Chapter 1: Quiet Storm
“You’ve only been with Millenion about a week, so let me give you an education,” Balladbird kept his composure. “You don’t tell me what to do, nor suggest what I should do. You don’t look at me when I look at you, and you don’t speak to me when I speak to you.”
Quiet Storm was written for the first fanzine I did in 2005, a collection of illustrated shorts to trade with other Nightow doujinshika from Japan. Most of Gungrave's fandom there were novel and short story writers, making it an even trade.
Balladbird Lee walked out Magritt Oil’s south exit.
“Hello, James,” he smiled at the young valet.
“Hey, Mister Lee,” the boy grabbed his keys and took off for the parking garage.
A few moments later he returned, terrified.
Balladbird was no longer smiling, “Where’s my truck?”
“That man,” he glanced over his shoulder at the sports car idling noisily as it pulled up beside them. “He took the keys from me,”
It was Kugashira Bunji driving Brandon Heat’s new red Porsche.
“Yo, Balladbird,” the smug idiot hollered, “I’m going to need you to get in,”
Balladbird leaned into the open window, “I don’t associate with Sweepers.”
“You can make an exception for me,” he said, revving the engine.
“You’ve only been with Millenion about a week, so let me give you an education,” Balladbird kept his composure as the setting sun reflected brightly on Kugashira’s sunglasses. “You don’t tell me what to do, nor suggest what I should do. You don’t look at me when I look at you, and you don’t speak to me when I speak to you.”
“Well, smell me,” he snorted.
Balladbird held out his hand, “My keys, please,”
“I don’t think so,” he said. “You need to get in,”
“Heat send you?” Balladbird asked.
“This ain’t a Graves ‘sitch,” he said. “I’m off the clock,”
Balladbird straightened up and felt his senbon slide down from their holsters; their anchor balls resting snug between his knuckles.
“Don’t even think of whipping those pins out on me, I don’t like needles,” Bunji moved his glasses down the bridge of his nose. “My little bro’ never liked ‘em either, you know my bro’ right? Juji Kabane?”
Lee's canvassed the area for onlookers. Contentious liaisons and long-term regret clouded his memories of Lightning. After five years of sleeping his way to the middle, Balladbird was finally ordered by his brother, Cannon, to jump ship for Millenion.
“That’s right, elegant, Juji’s my little brother,” Bunji’s tone hardened. “Now get your boney ass in the fucking car,”
“I can’t fit in these cars, you idiot,” Balladbird hissed.
“You’ll fit in this one,” he grinned and yanked the passenger seat lever, sliding it back. “It’s made special, just for big fucks like you and aniki,”
Heat should’ve killed this scrub after Bob discovered he’d been hired to take Harry out. Instead he brought the shithead to Harry’s office, and then that blue-eyed dick made him Heat’s partner!
Balladbird got in the car and refused to look at him as they rolled out of the parking garage.
“Man, oh man,” Bunji’s hand moved from the gear shift to Lee’s knee, “You are one fine looking piece of-”
“—Don’t touch me,” Balladbird kept his eyes on the boulevard.
“You better change your attitude, elegant,” he said. “You’re just like Juji, no wonder you two used to team up,”
“What do you want, Kugashira?” Balladbird demanded.
“Question is,” he stopped at a red light. “What do you want?”
Balladbird ceased responding as Bunji drove them through mid-town.
“I like this place,” he said, pulling into line at a car wash. “You know why?”
“I don’t care, Kugashira,”
He grinned, “I bring hustlers here,”
“The boys working the avenue?”
“Yep, those boys working it,” he said.
“Ugh, they must love you,”
He growled, “You’re gonna love me,”
“I don’t think so,”
“I like the extra-long wash,” he said, pulling up to the kiosk and entering in a code. “Gives me plenty of time to discuss price options and shit like that,”
“You haggle with whores,” Balladbird said. “You, scuzzy little fuck,”
“Drop that attitude, bitch,” he removed his sunglasses. “Unless you want the boss man to know about your history with Lightning?”
“What makes you think he doesn’t know already?” Balladbird asked.
“He’s got Bob searching high and low,” his eyes roamed Lee’s body. “Only Bob ain’t looking high enough,”
Balladbird quieted as Bunji drove them into the automatic wash. Suds and water spat on the windshield as thoughts of killing Kugashira flashed behind his eyes. One prick to the throat would do it, but he’d have to explain why.
Staring over at him was a mistake; those eyes laughed at Lee. Oh yes, he was Juji’s brother, there was no denying the confidence oozing from that shit-eating smile.
“You know, Juji’s still in Lightning. I ain’t talked to him in years,” Bunji’s hand clutched Lee’s headrest and his thumb grazed Lee’s hairline. “You ask me, that’s one thing we got in common, Balladbird, we don’t like to play with past associations.”
“Associations,” Balladbird said. “That’s a multi-syllabic word, Kugashira, try not to give yourself a headache.”
“That’s funny,” he poked Lee’s head. “Dumbass Madness, right?”
“If the cranium fits,” Balladbird said.
“I got something to fit your cranium,” he seized Balladbird by the hair, freeing a few strands from the tie. In his painful grasp, Lee’s hand fell to Kugashira’s zipper. “I said, lose the fucking attitude, bitch,”
“Please release me,” Balladbird asked calmly.
Kugashira’s grip relaxed, but he didn’t let go. Soft lips grazed Lee’s angular cheek, “The way I see it, I can go to Heat and tell him all about your Lighting days, or you can be my friend for a while,”
“How long is a while?” Balladbird asked, teeth clenched.
“Until I get fucking sick of you, bitch,” Kugashira licked his jaw bone and then kissed him on the chin, releasing him. “You ask me, you’re hot for it,”
Balladbird took in his self-satisfied stare; those cold eyes incensed but also aroused. Wash-water hammered the windows, creating this quiet storm that trapped Balladbird in Kugashira’s world.
Kugashira kicked back and laced his fingers behind his head, “Take it out, squints, and finish me off before the dry cycle starts,”
“I’ve got something to say,” Balladbird whispered.
“Say it with your mouth full,” he snapped.
Resigned, Balladbird pulled the rest of his hair up and refastened the band. Gathering spit into his mouth, he pondered the many ways he would kill Kugashira. Horrid, painful, and humiliating ways; these thoughts kept Balladbird going well into the dry cycle.
Chapter 2: Smear
Bunji peered through the netting. Lee was nothing more than an elaborately dressed doll with ink-black hair and a full-body tan. Arms askew and legs spread wide, the Balkon seemed dead until his snoring started.
This was written in 2005 by Gynocrat (me). It takes place after Harry comes into his own at Millenion and after killing Heat. Kind of an ugly situation this one because the team seems to be splitting mentally at the seams-but the show never went into that too much.
Big-ass Bob Poundmax got married, and the five-tier cake was an ode to diabetes.
Harry’s old lady, Shere, designed the thing for her best friend’s reception, and was busy showing it off when Bunji got there. It wasn’t her wedding, but this bitch loved being the center of attention.
Bunji thrust his hands into his pockets and found a quiet corner to deal with the tuxedo that Walken made him wear. When the bride and groom appeared, Bunji removed the unlit cigarette from his mouth and bowed to the bride, just like Harry showed him.
Shere tapped her glass, “One last picture before we cut the cake!”
Bunji dodged the bitches rushing the room and fell in behind Walken.
“Kugashira,” he said under his breath. “Your bowtie is upside down.”
Bunji peered over the rim of his sunglasses and spotted the uneven variation in size from the top. Lucky for him it was a clip-on; an unsnap and turn-over fixed the problem.
“Where’s the best man?” Shere griped. “Harry please go get Lee and tell him we need him for one last picture.”
“Why don’t leave him alone Shere,” Harry said.
“Harry,” Shere said. “Go get him please,”
Walken knew his daughter wasn’t going to let it go.
“Go get Lee,” he said, tapping Bunji’s shoulder. “He’s in the bar,”
Bunji realized that with Heat gone, the pecking order ended with him. He eventually found the tall bastard in the bar, and he stood out for being the only one in there with a single braid down the length of his back.
The bartender shot Bunji an anxious glance. In front of Lee on the bar were four empty bottles of beer, three empty martini glasses, and five spent shot glasses. Bunji tapped the smooth satin on Lee’s shoulder, forcing the lanky bastard to turn around.
“Don’t you touch me,” Lee glared down with that sharp angular face. “Flea-bitten little plebe,”
A couple of Bunji’s Kugashira-gumi stopped socializing to watch Bunji react.
“Kugashira, you little scumbag,” Lee’s body wavered. “You make me want to vomit,”
Lee nearly fell until Walked stepped up and caught his arm. Lee yanked his arm free, but when his body bent at the knees, Walken caught him again. Lee pushed the old man away, growling.
Walked stepped into him and whispered, “You’re going walk with Kugashira out to the reception room for one final picture with the wedding party,”
“You don’t scare me, Walken,” Lee slurred. “All you need is a feather cap and crush velvet suit, and you’ll resemble the pimp you are!”
Now it was Bunji’s turn to watch for a reaction, but the silver-haired old man did nothing.
“We’re all just deluding ourselves,” Lee’s speech ran together. “Going through life with blinders on because it’s easy,”
Lee’s legs then folded, and his body fell into Walken on its way to the floor.
“Kugashira,” the old man growled. “Take this home,”
Bunji motioned to one of his men.
“No, Kugashira!” Walken snapped. “You take him home!”
Bunji cuffed the back of his neck, frustrated.
Speeding over the South Avenue Bridge, Bunji took the exit to Balkon-town.
Lee stirred, “Where am I?”
“You’re in hell with me,” Bunji tossed his spent smoke.
“It’s where I belong,” he whispered.
“Is that right?” said Bunji.
“I had plans,” he whined.
“Plans with the big guy?” Bunji asked.
“Hell no,” his head swung lazily on the headrest. “MacDowell’s no man to make a future with,”
Bunji now protected Harry after the big guy took control of Millenion. Walken joined the board to help him, disbanding his Overkill's after Heat betrayed Harry and the Graves. Bunji swept for old Walken, while Balladbird Lee remained Harry’s clandestine administrator, rarely seen until Harry wanted you dead.
“Everything I did,” Lee slurred.
Bunji asked, “What’d you do?”
“I told him Heat would never betray us,” his head dropped and hit the window with a thud. “I told him,”
Bunji kept his eyes on the road; what shit was Lee talking about Brandon Heat? He slowed out front of Lee’s building and fought the urge to just open the door and let the lanky bastard fall out onto the street.
A young valet appeared with his hand out for the keys.
“You fuck my ride up, I fuck you up,” Bunji warned.
The young man nodded as Bunji walked to the passenger side. Yanking Lee out by his hair, Bunji hoisted the long bastard over his shoulder and labored to carry him to the elevator.
At Lee’s penthouse floor, Bunji slid the key card Walken gave him into the slot. When the lock popped, Bunji kicked open the door and dropped Lee onto the foyer tiles. Closing the door behind him, he stepped over Lee’s sleeping body and ventured into the kitchen.
Balladbird lived a good life. A large plasma screen television hung in the living room, and there was imported beer in the fridge; elegant bitch even owned a fantastic view of the bridge to the valley.
Beer in hand, Bunji entered the bedroom. The décor was typical Balkon bullshit; rice paper lampshades, sandy pastels, and thick bamboo in big corner pots. In the center of the room was a large round bed with white netting draped around it. The thick satin comforter was purple, just what Bunji expected from a guy who got his body waxed once a week.
In the far corner was a squared wood-plank floor with a washing stool and a bucket, and beside it sat a square soaking tub; he forgot how close Lee’s culture was to his own.
Back in the living room, Bunji flopped onto the large sectional and with remote in hand, channel-surfed until he found a show he liked. Two beers later and he remembered Lee still in a heap by the front door.
“I guess you’re out of commission, elegant,” he belched and took a long stretch before mustering the energy to collect Lee. He dragged the unconscious man by his braid to the bedroom and with hands under Lee’s armpits, chucked him sloppily onto the bed. When he began pulling Lee’s shoe off, he cried, “What the fuck am I doing this shit for?”
Lee mumbled, “Sorry Heat,”
Bunji peered through the netting and hearing nothing more, his mind turned foul. Lee was nothing more than an elaborately dressed doll with ink-black hair and a full-body tan. Arms askew and legs spread wide, the Balkon seemed dead until his snoring started.
“You’re wrong, Heat jus’ cares—the old man,” Lee’s voice drifted. “Doesn’t mean he’s agains—you,”
Bunji pushed the mesh aside and join Lee on the bed, “He betrayed us,”
“Um—no,” Lee shook his head.
Bunji waited, but Lee said nothing more. Shaking his head, Bunji removed Lee’s suit coat, careful to avoid getting poked by the senbons tucked inside the sleeves. Tossing it aside, he unbuttoned Lee’s shirt and was caught by the dark little nubs on the man’s broad muscular chest. Excited, Bunji tore off his own tuxedo jacket and yanking his shirt over his shoulders, exposed his body-wide tattoo's to no one.
He pulled Lee up by his arms and pressed his chest to Lee's. The pony-tailed man's weary head dipped down, treating Bunji to the aroma of his shampoo. Released, he fell back and Bunji moved over him like a crab. He brought his face close enough to feel Lee's breath on his lips.
“BALLADBIRD!!” he screamed.
Lee didn’t flinch, but Bunji’s cock did. He thought again of that expensive Balkon sex doll from the porn store. The thin lips around its gaping mouth were just like Lee’s, along with those line-thin eyes. A layer of sweat blanketed Bunji’s skin; his lifeless doll was right here.
Bunji ran the back of his hand over Lee’s ribcage and rested his palm flat against Lee’s chest. Fingers pinched a dark nipple, making it harden. He rolled its erect tip slowly, and when he pulled it upward, Lee’s hip jerked.
“You’re like a bitch cat in heat,” Bunji got comfortable on his doll. Hands toyed with Lee’s tits, enjoying those hips as they pumped beneath him. He grasped Lee’s chin and squeezed his fingers into Lee’s cheeks, puckering his lips. Bunji kissed Lee hard, lashing at Lee’s teeth with his tongue and invading his gums.
If Lee woke, Bunji was dead.
“You got me so hard, elegant,” he moved his crotch to Lee’s lips. “That’s right you fucking whore, beg me for my meat, beg for it!”
Bunji pulled wildly at the snap on his pants. Packed with blood, his erection bounced out and struck Lee in the face with enough force to startle even Bunji. A devious smile spread across his lips. He rubbed his cock against Lee’s sleeping face, streaking his flawless cheeks with pre-cum.
“You fuck face whore,” he slapped himself against Lee’s eyelids. “Show me some respect you fuck!” and with a flick of his wrist he forced it past Lee’s lips. Bunji settled into a spot where Lee’s wisdom teeth should’ve been and relished the soft slick flesh against his slit.
“Ah-that’s right,” he gasped, pushing into the groove of Lee’s cheek. “Kiss it bitch-suck that shit up-yeah, yeah you’re Bunji’s cock slut,” he pushed down on Lee’s forehead and then stood up on his toes. One thrust was enough to impale Lee’s mouth, and he did it, over and over. “Take it, bitch, take it!” he pulled out and rested back on his heels. “Real elegant , huh? Beg me to fuck your face!” Straddling his neck, Bunji grabbed Lee’s ears and pushed his arousal fully past Lee’s lips and into his gullet.
Lee’s throat convulsed and a warm thick fluid rushed over Bunji’s cock.
“That's real elegant, bitch,” Bunji pulled out as acidy vomit rolled down Lee’s chin. He slapped Lee hard across the face, “You got puke on my cock!” Unable to stop, Bunji began masturbating, his slit pressed hard against Lee’s cheek. “I got something to clean that shit up!” Bunji was about to blow, “Pretty bitch, not so high up now are ya?” he cried out as pleasure strangled his muscles. Cock-head against Lee’s cheek, he rubbed the sensitive skin under it until he shot a perfect white line between Lee’s flaccid lips.
“Lick it up,” Bunji smeared the rest of his spurt around, anointing Lee's eyes, nose, and cheeks. “Lick my nut up you fucking whore!”
Spent, Bunji fell back, panting. Outside the netting, he shoved his shriveled cock into his pants and zipped up. He took a moment to admire his work; Lee was splayed lewdly across the bed, shirt open, pants undone, one shoe missing, and his face smeared with Bunji’s rage.
Bunji arrived to Monday’s meeting late.
Throughout the tedious sit-down, he stole glances at Lee from behind his sunglasses. He watched the way Lee spoke and where he looked when talked. Typical Lee paid Bunji no mind. Elegant fucker just sifted through paperwork and gave Harry details on how Jack Bisco was shooting off his mouth about shit.
“He’s just venting,” Walken said from his position beside Harry.
“None-the-less,” Lee said. “When Bob returns we should have Bisco watched.”
“I agree,” Harry said.
You always agree with Lee, thought Bunji.
“What was that Bunji?” Walked asked.
“I said,” Bunji spoke up. “If he’s a problem then just kill him.”
Walken chuckled, “We’re not animals,”
“Don’t worry, Bunji,” Harry grinned. “If Bisco makes the move I think he will, you’ll get your chance.”
“I hope you’re wrong,” Walked added.
“Me, too,” Harry turned to Lee, “You and Bob keep an eye on his boys.”
“Bob can manage without me,” Lee said, closing his folder.
“All right,” Harry’s eyes lingered, unaccustomed to being dismissed.
In past meetings, Lee listened carefully when Harry spoke, but today Lee was only eighty-percent in the room. Bunji wondered if he might be the reason, but Lee hadn’t given him a second glance—the prissy fuck knew someone smeared his face, but he probably didn’t know it was Bunji. The meeting released without incident, and while Harry and Walken remained behind whispering, Lee followed Bunji out.
At the elevator, Bunji pressed the down arrow but kept his eyes trained on Lee.
“Hiya B,” the chunky red-head, Abigail, smiled. “Are we going to Tots for lunch?”
“I’ll drive,” Lee said, then heaved a sigh. “Oh shit, I forgot something,”
Lee strode casually to the elevator, and when Bunji turned to confront him, Lee landed a quick jab to Bunji’s gut. Brought to his knees, Bunji was paralyzed and unable to inhale. He tasted blood in his mouth, sure that Lee’s fist punched through his abs and out his back.
The heady scent of sandalwood found his nose.
“Don’t think that stunt you pulled on my face escaped my attention,” Lee’s breath tickled Bunji’s ear. “I had it coming after what I said to you at the wedding, but you didn't stick and let me properly thank you for it.”
“You’re welcome,” Bunji wheezed, still holding his guts.
“You pull that shit on me again, Kugashira,” the corners of Lee’s mouth curved, creating dimples in his cheeks. “And I’ll stick a pin through your dick and add you to my butterfly collection. Understand?”
“Yes,” Bunji gasped.
Lee sauntered back to Abigail.
“Is Mister Kugashira okay?” she asked.
“Kugashira’s got a cramp,” Lee said. “He’ll be fine once he goes to the toilet.”
Chapter 3: Rideshare
To short to summarize | “I fucking hate this part of town,” Bunji groused.
Not a sexual fic. This was from a series of tiny stories featuring 'Closet-Case Bunji' which was an entertaining trope with fanfic here in the states, and in Japan. Written in 2004 by Gynocrat
“I fucking hate this part of town,” Bunji groused.
Beyond the car windows, dozens of people sprinted through the rain.
“Balkon-town ain’t so bad,” Spencer said. “Just don’t lose your dog or cat around here,”
“Yo, fuckbrains,” Bunji snapped. “I’m from the southern islands,”
Ptomaine, a new member of the Graves, glaredat Spencer, “Stifle that shit will ya?”
Bunji flipped open his chiming phone, “Yo,”
“It’s raining out here,” the voice of Balladbird Lee carried.
“I know it just started,” said Bunji. “You still in the store?”
“No, I’m up front, come get me,” Lee ordered.
“We’re right under the three sign,” said Bunji. “Just walk,”
“Did I stutter, Kugashira?” Lee said. “I said, come get me.”
Bunji snapped the phone shut and pressed the accelerator.
“Did I stutter?” he mocked, making the two men in the back smile. Bunji cruised past all four doors of the shopping center looking for Lee. Unable to find him, he turned the car around and repeated his search. “Yeah, I got something to make you stutter,” he groused, whipping the car around again, and passing through slower this time. “Tall fag bitch,”
The phone chimed.
“You drove by me, twice!” Lee’s voice yelled.
Bunji exclaimed, “Where the fuck you at?”
“I’m right under the second canopy,” Lee said. “Just look, and you’ll see me.”
“Yo, this is Balkon-town Lee,” Bunji said. “Every third guy looks just like you!”
“Look at the second door Bunji,” Lee ordered. “See the hand?”
Bunji’s lip curled, “You ain’t gotta make no obscene figure gestures,”
“Oh, but I must,” Lee said. “In case that third guy with the same face as mine whips out his hand, and you pick him up by mistake!”
Bunji dropped his phone into his jacket pocket. “Yeah, how about I whip my cock out, on your forehead,” he grumbled. “I bet you’d stand out in a crowd then, wouldn’t ya?” The men in the back laughed. “I’d recognize you no problem bitch, pick you right out of a line-up ‘cause you’d be the only one with Kugashira-cocktail sauce all over your face,”
Lee was stone-faced as Bunji idled the car up to the curb. Sliding into the passenger seat, Lee snapped closed his phone.
Bunji stepped on the gas but slammed on his brake when a gaggle of pedestrians invaded the crosswalk. “I’m surrounded by morons!” he snarled. “Morons are people who walk in front of moving cars,” he shouted through the window.
“No, morons are people who leave their phones open,” Lee said, deadpan. “Then say derogatory things so the person they’re speaking to can hear them,”
Spencer and Ptomaine watched as Bunji reached into his pocket and snapped his phone shut.
“Let’s get moving,” Lee said, unfettered. “I’m late for a meeting.”
Chapter 4: The Randy Problem
Another meeting with Lee’s mouth was all it took to get Bunji's head back in the game.
Remember Randy? Ever wonder who ordered that hit? This was one of Bunji's smarter moments--so rare in a thug. Story originally published in the Collected fanzine and written in 2005 by Gynocrat
THE RANDY PROBLEM
Another meeting with Lee’s mouth was all it took to get Bunji's head back in the game.
The surroundings could’ve been better. An abandoned tenement, it was ripe with the scent of decade’s old mildew, and there was only one working toilet in the entire building.
“Must you smoke?” he asked.
“Yeah, I must,” Bunji said.
Bunji sat on the end of a bare mattress and lit another cigarette while Lee’s long legs teetered lazily on the edge of the cushion.
“I just bought this suit, now it’s going to reek of smoke,” Lee brought his wrist to his face and squinted at his watch. “My hands smell like you,”
Bunji shook his head, “That’s fucking weird,”
“What is?” he asked. “The smell of your cock on my fingers?”
“No, you sitting there smiling about it,” Bunji took a long drag on his cigarette. “What am I doing here, Lee?”
“Short term memory loss, Kugashira?” he asked.
“I know what we just did here,” Bunji said. “I want to know why I’m suddenly so lucky?”
Lee stared at the empty light socket above them.
“What do you think of this place?”
“It’s a shithole,” Bunji blurted.
“It’s going to be my new office,”
Bunji laughed, “You bought this place?”
“Corsione bought this place,”
“Corsione?” Bunji said. “That douche working for Walken?”
“He signed the lease last week.”
“You brought me to Donny Corsione’s new home base for a suck session?” Bunji reached over and gently moved a loose strand of hair from Lee’s cheek. “Yo, you got a death wish or what?”
“I work for Don now,” Lee sat up on his elbows. “I’m entitled to a little fun at his expense,”
“I thought you worked for the Big Guy,” Bunji said. “Like aniki and me,”
“Brandon Heat doesn’t work for Harry any more than I do,” he grinned. “The Graves don’t belong to Harry, they belong to Brandon, and he works for Big Daddy.”
Lee pulled his long hair out from under him and laid back down.
“It’s all tedious rank and file,” he added. “Nothing, a foot soldier like you should concern yourself with,”
“You ask me, I like being just a foot soldier,” Bunji took another drag on his cigarette. “The Big Guy says he’s an Associate, so what’s aniki?”
“Brandon’s a Lead,” he replied. “Leads work for Associates, the men at the table.”
“A Lead,” Bunji’s said. “That’s what you are, right?”
“That’s right, Kugashira,” Lee looked into Bunji’s eyes. “Me and your bro are the same rank. Being a Lead for Big Daddy though, carries more clout than being a Lead for Don Corsione. Brandon’s got his True Graves, and I’ve got massive amounts of cash in briefcases for Corsione.”
“The Big Guy’s at the table though, right?” Bunji said. “Who’s his Lead?”
“All knowing, all seeing, Bob. He gives Harry one hell of an advantage over the other Associates,” Lee bragged. “Once you’re an Associate, you want to get a seat by the big window, where Associates like Big Daddy sit,”
“You make me laugh,” Bunji said. “You’re sitting there right now thinking about how high up you can go, aren’t ya?”
“You’ve no ambition Kugashira,” Lee rolled to his side and rested his head on his hand. “You won’t be a Grave forever, will you?”
Bunji felt angry, “What are you saying?”
“Someone important is going down,” Lee brushed the back of his fingers against the curve in Bunji’s bicep, tracing the tattoo that covered his arm like a sleeve. “Once that certain someone is gone, Harry moves closer to the window, and then Harry’s chair goes empty-”
“—for Heat,” Bunji snapped.
“Don’t be stupid,” Lee said, quickly. “Brandon’s head of the Graves, that’s not a position one moves from laterally,”
“Walken was just head of the Overkills,” Bunji got in close enough to kiss him. “Now he parks his ass right next to Big Daddy,”
Lee bared his teeth in a bright smile, “This from a man who don’t give a shit about what goes on in the rank and file,”
“I don’t want no part of the suits club,” Bunji rested his head on Lee’s boney hip. “But I know the rules,”
“Brandon doesn’t need a chair,” Lee laughed. “He stands close enough to the window,”
“You ask me, you two stand shoulder to shoulder,” Bunji sat up and smashed his burning ember against the floor.
“I’m never going to get a chair at the table Kugashira,” Lee said. “You know why?”
“It’s not because you’re Balkon,” Bunji said. “Big Daddy’s from the islands, just like me,”
“I’m a faggot, Kugashira,” Lee said.
“No shit, I think you proved that this afternoon,” Bunji said. “Who cares. I’m queer, Big Guy and aniki don’t give a shit.”
“You put me in such a delightful mood,” Lee sat up and pressed his cheek against Bunji’s arm. “No one cares because you aren’t in a suit,”
“I see what you mean,” Bunji’s hand found Lee’s neck, and his thumb rubbed the underside of his jaw.
“I must get Harry McDowell by that window,” Lee closed his eyes, savoring Bunji’s touch. “He’s my only chance for a chair at the table,” he fell away from Bunji’s grasp and reclined on the mattress.
“You got great tits, you know that?” Bunji said, pushing both his hands into Lee’s low cut shirt and pulling it open.
“This could be our office Kugashira,” Lee said. “You’ll have your own crew of Graves someday,”
“You’re the best cock sucker I ever met,” Bunji recoiled. “But I ain’t turning on aniki,”
“Do you really think me so simplistic?” Lee scratched his fingers into Bunji’s hair.
“Nah, you’re complicated. Too complicated to just invite a soldier like me here for a quick suck in the afternoon,” Bunji lit another cigarette. “You want something, and you think I can get it for you,”
Lee said, “Randy’s been spying on Harry,”
“No shit?” Bunji inhaled deep. “And what’s Randy seen?”
“Harry’s been skimming funds, financing some side project of his,” Lee spoke carefully, assessing Bunji’s reaction. “Randy’s one of those old timers who think all earnings must go to the family, fuck any personal endeavors that might come before the business,”
“Big Guy needs to hide his money better,” Bunji butted out the freshly lit stick on the floor and then flicked it across the room.
“You still don’t get it, do you?” Lee asked.
“Why don’t you just stop fucking around and tell me,” Bunji snapped. “You bring me here after ignoring me for two years, and then you talk crap about aniki not being around and me getting my own crew,”
“Harry’s going to take Millenion one day,” Lee said coldly. “Whether or not Big Daddy wants that, is irrelevant,”
The real Balladbird Lee was speaking now, the frightening man Harry MacDowell called when he needed someone out of the way.
“I’ve no issue with Brandon Heat,” said Lee. “I could care less about Heat, but he’s going to support Big Daddy, and when the time comes for Harry to go up against Big Daddy, it’s going to get messy.”
“Listen, aniki don’t talk about this shit with me ok,” Bunji softened. “If you’re fishing for info on where he stands with the Big Guy, you’ll have to ask him,”
“I know where Brandon stands, and like I said, he’s not my problem,” Lee wrapped his arms around Bunji. “My problem, right now, is Randy.”
“Randy ain’t Corsione’s problem,” Bunji said. “He’s Harry’s problem,”
Lee said, “Harry’s problems are my problems-”
“—our problems. We’re a team, remember?” Bunji pushed Lee back down on the bed. “Harry says it’s time for Randy to go, only he can’t say this to aniki because Randy does what’s best for the family, just like aniki,”
“Perceptive as ever,” Lee grinned. “And you scoff at my desire to share power with you,”
“No offense, but balling you and working with you, are two different things,” Bunji said. “I prefer the former, as a whore you’re less dangerous.”
“My, aren’t we well-spoken all of a sudden,”
“Yeah I ain’t as simplistic as I let on,” Bunji bragged.
“I never for a moment suspected otherwise,”
“Take your pants off,” Bunji brought his lips to Lee’s. “I want to fuck your ass,”
“Not today Kugashira, I’m not that easy,”
“Oh yeah, well you better get that easy because you need a trigger man,” Bunji’s breath tickled Lee’s tongue. “You can’t take Randy out yourself because you’re the one who needs to bring Harry to Corsione with some story about Randy. So, what’s the story?”
“Randy’s stealing,” said Lee.
“I suppose Bob’s cooked up some meaty evidence,” Bunji said.
“Bob’s quite the chef,” Lee said between kisses.
“Big Guy comes to you because you’re his friend,” Bunji said. “You two tell Don all about how Randy’s been screwing the family,”
“Your grasp of the situation is turning me on,”
“You got a problem already,” Bunji rose up and sat on Lee's thighs. “When Corsione makes the call to take Randy down, aniki won’t be there because he’s with Big Daddy and that young wife of his,”
“I know this,”
“Then you also know I can’t work on my own,” Bunji said. “I got strict orders to never work alone,”
Lee rose up on his elbows, “I’m the same rank as Brandon Heat-”
“—Yeah, but you don’t give orders to Graves,” Bunji said.
“Let me finish,” Lee jerked his hips to force Bunji’s attention back to his face. “Don’s lazy. He’ll order me to take proof of Randy’s betrayal to Bear Walken across town. Harry gets worried for me and calls on the Graves top lieutenant to make sure-”
“—Your bony ass is delivered in one piece,” Bunji said. “That’s smart,”
“Only I’m going to be safe and sound at Bob’s,” Lee said. “While you seek out and eliminate Randy,”
“We both say he found us, and I had to kill everybody,” Bunji laid his head upon Lee’s chest. “That’s a good plan, Balladbird,”
“Thank you,” crooned Lee, fingers twining into Bunji’s hair.
“There’s still one problem with it,” Bunji said thoughtfully.
“Is there?” Lee asked.
“Yeah there is,” Bunji looked him in the eye. “Your pants ain’t off yet,”
Chapter 5: Dinner & a Movie
This was one of a few 'on the road in a motel' fics I wrote featuring the gang in their early days as Harry was rising up. It features the classic 'Closet-Case Bunji' and his typical taunting of Lee. Written in 2005 by Gynocrat and published in the Collected fanzine.
DINNER & A MOVIE
Bunji stepped out of the bathroom and found Brandon gone.
Lee ignored him while he unwrapped his chopped steak sandwich. Prying open its split top let loose a cloud of steam. He tore a ketchup packet with his teeth and then squeezed its red contents over the hash of beef, cheese, and mushrooms.
“Brandon is with Harry at the mixer tonight,”
Bunji frowned, “That’s your job ain’t it?”
Lee bit into his sandwich. After chewing more times than Bunji could count, he swallowed and then sipped his drink. Glancing up he found Bunji staring at him with those sunglasses fixed firmly in place.
“It’s a cheesesteak,”
“I know what the fuck it is, where’s mine?” Bunji rifled back. “You buy Bob chicken by the bucket, but you can’t even pick me up a fucking-”
Lee tossed a wrapped log onto the table.
Bunji grunted happily before sliding into the seat across from him.
“This looks good,” Bunji set upon it like a hungry animal. “Where’d you get it?”
“At the sandwich place,” Lee dabbed his lips with a napkin, “Next to the pet store,”
“That’s funny,” Bunji spoke with his mouth full. “Get a rise out of Kugashira by saying there’s a cat in his cheesesteak,”
“We are in Balkon-town,” Lee twisted the cap from his bottle of root-beer. “You know we’re not sentimental about dogs and cats,”
“You’re so full of fucking crap,” Bunji shook his head. “Your problem is that you like to hear yourself talk. My problem is that I’m stuck having to listen to your bullshit,”
Lee took a swig of the root-beer.
“I got it next door at the pizza place,” he formed the greasy wrapping paper into a ball and shoved it into a paper sack.
Bunji finished in silence as Lee pointedly fell onto Brandon’s bed, belched, and then grabbed the remote from the nightstand. Bunji opened the door and tossed out the garbage.
“We have a garbage can,” said Lee.
“I don’t want my room stinking of food all night,” Bunji returned to the bathroom.
He stripped to his underwear and removed his sunglasses. He then brushed his teeth, rinsed off his face and took a leak. This was his nightly ritual, just like fixing his ass to a spot on the floor in front of the television to clean his guns. Most nights, Brandon did the same but in another part of the room. Bunji found this trojan arrangement, peaceful. Tonight, however, he was highly distracted. Fear of Lee's homosexual gaze had forced Bunji to don the robe that Brandon brought for himself. It was impossible to clean his guns and keep a damn robe cinched up tight.
“Will you pick something please,” Bunji groused, tired of hearing flicking channels.
“Just concentrate on your babies,” Lee said, deadpan.
“I don’t consider my guns my babies, that’s weird,” Bunji said. “They’re just guns, you know.”
Lee sighed, “This place doesn’t have the pay per view I like,”
“They got some cool channels,” Bunji rubbed a tiny square of cloth over his gun’s cylinder and muzzle.
Working the rag over the rest of the porting, he heard the familiar noise of lovemaking. Eyes lifted to the television screen and found a thickly muscled man slamming himself mercilessly into a chubby blond.
“I wonder if those are real?” Lee asked of her enormous breasts as they rocked up and down.
“Nah,” Bunji went back to his gun. “You can see the outline of the implant on the side,” grinning, he thought about of Lee prominent pecs.
“I bench at least three days a week,” Lee said.
Bunji smirked, “What makes you think I care, queer?”
“My tits are real, dick-hole,” Lee said, deadpan.
Bunji laughed, his eyes on the man’s penis sliding in and out of the woman’s hairy vulva.
“Want to hear a joke Harry told me about Maggie?” Lee asked.
Bunji touched his chin to his shoulder to listen.
“What is the best blonde secretary in the world to have?” Lee said. “One that never misses a period,”
“Hey,” Bunji laughed. “Why don’t a blonde’s guts fall out her twat when she stands up? Because the vacuum in her head keeps them in place.”
“I got one that’s perfect for you, Kugashira,” Lee chuckled. “Why do blondes wear tampons?”
“Yeah, fuck off,” Bunji laughed.
“Because crabs like Bungie Jumping too,” Lee’s laughter drowned out the orgasmic cries of the woman on the screen.
Finished with his guns, Bunji slid them back into their holsters and sat on his bed. He hated sleeping in anything so he took off the robe but kept his back to Lee.
“Stop looking at my body,”
“I was looking at your tats,”
“They’re on my body,”
Full body ink, huh? You like needles, Kugashira?”
“Fuck off,” Bunji slid between his sheets and kept his back to Lee.
Lee asked, “Are you hard, Kugashira?”
“A little bit,” Bunji confessed.
“I’m not,” Lee sighed.
Bunji shrugged, “That’s because you’re a fag,”
“Yeah,” said Lee, “But you’d think this sexual activity would at least arouse the human in me,”
“Yo, you ever watch yourself fuck?” Bunji asked.
“No,” Lee replied, and said nothing more.
“You know,” Bunji complained. “When I ask you a question, and you just answer it without adding anything to the conversation, that’s really fucking weird,”
“Excuse me?” asked Lee.
“Aniki says be more sociable with Bob and Lee,” Bunji sat up and stared at the next pornographic scene unfolding. “I could sit here and shoot the shit with Bob for hours. Talking to you is like talking to myself,”
When Lee said nothing, Bunji scowled.
“You’re not answering me on purpose,”
Lee’s eyes remained locked on the screen.
“You are such an asshole,” Bunji sighed.
Lee flashed his signature grin.
“You know what, fuck you faggot,” Bunji snapped. “I hate being on any job with you. It’s like being around somebody stuck in dickhead mode.”
Lee sniggered now as Bunji reached between the beds and flicked off the light.
“Yeah, it’s hilarious,” Bunji cracked as Lee turned off the television and tossed the remote to the floor.
“That’s aniki’s bed,” Bunji said, his back again to Lee.
“I’m not sleeping in Heat’s bed,” Lee said.
Bunji watched his reflection int he window. Lee pulled loose the tieback around his hair, tensed it in his fingers and then set it on the nightstand. He disappeared into the bathroom for several moments and when he came back out, Bunji felt him sit on the bed.
“Touch me fag, and I’ll shoot you,” Bunji said.
Lee pulled his shirt over his broad shoulders, “Not sharing with Harry again,”
“You did last night,” Bunji snapped. “What’s the problem?”
“He talks in his sleep,” said Lee.
“So,” Bunji said. “Fall asleep before him and aniki come back,”
Lee kicked off his slacks, “Quit being a pain in the ass Kugashira,”
“I mean it, if your dick touches me, I’ll fucking kill you,” Bunji warned.
Lee joined him between the sheets, “Are you naked, Kugashira?”
“Yeah,” Bunji let a moment pass. “You hard, Balladbird?”
“A little bit,” Lee said.
Chapter 6: Flirting and Airplane
The secretaries in Magritt Oil’s posh lunchroom weren’t used to seeing the likes of Kugashira Bunji. He strolled past them with his hands in pockets, arms pressed in tight so that his guns didn’t show.
Adding two tiny fluff fics, one never got printed but the other was included in our first ever Gungrave fanzine 'Quiet Storm'. Both feature a sassy Balladbird Lee and a Bunji that's rather childlike but still rude as hell. Both were written in 2005, by Gynocrat - and thanks for reading.
Brandon eyed his underling.
“You’re saying that if I get punched in the head when I’m a kid, it changes my brain? Well, no shit aniki, I know that much,” Bunji said. “That’s got nothing to do with I’m saying though, and that’s meat is important, it helps your brain grow.”
Rather than argue, Brandon returned to his salad. Again, he failed to explain himself the way he wanted. Yes, meat was essential to any diet, but it wasn’t the only key to a brain’s development.
Lee spoke up then and said something simple, to which Brandon didn’t agree or disagree; his explanation was plausible if not a bit condescending, but that was Balladbird’s style.
The Balkon outclassed most men at communicating, though he never made Brandon feel stupid.
“Nobody knows how the brain works,” Bunji said, chewing his pound of flesh.
Kugashira had ordered a 12-ounce steak, well done and smothered in onions. Lee outdid him by ordering the same cut of beef, only rare with seared mushrooms.
“Science has long known how the brain works,” Lee said.
“Not all of it, uh-” Bunji didn’t know whether to call the man he just met, Balladbird or Lee.
“My name’s Balladbird,” he said. “But call me Lee,”
“Your name is full of shit until you can explain how something like pissing on a sidewalk makes my brain grow,” Bunji laughed.
Lee put down his fork, lifted the napkin from his lap and wiped his mouth. He took a long swig of his beer, sucked his teeth clean, and then aimed his gaze at Bunji.
“In the prime of any man’s life, the cerebral cortex contains over twenty billion neurons linked through roughly one-half trillion synapses.”
Brandon watched Lee’s lesson in gray matter with interest.
“Thoughts are threaded through about seven million miles of dendrite fibers, then they moved into sixty-thousand miles of axons that are compacted in a neural network that’s no larger than a grapefruit.”
Lee swung one leg over the other, folded his hands together in his lap and spoke to his reflection in Bunji’s glasses.
“Spurred by learning, these neurons and synapses are brutally pruned in fits and starts throughout one’s childhood, conditioning that begins again in middle age.”
Unimpressed, Bunji put his elbows on the table.
“So, my brain changes with each new interaction I have?” Bunji gulped his lager and then belched with length before putting a cigarette to his lips.
“Now you understand what Brandon’s trying to tell you,” Lee frowned. “You also understand how bad smoking is for you Kuga-”
“Bunji, but you can call me Madness,” he pointed at Lee’s two empty bottles of beer. “Drinking ain’t good for you either,”
“Yes, but my drinking doesn’t hurt you unless I drive you somewhere and crash because I’m drunk,” Lee’s right cheek dimpled when the corner of his mouth curled up. “That smoke, on the other hand, hurts everyone exposed to it.”
Bunji aimed his eyes over his shades and exhaled a long line of white smoke across the table at Lee.
“Bunji,” Brandon scolded.
“It’s all right Brandon,” said Lee. “Madness is just flirting.”
Out the corner of his eye, Balladbird watched him creep closer.
The secretaries in Magritt Oil’s posh lunchroom weren’t used to seeing the likes of Kugashira Bunji. He strolled past them with his hands in pockets, arms pressed in tight so that his guns didn’t show.
“What is it Kugashira?”
Bunji’s forehead nearly touched his shoulder, “You owe me, Bee-Bee,”
“I owe you for what, Kugashira?”
Bunji surveyed the room, “For Friday,”
That afternoon saw Balladbird on his couch after lunch, fighting a migraine. Suddenly, Bunji appeared outside his 20th-floor window on a cleaner’s scaffold. After much struggle, he climbed in, and Balladbird wasted no time unzipping Bunji’s suit.
He yanked those scruffy sky-blue overalls down past Bunji’s thighs, and when Bunji’s oversized cocked popped out and slapped him in the face, Balladbird decided against warning Harry that the scruffy assassin finally showed.
“What do you want?”
Bunji rose up on his toes and whispered in Balladbird’s ear.
“Just like yesterday!” Bunji demanded.
“Be on the roof in ten minutes,” Bunji said.
Later, Balladbird found Bunji by the bulkhead. Air lashed his hair and jacket as he peered through sunglasses at the fog below; there would be no witnesses today except the tops of the other skyscrapers.
“Kugashira,” he whispered.
Bunji jumped out of skin.
“How do you do that?” he demanded.
“Eliminate any hint of one’s existence,” Balladbird grinned. “It’s a gift,”
“Whatever,” Bunji said. “Get on your back,”
Balladbird rolled his eyes, “This is so juvenile,”
“Shut the fuck up and do it,” Bunji said.
Balladbird kicked off his boots and stretched out flat on the concrete. Once comfortable, he brought his knees to his chest and lifted his hands.
“Come on Kugashira!”
Bunji took off his glasses and shoved them in his coat pocket. Grinning, he charged two broad steps, leaped up and landed his taut abdomen square on Balladbird’s feet.
He quickly grabbed Bunji’s wrists, steadying him and when sure the scruffy mongrel was balanced, he let go.
Back arched, Bunji spread his arms wide and kicked his legs apart, tensing them when the wind gusted into his jacket. He joyously howled as the wind whipped through him.
Balladbird envied his freedom. Zen always bothered him though, so he bent his knee and brought Bunji out of his tranquil flight pattern.
“Hey quit!” Bunji shouted, smiling. “No turbulence!”
Balladbird laughed as Bunji adjusted his wingspan.
“I want to turn!” he cried.
Balladbird deftly maneuvered his feet to Bunji’s sternum and right hip, allowing the man to tilt; Bunji was in complete control, a natural flier.
“Are we ready to come in for a landing?” Balladbird asked.
Bunji sighed, “Yeah I guess,”
Balladbird spread his legs and let Bunji drop, and Bunji landed on his palms, careful not to knock the wind out of him.
The aroma of Bunji’s body, mixed with the tobacco smoke in his hair made Balladbird drunk with lust. Hands moved under Bunji’s shirt and found cold skin. Tongues probed and pushed at each other.
“You taste so good,” Bunji whispered.
Balladbird hummed something into Bunji’s mouth.
“I love that shit,” Bunji said, gently biting his way down Balladbird’s neck. “I like it when you sing and suck my dick too,”
“Why do you think they call me Balladbird?” Balladbird said.
“No shit,” Bunji’s mouth found his throat and bit down on the flesh. “They call you that because you sing during blow-jobs?”
“Yes,” Balladbird gasped.
“Who first called you Balladbird?” Bunji asked.
Balladbird whispered, “My father,”
Bunji lifted his head up, “Aw shit Bee-Bee why do you do that!”
Balladbird cackled uncontrollably.
“You always say nasty-weird shit like that!” Bunji whined.
“Sorry Bunji,” Balladbird pulled him back down for a kiss.
“I like it when you say my name,” Bunji said. “The way you say it makes me hard,”
“Boonji,” Balladbird purred against his lips.
“Yeah-like that,” Bunji feasted on Lee’s ear.
“Boonji, Boonji, Boonji,” Balladbird sighed.
Bunji stopped suddenly, “‘Hey Bee-Bee,”
Bunji’s eyes begged, “One more time?”
Balladbird pushed air out his nose and again indulged the Madness in another round of airplane.
Chapter 7: We All Have a Type
Bunji turned to him, “Is there anything in this town you don’t know about?” | “Not a thing,” said Lee
Ending this collection with a fic that appeared only online. We got classic Bunji getting caught by the master at catching people. Written in 2005 by Gynocrat. BTW I have gotten some inquires about the illustrations that went with a lot of these fics. Yes, there are quite a few. The artist no longer works with me (for good reason) and I won't post those images without their consent.
WE ALL HAVE A TYPE
Bunji sat in the driver’s seat with the car running, watching Harry and Shere entered the clinic hand in hand.
He shifted his to Lee in the passenger seat, “Yo, Lee, this is fucked up,”
“In an hour or two it won’t be,”
“So, this place is private huh?”
“By day it’s an animal hospital,”
“When they getting married?”
“Harry plans on a day next year,”
“Why do all this shit, then?”
“Because,” Lee sounded bored. “Her father’s Bear Walken,”
Bunji always suspected Harry was either completely stupid or an absolute genius; the needle on the gage now favored the latter, “If you ask me, Harry’s out of his fucking mind.”
“Don’t use profanity around me, Kugashira,” Lee said, polite.
“Sorry,” Bunji needed to remember he wasn't in the car with aniki.
“Where is Heat tonight?” Lee asked, eyes still fixed forward.
“Somewhere,” Bunji wasn’t telling Lee that aniki was having tea at the Asagi residence.
“It’s Wednesday,” Lee said. “He should be playing bridge with his friend Maria at Big Daddy’s,”
Bunji turned to him, “Is there anything in this town you don’t know about?”
“Not a thing,” said Lee.
Hoping that wasn't true, his eyes lingered down Lee’s long black leather coat and to the gold band on Lee’s ring finger.
“Yo,” Bunji said. “You got a wife now, right?”
“Yes, I do,” Lee replied.
Bunji recalled a petite blond with a boisterous laugh, monster tits, and very thick thighs. Aniki said she was a dancer back in the day, and one look at her legs proved it. What a fucking waste.
“You got kids?” he asked.
“I made a deal with the devil, and her name is Georgia Poundmax,” Lee pulled out his wallet. “Gia plays my wife, and I move up as an executive. In return, she gets to live well and has a baby every few years.”
Bunji turned on the overhead light to see Lee's photo; an adorable child with Lee’s eyes smiled back at him.
“You ask me,” he aimed his head at the clinic outside. “You’re gonna have some trouble when she gets to be this one’s age.”
“If her mother is any indication,” Lee said. “She’ll no doubt star in some of the finer amateur ladies-gone-loco straight to video films.”
“A blond Balkon girl,” Bunji laughed. “That’s something you don’t see every day.”
“She’s certainly unique,”
“How old is she now?”
“She’s five, and her brother’s due next month.”
“Boy and a girl should be easy to live with,”
“I wouldn’t know, Kugashira, I don’t live with them,”
In Millenion, a man didn’t rise-up the ladder if he didn’t have a family. Lee did what Randy did; marry a bitch and start a family, but keep your ass fucking and dick sucking on the down low. Bunji didn’t care about climbing ladders, but he did care what people thought. He wanted their fear and respect, he wanted them coming to him when things were impossible.
No one came to a queer, except to get laid.
Marriage wasn’t an option. No way he was playing the straight man again, not after going through the bullshit motions as a teen; the consequences sucked. Mind on the past, Bunji reached into his pocket and pulled out a wallet-sized picture.
“That’s mine,” he said.
Lee tipped his head and studied it a moment.
“Does he live with his grandparents?”
“Nah,” said Bunji. “He’s got good people taking care of him, in Alziers,”
“When did you find the time to make him?”
“In the orphanage, where I came up,” Bunji explained. “I was like fourteen and this friend of mine, his sister was thirteen. She got adopted by these really nice people before I knocked her up.”
“Is she with your son now?”
“Nah,” Bunji said. “He was a year old when she got shot helping her brother rob a liquor store.”
“Did his foster parents give the photo?”
“Yeah,” Bunji nodded. “About three years ago when he turned twelve.”
“I remember,” Lee said, thoughtfully. “They contacted you because they wanted to legally adopt him, they wanted your permission.”
Bunji looked fiercely at Lee.
“I told you Kugashira, there’s nothing I don’t know.”
“Yeah, well I know some shit too,” Bunji said. “I ain’t got a Bob whispering in my ear, but I see things, and I figure shit out,”
“What have you figured out, Kugashira?”
“I know for a fact you ain’t killed one person in your entire life,” said Bunji. “Not even when you were running with Lightning.”
“That’s not entirely true,”
“Bullshit,” Bunji spat. “When you were in Lightning you never whacked anybody. Your brother, he was a different story,”
“My brother’s no longer with us,”
“You didn’t do him either,” Bunji grinned. “The big guy did,”
“You and Heat share quite a bit, don’t you?”
“You exist on rep alone,” Bunji sat back. “Guys like you coast on fumes and hope by the time they get to where they’re going they won’t need to drive no more.”
“Got me all figured out, Kugashira?”
“That’s right.” Bunji said. “I got your number, Balladbird Lee,”
“If you had my number, Kugashira,” Lee said. “You wouldn’t have to keep cruising West Avenue,”
Bunji looked over the rim of glasses at Lee's profile.
“Poor unfortunate young men. Wannabe models, actors, and singers, they come to Billion hoping for success. Most end up on West Avenue and that’s where you find them,” Lee let loose with his signature laugh, a sweetly sinister noise that made most men’s skin crawl. “You drive through slowly, looking for a familiar body, a familiar face. To most people, we Balkon's all look alike but not to you, Kugashira, because you’re looking for just the right one.”
Bunji turned from him stared out the window.
“When you slow down in the Shelby, he walks right up to your car and asks you if you want a date. If he asks you in Balkonese, this excites you enough to put the car in park and take your foot off the brake. The new ones are nice, aren’t they, Kugashira? He gets in, and you drive to an alley for a suck or a hand-fuck," Lee was staring at Bunji. “Then there's those nights after payday. Flush with cash, you call up Old Wanda’s on the Southside and get yourself a real nice Balkon. Your exact specifications over the phone are very precise,”
Bunji turned when Lee began to imitate him.
“Make sure his eyes are north Balkon. I want him thin with some muscle, and tall. Not to pale, yo, and completely shaven. I want hair on his head, though, you got that, real long hair tied in back. Make sure he knows he ain't allowed to talk unless I say so.”
Bunji tore his eyes away and tensed his jaw as Lee kept talking.
“Yes, these are your orders every time. Sometimes you get a short haired boy because sometimes the long-haired ones aren’t the right height. This bothers you enough sometimes to send them back,” Lee faced front and smiled wide. “There’s one boy at Wanda's you really like. Number 22. You’ve been seeing 22 for six months now, two Fridays a month.”
Bunji felt the rage boiling behind his eyes.
“He’s tall, pale, sinewy and strong. His hair's long and kept in a ponytail, not braided, and that makes him more real, right Kugashira? He shows up to that hole in the wall you call home in a traditional northern-pantsuit though,” Lee's smile faded. “He responds when you call him Lee. He calls you his Kugashira-sensei, and when you fuck his ass, you demand he scream your name while you tell him how much you knew he wanted it,”
Bunji lit a cigarette, “You ask me, Georgia Poundmax is the one who made a deal with the devil.”
“Relax, Kugashira, we all have a type,” Lee said, resolute. “I just happen to be yours.”