— Posted in Code Dead, Vampire Noir

Code Dead – The intermission between “Glenda” and “I, The Jury” [Chapter 4, Part 1]

Hamlet meets Kill Bill, The Dragon version of …

Once upon a time, in temples across the land far and wide, the name of this supernatural being was incessantly chanted day and night. It would start as an incomprehensible murmur and crescendo in one very discernible word, that word was her name, spoken over and over again—then the cycle, the worship, would repeat itself, or rather her worshipers would repeat themselves, always the incomprehensible murmur becoming a crescendo… So popular was she that thereafter female gods were titled her name. Her name was Goddess!!!

All Chinese restaurants in Creation are somehow connected with Dragons, and where there are Dragons, there are always 456. Either the connection is explicit; Dragons own the restaurant, outright. Or, the connection is implicit; Dragons are somehow affiliated with the restaurant, usually as patrons.

It is said that the Motel has a Chinese restaurant. That’s not urban legend, that’s a fact. Being part of the Motel, the restaurant must be atemporal. Some argue that it is Guo Bin, while others argue that it is Lu Lu. While it might be Lu Lu, since Lu Lu is atemporal and it is standalone. It cannot be Guo Bin. Guo Bin is atemporal, but it is always affixed to a temporal structure in whatever universe that it is manifest – ergo, it’s not standalone and the Motel’s restaurant is standalone.

Although there is only one physical restaurant [one Guo Bin and one Lu Lu], there are as many iterations of each restaurant as there are universes that each can be accessed from. Not to mention, there are countless versions and sub-versions of each restaurant, as best suits the culinary situation at hand that needs addressing.

In this universe …

Guo Bin Chinese Restaurant, 8600 Delmar Boulevard, University City, MO, is affixed to the first floor of an upscale retirement hi-rise that acts as the fixture of an equally upper-end retirement community, gated and select – for the “discerning” set. Only the restaurant is open to the general public.

In contrast, Lu Lu Seafood & Dim Sum [Chinese Restaurant], 8224 Olive Boulevard, University City, Saint Louis, MO, is right there on the main thoroughfare of U-City. It’s in that nice, “general” part of town which can hardly be described as upscale. Lu Lu is located in an area populated by many Asian restaurants, many of which are said to be “authentic”.

Guo Bin versus Lu Lu is Beijing chic versus Hong Kong popularist [with some Taiwanese twang thrown in for good measure]. In spite of that divergence in culinary style, in the case of both restaurants, their Dim Sum is to die for, and when Dragons or 456 are being served, that literally is true – someone has been killed to be made into the meal’s meat ingredients.

Guo Bin is owned by a Dragon. Her name is Guo Bin Wu. Lu Lu is owned by Mr. Fan, also a Dragon. To his family, friends, and regular customers, he’s affectionately known as Andy. In sharp contrast, and quite expectedly, no one, not even her beloved husband, calls Madam Wu, by her first name.

Mondo and Dwayne materialize in the small, austere foyer of Guo Bin. Out of place is an ornate clothes butler with a duplicate of the outfit [shirt, pants, shoes, sox, etc] that Dwayne shredded when he lost his cool and went Wolf. The butler looks vaguely Ming Dynasty with some tasteful Tang [Dynasty] touches.

While Mondo openly leers at him, he quickly dresses and they enter the ornate bowels of the restaurant proper. There are two dining areas. Sara and Bugs are seated and eating in the “other” dining space, the slightly narrower one segregated for mundane. At their table is ADA Xenia Onatopp, who’s a deadringer for actress Famke Janssen. The assistant district attorney has a plain manila envelope on the table beside her.

Although Mondo and Dwayne can see the humans, the humans are unaware of the supernaturals.

The butler fades away, no longer needed. In its place, Detectives Eddie Dean Kent and Samantha Teri Lane appear. The Guo Bin that they enter has no Mondo or Dwayne, but has Sara, Bugs, and Onatopp. A young Chinese girl, who looks like, and is, a teenager, seats Eddie and Sam at a table in the main dining area, the slightly wider one where supernaturals and humans eat. Their teen hostess hands them each a menu and waits patiently for them to order. Eddie hates Chinese food with a passion, but he’s knows better than to refuse service here. Not ordering is not an option.

The teenager is a Dragon in human form. She’s one of Madam Wu’s great, great, great … granddaughters. Her name is Jade Yang.

Their hostess, a sixty-something Chinese woman, Madam Wu, seats Mondo and Dwayne at a table where Beegie is already sitting.

Madam Wu claps her hands, seemingly directed at no one in particular, and seats herself at the table. A forty-something Chinese man, a 456 in human form dressed formally like a waiter, hands menus to everyone at the table including Madam Wu. His name is Fong. He was not there and then he was just there, as if in response to Madam Wu’s clap.

“There is plenty for you to choose from, Vegan,” Madam Wu says, dryly.

Beegie starts to say something, but then showing great wisdom for her age decides better and keeps her mouth shut.

Madam Wu then turns her attention to Mondo. She acts as if Dwayne is not there. And … From what he has heard about Madam Wu, he decides that maybe it’s better that way.

“That Vampire used to bring you here quite often.”

“Dame Julia, back when I was human.”

Madam Wu frowns. Like a double exposed piece of film … Momentarily, her true face [her Dragon face] overlays her “false” one [her human one]. Fortunately, for all concerned, the moment passes.

“I wasn’t aware that I had bade you to speak, Vampire.”

Mondo closes her generous mouth and makes sure to not crack a smile, let alone crack wise again.

“Better. Much better … Else you and the other members of your party will end up in the pot.”

Madam Wu continues to hold court, unabated.

“Who killed this Food, Ricky?”

“No one,” Mondo answers, deciding that Madam Wu has implicitly given her permission to speak.

This time, Madam Wu smiles generously.

“Now, tell me in detail, how you know this to be true. I’m curious. Delineate to me as if you are being cross-examined in a human courtroom as a hostile witness by some zealot prosecuting attorney, for example …”

That’s when ADA Onatopp is in the room with them, standing at the table beside Madam Wu holding that plain manila envelope.

“Oh, there I go forgetting my manners. First, we order, and then we cross. Since ADA Onatopp has already partaken, somewhat, she will not need to repast with us. She can just stand there and wait.”