Tea Leaves and Diamond Bracelets

Greed Monster

Match Sixteen: Greed Monster:

She, they, it does not like greedy people. They will hunt them down. Days, weeks, even months. Once it has you in its sights, it will not stop until you are in ruins. Or worse. Just like right now.

Jianjun had the following of somebody following him. He lit up a cigarette at the bar. The con man’s eyes moved back and forth.

“Excuse me, sir,” a man said. “You can’t smoke in here.” Jianjun sneered at him.

“Mind your damn business,” he muttered. The con man snorted and took a smoke. This was not how he wanted it to go. Junjie was a just a spoiled brat who complained all of the time.

“I’m hungry.”

“Why is it so cold in here?”

“How long are we staying in this place?”

“Why is everything so dirty?”

“I’m bored!”

“When do we get out of here?”

Jianjun threw back his head and groaned. If he had to hear that spoiled brat complain one more time…

The con man looked up and noticed three men staring at him. “What?!” The men pretended to be doing something else. Jianjun sighed over his drink. What was going on with him? Usually, he knew how to pick his partners. The disgraced heir seemed like the perfect tool for his plan to seize power in the clan. While planning, he started to see the problems.

Jianjun froze with his cigarette clenched in his teeth. Did someone follow him here? If so, who? The police? That couldn’t be. He and Junjie had kept a low profile so far. That was one of the hardest parts to talk to the disgraced heir about.

“I want to go out to this party tonight,” Junjie said one evening in the motel.

“No!” the con man said. The spoiled disgraced heir frowned.

“But why not?” he complained. He looked like a little child with his arms folded across his chest.

“Don’t you get it?” Jianjun asked. “We’re staying low key. We can’t draw too much attention to ourselves. No parties. No run-ins with the police. Just stay in the motel room.”

“No drugs?” he asked.

“No!” the con man shouted. “No drugs or women! Do you understand?”

“But…?”

“Do you understand me?”

Junjie frowned and flopped back onto the bed. “Fine.”

“Good,” Jianjun said. He still had his doubts.


Jianjun looked out of the corner of his eye again. There is was again. Where are you? So far, the bar looked the same as it did five minutes ago. The con man couldn’t relax his guard. Something or someone was following. He wouldn’t be surprised if they came up behind him right now.

Tap-tap.

“Yes?” Jianjun asked, turning around. A huge man with muscles stood glaring at him. The con man smiled and saluted him.

“Yo!” he said.

“You can’t smoke in here,” the big man said. Jianjun looked down at his cigarette.

“Oh,” he said. “Look, buddy. I’ve had a long day. I just forgot.” The con man held his cigarette the whole time.

“Put it out!” the big man shouted.

“Okay, okay,” Jianjun said. “Geez.” The con man snubbed out his cigarette. “Happy?” But then, he paused.

She stood at the back of the bar. She didn’t say anything. Her deep brown eyes stayed fixed upon him, or at least he thought it was him. For some reason, nothing about her seemed human. Jianjun turned up his nose.

“Can you get that spooky bitch to stop staring at me?” he asked. The big man turned his head.

“What are you talking about?” he asked. “I don’t see anyone.”

“She’s right there!” Jianjun said, pointing to the back wall. “She’s standing there, glaring at me. It’s creeping me out.” The big man glared at him.

“Are you making fun of me?!” he snapped.

“No!” the con man said. “That woman keeps staring at me! Get her to stop!” The entire time she didn’t speak. She only stared at the con man. The big man grabbed Jianjun by his dark blue blazer.

“I think it’s time for you to leave!” he snapped. The con man pushed him off.

“Alright,” he said. Jianjun paid his tab and left the tab.


The con man stuffed his hands into his pockets as he walked down the street. Eight nights in a row. Who the hell was following him around intently? Jianjun looked over his shoulder. There was nobody there—again. The con man gritted his teeth.

“I’m sick of this!” he yelled. Jianjun fully turned around.

“Don’t fuck around with me!” he shouted. “I don’t like this stupid game you’re playing! I don’t know what you are playing at! Either come out and show yourself or fuck off!” Silence in the uncharacteristically empty street. He folded his arms across his chest and frowned.

“Do you think I’m playing around here?” Jianjun asked. He jumped when he heard the giggling of a young girl in the air. The con man drew out his knife and looked around.

“Come out mother fucker!” he shouted. “I’m warning you! Don’t fuck with me! I will kill you if I have to!” Then came that whisper in his ear again.

“Your greed will be your downfall.”

That was all it took. Jianjun didn’t stop running with his knife out until he made it back to the motel. He used his keycard to unlock the room. Junjie looked up from the bed.

“What’s the matter, old man?” he asked. Jianjun stood at the door, panting.

“She’s following me again,” he managed to say. The disgraced heir gave him a strange look.

“What are you talking about?” he asked. “Who’s following you?” The con man walked by with the knife in his hand.

“Old man?” Junjie asked. The bathroom door slammed shut.

She, they, it does not like greedy people. They will hunt them down. Days, weeks, even months. Once it has you in its sights, it will not stop until you are in ruins. Or worse. Jianjun better watch his back.

She’s got plans for him.

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