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Chapter 9.TheMan

Xavien woke up to the sound of his cellphone ringing, fifteen minutes before he intended to wake up. This, he detested.

A glance at the phone told him it was the captain. He spat out a few curses and then picked up the phone; “Brady”

“Good. Just checking in on you; wanted to make sure you were alive. Look… I don’t have to say how much I want this fucking sicko-artist killed… but in case you missed it, it’s been officially decided that you will not be required to perform any of your standard duties, and are not to work any other case files. That’s the good news. The bad news? You’ve got more eyes on you than ever before. The governor’s office has already informed the chief that he wants direct access to you for updates. Don’t make us look good, just get this fucker. Do what you need to do… and I’ll do my best to run interference.” Captain Crane said in a tired voice that sounded like he’d been awake all evening.

“Sure thing, sir. If you can keep me out of any unnecessary meetings, I would appreciate it. Also, if I can have a single point of contact to provide updates… I would really rather not have to speak to everyone and their mother every few seconds.” Xavien spoke candidly, but allowed deference in his tone so as not to offend his boss.

“I’ll do what I can, but it’s a rare circumstance…”

“I understand sir. Is Masterson in the office?” Xavien asked.

“He told me he was going to head to your place first.”

“May I be candid?” Xavien asked.

“If you have to.” The captain’s tone indicated that he dreaded the words that were forthcoming.

“I sincerely would prefer not to work with him. I will, but… it is only because it is my job and I have been directed to. If there is any way possible that I could work alone, I would prefer that. I will not question you or your direction, but I feel that it was also fair to make my preference known.” Xavien spoke gingerly.

The captain gave an exhausted chuckle; “I appreciate your candor. Unfortunately, this is not something that is subject to conversation, debate or change in the near future.”

“Understood, sir.” Xavien sighed. It was worth a shot.

“Bring me good news, Lieutenant. It’s not just your job on the line.” The captain said, with the added subtext.

“I’m on it. Good-bye, sir.” Xavien said, and then he hung up. It was useless to try and drift back to sleep. He yawned and groaned with dread as he sat up and stretched. Sadness crept around behind the scenes of his mind and sapped his motivation. He understood depression more so than love or anger. There was a lot to this life that would lead one to despair. His life had a point, but he had been stripped of power to protect the people he loved the most. He could not protect Myrna; this was a fact he’d already conceded.

He got out of bed and plodded to the shower. He shed his black and white striped silk boxer-shorts and stepped into the bathtub. He turned the water onto the hottest setting and let the harsh massage-spray buffet his body. He fiddled with his pecker a few moments and contemplated a release… but figured that it wasn’t worth the onset of loneliness.

He then pondered the previous night’s solicitation from Agony. It wasn’t the unfortunate configuration of her face… it was the lack of decorum and romance. He wanted Clara… or at least someone he loved. It wasn’t a mystery to him that the symmetrical nature of his facial features was pleasing to women. A natural byproduct of his intense physical training regimen was a taut, muscular physique that was lean and devoid of unnecessary bulk that many men look to attain through weight training. He was more the picture of Apollo than that of Hercules. He also knew that his charm, when used, could draw many women in. He also carried himself respectfully, which was so different than many men; he refused to objectify and sexualize women in his mind. This attracted more women than he would have preferred, because it became a distraction.

This was how he felt in the first place, even without the consideration of the fact that he had been committed to Clara; with all of his heart and soul, whatever there was to speak of. Additionally, he refused to even contemplate anything that would jeopardize time with his beautiful child. So, he remained above reproach in his dedication to fidelity and honor; but it was all moot because Scott was dead.

Myrna had often mused aloud about how he needed to find a way to enjoy himself. This was to stave off the effects that hopelessness could have on his hyper-logical mind. It was easy to ignore the desolate nature of life, when he had someone. Now, he needed another drug.

Mercifully, this thought managed to snap his melancholy. He smiled and nodded to his shower-head; “That’s just it!”

He spat out the water as it entered his mouth and felt invigorated. Even though his motivation felt a bit like a frightened shout in the dark, it was real enough. The more he dove into the unknown and the more he learned, the less time he would have to dwell on his misfortune. He would do it his way, though.

There would be no foolhardy recklessness. Every move he would make would be calculated and precise. Whatever he had been before, he would just have to be more; more of everything.

Then the thought snapped into his brain and he nearly fell over in the shower.

The note from Half-Mouth! Something more… He’d been so focused on his mother that he’d thoroughly forgotten about his father. His father had not been quite so honorable with his life, as he had breached the boundaries of his marital vows. Myrna had explained as much to him.

He needed to talk to someone that knew his father. The captain was his best lead… but that would be politically difficult and could be very touchy. He thought further… he would ask Karl when he saw him next… but in the meanwhile… he needed to talk to Myrna.

He finished rinsing his body and then shut the water off. He snaked an arm out of the curtain and grabbed a towel.

Xavien stepped out of the tub and stood facing the large mirror on the wall behind his sink. As he toweled off, he looked at his chest and sighed. He wasn’t about to try and forget Scott; even as he tried to bury and distract himself from the pain. He would have to get a tattoo that meant something only to him.

A gentle smile broke onto his face as he realized exactly what he would get; a plastic brick. This was to commemorate the time they spent playing with these bricks, but also symbolic of that phase in his life; a mere building block to the man Xavien would have to become. No one would be able to take away from the fact that Xavien had a son; just like they could not take away from the fact that Xavien had loved. Scott was the actualization of his love with Clara, and yet it was only a small piece of it. This was such a moment of inspiration that he felt the need to get it done immediately. Surely, it could not take too long.

He walked out of his bathroom and flung his towel into the laundry basket. Xavien was amused to see that Andrew awaited him in his bedroom.

“Excuse me!” Andrew flushed red and turned away.

Xavien had no idea why Andrew was so embarrassed; he was male and had all of the same functionality. He felt shame, modesty and shyness around other males was pointless. There was a part of him that knew Andrew had entered his home, but it did not shake his thought pattern enough to bring it to the foreground in his mind.

“Whatever. Let me guess, I did not respond to your call and you became concerned?” Xavien asked, with a small amount of derision in his tone.

“Yes. It’s not unusual for someone to be murdered in the shower. No matter how powerful you are, safety is never an assumption.” Andrew said, still faced away from Xavien.

“Aren’t you a little old to be acting like this?” Xavien asked, annoyed at his partner.

Andrew did not respond or react.

After Xavien had dressed, Andrew turned around and spoke; “So, since you had a chance to sleep on it… did you have an idea of where we would go next?”

“Yes. Maniacal Tattoos in the Old Ellicott district.” Xavien stated.

“Isn’t that the same place that Wesley Landau had gotten tattooed?” Andrew questioned.

“The very same.”

Andrew’s face twisted in confusion; “Really? What do you hope to find there?”

Xavien smiled; “Let’s just say that I have some ideas, and if you have ideas… and position yourself properly… good things happen.” He had all intentions to play coy with his partner. He had even less of a reason to trust his partner. Johnny ‘Half-Mouth’ Fratilli’s note could be interpreted in many different ways. It spoke to Xavien’s pre-existing condition of mistrust, as well as Andrew’s own familial situation.

Andrew exited his bedroom and Xavien grabbed his gun, badge, phone, wallet and keys before he followed. His mood had dramatically shifted, and he enjoyed it.

When they exited the house, Andrew asked if he wanted to get breakfast on the way. Xavien nodded; “I need some fucking doughnuts.”

Andrew furrowed his brow as he searched his partner for non-existent clues; “I have a feeling that you aren’t telling me something. Purely your prerogative but please know I would appreciate it if you let me know.”

“There are a lot of things that I will never discuss with you. I will let you know if it is directly case-related.” Xavien chuckled.

“How about indirectly?” Andrew paused, licked his bottom lip and sucked off the moisture to indicate his muted displeasure at the innuendo.

“It is way too early to be political. How about we get some doughnuts? Then we’ll pay Maniacal Tattoos a visit.” Xavien gave a serene smile as he pulled his car into traffic.

Andrew sighed and nodded. He would not question Xavien now, but that timer would ring soon. The lack of knowledge made Andrew squirm, which intrigued Xavien; to what end would Andrew go to get the information that he felt Xavien had kept from him? It was all the more reason to retain the air of secrecy. He suspected that, if Andrew was not guilty, he would merely turn into a whiny little bitch. If Andrew was guilty; he would turn to threats veiled and overt.

He made it to his favorite doughnut shop, Clara’s former workplace. It was nearly a mechanical process for him to drive there and order; the doughnuts were delicious and it was familiar. He liked doughnuts because they were fast and tasted good; the fact that he was in law enforcement was merely coincidental. He’d also had their lunch special; cheeseburger between two glazed doughnuts… It was a sinful pleasure, but a treat he often indulged in. To the dismay of his co-workers, he never gained an ounce of fat; he attributed this to his supernatural nature and superior physical conditioning.

It was 0800, just in time for the second batch of doughnuts to come out of the ovens. He smiled; hot doughnuts were the best.

Xavien ordered a boxed dozen, and sniffed out in amusement as he listened while Andrew ordered four bacon, egg, cheese doughnut sandwiches, with extra bacon and cheese.

They left the shop and ate in the car as Xavien piloted to the tattoo parlor. It opened at 9, so they had enough time to eat and let their food settle while they waited.

There was to be no conversation, as Andrew was evidently irritated and unsettled by Xavien’s newly invigorated cryptic posture. Andrew ate all of his sandwiches neatly and completely. Xavien wolfed down 9 of his doughnuts and burped loudly, with an added chuckle. The noise startled Andrew enough to cause him to look at him.

It was, at long last, time for the tattoo shop to open. The men exited the car and made their way to the shop as the owner unlocked the door.

The gray-bearded PJ Peoples held the door open with a quizzical look of recognition; “What can I do for you gentlemen?”

“I want a tattoo of a MegaBrick on my chest. As finely detailed as you can make it. Just the standard four-by-two brick that everyone recognizes it; the proprietary blue color in the center of my chest, just to the left.” Xavien smiled. Andrew was obviously dismayed that his partner had brought him along for such a frivolous exercise.

“Sure thing… If I may… are you the Lieutenant in charge of the ‘Immaculate-Artist’ case?” PJ Peoples asked, as if he knew the answer.

“I am. Now can we do this quickly?” Xavien asked, in a serious tone. He had other places to be.

“Sure thing, sure thing. I’m all over it. Come on in and I’ll get set up. On the house, as it were.” The tattooist chuckled.

“I’ll just wait for you out here, Lieutenant.” Andrew stated, flatly.

Xavien paid no attention as he entered the shop behind the short, thin tattooist. The place smelled clean, and seemed well-maintained. There were many pictures of tattoos on the walls, as well as flash-art on a rack for the ever-important impulse-tattoos that many young people seem to get while inebriated.

“Come, come on up.” PJ gestured; “Watch your head, though.”

Xavien followed. He scanned everything with his eyes, in an attempt to commit the entire place to memory. There were many pictures of dragons on the second floor. So many that it seemed a bit strange, even for a tattoo parlor.

“What’s with the dragons?” Xavien asked.

“Kuan-Yin, my newest employee. Strange guy… but wickedly talented. Does everything freehand, in dim light… I swear I’ve heard him speak no more than a few sentences since he’s worked for me. He works nights. I just don’t question him. He does good work, fast… and I pay him half what I’d pay anyone else. I can’t complain, and he seems happy with the arrangement.”

“What few sentences were these?” Xavien asked, curious to debunk the hyperbole.

“I would like to work your nightshift position. Pay me half what you would normally pay. I request that you not inquire about my life outside of my activities in this shop. Maybe some other smaller phrases. But… that was my introduction to Kuan-Yin; gray-haired Chinaman. Looks like that one guy from all those old kung-fu movies, but without all the smiling.” PJ chuckled.

They walked up to the third floor and this seemed to be par for the course. Vulgar pictures of naked, tattooed women, bumper stickers with vulgar statements, movie posters, concert posters and photos of previous clients covered the walls. Xavien stared around at all of these as if he were searching for clues. He then saw two pictures of importance.

“Are those… two pictures up there…”

“Wesley Landau. It’s not illegal for me to admire his work… and I don’t just mean his tattoo work.” PJ gushed reminiscently.

“Wesley Landau killed innocent people, and deprived them of due process. His actions also indirectly led to the deaths of 57 other individuals, including my own mother and father. I’d like to think that your admiration is misplaced. His tattoos should be the only thing you admire.” Xavien rebuked with a snarl.

“Hey man, it’s all good. I get it, you’re a cop. I’m sorry that your mom and dad died… but you have to grant that not all of his victims were good people.” PJ defended gently as he set up.

“Without due process, we will never know… will we? I won’t discount the value of vigilantes in a corrupt society… but murder is still murder, regardless of the motivation. I understand that you have earned some cachet for being his tattooist, but I…” Xavien stopped as he saw something else on the wall. It was a full torso shot of… a man that looked remarkably like Irving Masterson.

Xavien decided to shut his mouth. He wanted this tattoo, first; then he would investigate further.

The tattoo was finished in forty-five minutes. As PJ cleaned up, Xavien smiled and asked; “This other guy… the one up there… do you admire his work, too?”

“That guy? His work? Hell, I should. It’s beautiful; it’s all mine.”

“Really? What’s the guy’s name?” Xavien pried.

“Oh, I don’t think so…” PJ shook his head.

“Do I need to show identification, man? Really? Did you forget exactly who the fuck I am?” Xavien said, playfully terse.

“Shit, man… you know… before I answer that I’d like to make an observation. You are a lot like that guy in the torso shot. Not specifically identical… but you are intense like he is. Guy’s name is Irving something-or-other.” PJ said off-handedly. He wasn’t keen on Xavien’s extended presence.

“When’s the last time you saw him? I’d really like to meet him.” Xavien made no attempt to hide his enthusiasm.

“Yeah… I don’t think so.” PJ shook his head.

Xavien locked eyes with the aged tattooist and darkened his gaze as he scowled; “Are you fucking serious? I am certainly above corruption, but I can work within the system to make your life a little bit more complicated than you would prefer. I know a lot of little ways to irritate people into submission.

“Jesus… Man… did anyone ever tell you that you say ‘thanks’ in an unconventional manner? Anway… no need to be a dick… look… I’ll level with you. He’s coming in to get some work on his piece today. Tell you what, leave your card and I’ll give it to him when he shows.” PJ offered even as he expected this idea to fall flat.

“What time would that be?” Xavien demanded

“This is not comfortable for me. I don’t like being pushed around. I feel like I’m being pushed around. What’s this all about? You don’t seem to be a tattoo enthusiast, really.”

“I am unable to discuss details, but I am able to provide certain discretionary funding to grease the wheels of your cooperation. I could also provide a few dire promises to educate you on your lack of viable options beyond that.” Xavien said as his eyes narrowed gradually.

“Dire promises?”

“I don’t make threats. I find that they provide a false sense of security and, thusly, they can somewhat be misleading.” Xavien spoke with a darkened tone.

“Fuck… man I don’t like this. Look, I’m telling you the truth. So, don’t give me a dire promise or anything… I just don’t know when he’ll show up. If you want to like, hang out here, or whatever… or stake out… do what you want--- I’m sure you’re going to do that anyhow… just quit killing my mojo. I’m an artist and a lover… I don’t have time for all the negative vibes and angry shit. Even Wesley Landau, rest his soul, was a nicer guy. Most murderers I’ve met are nicer than you, ya know. The ones I’ve tattooed? Even nicer and more appreciative.” PJ bargained, without bargaining; just as he whined without sounding whiny.

“I understand the concept of catching more flies with honey. However, I’m trying to catch a psychopath. Thoroughly disinterested in smothering you with sweet nothings just to have you dodge, hedge and waste my damn time. Thanks for your time and attention. Here are a couple c-notes to indicate my appreciation; consider it a tip. Here’s another tip: regardless of the outcome of today… you get information of any sort on that motherfucker right there? I am the first person you think of, the first person you call, and the only person you speak to on the subject. If you aren’t speaking to me, then no one needs to know.” Xavien spoke calmly and annunciated his phrases carefully, as to avoid any misunderstanding.

PJ Peoples sighed and chuckled as he hung his head; “Keep your money, man. If you wanna use your clout to make my life more difficult… have at it. I’ve got two ex-wives who love to do that shit. Again, use my fucking place of business as ground-zero for your criminal-snare operation… but don’t ask me to operate as an informant or to rat out my customers. I’ve already given you way more info than I ever would anyone else. If this ends up getting me arrested or whatever, fine. At least then my exes can’t call and bitch about child support.”

“I could use the money for better things. So, I withdraw the offer at your request, and will hang out until Irving shows. I will not engage in unscrupulous conduct; however, I will assure you that wrongdoing on your part will get noticed. Your life will be scrutinized for criminal activity and, provided the statute of limitations has not run out, prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. If there has been none to this point, then you should have nothing to worry about.” Xavien spoke plainly.

PJ nodded; “Sure, sure, man. A word of advice?”

“To whom?” Xavien asked.


“If you feel it necessary.”

PJ smiled; “Look, I’ve seen a ton of people through here. Most of them are pretty inconsequential, kinda like me. But… doing this for this long… you get to know and understand when you’re around someone of consequence. I don’t like you one damn bit… I’ll admit that freely. But that’s because you’ve been a real asshole. Anyway, you are someone that I consider ‘of consequence’… I also think you’re faking this whole good-boy act. You’re acting like a cop… by acting like a cop… I mean just playing one. Sure, that may be your job… but I just don’t buy it. I also don’t buy the boy scout act.”

“What is this mysterious advice?” Xavien sighed and rolled his eyes, tired of the man.

“Just… be cool, man. If people don’t like you, let it be for the fact that you’re just so damn cool and better than they are. Being a dick? That’s just not gunna help you, man. You think you’re above me in the pecking order? Sure, you may be… but you don’t have to rub it in. Just… be cool.” PJ nodded, with an expression to indicate that his ego had been wounded.

“If I’d been cool, what else could I have learned from you?” Xavien smirked.

“Probably nothing, I’ll admit… but maybe you would have the same info you got now… and my mojo wouldn’t be all fucked up…”

“Let’s pretend for a moment that this Irving is a person of interest that has recently murdered my wife and two-year-old son. I certainly hope that you would not do anything to cause him to suspect that I’ve been around, would you?”

“Seriously? He killed your wife and kid? And Wesley Landau killed your mother and father? Shit… man… that changes things. I hate it when people hurt kids.” PJ spoke apologetically; “I guess that explains why you kinda lost your cool… I would, too. Look, I’ll help… I’ll help...Wait… shit!! He is the ‘Immaculate-Artist’? Wow, I get it now. Yeah, he seems like he could be…”

“Next time, don’t give advice unless it applies.” Xavien growled.

“Oh, no, man… I may have a different opinion on the situation now… but you still need to ’up’ your cool. Pretend like you’ve never been disappointed before, make it like everyone will always give you what you want. It’s good advice for everyone… but it’s even better advice for someone like you.” The tattooist nodded confidently.

“Why does this work?” Xavien asked, intrigued as to the reason.

“I can’t explain it, man… just that I’ve seen people in my time. It’s like people just want to make people like that like them. Not even that they want to get in good or nothing… just that they feel good about helping them out. Like when that sweet little pretty thing you see in the mall smiles at you? Sure, you’d fuck her… but you go around all day with your head in the clouds because you pretend that she thought you were sexy, too. I think it’s kinda like that.”

Xavien nodded. Myrna liked the flies and honey analogy… but his life had certainly outgrown flies. He was catching bigger things, now.

“I certainly apologize for offending you. I will take your advice into careful consideration. If I choose to adopt it and it proves effective, then you will have my thanks. Until then… I have a multi-murderer to catch.” Xavien nodded as his tone softened.

“Another thing, man? Real quick.” PJ added; “Try not to sound like a computer when you talk… makes people think too much. Computers ain’t cool, man, they never were. Doesn’t matter how amazing they are… they’re all just logic and circuits and shit. People deal right here, in the heart, with their emotions. It’s real easy to get them to talk if you go there, first. You get them thinking, they start thinking that they may not want to talk to you… no matter how cool you are.”

Xavien pursed his lips; this was not the first time he’d heard this. Myrna, Clara and Victor had often mentioned it. It was a hard habit to break because there were so many verbal ambiguities.

He nodded; “Well, I’m going to leave before you offer any more lessons in coolness. The only thing I need from you is not to spook Irving. Let me handle the rest. Can you dig, man?” Xavien grinned.

“Hey! That’s much better, man!” PJ smiled back; “Sure thing!”

Xavien laughed; “Multiple-murders, tattoos and life’s little lessons… talk about one-stop shopping.”

PJ’s smile faded slightly; “Just come back if you want anything else done. We’ll work something out.”

“Mr. Peoples… I just wanted to let you know that I appreciated the spirit of your message, even if I somewhat disagree with the content.” Xavien said earnestly, as he plodded down the stairs.

“Hey man. I appreciate the spirit of your appreciation. Heh-heh” PJ called after him.

He exited the tattoo parlor and made his way to his car, where Andrew sat pensively. As soon as he got in, Andrew asked him; “If you don’t mind me asking… what did you get?”

“Blue MegaBrick block over my heart to signify the love of my son.” Xavien stated quietly.

“That’s not what I meant.”

“That’s not all it meant, either.” Xavien said, cryptically.

“You’re a bit of a tougher nut to crack than even –I- anticipated. I also gain the impression that you do not like me very much; may I ask why?” Andrew asked.

“You’re just not, like, cool man. I don’t buy the boy-scout act.” Xavien chuckled at his references.

“Huh? Wow, that… completely went over my head… What does my level of cool have to do with it?” Andrew said, flabbergasted at the lack of context.

“It’s not of concern. I’m just being capric—ahhh fuck it. I’m fucking with you. Yeah. Don’t take it seriously, man. I’m just fucking with you. You know, I like the way your eyes twitch when I say the word fuck.” Xavien spoke with a marked sense of amusement.

“Okay. Wow, you really lost me… I hope there’s a point; otherwise I’d think you could be cracking under the pressure…” Andrew said, half-jokingly.

“Indulge my insanity, then, for just a moment.”

“Carry on, please. I’m curious to the direction. Admittedly, also a bit concerned for your mental and emotional well being.” Andrew nodded, with his brow furrowed.

“I sincerely want to fuck again. I not only wish to fuck… but I wish to lap at a woman’s cunt until her cum runs down my chin. I want to make her a slave to my whim until she passes out from exhaustion… You know what I mean? I just want that raw, animal connection…” Xavien spoke wistfully, aware of how disconcerted Andrew had become.

Andrew shook his head quickly; “I really have no idea where you are going with this.”

“Bear with me… However… I have this fucking mental block that… I just can’t do it with any fucking woman… I don’t like to share, and I really have no desire to adopt any of the fucking hang-ups from previous relationships, or emotional baggage from a terrible childhood… and I also don’t want to have to worry that… every fifteen and three-quarter seconds… something awful might happen and take her away from me again. My fucking wife, effectively, kicked me out of her life and took a giant chunk out of my time with my own fucking son Scott. That was bad enough… so I also have to find one that I can devote enough time to… but I can’t do that with every superfuckingnatural and mundane force beating down my door. Shit, motherfucker, even the mundane forces were too much for that marriage. I am hurting right now something awful… but I’ll get over it eventually… and when I do? I’m going to be really fucking angry.” Xavien sighed with a wan smile on his face and a distant look in his eyes.

Andrew swallowed as if his internal grammar checker was removing all of the curse words for palatability; “So, you want to find love again, when you are healed. But, you are worried that you can’t love and bring a child into this world… as it was, much less as you have come to know it now. I get that, understand it and I also empathize… but what does this have to do with…?”

“Have you ever buried your cock into a woman? Like driven it in so hard that it hurts her… and you would feel bad, but then she begs for it again… and there is that truth in her eyes… that she really does want it? I don’t want to hurt a woman… but I did it a few times and heard it a few times… that it set my blood to boil at the hottest temperature… and the cum to build up in my balls to the point it hurt my ass… I want that again… because behind that… is this woman that is also willing to sacrifice everything of herself for you. Even if she didn’t like it… she would let you destroy her just so you could be happy…” Xavien wistfully recollected, in his rarest of moments.

“I will confess… I’ve never heard anyone say you’ve spoken in this manner before, so I am thoroughly taken aback… I understand you are grieving and rightfully so. I also get that these are natural urges… but if I may… I’m not exactly the expert in this matter. I’ve never been with a woman, nor would I have any idea how to advise on the matter. Additionally, if I were to have done so… I certainly don’t believe I would have the temperament to discuss it, much less in the manner you have. Moreover, I have a growing concern over the level of your focus on this case. Are you okay? I mean… okay within the reasonable parameters that are required for you to do your job?”

Xavien smiled at him and shook his head; “I’m not okay. I’ve never been okay, I will never be okay for the length of my terrible existence.” Andrew’s eyes grew as big as saucers, but he remained silent as it appeared Xavien was to continue; “I can’t be okay because I was never meant to be merely OK. I was bred, born, cultivated and matured to be the man. Everything you see from this point will be motherfucking fantastic… but only because I am not okay… because… I am awesome. It would be a disservice to Myrna, my mother, father, wife and son… if I became anything other than the best at everything I’ve ever tried.”

“I’m…” Andrew swallowed and looked about to cry out of confusion as he continued; “Sort of… happy? To hear that… but still missing a boat-load of context.”

“What context do you need?” Xavien asked, in a tone full of mischief.

“I think, at this point, I may have even forgotten. I… guess I was trying to figure out what went on in there. It’s just… strange that a regimented person such as yourself, even one who is newly baptized in the blood of the supernatural as you are… to merely go to a tattoo shop and get a tattoo. It just seems that there is more going on than you are telling me. Since I am your partner, on your side and with a strong drive to catch this killer… I would be the first, even if I were the only person you would tell about what is going on. I know you don’t have Detective Clayton… but… we have to work together.”

“Let’s just say that I didn’t know, but that I had to get a tattoo… and it occurred to me to come here. Things will work out. I promise you.” Xavien stated, confidently.

“Why will they work out?” Andrew asked, without motivation to actually listen to the answer.

“Because I’m the man, that’s why.” Xavien beamed.

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