“Alright, who are you?” I asked the man holding the rabbit. The barrel of his gun was aimed at my chest. If I were more optimistic, I’d say it was aimed at my own glock so that if we shot, the bullets would collide with each other, no one would be hurt, and we could all go home happy.
In reality, though, he’d probably hit my arm. Or the redhead behind me. Or maybe the bathroom mirror beside us.
“Who do you think? The Peruvian mafia.”
“You’re the Peruvian mafia?”
“Small mafia. And you don’t sound particularly Peruvian.”
“We’re a ninja mafia.”
“A ninja mafia. From Peru.”
“But unlikely. And kind of racist, whitey.”
“Fair point. But I’ve got Hoppers.”
“Hoppers!” Chad shrieked behind me.
“What do you want?” I asked.
“A job fo – ”
“It looks like you have one,” I interrupted.
“If you’d let me finish?” I nodded. “A job for my friend.”
“And in return?”
He took his weapon off me and pointed it at the rabbit. “I don’t kill the bunny.”
“Chad, will you give this gentleman’s friend a job?” I said, the exasperation wrapping around my voice with an annoyed little bow.
“Yes, of course!”
I looked back to the man with the rabbit.
“Good,” he said. “Once José has the job, I’ll give you back the rabbit.”
“Excellent,” I said. “Just a question: who put you up to this?”
“No one. José and I were having a drink. He complained. So I formed the Peruvian mafia. Bringing justice to the world, and all that.”
“You know there are human rights commissions and such that can do the same thing? And that don’t put rabbits at risk?”
“Yeah. But this is more effective.”
“By which you mean, you got to pretend you’re a Mafioso?”
“Pretend? Lady, I am a Mafioso. We got what we wanted, didn’t we?”
I had to concede that point. “All right. Send José in to Chad’s office tomorrow, and the job will be his. Return Hoppers – alive – by midnight the next day, and all this never happened.”
“Deal,” the Mafioso said.
“Nice doing business with you.”
“Business doing ple – ”
“Don’t finish that,” I said, pointing Lucille a little more threateningly.
He nodded, then skirted around Chad and I, making his way downstairs while facing us – which was an impressive feat – and out the door.
“There you go kid, Hoppers will be back to you in two days.” I slipped Lucille back in my purse and turned just in time for the kid the throw his arms around me.
“Thank you, thank you, thank you,” he cried. Finally he let go, wiping his tears away, and said, “Now, about my guinea pig.”