I get my money and my body back, so we’re cooking with wasabe now. Gimme that gun. Watch out.”

Then to the enemy gang, as he springs up, shotgun in hand: “YOU WANT KUNG-PAO CHICKEN, YOU PAY NOW!”

Euphemism Campus Box 4240 Illinois State University, Normal, IL 61790-4240