Diamond 'Crazy Lou' Adonis

You need people like me. So you can point your finger and say that's the bad guy.


"What am I doing? I'm talking to an empty telephone."

"I don't understand."

"'Cause there is a dead man on the other end of this fuckin' line."

Hanging up, Diamond peeled his upper lip back in a grimace, sliding the sleek cellphone into a pocket as he stared off into nowhere for a long moment. Meditative, kinda. But time waits for no man.

"Git." Waving a hand dismissively, he addressed the blonde, who raised her head from between his spread thighs, blinking a few times before stumbling to her feet. The kind of hooker who gave you change out of two dollars. Lordy, he was bored. Aiming a helpful boot as her scrawny ass, he shoved her abruptly out through the faded curtain covering the doorway, ignoring her nasal, whiny protests as she tried to cover her naked breasts with a chiffon wrap. Even in it's prime, the article was gaudy and tacky. Now? It just looked pathetic.

With a heavy sigh, Diamond rose to a stand, shrugging his thick fur coat a little higher about his shoulders. Sraightening his tie with a slight upward tilt of his masculine jaw, he crossed the short distance to regard himself in the tarnished mirror. Hmm. Not bad. The velvety fabric of the coat offset the straight, elitist tailoring of his sharp black suit beneath. The striped tie was a tasteful contrast to a black silk shirt. Close-cropped hair and a neat beard lent his ebony features a distinguished air. Especially when he was brooding. He did that a lot.

One hand patted the silver crucifix that hug, low and solid, against his suit-jacket. The other, in a motion borne of habit, lightly brushed fingertips across the holster under his arm. Both weapons in place. Good to go. Flashing his reflection a sick, macabre grin, he turned and strode out, his swagger as well-practiced as his shot.

Diamond 'Crazy Lou' Adonis was a rare exception in the Underworld. Sure, the curtained alcove wasn't much. Not compared to the upper levels of the world. But it served him just fine as an office. The place his people knew to go to, when they needed him. And didn't they need him often, lately? Snapping a zippo to life, the man sparked his cigarette as he strolled through the depths of the Underworld, ignoring the darkness that encroached on all sides. Why be afraid? He was a part of it. A damn fine-lookin' part, but a part all the same. A figment, a shadow. A goddamn spectre.

A consiglieri.

A handful of Solids glanced up from their shared huddle, each upnodding fractionally in respect as Diamond passed. Each went ignored.

The Outfit, lately, was prospering. All evidence to the contrary. Business was good; the work with the Yakuza had been profitable and relatively easy to come by. People pay so much for information, don't they? Laziness, Diamond figured. There was nothing a guy couldn't find out, if he was willing to work at it. All came down to the process.

100 years ago, Austria was run by a prince named Metternich. Austria was weak, and its neighbors were strong; but Metternich was a cold, caluclating bastard. If one country got too strong, he organized an alliance against it. He would bring Europe to the brink of war, and then everybody thanked him when he kept war from happening. That kind of thinking appealed to Diamond. Deceit was the currency of his people. That, and the truth. Both held within them the inherent promise of profit.

Exhaling a plume of smoke, the dark-skinned man ducked and side-stepped gracefully through the gap between pipes and wall that served as one of the numerous portals to the Underworld. This one led out beside a dumpster, easily hidden with it's subtly lowered position in the back of the alley. Fastidiously sweeping off the midnight fur of his coat, holding his cigarette between his lips for the time the matter required, Diamond frowned to himself. He wasn't really in the mood for this. Then again, he hadn't really been in the mood for a two-bit hooker. Sometimes life surprises you with pleasures you hadn't realised you were missing.

Mandarin's Court was jumpin'. His senses tingled with the clamour of people, all indulging one vice or another. Sex and blood, money and desire, greed and hunger… he could smell all of it in the air. It helped. It lured him, convincing him on some level that sure, he wanted to be here. Drifting into the wandering crowd, hands in pockets, the epitome of nonchalance, he let the waves carry him. His destination would come, all in good time. Why not enjoy the ride? Do a little sampling along the way?

"Hey, Lou." The bartender greeted the shifter with a tired, toothy smile, skinny little Asian fingers smoothing the stained towel slung across his shoulder. "What'll it be?" Goro was a decent guy, all things considered. Invariably cheerful, in his world-weary manner. And helpful, when he wanted to be. That goofy smile, though, was a great asset. You'd never guess just how sly the little guy could be. Not that he'd ever caught Diamon out. Not yet.

Ugh, Lou. He wasn't fond of the nickname. 'Crazy Lou'. That's what the boss had dubbed him. What he had against Diamond Adonis was anyone's guess. Personally, he rather liked the tag he'd chosen for himself. Summarised him. Summarised what he'd always wanted to be, what he would endeavour to become. What fate had handed him, that day in the gutter. Growing up in the dirt and filth, with only your similarly frightened peers to look to for guidance, it was easy for kids to get lost. In more ways than one. This life? Yeah, this one suited him better. He didn't know what had happened to those childhood 'friends', the ones who had pickpocketed with him, slept in doorways with him. Frankly, he didn't give a.. well, a rat's ass.

Smirking vainly at his own inner dialogue, Diamond braced a palm on the bartop, lightly drumming fingers heavily laden with rings. "Scotch rocks." His voice was a purr, a velvet entreaty to give what he wanted. Right now. Even if it didn't seem like your job. Do it anyway. "And I'm lookin' for Joe."

Goro's little eyes widened. A little, anyway. Setting down the glass, he replied in a hushed undertone, pouring a generous few fingers. "Oh man… yeah, he's here, man. He's uh.. in a meeting, I heard. Ballroom." The excitement practically quivered from the skinny Jap. Something had him even more jittery than usual, the consigliere noted. Interesting. Keeping his dark chocolate eyes on the employee, Diamond knocked back a sip of his drink, rattling the ice in the glass before setting it back down.

He didn't bother to say thanks. Wasn't in his nature. He asked, people gave. That's just how it worked. Draining the last measure from the glass after a few beats, the tall black man turned from the bar, and the little rake behind it, taking to a stroll through the casino, headed for the aforementioned place.

The Ming Ballroom was spacious. Grand, if you liked that sort of thing. The floor was polished to a glassy sheen. The walls were creamy ivory and black, edged with gold around the panelling and thickly adorned with tapestries, ornaments and other trinkets. It irked his nerves, for some reason. Especially those masks. Usually, he found his gaze drawn to them, even when he was talking.

Not tonight.

A circle of chairs occupied the space in front of the stage, and the men seated upon them all turned their heads at the sound of the tall doors opening and closing quietly. Diamond, unsmiling, covered the distance with his rangy, loping stride; belligerently smoking another cigarette, enjoying the fact that his scent now trailed in his wake. The boss, of course, didn't like it at all. But too bad.

Of the dozen or so faces now turned expectantly toward him, two in particular stood out. The first, at the head of the group, was that of a middle-aged Japanese man. His hair was neat, his suit was expensive. But his features had that long, drawn look of one who has either seen too much, or knows he hasn't much time left to see anything at all. Joe the Jap. Not the most imaginative handle, Diamond conceded. But when you're the Yakuza boss in one of the most profitable gambling cities in the United States, maybe you don't want to draw unnecessary attention to your dealings.

The second man was notable by the absence of his gaze. His eyes remained lowered to the floor, or on the walls, or the ceiling. Anywhere but upon the shifter. Lordy, couldn't they pick 'em. The chubby newbie - so obviously out of place in his store-bought tailoring and cheap brown shoes - grew steadily paler as Diamond approached, a sheen of sweat glimmering above his pudgy nose. And with good reason.

Drawing to a halt, fluffing out his coat with a jerk of both elbows (which also served to reveal the holster at his ribs) Crazy Lou came to the fore with his usual brutal charm. A broad grin drew back his lips but never reached his eyes, even as they took in each person present with deliberate lack of haste. Then, back to the boss.

Raising a hand, miming a lazy cock it and pull it, Diamond pointed at the tubby figure to Joe's right. "Uragirimono." Simple enough. His accent was good. Chubster looked up, between the two men, confused by their largely silent exchange. He went unheeded at first, as Joe's narrow eyes bored into those of the shifter before him. The conflict in the Yakuza's mind was obvious, if only to the man watching him so closely. His underlings looked to him, contrastingly placid. Awaiting a response of some sort. Admirable. If only everyone had such stoic, dutiful lackeys, pondered Diamond. Not him, of course. He didn't need the stress.

The spell broke. Barking out a rapid-fire order in his native tongue, Joe spurred the others from their silent reverie. Before he had the chance to blink, the wrongly-attired fellow found himself grasped by his plump arms, his chair kicked away, knees taking his weight as he was forced down upon them. His screams, when they came, were muffled as his tie was stuffed halfway down his over-indulgent throat. Diamond didn't care. He wasn't even watching. By now, he was already sauntering back toward the exit. Job done.

He slammed the door in time to stifle the already muffled gunshot. And thought about Austria.

The guy hadn't really been a traitor. At least, he didn't think so. He lit another cigarette, cupping a palm around the flame. No, Chubbs only made the mistake of doing accounts on both sides of the tracks. You don't mix Yakuza with Vamps and expect to come away without shit on your shoes. That oughta keep both sides busy for a while. Long enough, certainly, for Grandfather's plans to see fruition.

And everyone would thank him, when he kept the war from happening.

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