9. Let’s Make a Deal

It was a short flight to Miami. Ryu wasn’t drunk, but he had another spectacular headache brought on by persistent confusion and an uncomfortable sense of being in way over his head. In an extraordinary change of personality and behavior, Clément fussed over Ryu, insisting that the flight attendant bring aspirin and water and hot towels and ice. The flight attendant was a handsome, fair-haired young man and Clément flirted shamelessly with him.

“Oh, I do love to fly,” gushed the desk clerk. “I’m only really at ease when I’m at 30,000 feet. You know all those things that bother other people—engine failure, equipment failure, control system failure, fuel shortage, wind shear, thunderstorms, microbursts, ice, snow, fog, sudden drops in altitude, stalls, pilot error, hijackers, terrorists—well, they don’t bother me.” He recited his list loudly, so that the other passengers could hear him, and between this catastrophic possibility and that, he’d pat Ryu’s knee in a possessive way.

“By the way, Ryu,” he said, “you haven’t mentioned my little trick at the hotel. You really do know how to take things in stride, don’t you? No wonder you’re such a hotshot with the yakuza higher-ups. But you lost it with good old Clément, didn’t you? You punished him for his insolence. So aren’t you rather surprised that I’m sitting here next to you?”

Ryu was more than surprised. He was mystified . . . and he was furious. But being a man of few words and much experience, with a job to complete, he smiled a superior smile as if to say, maybe he was and then, maybe he was not.


—DEAD LOVE/Chapter 9.0/Let’s Make a Deal

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  • boldlow

    There's never a dull moment when Clement is on the scene…Ryu is always out of his league with his dealings with Clement. And Clement is out of his league with you, Erin. You go girl!