John rubbed his hand across his shaved head, feeling the small prickly stubs that were jutting out every which-way. After splashing some water on his face he rubbed the five o'clock shadow that was growing on his chin. He quickly straightened his sunglasses and tie, brushing some dandruff off of his suit. "That ought to do it." He grumbled.

"Talking to yourself again, eh John?" A voice crackled to life on a communicator that he had in his ear.

"Shut it Morrison." John grumbled into the communicator. "We maintain radio silence unless absolutely necessary."

"Well it's necessary to keep you from talking to yourself in front of a crowd of people. That looks really creepy."

John sighed, cutting the link. He turned from the sink in the very dingy bathroom that he was currently in. There was only one light dangling from the ceiling that gave almost no light, making the room appear even more gloomy than it should. The toilet was covered in unmentionable filth that smelled of intestinal distress and regurgitated alcohol. Even the sink was a questionable shade of gray, but it was the cleanest thing in the room so it was probably for the best that John clung to its general vicinity for dear life.

He reached into his suit pocket, pulling out a neatly folded sheet of paper. After unfolding it John began studying up on the picture that was printed on the sheet. A man with a very cleanly shaven face greeted his vision, this man's hair was neatly slicked back, and his face was very angular and solemn. Above the picture's head was written "Wanted" under that was written "Alex Mandrake". John let his eyes drift to the bottom of the paper. "Wanted for drug possession and trafficking. Reward: $2,000".

John sighed, getting a good look at the picture before folding it up again and storing it in his jacket pocket again. The plan was simple, Morrison would watch for the target in the nice, clean, and crisp coffee shop across the street and tell John when the target would arrive at the dirty, dingy, and broken down bar that he was currently in. John would then produce a suitcase stuffed with some money while the bottom was lined with a few book for weight. The target would provide a suitcase filled with various drugs, and after confirmation John would turn the Alex Mandrake over to the police to collect their bounty.

John mulled the plan over in his head again and again, wondering why he was stuck in the disgusting bar while his partner was keeping watch in a nice and safe location. Morrison interrupted his complaints once again. "John, Mandrake just pulled up in a black Mercedes Benz."

"Alright, I'll get ready to meet our guest then." John said, getting ready to open the door.

"Before you go crazy I should inform you of the goons he brought with him."

"Oh please don't Morrsion. I'd hate to have you ruin the surprise." John spat out in a sarcastic tone.

"Cut the crap already John. This guy's got some pretty big guys working for him."

"Big as in bad reputation, or big as in…big?"

"Big as in at least a head taller than you. Two of them, both just stepped out of the back seat of the car. Hold it…I see a smaller guy coming out of the driver's side, could be dangerous. Watch out for him."

With that the connection was cut again and John rubbed his temples. He was expecting maybe a bodyguard, but three? That made things more complicated. He sighed and pushed the door open, stepping out into the smoke filled bar. Smoking was illegal in the bar, of course, but the cops didn't seem to care. The tables were covered with dust and questionable stains, the chairs all had the same stains and seemed like it would fall apart if a body filled the empty space. The bar itself was probably the cleanest part of the building, only because the bartender barely had customers and merely spent his time brushing the table with a filthy rag. There were four other people in the bar, each smoking heavily as their cigarettes left huge piles of ashes in the ashtrays on each table.

John saw the target sit down at a table near the window that wasn't as dirty as the rest while his goons stood behind him. "Do you have a visual of the target on your end, Morrison?" John whispered, making sure the target didn't hear him.

"Yeah, I got a lock on him." Morrison replied.

"Good, I'm going to cut all connection from this point. Keep me updated if anything changes."

"Sure thing John, over and out."

John started walking forward as Morrison cut the link. Alex finally acknowledged John's existence and nodded for him to sit down. As he did the Alex said, "So, I trust that we're here to make a deal Mr…?"

"Drakehard." John stated, almost cringing as his suit sat down in the disgusting chair. "John Drakehard."

"Very well Mr. Drakehard. I trust you know of the deal?"

"I have the case, and I trust you kept your end of the bargain, Mr. Mandrake."

Alex nodded, pulling up a fairly small metal suitcase. "It's not often that I make a deal in such a professional manner." He commented, placing his hand on the top of the case. "More often then not I deal with kids who don't know what they're doing. It's a pleasure to meet someone with some level of refinement."

John shrugged his shoulders, producing a similar suitcase, slightly larger than Alex's however. He gave a slight smirk, saying, "Well the world is full of surprises."

"Oh believe me, I know. In my line of work the unexpected becomes an everyday chore for me."

"I can see where you're coming from, Mr. Mandrake, but back to the matter at hand." John replied, lightly tapping his suitcase.

"Ah, a man strictly of business. I like that." Alex said, smirking a bit. "Very well, out of courtesy I'll show you confirmation that I do have what you're purchasing, Mr. Drakehard." Alex slid open his case and revealed a multitude of white packages. He was also very careful to keep it hidden from the bartender, who looked as if he could care less. He slowly shut his case and nodded to John. "Now, I ask that you show me that you are in possession of the money we can part ways."

John nodded and slowly began unlatching his suitcase. "Uh…John?" He heard Morrison say. John ignored his partner and kept opening the case. "John stop!" Morrison began shouting. "You idiot! The case is upside down!"

It was too late, however, John had opened the case to its entirety, revealing the books that they had to use for filler. John saw Alex's face turn from happiness, to confusion, to uncontrollable rage. "Is this some kind of joke?" Alex growled. "Because if it is it isn't funny."

"Ah piss." John sighed, rubbing his temples.

"Here I thought you were so much better than the average scum that happen to come by my way. It seems that I've been mistaken." Alex nodded back to his cronies. "Boys, teach Mr. Drakehard a lesson in personal finance, since he apparently doesn't know how to manage his funds."

The two larger bodyguards began cracking their knuckles and began advancing. The smaller one wasted no time with meaningless intimidation and immediately entered a battle-ready stance. John realized he had little time to react and began grasping at straws. His eyes dart towards the ashtray on the table. He quickly grabbed a handful and threw it into the face of the smaller guard. As the man began wiping the ashes out of his eyes John kicked the table in front of him. The table knocked into the legs of the two larger bodyguards, stunning them for a moment. John took the opportunity to stand and get ready for the oncoming attack.

One of the large bodyguards threw the table to the ground, breaking it into several pieces. One of the guards threw his large fist at John. The bounty hunter sidestepped the strike, spinning around the bodyguard and kicking the back of his leg and caused him to fall to one knee in pain. The other bodyguard had picked up a chair at this point and swung it at the bounty hunter. John ducked the chair and heard it shatter across the back of his companion. John slid forward, delivering a swift uppercut to the still-standing bodyguard. The guard stumbled backwards into a nearby booth. The other patrons of the bar were whooping and hollering at this point while the bartender was taking down notes.

The smaller guard had managed to get the ashes out of his eyes and locked eyes with John. He leaped across the wreckage of the table and chairs and gave a flying sidekick to John. The bounty hunter managed to cross his arms just in time to block it from hitting him directly in the chest. John slid back from the force of the blow as his opponent landed on his feet. The two men stood still for a moment, trying to gauge each other's strength. A mere moment passed and the two charged at each other, entering a stale mate of punches and blocks that lasted for a few moments.

A pause in the attacks happened and John found himself surrounded by the other two guards who managed to regain consciousness. The bounty hunter looked around, entering a more defensive stance as the three guards slowly encircled him and slowly got closer with every passing moment. In an instant the smaller of the bodyguards slid forward, throwing a roundhouse kick. John ducked the attack and his foe's foot hit one of the larger bodyguards' faces, knocking him unconscious. While the smaller guard was preoccupied from the loss of balance John gave a quick series of punches to the other large guard. The big man fell to the floor, unconscious, and the smaller guard gave a rushed kick. John grabbed the man's leg while it was in mid-swing, swept out his foe's other leg, and delivered a quick punch that knocked him out.

As he wiped the sweat from his forehead he heard the communicator come to life again. "Great job taking out the goons, John, but the target ran up to the roof after you took out little bit there. I've called the cops to take care of the lackeys but I think you'll want to hurry if you want to get paid for the job!"

John winced as Morrison shouted in the earpiece and sighed. He quickly ran out the back door and found the ladder that the target had used to escape. He swiftly climbed it and made his way to the top, finding Alex staring blankly down into the alleyway below. "It seems that I've fallen into your trap, Mr. Drakehard." He said, turning to face John. "Shame, I was hoping to keep murder off of my list of crimes." A sly smirk came to his face as he pulled a gun on the bounty hunter.

John sighed again, walking forward as Alex's confident smile faded. "Look, I don't really have time for this." John said, pulling out a pair of handcuffs from under his suit jacket. "So I'll be sure to make this quick."

Alex's hand began quivering as the bounty hunter came closer. "Stay back, you hear me? Stay back!" John kept getting closer and closer. Eventually Alex pulled the trigger, but nothing happened.

Alex stood there, perplexed as John got directly into his face. "Safety's on." John whispered, punching Alex in the gut. The target coughed for a moment then passed out as John handcuffed him. "Another job well done." John sighed, rubbing his temples. As he said this the police cruisers pulled up to the bar, their sirens blazing as the officers ran into the building to arrest the bodyguards in the room below.

"What do you mean we only have two-hundred dollars!" John shouted.

A man wearing a Hawaiian button up shirt, jeans, and had a receding hairline growled at the bounty hunter. "John, we lost two hundred for the DAMAGES you had caused in the bar. We lost a thousand to pay for the DEBTS we had run up. We lost four hundred to pay for the RENT. And we lost four hundred to pay for the BILLS!"

"Look Morrison…" John sighed, taking off his sunglasses and placing them in his pocket. "We can't be in that bad of shape."

"We are! If we don't get some money soon we'll be screwed."

John grumbled, turning away from his partner. He was in a very bare office building. The floor was made of old and creaking wood while the blinds were always kept closed. A single light was dangling from the ceiling in this room and there were only two desks and a cheap looking couch for furniture. There was an ancient looking computer sitting on one of the desks while the other was covered in garbage. A staircase led to the upstairs where the two were living. John walked over to a window and partially opened up the blinds. He could see out across the street where they called home.

Suddenly there was a knock at the door. "Are we expecting a job?" John asked Morrison, who was sat down at the desk with the computer on it.

"No one called in, so I doubt it. Though I wouldn't risk losing a potential customer to ignorance. Go see who it is."

John sighed and walked over to the blank door, pulling it open. He raised his eyebrow in curiosity when he saw the people at the door. "And who the hell are you?" He asked as he stared at what he hoped to be potential employers.