Mazza couldn’t take his eyes off the face of his benefactor as he was pulled from the car. The hapless john was out cold on the sidewalk and they stepped over him as if he were litter. The knight in shining armour seemed genuinely concerned.
“Are you alright? Argument over money, was it?”
“Oh, well, not exactly. He, uh, didn’t know what he was getting himself in to. Naive I guess. It happens.”
Mazza was embarrassed and looked away.
“Oh well, he’ll learn. Anyway he won’t be giving you any more problems. My name’s Josh, by the way.”
Josh extended his hand and Mazza shook it and managed a weak smile.
“Thank you so much for coming along when you did. I mean…well I…”
“Look, no worries. Can I drop you somewhere? It’s probably not a good idea for you to hang around here right now. He’s going to come to soon. We could get a drink somewhere if you like. I mean, that is, if you’re not…well, busy.”
Mazza’s heart was in his throat. This hunk was beyond handsome and had saved him from a beating and now he wanted to have a drink. It was like a scene out of a movie. What the hell, it was a strange night, might as well roll with it.
“Okay, sure. Lead on.”
“Great. I’m parked a couple of blocks down. But you know that, don’t you.”
Mazza blushed and looked away again. So he did remember. What was he doing down this way if his car was back up by the restaurant?
“Well, there’s a great place for a drink up that way anyway, why don’t we just head there?”
Josh grinned and offered Mazza his arm.
“Sounds like a plan.”
As they walked up the strip Mazza engaged Josh in light banter and tried to find out what he could about him but Josh wasn’t being forthcoming. He changed the subject every time Mazza asked him what he did and what he was doing on K’Road. They headed into the pub and ordered a couple of Steinlagers and sat quietly sipping their beers for a minute. Josh openly studied him, making Mazza nervous. He noticed and looked around the pub instead.
“So, it’s a rough business, eh? I mean, what you do.”
“Yeah”, Mazza chuckled, “It can be. But mostly it’s okay. My roommate and I look out for each other. Well, as much as we can anyway. He probably would have been looking for me if you hadn’t come along. If he wasn’t with a…customer.”
Josh nodded and then seemed lost in thought. He started to say something and then seemed to think better of it. Mazza was getting the feeling there was more going on than met the eye. Suddenly Josh got up.
“Gotta go to the loo, be right back.”
Mazza watched him go and couldn’t help admiring the view as he did. A couple of salty looking dudes came in just as Josh was heading back and when he saw them he turned and ran towards the rear exit. They followed in hot pursuit as Mazza watched in alarm. Josh made it through the back door just as they reached it and seemed to trying to stop them from getting through, but they bashed it open anyway. Mazza heard yelling and against his better judgement he headed for the door to see what was going on. He reached the door just as a loud crack rang out, hesitated for a moment and then opened the door.
There on the ground lay Josh bleeding from a chest wound and apparently quite dead. The two men who had chased him were running and reached the far end of the alley and disappeared from sight. A crowd gathered round and someone was yelling for the bartender to call the police.
Tomorrow, Part 5