hwango: (hermit crab)
[personal profile] hwango

Firenz looked up at the sound of the shop door opening. He could tell immediately that his prospective customer was in fact no such thing. After just a few years of running a business you developed a sense for that sort of thing, and Firenz had been running his business a lot longer than just a few years. This man was a thug. In fact, with the physique, the clothes, and the way he carried himself he was practically a caricature of a thug.

The thug cast a fairly disinterested look at the shop interior before approaching the counter and leaning heavily on it so that the wood creaked. Honestly, the only thing he hadn't done to complete the stereotype was crack his knuckles menacingly.

"Ya got trouble, my friend," the thug said, then straightened so he could loom more effectively. He cracked his knuckles menacingly. Firenz almost laughed out loud, but managed to turn it into a cough just in time.

"And what sort of trouble do I have, my friend?" Firenz asked, all smiles. It had been a slow day, and this might be an amusing diversion.

"My...associates and I recently moved into the area," the thug said. Firenz struggled not to roll his eyes. In fact, he struggled to even pay attention as the thug rattled off his prepared string of vague threats and suggestions of possible violence. It was your standard protection racket, which he was not yet paying into, and so just about any awful thing could happen to him or his shop. It was tragic, really. But imagination probably wasn't a very prized commodity among criminals of this particular brand.

"Well?" said the thug, and Firenz realized that he'd let his attention wander a bit too far, and had missed his cue.

"I'm sorry, I stopped paying attention a bit back, " Firenz said. The thug looked confused. "I thought you might break something at the end of your little speech to really send your point home, which apparently you didn't, so I thought you were still going."

The thug half-consciously started to reach for something to break and hesitated when he realized that what he was reaching for was a book.

"How about that lamp?" Firenz said, pointing to the far end of the counter where an oil lamp burned with a low flame. "Shattering glass is very dramatic. Though you might accidentally burn the place down, and that's hardly productive. For that matter, the whole marketplace could go up, and there goes your entire revenue stream!" The thug's eyes darted back and forth guiltily, and this time Firenz couldn't stop himself from laughing out loud. "Merciful gods, did you accidentally burn down the last town where you tried this? Is that why you're new to the area?"

"You think this is funny, old man?" the thug said, no longer embarrassed but angry.

"In a sort of tragic way, yes. I mean, you really are new to the area, aren't you?," Firenz asked. Then the thug took a swing at him, which did catch him a bit by surprise. He'd been expecting at least one more threat before any actual violence. He still easily caught the thug's fist before it connected, though. His assailant was still only human after all.

It was amazing to watch the thug's expression race from confusion, back to anger, and then finally to something like a mix of confusion and fear. No matter how hard the thug tried, he couldn't seem to free his hand from Firenz's grip.

"Really new to the area, and didn't scout the place at all? Listen for rumors? Or maybe dire warnings?" Firenz asked. The thug whimpered a little as Firenz tightened his grip on the thug's hand. Some of the smaller bones would probably break soon. "Maybe wonder why the shop is lit by lamps in the middle of the day? Notice that the windows are blacked out so completely that there isn't a mote of sunshine in here?"

Firenz smiled a toothy smile. The thug whimpered some more.

"My friend," said Firenz, "ya got trouble."

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