Chapter Twenty Five: Daddy

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Every city has a slum and San Fransokyo was no exception. Some areas were worse than others. Yama's men often kept to the less savory areas. It was easier to stay hidden that way. And though they did have the occasional run in with the law, most were able to avoid it. Yama did, after all, have a reputation. And if anyone ratted on him, well, heaven help the poor soul.

James had thought about ratting Yama out. He'd heard how the man had been arrested a little over a year ago for illegal bot fighting. That, of course, was the least of his transgressions. The giant had gotten out on a technicality. But James was mad, more than mad. He was livid.

Okay, so maybe it had been a bad idea to go up against the guy. His bot had been rather weak compared to the mammoth Yama had brought to the table. But the word on the street was he'd lost confidence after that punk kid beat him at his own game. He didn't know the kid's name, just that he'd taken Yama down.

Yama should have been vulnerable. Instead, James had been thoroughly trounced. Not only that, but he'd lost his livelihood in the pursuit of becoming number one in the back alley bot fights arena. At least he didn't have any family to lose. But still, the indignity of it all made him think recklessly.

James paced. He had information. He could turn Yama in; maybe get a finder's fee for doing so. But, if Yama ever found out, he'd be dead. He'd heard things. And they weren't pretty either. He wasn't entirely sure he wanted to play with that or not. But he needed money. A person couldn't live without money.

While debating on what he should do, James found a convenient wall to lean against. He couldn't rush into things. If he was going to do this, he needed to have a plan to keep things from getting back to him. He was only one man. That complicated some things, but made others simpler. He was also less well-known in the bot circles. He'd only tried his hand at it in the last few months, after he'd carefully crafted his bot. And by crafted, he meant stole parts from others' destroyed bots and made his own.

He was just about ready to call the whole thing off when he felt the hair on the back of his neck prickle. He half-expected one of Yama's men to come around the corner, catching him in the act of devising a plan. But when he took a quick peek around the bend, he didn't see anyone. Instead, he saw a shimmer of energy like a heat haze.

Blinking a few times, James felt for sure his luck had changed. The apparition in front of him looked like an angel. Sort of. Maybe it was the drugs. He'd been on a low buzz all day. Either way, he reached out as if welcoming a loved one home. And the energy came flooding into him like water filling a pitcher. It felt warm and powerful.

For the first time in a long time, James felt invincible. It was an intoxicating feeling. He didn't understand it but if the cosmos wanted to give him that, he wasn't going to complain. He laughed, arms spread out as the hairs on his skin seemed to crackle with the power he could feel flowing through him. Could he us that energy? There was only one way to find out.

"Food," he ordered the air. "Enough to feed me for a day!"

With a shimmer like a heat haze, the air rippled around him. A small box appeared out of nowhere. And on top of that box sat several bags of greasy fried food. It looked like it might have come from one of the local fast food joints. Either way, it didn't matter. He was hungry and he dug in.

Once his hunger was sated, James' brain started to actually kick in. If he could order a buffet of fast food, what else could he do? The ideas sparked his imagination. Maybe he could rob a bank? Or just get the cash he wanted?

"Give me money!" He ordered again as he threw his hands outward like a magician doing a trick. He even imagined the vaults of one of the larger banks, in case it needed a hint. But, unlike before, the air didn't shimmer. He cussed. Apparently this was like a genie in a bottle, a bit fickle but not insurmountable. He'd figure it out. He just needed some time.

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