Chapter 9, by Janet Rosen
The plane got into San Antonio early Tuesday morning. I'd managed to get some shuteye on the flight and freshened up in the airport. It was 85 and hazy, so I changed into a light sun dress and sandals and left my black stuff in the suitcase in a locker. I'd figured out on the plane that if I were careful the money in the envelope would last a couple of weeks. I was ready for a vacation, but I had some unfinished business yet.....
I showed the cabbie my map and he took me to a strip mall on the north side of town. Of course, everything we passed seemed to be a strip mall. I paid him off and wandered around. Spotted a gym with a tattered sign that read "First Annual Aikido-L Cyberdojo and Beerfest." Checked the date: whatever had happened had happened a couple of days ago. Still, I'd come this far. One more door to open.....
Inside it was pleasantly cool and dim. The room was covered with gym mats. And empty except for one other person. A slim young Japanese-American man. "Jun Akiyama?"
"Hi." He bowed slightly.
"Mind if I smoke?"
"Care if I die?"
"O.K., O.K., hey I've gone to a lot of trouble for you."
He looked genuinely surprised.
"You are the Shihan they call Jun Akiyama, right, dude?"
Peals of laughter. "Shihan? Shihan? More like a Ronin! What's this all about anyway?"
I was in no mood for games. I marched outside and lit up a Lucky in the fresh air and waited for him to follow me. He did.
"Man by the name of Matt Burns hired me to find you. Said you were a Shihan. En route a girl got iced. Little thing name of Uke."
Jun sank to the pavement, shaking his head in disbelief. "I had no idea it would go so far....We were planning this seminar and nobody wanted Matt Burns there....well, he knew I was organizing the seminar so we had to sneak me out of town......but Uke....well, Matt Burns was always roughest on Uke, but we never imagined he'd kill her!"