“Man, why look so glum?”

He did not have to turn around to see who the squeaky voice belonged to. If he was considered a menace, the man joining him was a pest. Even he himself would like the pest out of his life.

“You arrived,” he did not mince his words. How could his day be good when bad company was attracted to him like iron fillings to a magnet. “I thought you are in jail.”

“Just got out an hour ago,” pesky Ding enthused. “I went straight here to give you some information about a target.”

“Why come to me,” Henry asked, “when you have your own group.”

“They expelled me,” Ding sounded hurt, “because they said I was useless.”

“You are useless!” Henry confirmed insultingly. He wanted to be alone but a large fly of a man kept buzzing around him.

“Man, that hurts!” Ding kept his cool. He wanted an ally and not an enemy. “Even a senator got jailed. He ain’t useless.”

“Who?” Henry was curious who Ding referred to.

“That action star. The younger.”

“I wanted to be like him,” Henry mused, his mind dreamed of leading ladies.

“You want to go to jail, too?” Ding got the chance to irk Henry, very subtle of course.

Henry let the bad joke passed. He wanted to stick to his promise of the day.

“I wanted to be an actor. I once got a lead role in a play in school.”

“I did not know you went to school.” Ding kept testing Henry’s limits.

“Do you have nothing to do elsewhere?” Henry tried to be polite, a trait he wished he could attach to his personality. “I want to be alone, please.”

Ding could not believe what he was hearing. Like everyone else’s observation, Henry’s demeanor was out of the ordinary.

.”Have you been taking those liquid stuff again?” Ding inquired nervously. He recalled how Henry ran amok in the neighborhood months ago. “You know that’s very bad for you.”

Henry took the cue, taking the surest way to shoo away the pest.

“I think I want to punch someone!”

Ding did not wait to be the recipient of a closed fist. He was already running away even before Henry finished his sentence.



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