Walking into Ricardo’s “shop” was like walking into a medieval witchdoctor’s hut─
“I don’t think they actually had those…”
“Whatever,” I waved a hand. What I hoped weren’t dead things hung from the ceiling while certainly dead things sat in rows of jars on high shelves. An unidentifiable species of large bird perched on a willow stick in a corner, glaring down at me with an evil eye. “Hello…?” I called in barely a whisper. Clearing my throat I straightened my spine and called out louder.
“So you are the one who is having the identity crisis.” Behind the counter piled high with papers and merchandise sat a weathered looking man, smoking a heavy cigar. He blended into his environment exceedingly well. Looking at me through the purple smoke the man looked amused at my wide eyes.
Nervously I laughed. “Identity crisis? The only crisis I’m having is being empty handed.”
“Don’t pussy-foot around,” Ricardo said. “I know all about you. Shorty was in a bit ago. Such a nice girl. Told me about this “lame-Jane” fool everyone was after on account of you and Mike having the same name. And now Georgie-boy has sent you to me. What luck.” Over my head the sound of flapping wings made their way to his side. The giant bird, carrying the charisma of ten Godfathers, doubled the pressure you only feel when under a critical gaze. Swallowing, my mind blank, I stood in the shop without a single idea of what to say. Ricardo looked me up and down and took a long drag from his cigar. “You’re the most pathetic looking piece of blubber I have ever see. You wanna be a bounty hunter?”
“Yes. No. Not really, but yes.” Ricardo appropriately raised an eyebrow at my answer. “I don’t want to be a bounty hunter, but I’ve been told, rather convinced, it’s the only way to keep random people from attacking and arresting me.”
“Annett got to you?” He smiled.
“And Shorty.” I admitted.
Ricardo took a drag from his cigar and shook his head. “Forgive my age, but I’m having trouble wrapping my head around all this.”
“How do you think I feel?”
“No offence guy, but I don’t think you have what it takes to be a bounty hunter.”