Rated: PG-13 for language, or maybe just go with 'Silly. Very, very silly.'
For Dragon, who gave me the title and the encouragement.
Ozzie hesitated in the mouth of the alley not out of guilt but because he had that nagging feeling that they'd pushed luck a little too far already. Ahead of him, his 'partner' (Ozzie thought partner; Muerte thought 'boss') was stalking towards the shadows in the deliberately graceful predatory motion that told Ozzie he wasn't through yet as clearly as the sweat gleaming on Muerte's close-cropped head or the way he was holding his knives.
Ozzie tried anyway, partly from a sense of being the responsible (sane) partner and not least because they hadn't divided up the night's take yet. "Now look, I know you got a little sun on your trip..."
"You shut up!"
Muerte had actually mastered 'y' on the front of words, but when he got overexcited he seemed to think they was a 'j' there too. Mentioning the guy's 'trip' to Cuba tended to produce that reaction. (No one really believed the Coast Guard story, or the number of men it supposedly required to take him off the yacht. For that matter, no one believed he could sail. They did believe he was a fast hand with his switchblades and he carried a lot of switchblades.)
"I say we're not done," Muerte went on, his jacket's metal zipper and studs gleaming in the street light. "We only got seven wallets tonight--"
"Some good money in three of 'em," Ozzie pointed out, thumbs tucked in his belt loops. He was a skinny man who wore a belt because he wanted his pants to stay up when he had to run.
"Seven wallets," Muerte repeated with a glare -- he hated interruptions when he was making plans or bragging, "nine watches, and two necklaces."
"Pearls," Ozzie pointed out anyway, "and that's some quality gold. The emeralds might even be real."
"One more job," Muerte insisted. "People don't respect me enough. They will."
Ozzie didn't wince, but he also didn't point out that Muerte's reputation was doing fine until he couldn't manage to mug a guy with a baby in a stroller. The guy even handed up his watch and wallet, but Muerte had to push and he'd gotten their asses kicked.... Ozzie started making contingency plans for passing out, falling over, or just letting Muerte get ahead of him. Far ahead, say, like out of hearing range. Just in case it turned into that kind of night again.
Ahead of them, two guys came out of Mama Magritte's bar -- two white guys, moving slow and unsteady, laughing anyway like they'd had plenty to drink with their po'boys and their blues.
Muerte was on them like white on rice while Ozzie was still muttering, "I got a bad feeling about this."
The figure stepped out of the alley, all black leather and stainless steel. Joe Dawson wasn't drunk enough to disregard his knives completely, but he didn't want to let go of his cane to raise his hands either. He was a little drunk and New Orleans alleys in the summer were a little too damn fragrant for him to want to land on his ass. Besides, it wasn't like the guy was Kronos. Or even immortal, for that matter, if his companion's lack of reaction was any indication.
The figure in the shadows waved his knife dramatically, the motion drawing a glinting arc in the light over the alley door, and said, "Your money or your life." At least, that's what Joe thought he'd heard, once he ran it through again. Between the accent and his drinks it took a second.
Joe tilted his head, looked at Methos, and asked, "We got any money left?"
Methos shrugged. "Cab fare. I'm pretty sure we need it." He looked at the mugger curiously. "You're not from around here?"
The guy straightened up and his voice changed to something light, pleasant, and educated. "Me? No, no, from Little Havana until I was fourteen or so, then here since then, thank you. A very nice accent of your own, a good voice. You are not from here either, are you?"
He growled as he dropped back into his fighter's crouch, which made Joe blink and Methos raise an eyebrow -- Methos should've been too drunk for that, pain in the ass fucking immortals and their pain in the ass fucking quickenings, waste of good money on booze -- and went, "Now give me your money or I cut jyou." And there went the accent again. And maybe the personality. Joe began to reconsider. A lot of cabs took plastic, or he could sit while Methos ran up to the room and got more cash....
Nope. Too late. Methos wasn't using Adam Pierson's deliberately reasonable, harmless voice when he said, "My friend doesn't carry a cane just to board planes first. He's drunk, it's late, and it's going to be hard enough finding a cab--" He paused, then said mildly, "Two of you? Well, that's a little more sporting. As I was saying: we need the money for the cab, and no, you may not have my passport. I can let you have the watch, if it'll make you feel better."
The mugger's manic smile had peeled back into a snarl as Methos spoke, and he insisted, "You do not know who you are dealing with."
The tall, slim black man behind their would-be mugger winced, as if they'd just called Duncan an Englishman or Fitz a Scot. Methos disregarded it. Joe just shrugged. He'd already come to the conclusion this was all going to get out of hand, but what the hell, he was on vacation. Not his problem. Let the old man handle it, he was the designated driver, or at least hailer of cabs.
Methos shrugged and pointed out, "That's mutual. What'll it be? A watch or your lives?" It sounded too light to be a threat; maybe Methos had been drinking the doubles on that 2-for-1?
"You are in my city, and you will have to pay in valuables... or blood," the mugger hissed; he was missing a tooth or two, so it didn't take much effort. He straightened up, all black leather, black denim, and silver steel. "My name--" and he paused dramatically again, "--is Muerte. My name is Death."
The older guy was leaning on his cane. Ozzie had some scruples -- robbing cripples was just too fucking easy for a two person job. That wasn't as much of a problem as the way the tall guy was taking this so casually. It was giving Ozzie really bad flashbacks to that guy Blue and the baby stroller... it wasn't easy for a street thief to get treatment for PTSD.
Then Muerte introduced himself (which was always good for an increased cop presence for two days and fuck but that made it hard to get the good targets without getting track practice!)... and the two guys looked at each other and the older guy started laughing so hard he had to lean against the wall so he wouldn't fall over.
Even the Brit looked amused. "Really. Death."
"Si, si, Death!" Another minute or another exchange and Muerte was going to be foaming at the mouth, and then there was gonna be blood and broken-off knives everywhere, and the cops were gonna be all over it.
"No," the Brit said, straightening up and pulling out a fucking sword. Ozzie's brain came to an abrupt halt and decided that running in the other direction, right the fuck now, was a brilliant idea. His legs, however, vetoed it and the rest of his body refused to move. Including his lungs.
The guy's voice should have left fog coming up, it was so fucking cold in the New Orleans summer night. "You may be Muerte. I am Death. And you've brought a knife to a sword fight."
Muerte squeaked higher than Miss Grace could manage -- and he was the five-time reigning royalty at the drag queen convention -- and tried to back up. He did manage to fold his knife and tuck it away, which was more practice than thought, but fuck, he managed it. He also ran like hell, which broke Ozzie's paralysis.
Ozzie followed him back down the alley, catching up to him at the street. Muerte swung left and Ozzie went right for half a block before he remembered Muerte still had the night's loot....
Fuck it, he'd get his share later. Or maybe go find a good therapist. Damn it, the visitors to this town were getting crazier than the locals.
Besides. He wasn't turning back while he could still hear the guys in the alley laughing.
Notes, Comments, & Commentary:
No. I'm not ashamed of myself for writing something this silly.
Yes. Muerte really does scream like a little bitch. Watch the movie. It's hilarious. (And that line could practically be a drinking game at my house when we watch it.)
No, sorry, I'm not writing Methos meets Crocodile Dundee. I had enough trouble getting Joe to stop laughing after this one.