I didn't competely trust what I'd gotten from the Sanderson kid. Never heard of Akiyama, but worked at the Akiyama Institute. Be interesting to see who signed his paychecks. Kid really needs to get a life, but who am I to talk? I decided I could squeeze him again if I didn't get any other info soon. But first, the writing I'd gotten from upstairs. I headed to Chinatown to start working some of my contacts there...
Riding the streetcar, away from the city proper, out to the beach. At each stop the fog developed more confidence, 'til it looked like smoke pouring out between the buildings. I shivered against the growing damp. Unfolded the piece of rice paper and mulled over the various interpretations I'd been given.
"The Way of Peace."
"The Path of Harmony."
"How To Hold Your Breath."
"The Way of Unity with the Universal Force."
"A Method for Spiritual Kicks to the Head."
"The Path to Unite One's Inner Energy."
"Isn't that a Japanese dog?"
I felt a headache coming on; the $100 retainer was gone and I was no closer to solving the case. At least I had a few bucks left on the credit card, and I could usually count on finding a guy or two to pay for my beers.
Off the streetcar a few blocks from the Ocean. Peasoup-thick fog swirled around me; I zipped up my leather jacket and grabbed a beret from the pocket to pull low over my ears. My high heels ringing out on the pavement were the only sound except for the mournful cries of gulls high above as I crossed the street, heading for the only business open on this residential street: the garish red neon cut through the fog like a medical examiner's scalpel through soft tissue, announcing "C.G.2." I wondered who or where "C.G.1" might be. No time for silly questions. I pushed the door open and recoiled from a wall of noise and light. A fire marshall's nightmare; must have been a couple of hundred people in a long narrow room maybe fifteen feet by fifty. A bar ran along one wall, lined with tap after tap of brews. Behind the bar the sushi chefs wielded their knives while customers shouted out orders in finest New York deli style.
It was a mixed crowd--men, women, all ages and races. Typical San Francisco multiculti. Typical urban high density noise level too. My head started to throb; the beret went back into its pocket. That's when I realized I'd committed a fashion sin. Who would have thought you could go wrong wearing black? The whole damn place was dressed in ill- fitting white suits like Matt had worn, only some of them were wearing long dark pleated skirts over the pants. Even some of the guys. Typical San Francisco. Some things don't change. I held my aching head high and made for the bar.