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Tangled Currents - Sam Chat

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adamu

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« on: <02-27-16/1846:02> »
Tuesday, 19 November, 1400; Seven Blessings, International District, Downtown Seattle

The lunch rush was dying down.

It was hard work, but at least there was a lunch rush - the District was saturated with Chinese restaurants, all good or they wouldn't survive, but mostly all the same. Competition was fierce, and many establishments survived on supplemental income earned this way and that in basements and back rooms.

For now, though, the Seven Blessings was just what the sign said - good Chinese food with Hebei and Hong Kong specialties. Which was not to say that the proprietor never considered other ways to make money - he just hadn't brought it on site.

Lunch was a peaceful time. Mark-up wasn't as good, and people didn't eat as much. Or drink a lot. But that also meant they didn't drink a lot. So no problems at lunch - usually. There had been yaks in the crowd, but then there almost always were. And they always ate free. As if Ricky didn't take enough. But that was how it was...for now.

Sam was about to turn the clean up over to the staff when there was a minor commotion at the kitchen entrance. The rapid fire of tonally rich Chinese protests vs. the guttural threat of deliberately low-class Japanese. Sam approached to see two obvious yak soldiers shouting at his bus boy. Behind them a middle-aged Japanese man in an expensive suit stood calmly. The bus boy, Lewis, turned and explained in passable Mandarin - he was second-generation Seattle - that a Mr. Iwase was insisting on entering the kitchen to personally compliment the chef.

ProfGast

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« Reply #1 on: <03-01-16/0200:26> »
Tuesday, 19 November, 1400; Seven Blessings, International District, Downtown Seattle

Sam Chat, no, right now he was Lucas the Cook, patted the hapless busboy lightly on the back and dismissed him quietly in Mandarin: "我来了, 回去吧."

For a moment he looked down at the two bodyguards with an impassive face as if silently scolding them for making a fuss.  Only a very sharp observer would have noticed that he held the look for a bit longer than was polite, or that there was a brief flash of true distaste in his eyes.  Before the moment could turn into another confrontation Lucas bowed at the suit, now pointedly ignoring the two Yaks, and held the pose for a heartbeat.

Straightening, he smiles at the man.

"You honor us Mister... Iwase.  I, Cho, am in charge of the kitchens.  How may we help you today?"

adamu

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« Reply #2 on: <03-02-16/1801:26> »
Tuesday, 19 November, 1402; Seven Blessings, International District, Downtown Seattle

"Cho, you have already helped me." The man spoke English easily, and his familiar form of address was a drape of friendliness over an arrogant, patronizing core. "I merely wished to thank you personally for a superb meal. I am actually not a...connoisseur of Asian food...I'm afraid I was raised on Japanese fare," another obvious insult, thinly veiled, "but Ricky recommended your establishment, and I was not disappointed. Besides, I like to maintain a modicum of familiarity with all my business interests. Perhaps Ricky has spoken of me?"

He hadn't.

ProfGast

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« Reply #3 on: <03-02-16/2336:18> »
Tuesday, 19 November, 1403; Seven Blessings, International District, Downtown Seattle

"Ricky speaks... much."

Which to be fair, was a completely accurate statement.

"I am glad you have enjoyed your meal."

That statement was probably mostly true too.

"You honor me with your patronage."

That last one?  That was probably a little bit untrue, but at least it was true to form...

With the third comment Sam once again bowed to Mr. Iwase and held the pose for a heartbeat.  After he straightened he gave another carefully modulated smile and asked again.  "Would you like anything else from the kitchen?"

adamu

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« Reply #4 on: <03-05-16/1814:27> »
Tuesday, 19 November, 1403; Seven Blessings, International District, Downtown Seattle

"Not at all, we are quite sated, and will leave you to your livelihood. Though you can be sure we'll be back, next time for a proper dinner. But before I go, I'd like to ask you the same question. Is there anything you might need from me or my organization? Ricky speaks highly of your integrity and...regularity. I would like to show that it hasn't gone unnoticed. Please tell me some way we can be of service to you. I insist."

ProfGast

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« Reply #5 on: <03-07-16/0008:33> »
Tuesday, 19 November, 1404; Seven Blessings, International District, Downtown Seattle

The cook looks thoughtful for a few moments.

"More fresh seafood would make menu better.  But is expensive.  Can only do small amount with krill.  Otherwise quiet neighborhood means good business."


adamu

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« Reply #6 on: <03-09-16/1208:36> »
Tuesday, 19 November, 1404; Seven Blessings, International District, Downtown Seattle

"Naturally keeping the neighborhood quiet is good business for everyone, and thus we have made it our specialty for centuries. I also have friends with occasional access to fresh seafood at remarkable discounts. The supply can be less steady than I would like, but I will certainly put them in touch with you."

Iwase nodded and left the kitchen looking like a cat that had just eaten a canary.

Wednesday, 19 November, 2102; Seven Blessings, International District, Downtown Seattle

Busy in the kitchen with the late dinner rush, Sam overheard a couple of the wait staff complaining about a customer.

"C'mon, man, take a stand."

"No, I honestly can't tell."

"Well, I can't keep finding polite responses that don't naturally end in either 'sir' or 'ma'am.' Ask one of the girls - they're better at figuring these things out..."

Sam wondered if they were talking about...he peeked over the steaming plates in the pick-up window and sure enough, there was Comb. The elf had clearly been watching for Sam to show his face, and caught his eye with a grin.

ProfGast

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« Reply #7 on: <03-10-16/2234:32> »
Wednesday, 19 November, 2103; Seven Blessings, International District, Downtown Seattle

Nodding as he caught Comb's eye, Sam turned back and finished up the current round of preparation.  As the last dish completed he nodded to the wait staff, indicating he would serve the next round of dishes

"我會把這些帶出去"

With that he hung up his apron and picked up the trays and made the rounds.  Midway through the round while dropping off a bowl to Comb's table he spoke quietly: "I'll be taking a break in 10 minutes.  Come talk to me out back then" before continuing on the round and disappearing back into the kitchen.

Wednesday, 19 November, 2113; Seven Blessings, International District, Downtown Seattle

With the late rush taken care of, Sam took his break, leaving the assistants to take care of the odd orders as he stepped into the alley for his 'break'.

"Well, what's up?  Must be important to contact me while I'm still open for business..."
« Last Edit: <03-13-16/1523:29> by ProfGast »

adamu

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« Reply #8 on: <03-12-16/2038:29> »
Wednesday, 19 November, 2113; alley behind Seven Blessings, International District, Downtown Seattle

As usual, Comb was just professional enough to be professional, maybe trying a little too hard to portray a seasoned, fuck-it demeanor.

"Not really super important. But worth a visit, and since I was making the trip, thought I'd taste your passable cooking." He said it with a smile on his face, to be clear he was joking. You never took too much for granted when dealing with violent criminals, even if you had worked with them before and were pretty sure you knew their temperment.

"Listen, there's a job offer floating around, right up your alley. I can't take it, thought I'd do you a solid and pass it on. Bodyguard work. For people that shouldn't need to outsource their protection, but te?"here it is - apparently they've got a situation. And they only want Asians. If you're interested I can tell you more and put you in touch - but gotta tell ya, this doesn't look like the sit-around-staying-alert-but-probably-nothing-happens sort of gig, you get me?"

ProfGast

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« Reply #9 on: <03-15-16/0105:40> »
Wednesday, 19 November, 2114; Alley behind Seven Blessings, International District, Downtown Seattle

Sam leans back against the wall and eyes Comb for a few moments.

"A bodyguard job with guaranteed action?  I guess I could use a bit of a workout, if the job pays well."

Another moment of consideration and he nods.

"Give me the details then."

adamu

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« Reply #10 on: <03-15-16/1402:03> »
Wednesday, 19 November, 2115; Alley behind Seven Blessings, International District, Downtown Seattle

"Right on, that's my man," Comb said. Sam felt sure there must be a finder's fee involved. "You call this number. It's ta this kim-chee joint on Capital Hill, but you want to ask for a Komun'go fixer goes by Kim Park. He's a big, ugly guy, some people call him Korean Gordo, whatever that means, but you'll call him Mr. Kim. Be polite, get your protectee through in one piece, he'll pay you in gold. Damnedest thing."

ProfGast

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« Reply #11 on: <03-18-16/0347:48> »
Wednesday, 19 November, 2115; Alley behind Seven Blessings, International District, Downtown Seattle

"Korean Gordo... huh.  Well I will give Mr. Kim a call then.  I appreciate the info.  Remind me to cook you up something special next time you stop in."

Sam bids Comb a farewell and steps back into the Seven Blessings to help finish closing up the shop.

Wednesday, 19 November, 2200; Kobe Terrace Park, International District, Downtown Seattle.

With the day's work complete and Seven Blessings closed for the evening, Sam strolled through the Kobe Terrace Park looking for a secluded spot so he could accomplish his end-of-day workout without being interrupted.... or spied on.  As he walked he composed a brief text-only message for Ken, his usual sounding-board for new employers in the city.

[Translated from Chinese:] <<<@Ken [三七]: Looking for information on a "Kim Park."  Trustworthy reputation?  May also be known as "Korean Gordo.">>>

Having finally found a likely spot, Sam fired off the message and dropped into ma bu, the horse stance, and started on his tao lu exercise while waiting for a reply.  As per his usual, he started off his exercise smoothly, but moving so slowly that his Wu Shu techniques could easily have been mistaken by the uninitiated as a round of taichi quan.

adamu

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« Reply #12 on: <03-19-16/1858:07> »
Wednesday, 19 November, 2234; Kobe Terrace Park, International District, Downtown Seattle

Ken's message came back during Sam's session. Fast enough for Sam to appreciate it, given how busy he knew Ken was.

<<Trustworthy? Well, he's a criminal. But yes, insofar as one believes there is honor among thieves, he does have a reputation as a reliable businessman. Treat him with respect if you are willing, for he is easily offended. And go to any meeting with an empty stomach. Finally, take care. There is something going on - someone is targeting Seoulpas, and not only the Komun'go. I am not sure how far into the other rings it stretches, but I do know that even the Koreans are unsure of who is after them."

The recommendation was as good as could be hoped, and within ten minutes, Sam was slated for a midnight job interview with Mr. Kim Park AKA Korean Gordo, just over an hour to spare, at Korean BBQ House on Capital Hill. 

ProfGast

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« Reply #13 on: <03-21-16/1640:41> »
Wednesday, 19 November, 2244; Kobe Terrace Park, International District, Downtown Seattle

Satisfied with both the answer and the meet time, Sam went back to finish his exercises.  Settling into the ma bu stance, Sam went back to repeat the very first exercise he had begun with.  However, this time there was absolutely no way to confuse it with a session of tai chi.  The final session was performed at full speed, hands and feet flashing through the air.  A minute later, the exercise complete, Sam held the final pose of the form for three whole heartbeats before nonchalantly breaking the stance and strolling back to the restaurant to prepare for his meeting.

Wednesday, 19 November, 2315; Departure from International District, Downtown Seattle; Destination: Capitol Hill


adamu

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« Reply #14 on: <03-21-16/2020:17> »
Wednesday, 19 November, 2359; Korean BBQ House, Capitol Hill, Downtown Seattle

Sam had arrived in plenty of time to take a discreet look at the area and the exterior of the place. Though by no means an Asian neighborhood, Korean or otherwise, the place had a reputation for authenticity despite its pedestrian name, so it attracted enough Koreans that the guards hanging around outside were not completely conspicuous. Sam counted eight just on the outside, so this Mr. Kim must be something to rate this sort of security. Or else they really were in a situation, as Comb had said.

He walked right in, a minute before mindnight. No one stopped him. The hostess didn't ask how many were in his party, just looked at him, smiled sweetly, and walked away. He followed. The place was warm with the small charbroilers embedded in each table, and the simple smells of kim chee and cooking beef filled the room. The woman led him through the place toward the back. Many of the tables were separated by ornate partitions - nothing to block sound or sight, just wood carved into the shapes of Korean letters forming screens to delineate space, create a sense of privacy. At one point they walked through an archway of such woodwork, and Sam was pretty sure he spotted the telltale signs of scanners. They ended up at the rearmost dining area, and through the partition he could see a great fat man using a pair of tongs to turn several strips of beef on the grill. Two burly Korean men flanked the opening. One nodded for him to enter.

Ducking through the opening, Sam was offered a seat with a courteous wave of the fat man's hand. "I have tongue, liver, flank, and shoulder grilling now, but of course we can order anything you may care for. What sort of beer to you drink?"