Destroyer: The Adventures of Remo & Chiun
Patrol officer Josephine “Josie” Lyons had to tell her lieutenant about
her past relationship with Ed Pittman. If she didn’t, someone else
would have. If she hid that information, it would have caused all sorts
of questions — Was she gunning for him? Was it scorned love? She
didn’t want any of that. It was a sure career-ender.
If her gun matched the slugs in Ed’s body, she’d have to testify. If she didn’t mention her involvement, it would be her badge.
There was no way she would risk it. Risk the legacy of Lyonses in the
Baltimore police force. Her great grandfather, grandfather and father
were all cops. She was the last in the line since her brother died and
she wasn’t about to disappoint her dad.
Now it was up to her to add to the line. Sometime soon she had to get married and have kids.
The marrying thing was proving to be the hardest thing yet. She had
been with Ed for a year until that fizzled. Her old high school
boyfriend, Charley Hartman, was in jail. In fact, she was the one who
put him in there. In her 25 years, Ed and Charley were her best
prospects. Now Ed was in a coffin. Just her luck.
Despite telling the lieutenant, the chief put her on leave. It was
common practice for an officer that was clearly the shooter, but when
there was the possibility of ten or twelve officers from the same
department being put on leave, it was just impossible. The force
couldn’t afford to lose that kind of manpower.
But Josie was still put on leave. After all, it isn’t every day an ex-girlfriend gets in a gun fight with her former boyfriend.
The scene kept on replaying in her mind. The chase, the armored truck
skidding across the asphalt and how she walked up to the wounded
shooter, only to find out it was Ed.
Josie was on the archery range in her back yard. Archery was a hobby of
heres that became an obsession. The obsession turned into skill, but
that skill tended to waver. She had narrowly missed the Olympic team,
but hoped to try for the team again in soon.
Taking a deep breath, she drew her bow and aimed. She lingered for a
few seconds, watching the target of concentric rings through her sight.
Her aim steadied and she let the arrow fly.
The arrow shot through the air like a bullet and impaled one of the outer rings.
She grumbled in anger. It had joined four others in the lowest scoring
ring. The bullseye was untouched. She hadn’t been hitting well for
days. Ever since Ed died, he was all she thought about.
The same questions kept coming up. Did she subconsciously know it was
him when she fired those two shots? If she did know for sure that it
was him, would she have fired? Would she have froze? Could she have
convinced him to stop his rampage?
And most importantly, what set him off in the first place? She knew he
wasn’t the kind of guy to do things on his own. He was always a
follower. That’s why she dumped him in the first place.
While taking aim again, she thought back to how they met. It was when
she was still moonlighting at Anviljack’s, a bar just outside the city.
Two years ago, Ed had come in, tagging along with a posse of young
soon-to-be tycoons led by their alpha-male, Brady Keenston. They were
looking for a spare TV to watch a sold out game. Anviljack’s however,
wasn’t the kind of bar where you watch sports.
Anviljack’s was the kind of bar that you went to in leather. Not
because it looked good, but because it gave you a little bit better
protection from the mosh pit and knife fights.
Being guys of ego, Brady and his gang figured there wouldn’t be anybody
stupid enough to mess with them and they grabbed a table. It wasn’t
long before a fight erupted.
Chairs and bottles were flew as fast as the fists did. As the fracas
ensnared the entire bar, Josie called the precinct. As she ducked a
chair that seemed destined to impale itself in her head, she saw Ed
crouched underneath the table, obviously waiting out the melee.
Josie smiled and he smiled back. She knew he saw in her what most men
did, even while she was squatting on the floor amid a downpour of spilt
beer, Corona bottles and chair fragments. She had long black hair, a
tall athletic Amazonian body and a surprising cat-like grace. Then
there was her “Don’t worry, I got everything under control” attitude
that no man could resist.
Josie knew guys dug her. They dug a woman in control.
It was especially obvious with Ed, even in the middle of a barroom brawl.
Her thoughts drifted back into the present and the target in front of her.
She let another arrow fly. It collided into the target just below the bullseye.
She smiled and knocked another, returning her thoughts back to that night at Anviljack’s.
It was shortly after the police had arrived. They practically emptied
the entire bar out. Everybody except Josie, Ed and a few people smart
enough to stay out of the fracas.
As her brothers in blue took Ed’s friends out, Keenston and Ed exchanged words.
Keenston called Ed a “pussy” for not sticking with the group.
Ed told him to stuff it.
“That is so fucking not cool, Ed,” Keenston replied and then got a
cop’s attention. “Hey officer, that guy over there!” He said, pointing
to Ed. “ He’s the one that fuckin’ started it! He threw a bottle at
that guy with skull on his jacket.”
“Hank, that’s bullshit,” Josie said, addressing the cop. “I was here for everything.”
Her intervention was just enough to drive a wedge between Ed and Keenston.
Josie didn’t care. Keenston’s loss was her gain.
She and Ed were together for about a year. They went to Barbados. They
spent to Christmas at her parents’ place. It was all good.
That was until he got a job at PPCC. A job where Ed made plenty of
friends and suddenly they became more important to him than Josie.
He said he was under pressure at work and just wanted to blow off steam with his friends.
At first, she didn’t mind, but she knew they were heavy drinkers and
partyers. Ed followed them because he wanted to be them. He thought it
was the path to success, but he was wrong. He blew money on games when
they did. He bought a new Firebird because someone else had a Trans Am.
The started riding motorcycles, so he went out and got one. They joined
the gym, he did the same. Little by little, he became a different
On the verge of their breakup, she asked him why.
“I just do it,” he said, keeping his eye on a sneaker commercial.
“I don’t understand,” Josie pleaded.
“Listen, I like to spend time with my friends. I like to do what they do. If you can’t handle that, then I guess we’re through.”
“If I can’t handle it?!” she exclaimed. “What happened to you? You
don’t need to do everything your friends do. You’re your own person,
“Oh come on, Jos’! It’s fun. Plus, it helps me at the company! If I
just sit there like a bump on the log, I’m gonna get passed up again
“Yeah, right.” Josie said, looking out the window. “I see this all the
time at the precinct! It’s the Ole Boys Club! Why do you think I’m
stuck in the patrol car still? Cuz I don’t pee standing up! ”
Ed laughed. “Josie, it’s completely different! Don’t ask me to choose
between you and my job! I gotta do this stuff to keep ahead!”
“God Ed, get a fucking backbone. You’re not a sheep.”
“Hey, don’t pull that on me. I don’t follow you do I?” he yelled. “I’m
not some wannabe Olympian! I’m good at what I do. I’m not second best.”
That was the last straw. Not only had he insulted her, but he had
already lost sight of himself. He didn’t even realize that he was going
nowhere. It didn’t even occur to him that he was just somebody else’s
doormat. She just wanted him to grow up, so she left.
She had always thought she might get back together with Ed. Start a family. Have babies. But now it was too late.
She couldn’t help but wonder who lost more, her or Ed.
Another arrow rocketed into the target. Bullseye. The first one in
days. She didn’t cheer. She was supposed to hit it every time. Still,
she was relieved. Her nerve was coming back.
Chiun insisted on sitting in the backseat on the drive down to
The tiny old man watched his pupil intently the entire trip
down. As they passed Allentown, Remo asked Chiun about the weather in
Korea. The old man didn’t respond other than to drill his eyes deeper
into Remo’s head.
In Lancaster, Remo mentioned that he hadn’t seen Mark Howard, Smith’s
assistant and one of the few people who knew about CURE, while he was
at Folcroft. Chiun just tightened his frown.
At the Maryland line, Remo tried to start a conversation about who
Chiun felt was the most influential Master of Sinanju. Knowing Chiun’s
inflated sense of self-worth, Remo expected Chiun to name himself. But
he didn’t. Chiun remained quiet.
It made for a long trip.
When they hit the beltway around Baltimore, Remo couldn’t stand it anymore.
“Y’know, this isn’t going to help the situation one bit,” he said.
“Whatever that painting was, I didn’t realize it. I don’t have any
reason to kill you.”
For the first time, Chiun averted his eyes. He focused on the scenery swishing by his window.
“I mean think about it Little Father,” Remo implored. “Who’d keep the Sinanju Scrolls going? I can’t write in Korean.”
Remo watched Chiun in the mirror. Without looking, Remo instinctively wove in and out of the four lanes of traffic.
“And who would make the roast duck? Yours is the best.”
Still no response.
Remo slammed on the brakes and careened onto the median, pulling within
inches of the beige sound-blocking wall. Other cars blasted their horns
as they barreled past.
Remo turned around and stuck an accusing finger at his master. “Lissen!
This is freaking ridiculous! I didn’t mean anything by that painting
other than it was a gift! Now I’m not gonna go through this whole
mission with you acting like this, so let’s can the crap!”
Chiun allowed Remo to finish and then shot his left index finger at
Remo’s outstretched arm. His fingernail stabbed into Remo’s skin, hit a
nerve and pulled away.
“Jesus!” Remo screamed, clutching his arm. The entire limb went numb.
“Yes, that is why I’m upset,” Chiun said quietly.
“What?” Remo said, massaging his arm. Chiun hadn’t done anything like
that in years. Remo had been instructed to deliver the exact blow early
in his training.
Luckily, he had also been shown how to relieve the strain on the nerve as well.
“Today is a new day, pale piece of pig ear,” Chiun snorted.
“You promised me a gift.”
“I did?” Remo questioned.
“Yes. While at Emperor Smith’s, you said you were to celebrate your Christmas everyday.”
“Little Father, that’s just an expression,” Remo explained. The feeling in his arm had returned.
“Then you lied to me AND tried to vanquish me,” Chuin summed up.
Remo turned back around to the steering wheel. He checked for traffic
and started easing the car back on to the shoulder of the expressway.
“I didn’t lie. I didn’t try to vanquish you.”
“I forgive your feeble assassination attempt, but I want my gift.” the Korean said in a huff.
Remo gave up. “OK. Fine. What do you want? You never even gave me a list.”
“Do not blame me for your blundering Christian holidays. You are the
one who celebrates them, not I. I merely allow you to enjoy them
through my great mercy.”
“Oh, brother.” Remo said and rolled his eyes.
“Most of all, I want you to no longer be white,” Chiun said. “Perhaps
you could learn to be a Korean. At least act like one. That would help
to deflect your caucasoid inclinations.”
Remo caught glimpse of the exit to Parker Paper Clip Corp., and slid into the lane.
“I can pretend to be Korean about as much as you could pretend to be green,” Remo said.
An idea went through Chiun’s mind. “I could be green.”
“Well too bad, forget it! I’m white and I’m staying that way. Think of something else.”
“I would like your share of this contract’s payment,” Chiun said with a smile.
Every few years, Chiun renegotiated the contract between he and Smith.
Only recently had Smith started to pay for Remo’s services. Prior to
that, the contract was set up differently. Smith paid Chiun’s
assassination fee and an additional cost for training Remo.
“Fine, it’s all yours. It’s not like a person ever gets a chance to
spend gold bullion,” Remo mumbled. “You have it all shipped to North
“It’s there for safekeeping. We could never trust the Swiss and their banks.”
“Sure, safekeeping.” Remo said, wondering why he wanted to get Chiun in speaking terms again.
“Yes, Little Father?”
“Merry Christmas to you, too.” Remo said, glancing up at the August sun.
The main offices of Parker Paper Clip Corporation were something of a local tourist attraction.
The facade of the building had
a tremendous paper-clip chain wrapping around all four sides of the
building. Each link was three-feet-long and hooked into the next. Every
window in the glass and steel structure had it’s view partially blocked
by the oversized metal chain.
In the front lobby was a fountain. It’s basin had the unmistakable
shape of a paper clip. Naturally, the spigot that replenished it was
also twisted into the familiar trombone shape.
At the front desk, two receptionists answered a barrage of phone calls
that they directed to the appropriate parties with unerring accuracy.
Tina Mochowski looked up from one call to see a mismatched pair of
visitors standing before her. One was a ruggedly handsome man with dark
hair and shadowy eyes. The other was a leather-faced Asian in a red
kimono who looked as if he was two days away from death.
“Remo Renfro, Alliance Insurance,” said the handsome one in the T-shirt
as he flashed her an ID. “I need to talk with Ed Pittman’s supervisor.
He pointed at the Asian. “That’s Wally. He’s the company psychologist.”
Chiun twisted his mouth, but said nothing.
“Just one moment,” Tina said with an inviting smile. She hit a few
buttons on the switchboard. “Hello, this is Tina at the switchboard. I
have visitors down here for Mr. McCraig. It’s about Ed.”
Tina turned back to Remo. “It’ll be about five or ten minutes before he
can come down,” she said. She unconsciously licked her lips as she
scanned Remo’s muscular frame. “But I can keep you busy.”
“Thanks,” Remo said ignoring her advance. After years of Sinanju
training, Remo’s body had changed and made him irresistible to women.
But that training had also taught him control, and he chose to exercise
it. “Come on, Wally, let’s have a seat.”
“Wally?” Chiun said as they walked to the bank of chairs.
“Hey, I was thinking on my feet,” Remo shrugged.
“Why not … Chiun?” the Master of Sinanju asked.
“How about Wally Chiun?”
“How about Chiun!” he snapped.
“Fine, Chiun it is.”
A few minutes later, Mike McCraig, a portly man stepped out of the
elevator and approached the switchboard. He talked briefly with Tina
and approached Remo and Chiun.
“Hi there, I’m Mike. Ed’s boss,” he said and shook Remo’s hand.
“Remo Renfro and this is Wally Chiun.” Remo motioned to Chiun.
Mike pushed an open hand out to Chiun. The Korean didn’t respond.
“Oh, don’t mind him, he’s always that way,” Remo said. “I was hoping we
could take a look around Ed’s desk. Check out some of his personal
“Sure, that shouldn’t be any problem. It’s a real shame about him. Real shame.”
Mike said. His stomach knotted as he thought about his worker.
“Yeah, a real shock. Jumpin’ off the deep end like that,” Remo said.
They went to the elevator and rode up. On the tenth floor, Mike brought them to Ed’s untouched desk.
“I was here when he left. He looked half-crazed. He just bolted,” Mike recalled.
“That’s what some people do,” Remo said.
“Yes,” agreed Chiun. “Many whites are mentally touched.”
Ed Pittman’s desk looked like a fraternity dorm room. Pictures of women
tacked to the wall. Cold french fries littered the floor. A collection
of the last year’s worth of Maxim were piled on his desk. Sports logos
and collectibles filled every other available space.
“He sure tried awfully hard to be cool, didn’t he?” Remo observed.
“There’s a whole gang of people like that here,” Mike admitted, “They’re very, uh, materialistic.”
“Any idea what might have set him off?” Remo asked.
“No, not really. He’s one of those guys that was real active outside of
work. Always doing things and going places. It really doesn’t make a
lot of sense. I don’t think he had any money problems.”
Chiun looked around as Remo talked. He flipped through a notebook and
then picked up a baseball encased in a protective plastic shell.
“It’s clear this Ed Pittman was a scoundrel. Look, this plaything
belonged to someone else!” Chiun announced. He pointed to a signature
on the ball. “It has a name other than his own on it.”
“No, Chiun, that’s an autographed baseball. It makes it more valuable,” Remo explained.
“He told me he paid $300 for it,” Mike explained.
“For this disgustingly white piece of leather?” Chiun exclaimed.
Remo noticed another autographed item. It was a framed picture of a thin hipster in a black biker coat. “Who’s that?”
“You don’t recognize Alphonzie? You know, he always said ‘Heyyyyyy!’” Mike said in a drawn-out tone.
‘’No,” Remo admitted.
“You know, the guy from ‘Sappy Days’?” That old TV show from the 70s
that was set in the 50s.” Mike explained. “Alphonzie was the biker guy
who was the ‘King of Cool.’”
“King of Cool?” Remo said, as he stretched his memory back over the years. “I think I remember him.”
“The still show reruns. I bet that picture is worth a lot of money too,” Mike explained.
“I’ll have to catch that sometime. Anything else you can tell me about Ed here?
“Not really. Well, except that one of the cops who shot him was his ex-girlfriend.”
“I hadn’t heard that,” Remo said, his glance meeting Chiun’s.
“Perhaps we should visit with her,” Chiun suggested.
“What’s her name?” Remo asked Mike.
“Josie. Josie Lyons.”
“I thought that’s what you’d say.”
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