Chapter Twenty Five

Amaya, “If we are going to be stalked by these jokers, maybe we should go out and become stalk-able.”
“You have a point, let’s walk to the buildings and the temple. I need to check on the restaurant.”
Thanks to Mrs. Fong, we now own a popular Chinese restaurant. We would never change the name, it will always be Fong’s. Ning runs it with Miyako’s help. When the dust settles off the estate, it is 95% complete, it will belong to Chan and Ning. Janah doesn’t want another thing to handle and energetic Ning is loving having so much to do. She’s a bolt of lightning, even after all our Chinese practice, I have to attend closely to follow her when she speaks, her sentences have no space between words and there’s no punctuation.
Nikko, “I’m going with you, I can check the property, I need to go to Brooklyn and walk the property there.”
“Then we have a busy day, let’s get a move on.”
Amaya, “What about Janah?”
Janah comes down from the meditation loft, “Janah is going to review what the Society has.”
“Chan will be here?”
Janah, “Or with me wherever I go. We may go to the Epsteins, no particular reason, haven’t seen them in a while.”
I call David Li, “Nikko, Amaya and I are going to Chinatown, perhaps Brooklyn. Janah may go to the Epsteins with your dad.”
David, “Birds will do an advance reconnaissance, others will follow you. They will look for Shadows.”
“Thank you.”
Our aerial bodyguards increase our chances of spotting our targets before they spot us; the trek to Chinatown is mercifully uneventful.
Ning, “Ah, good for you to be out on this lovely day. You sit, eat. I’ll bring something so good, even Nishiko will take a bite, tea, coffee, coke?
“I’d kill for a fizzy Coke Zero, Amaya?”
“Green.”
Ning, “And Nikko always has green, like Janah. Where is she?”
“With your husband, plotting.”
Ning, “Then handsome husband is very happy. If Janah wasn’t a lesbian, I’d have to kill her.”
“Chan is about Ning, as you are perfectly aware.”
Ning blushes slightly, “Back in a second,” she scurries off, scurry is her middle name.
Amaya, “She is adorable. Her children are perfect, it is impossible not to like her.”
“Ning has much of your charm. Mrs. Fong watches from Buddhist heaven and glows with her running the restaurant. Her prize for Chan and us.”
It’s twelve thirty, the place is packed. The takeout clerk is doing double time, stacks of boxes, filled with delicacies, wrapped up in plastic bags, the cash register singing. Ning will make a killing with this place.
Drinks come, followed shortly by hot and sour and egg drop so silken it shimmers. Then shrimp with garlic sauce and crispy crunchy fresh grilled vegetable, fried rice cooked just long enough to retain a little stretch. Nikko matches Amaya and I and it is gone.
Nishiko, “Can only come here once a month, or we will all be fat cows.”
I laugh, “Nothing we ate was full of sugar, you haven’t gained an ounce in ten years.”
Nikko’s eyes narrow, “Amaya, anything happens, go for the kill, you understand? No conversation, no attempt to merely disable. These people are not refocusing targets.”
“I am quite clear. I have been instructed.”
“I’m going to the building, you to the temple?”
“I think we stick together. I don’t want to be in the temple and have you in a street fight alone, not with Shadows.”  
Nikko isn’t insulted, she sees the sense of it. It also allows her to watch over us, the primary reason she makes no objection.
“Mother had no intention of leaving us alone anyway.”
“She knows me too well, I must be losing my inscrutability.”
Amaya giggles, “To me you are clear crystal.”
Nikko doesn’t reply, she is doing what Nikko does, surveying the room, the street outside, the door to the kitchen.
“Time to work.”
I turn to Amaya, “I think we’re leaving.”
“Seems so.”
We wave at Ning, she’s darting from table to table, to the kitchen, back, a hummingbird.
We walk the several blocks to the temple, blocks are shorter here than midtown, the streets packed. We stop by the herb shop, the proprietors, Mr. and Mrs. Wan behind the long wooden counter. Mr. Wan is filling a plastic zip bag with ground ginseng root, Mrs. Wan sees me, she speaks in Chinese, “Master Sylk, too long since you come, where is White Angel?”
I reply in Chinese, “She sends her regrets, we have been traveling and occupied with business matters. She promises to be by in the next week or so. She misses the old ones and the children, as do I.”
“Children come every day, want to see priest.”
“I’ll come as well, we will call you with a day, so you can let people know.”
Mrs. Wan, “Very good, I never see you in street clothes, beautiful gung fu legs, Shaolin priest in short skirt, ha, ha, times change, yes?”
“Well, it’s not my temple outfit.”
“Maybe should be, you get ten thousand applicants, all teenage boys.”
I laugh, thank her, we start to leave, she says, “Not go without blessings. Blessings from priest work even in short skirt, maybe work better, make Gods smile to see beauty they create.”
I’d not thought of it that way, perhaps she’s on to something, Janah pops in my heard, “It’d make gung fu practice more interesting.”
“I’ll say.”

I bless the Wan’s health, the health of their family, many grandchildren and great grandchildren, the store and its continued prosperity. Blessing prosperity is always well received in the Chinese community.
They smile, bow repeatedly with many thanks, hand me a bag of high grade ginseng, I bow my gratitude, all proprieties satisfied.
On the way, Amaya says, “No matter how many times I see it, I am always touched. It is so Buddhist, Ch’an, and that you are American makes no difference to them.
Nikko, “Daphne is an ordained Shaolin priest. She could be from the moon. They know very well that the temple here doesn’t hand out priesthood like Christmas candy. She is a holy person to them.”
“She’s a holy person to me.”
“Don’t make her worse than she is.”
Amaya, “For a holy person, you seem to take an extraordinary interest in my legs.”
“My enlightened sensitivity includes a gift for appreciation of natural perfection.”
“Enlightenment is good.”


Chapter Twenty Six

I’m in the temple kitchen reviewing inventories, check the pantry, the cooking area, my eye for cleanliness on red alert. Nothing. The kitchen crew takes pride in its food, its preparation and its presentation.
“You have exceeded my expectations, the place is spotless. I will report your diligence to the Abbess.”
Grins and bows, they even do a good job of not too many glances at the short skirt. I was pleased twice, they don’t get caught up in physical appearances, and that they did, a little, in mine.
Janah, “Attention hog. You are forgiven, brightening their day a bit.”
“I was hoping for a lot.”
“Don’t get greedy. To get serious monks to notice at all is expression enough of your power.”
“The place is immaculate.”
“So I see. Go and see Kahn, where is Amaya?”
“Distracting gung fu practice.”
“I’m going to have to deliver a lecture to the monks soon. I’ll talk about beauty, how it can be appreciated and not clung to. Life is beauty, to deny beauty is to deny life.”
“I was just thinking the same thing.”

Nikko, “We’re going to have to leave. Amaya has the monks in a demonstration frenzy. If we don’t go soon, it will take a week for the students to recover from the heightened intensity.”
“Maybe she should make an appearance once a week, we’ll have the baddest fighters on the planet.”
We have to go to Brooklyn anyway, I find Disciple Smits and ask him to have the car brought around. Janah bought an Escalade for the temple. It isn’t tricked out, it is roomy, good for picking up and delivering visitors. It allows guests, mostly dignitaries and masters, freedom from taxi fares or public transportation annoyances. We keep it in the garage of our building, at least we don’t have to pay the outrageous parking charges of Manhattan lots, and it stays covered and secure.
I join Amaya, the monks stop practicing and turn to face me, I receive and return the requisite bows.
“Master J sends her blessings and greeting to the monks of Shaolin. She asked me to tell you she will be back next week for a stretch. We look forward to being in our home again.”
Amaya, “Shall I perform for them?”
I continue, “Amaya has offered to perform one evening, I think a festival is in order.”
That generates applause, nice to see they have both reticence and exuberance. We want a mixture of diligence and a sense of play, the entire spectrum of life.
Master Kahn walks us to the car, “Thank you Master Sylk. Our monks have been busy, academics, training, the daily care of the temple. Many long days. A break is overdue. I should have mentioned it myself.”
“Master Kahn, you are the backbone of this temple. Janah has many obligations and could not function as a full time Abbess. Knowing that the temple is orderly and the monks are cared for is a great relief to her. I know you don’t want the job of Abbott full time, she did ask me to inquire if you might accept a position as Abbott, along with her as Abbess. She sees no reason there need be only one or the other. You are doing the job anyway. And as we are attracting a growing number of distinguished visitors, it becomes more important that they are met by an Abbott. She would consider it a great favor.”
Master Kahn sighs, “Master J has a way of putting these things that make it impossible to refuse. I am honored to accept.”
I hug him, “This means a great deal to her, and is the right thing for our order. The temple took a huge leap of faith in promoting her, not Chinese, not even Buddhist technically. She takes that seriously.”
Master Kahn, “Our decision was easy, Master Sylk. How could we refuse a Bodhisattva, the honor is ours.”
We bow. We should have done this years ago, but Kahn had been adamant. His glory is in teaching gung fu, and overseeing the training is a major responsibility, in many ways more important than the administrative role of an Abbott. Over the years, however, he has grown several masters with excellent instruction skills. Now, he mostly oversees instructors. This is a much needed solution. Janah doesn’t like not being there for visitors, and the heightened influx is making that more problematic.
“Janah will make the formal announcement next week, the induction ceremony will take place immediately, in advance of the festival. What can we do to help with arrangements?”
Master Kahn, “Master Jin and disciples will take care of it. You and Janah are being sought by Shadows. All attention must be focused on her safety. You have enough monks?”
“Yes, fortunately, there are monks around New York doing their time in the world. Warrior monks who have been ordained. We’ve reached out to them so we didn’t have to draw on your disciples too much.”
Master Kahn, “Keep the four disciples with you. It is training they cannot get here. They were delighted to be asked, and you need coverage for Master J’s parents, your own mother and her partner. Chan is a priest, he watches over his family, Hanshi Murakami is more than capable, Master Black is around and we have Mrs. Fong’s associates, now yours, taking care of Ning Shan’s family in Chinatown.”
“Thank you Master Kahn, for everything.”

Chapter Twenty Seven

In the car, Amaya says to Nikko, “The monks are so good, I could watch practice all day.”
Nikko, “You wish to practice martial arts?”
“Dear, no. I could watch all day. I cannot be getting thrown through the air and rolling around the dirt. Too many bruises, and dirt is not permitted.”
Nikko looks out the window, today, ‘girl’ doesn’t mean prim, proper and pristine. Amaya isn’t a today girl. In many ways, she could have been born in 1950, well scrubbed, immaculate in dress and manner. She still speaks like an old maid school teacher, no contractions, only a few concessions to modern day shortcuts or slang, nothing like BFF would pass her slick lip glossed lips. She’s retro-modern.
I am in the passenger seat, I say to Jimmy, “I didn’t mean for you to drive us, you could have farmed this out to a student.”
Jimmy, “Happy to have the chance to get out for a time. See if New York has morphed into London or Beijing. I’m usually one of two or three who drives visitors, I know my way around, most of the students are under eighteen. All our drivers have taken driving lessons, and limiting the number keeps the insurance down. There’s the other thing, too. The Shadows.”
“Better to have a well trained disciple, yes. You are a warrior monk, not a contemplative or academic.”
“Black and I used to talk about that. He and I are alike, he said Janah pushed him through academics, he’s smart, but not a scholar. He prefers his journal and poetry. Black and Sonia are doing well?”
We are on the Brooklyn Bridge, the view is lovely, traffic busy but not unreasonable, a bit early for the drive home crowd. I never grasped why people drive into Manhattan every day, pay ridiculous fees to park, get their cars banged up and sit in cross town traffic gridlock.
“Black is starting free martial arts schools for kids in the poorer neighborhoods. He’s lining up places, figuring out his schedule. His own school is doing well, Sonia is up to her ears in caseloads. She’s going to cut back though. She wants to help Black with the admin for the schools. He teaches martial arts at Janah’s two schools as well.”
“Yeah, he told me Janah’s compensation allowed Sonia to start cutting her hours, she may even give it up and do private counseling. Black wants her to be with him, but he respects her desire to do her thing.”
“I’m sure she compensates him in other ways.”
Jimmy smiles, “That’s what he says.”
Jimmy is unaware that several years ago we split a haul from drug dealers that made Black and Chan millionaires several times over. They would never talk about it with anyone outside the family, thus the ‘compensation’ bit. Black teaches for free, his compensation earned upfront.
We arrived at the warehouse. Nikko exits to walk the property. She wouldn’t accept verbal reports, or even video or pictures. She wants to be on the ground, talking to tenants, looking in nooks an crannies. Her diligence has saved us Health Department write ups, Fire Department citations and various safety issues. She reviews everything, the elevator inspection stickers, fire extinguishers for expiration dates, drips, leaks, visits restrooms (they better be pristine) as I said, ev-er-y-thing.
She’s been gone and hour, I check in, “Okay?”
“Minor code violations, I called our maintenance crew, be fixed tonight before opening tomorrow. Spoke with a tenant about using parking spots he isn’t assigned. The usual. I haven’t felt anything, must be okay out there.”
“Well, it was, hang on…”

A pigeon flaps down, followed by a half dozen others. They are doing the trouble dance David taught them Their vocabulary isn’t large, only David knows all the quirks. This is a warning.
Then a Peregrine swoops in, lands on an oil drum being used as a waste can, I walk over.
“Greetings, where is your mate?” They travel in twos.
“Circling above.”
I look up, sure enough, gracefully riding air currents, wings motionless, gliding.
“She's beautiful.”
The Peregrine cocks his head, guess he’s wondering how I can tell them apart.
“You are not as stupid an most of your kind, why?”
“I have friends,”
nodding to Amaya and Jimmy, “who help me.”
He twists his head, blinks, “Keep them close.”
I laugh, I suppose I don’t look like the brightest bulb he’d encountered.
“There are two Shadows, they followed you from the place with high walls, people fighting. The pigeons spotted them as you were leaving, they had not been there long. While you traveled in the machine, they followed.”
“Where are they?”
“Follow the road north a short distance. Another road to the east. Their machine sits on that corner. They are watching you now.”
“How dark?”

I’m asking if he could tell the level of their ignorance. The worst are flat black, then lighter shades of grey.
“Like a thunder cloud.”
Good, that means they aren’t as dangerous, “Thank you for your attentiveness, we are grateful,” I bow.
The Peregrine isn’t much for gratitude, he lifts off and joins his mate circling the sky, their wings in perfect synchronization, they rise high into the late afternoon sky.
“We have work to do, come.”
Nikko is already on the way, tuned in to my side of the conversation with the Peregrine.
“Jimmy, it’s time to leave, don’t make a thing, but we have guests. We need to get in the car and drive around the property like we’re checking the exterior. When we are out of sight of the street we came in on, instead of circling the building, take a hard left, and keep cornering left until we are two blocks north. Amaya will take over driving.”
I turn to Amaya, “This is important, return on the same route, then finish circling the building until you are back here. I want them thinking we stopped on the other side to check out something, then continued our tour.”
Amaya, “What if….”
“You can follow me. If it goes bad, call Janah. She’s following me anyway, she’ll know, it’s just a matter of you being able to connect with her through me.”
“I’m on it.”


Chapter Twenty Eight

While Jimmy makes quick lefts, I do the drill, “If we can capture them, good. Janah will want to have a chat. If they prove more skilled, they die here. Are you good with that?”
Jimmy makes the last turn, we’re cruising to a stop, “I’m good.”
We get out, Amaya slides into the driver’s seat, u-turns and retraces our route. I see no advantage in coming from different angles, we’ll just appear and confront.
“When we get to the corner, I’ll take a look, I just want to know their position, in or out of the car, together or apart.”
I approach the corner, listen, they hadn’t yet caught the scent of trouble, or they didn’t care.
Voice One, “What are they doing?”
Voice Two, “Went around back, haven’t come around yet, might have seen something they wanted to check out and stopped….wait, I see the nose of the car.”
Since they have to be looking towards the car, they aren’t looking my way, I peer around the corner. They’re in front of their car, a vanilla Mercury, few years old. Voice Two has binoculars.
Voice One, “What’s up? They just sitting there?”
Voice Two pulls out a mobile, presses some keys, ‘Sitting ducks, make your move, we’ll be right behind you.’
My hearing, even from a couple of blocks of dense buildings, catches engine revving, tires squeal, I mental Amaya, “There’s a car approaching behind you, hit the gas and evade, take the route back here, all the way to us and do it now.”
I back up two steps to Nikko and Jimmy, “Change of plan, more of them, take these two and quickly.”
Nikko doesn’t need to be told twice, she knows Amaya is in trouble or I wouldn’t have flipped the plan. She’s in full samurai mode, shuriken out, blade at the ready.
She doesn’t wait on Jimmy, rounds the corner. Jimmy jumps behind her.
“Janah, you on this?”
“Yes, you’re on GPS. We’ll follow from here, there’s no way to get to you quickly, do what’s necessary. Chan and I are going into qi meditation. David instructed the Peregrines to follow you.”

I go to Amaya’s mind, a quick check, she’s deeply focused, the Escalade burning rubber around the corners, I see her in a controlled skid, just like she’d learned only a couple of weeks ago. I turn the corner.
Nishiko has two shuriken planted in Voice One’s forehead, he’s on the ground bleeding, he pulls them out. Blood runs down his face, blinding him for the moment. Two more hit his chest. She’s on Voice Two, her blade out. She swipes, he jumps back, grins.
Jimmy gets to Voice One as he’s plucking the shuriken from his chest. As he wipes his eyes, Jimmy’s foot near beheads him. He’s on the ground flat now, face up, neck in a highly unnatural angle, dead.
Voice One tries to knock Nikko back with his outstretch hand, I see the focus on his face, he’s not much skilled, Nikko comes. He tries harder, the strain in his neck, fingers stiff pointing at her. He’s baffled, then completely uncomprehending as she slashes his throat, shoves the blade to the hilt through his heart. His hand droops at the end of his outstretched arm. She withdraws the knife and severs his hand for good measure.
She says to no one in particular, “Asshole.”
She turns to me, “Amaya?”
“Coming, she’s okay.”
The Escalade screeches to a stop at the cross street. In the blocks of warehouses, traffic is light, we haven’t seen any other cars, which means no one has seen us. We pile in the Escalade as a second sedan creeps past the cross street a block down, looking. They spot us, stop, reverse, make the turn, the driver floors the pedal, tires smoking.
Amaya hits the gas, rounds the corner where the vanilla Merc is pulled up to the curb. She slows, “belts,” we buckle up. She eases up to twenty, tags the Mercury back left, right behind the rear tire and gasses the Escalade until it is sliding the Mercury sideways.  
She has the big car almost crosswise on the street with just enough room to pass. It wouldn’t stop our pursuers, if we can pass, so can they, I wasn’t seeing the point. Then she does something that surprises me, she stops.
The sedan, looks like a Tarus, rounds the corner and approaches, picks up speed. I figure out what she’s up to, it looks like we’d collided with the Mercury and stalled. When the sedan gets within ten feet, she shifts into reverse and stomps the pedal. The big rear bumper of the Escalade smashes the sedan dead in the radiator.  
As she pushes the car backwards, she says, “You want me to leave them, or do you want to deal with them here?”
Nikko, “We’re going to front them anyway, let’s do it.”
Amaya turns the wheel, and as if she is backing up a trailer, the sedan begins to turn in the opposite direction, she drives it over the curb and into the side of a concrete block warehouse.
She pulls away a few feet, leaves the engine running, we pour out the doors and face two men staggering out of the sedan. Jimmy flies into the car door, bashes it against the driver, a stocky Korean, his fist hard into the Korean’s face. Then, as if by magic, Jimmy is lifted in the air and lands butt first on the street.
This one is not like the lame ducks we’d dealt with earlier.
He’s still behind the car door, Nikko’s knife sails from her fingers, the Korean shifts in time to save face, his, from being impaled, not in time to keep from getting a slice along his jaw line. His hand runs along his jaw, the bleeding stops, guy is good, not good.
Amaya, “Clear out.”
I pull Jimmy up, push him aside and roll backwards, Nikko is already over the hood of the sedan, on the second man, he looks dead already, almost transparent. She has her backup blade at her side and a bad attitude. It isn’t enough. One second, she’s walking towards him with intent to do bodily death, the next she is flat against the concrete wall. I feel her shoulders hit, then her head snaps back, shit. She lands in a heap on the sidewalk.
 I hear the Escalade rev, Amaya backs hard into the door of the sedan, through it and pins the Korean to the wall. No amount of qi is going to put Humpty Jong Un back together again. He’s embedded graffiti.
I walk around the front of the car and face what appears to be a man, just on a calorie restricted diet that calls for him to eat a grain of rice a week. He is tissue paper thin. Tan, the old Shaolin who trained Janah, me and Chan, had spoken of Shadows who eat almost nothing, drink water, yet survive and thrive. They are particularly dangerous he’d warned. I presumed he meant if you can’t eat at the Village Diner, then no amount of additional punishment or deprivation could faze you.
Janah, “Don’t get cocky, this one is the real deal.”
“Then you and Chan give me a booster shot and let’s get this done.”
I change channels, “Amaya, go to Nikko.”
I lean against the front fender of his car, facing him, “You look like you should be in a med school lab. I can see how thick your bones are, Slim.”
He smiles, flips his hand over, fingers pointed at me, I feel the blow, it hurts, but damned if I’m going to let him know it. I feel an energy surge, Janah and Chan are working overtime.
He blinks, confused, like he’d flipped a switch but the lights didn’t come on.
“Maybe you should try out as lead singer for Velvet Revolver. Scott Weiland left, you’re even more of a stick that he is. Of course, Scott made a stupid decision, Stone Temple never made a comeback, and Slash is still the greatest lead guitar since Keith Richards. Can you sing?”
He’s expressionless, guess he isn’t a fan, loser.
I start towards Slim, he throws a couple more qi shots, I absorb, I’d have a very sore gut, he tosses a shot to my jaw, I see his hand move like slow-mo, yank my head, the energy slides by.
“What Slim, you learn this reading Qi for Dummies?
He growls, I’m supposed to be on the concrete, begging for mercy. Instead, I’m  a foot from his nose. He shuts down, uh, oh, that’s never a good sign. I’m, airborne over the hood of the Tarus and smack into the Escalade, shatter the passenger window, cripes.
Jimmy, not grasping what he’d encountered, tries a flying side kick before I can stop him. He hits a wall where this is no wall. I hear his foot crack.
As Slim is about to use Jimmy’s head for a soccer ball, I hear a refreshing sound I am familiar with from the roof of Chapmans. A hiss, like a fastball makes at a hundred miles an hour.
The Peregrine’s claws lock onto Slim’s eyes, eye gook gushes out, then blood. Nikko is crawling to Slim, woozy and pissed. She stands, severs Slim’s spine,  pulls the blade and reinserts it in the back of his neck.
“Freak is made of air and nearly killed three of us.”
Jimmy tries to stand, I help him up, “Your ankle’s cracked, I heard it. Don’t put weight on it or it might break.”
Jimmy, “You heard it? In all this?”
“I’m a good listener.”
I hop walk him to the Escalade, ask Amaya, “Is this thing operational?” she nods. I ease him inside. Amaya screams away from the mess as sirens scream toward it.
Janah, “Go to Flatbush and Clarkson, ditch the Escalade, leave the keys. Tomorrow it will be reported stolen, then it will be found, stripped and gutted. A car will be there to bring you to the hospital. Dad has been informed that a monk has a fractured ankle. I don’t sense that Nishiko needs treatment, but check her out.”
“Nikko, what’s the damage?”
Nikko, “Nasty knot on my skull when I hit the wall. Tried to keep my head forward, the impact forced it back. I don’t recall ever being thrown so hard.”
“Slim and the Korean had talent, real skill. Slim was near Tan, I’m a little surprised he made an appearance. I’m feeling rather special, Janah isn’t even here.”

Nikko lays across the seat, her head in my lap, she’s feeling worse than I suspected, I see why, the back of her head is bloody, she passes out. I have my hand on the wound, cold qi, cold as I can make it.
“Janah, Nikko has a head injury, bleeding, she’s unconscious,” Janah can see her through my eyes, knows what I’m doing.
Janah, “Pull her hair away and gently, very gently, press with your fingers. If there is any give, just keep the cold on.”
"No, hard as a brick.”
Janah, “Then she got a bad scrape when she hit the wall. Likely a concussion. Keep her cool, the bleeding has likely stopped, go inside and read her energy levels, check her pulse.”
In a minute I respond, “Her brain seems functional from my quick scan. She’s weak but her pulse is steady, breathing is normal, she’s just out.”
“See you at the hospital. I’ve arranged an escort.”

We pull to the curb, swap into the exchange car, another SUV, Tahoe or something. There are two motorcycle cops, one helps Jimmy, the other carries Nikko, we arrange her on the floor in back. I climb in, sat cross legged, her head in my lap.
Amaya’s driving the new car, following our escorts, sirens blasting. Cross town traffic is a bitch, but we make steady progress with the two motorcycles running interference. At the emergency entrance, Jimmy is rolled straight to X-Ray, Nikko on a gurney for a quick examination by dad, the on to an MRI.
I thank the officers, “Thanks guys, I am so grateful,” I stick out my hand, shake the first, then the second, then hug them both.
Strange day for a miniskirt, but the officers didn’t seem to mind. They had on the requisite Ray Bans, but I can see thought the dark glass. I’m holding my share of attention even though Amaya, in her little shorts, is standing next to me.
Just to insure they were well appreciated, Amaya hugs them both, a kiss on the cheek for each.
The big cops grin, “I’m Davis, this is Sandusky, I hope you never need another injury escort, but if you need any other sort of escort, we’re here to serve.”
Amaya and I stoke up the smile heat, I say, “They wear the uniforms well, yes?”
Amaya looks them over, giving them a chance to continue to look her over, “They make the uniform, honey.”
They actually blush, just a bit, “Gentlemen, we have to check on our friends. I’ll make sure the appropriate people get a very favorable report on your courtesy and professionalism. You’ll be hearing from friends of ours, good friends, on the force.”
Another blast of smiles and Amaya and I park the Tahoe and go to find Janah.
Janah, “Charming New York’s finest?”
“I thought they ought to get some consideration for their effort, they got us here in record time. What about Nishiko?”

Janah, “Dad thinks it’s a concussion, MRI will rule in or out anything else.”

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