The Last Days of Jonathan Graves – Written November 10, 2003

Who’s this one? Coming across a man in a black trench coat walking down the street is a normal occurrence, but thankfully I am blessed in having greater sight than most. This one’s name is Jonathan…Jonathan something. He’s extraordinarily upset; he is going to kill someone or someones…he doesn’t seem to be sure. He just bought two guns about an hour ago and has a sword on his back.

Graves, that’s Jonathan’s last name; Jonathan Graves. Mr. Graves was in an apartment of a friend of his an hour ago, cruising the merchandise that was a heavy arsenal of firearms, opting for the twin chrome Desert Eagle .357s instead of twin SIG .45s. He justified the purchase, as it was $500 more for the Eagles than the SIGs, by saying, “It’s a magnum – you only get the chance to do this right once.” And right he is, off to rescue his friend, Jennifer.

Jennifer was introduced to Jonathan when he was in high school; Jonathan had Jennifer’s mother for a teacher and Jennifer was four years old at the time. That was ten years ago. Today, Jennifer is fourteen and Jonathan is twenty-six, and Jonathan has never stopped looking out for her since the day he met her. Sadly, Jennifer’s father got involved in a business that he couldn’t handle a few years back and managed to get his family involved. The man is so indebted to the Yakuza that they killed his wife and kidnapped his daughter, awaiting payment within the week. That was one week ago.

Jonathan had no idea that Jennifer was gone until he saw Kristine, Jennifer’s mother, being dragged out of the East River two days after she had “disappeared.” Her husband was such a weakling that he couldn’t admit to anyone what was happening until Jonathan used a pair of nunchaku to convince him. Sometimes, to stop evil men, one must do very evil things, and that was what Jonathan decided he must do. Jennifer is being held at a bar…no…over a bar. She and some Yakuza are waiting in an apartment for the money to show up so young Jennifer might live a long and eventful life.

While Jonathan has no money on him; he seems to be fairly certain that his sixteen lead friends will help the negotiation process along. He’s not a violent person, though he has lots of experience in the industry simply because the Black Market breeds all sorts of dangerous activity. After he got out of high school, Jonathan got into bookkeeping, and has gotten fairly good at it. He never carried a gun until this night, which is not to say he has no skill with firearms, but is a more of a lover of all sorts of mêlée weaponry and holds quite the extensive collection. The katana he’s carrying right now is one of a set of fifteen, the “main” sword, as it were. The first seven of the swords are “darker” colors, each having a different color and engraving representational of each of the seven deadly sins; the second seven were “lighter” colors, each having a different color and engraving representational of the seven heavenly virtues; the final sword was identical to the others except for a yin yang engraved into the hilt instead of a corresponding sin/virtue and its colors being black and white. This sword had no name and was almost never used, if only because of its ideology of being a sword of harmony.

Jonathan arrives at the bar, “The Rising Sun,” only slightly more scared than he was a few blocks back. The Harmony hums on his back, begging for action, as his Eagles scream at his sides, talons clutched, waiting to unleash their wrath. Upon entering the bar, only one thing seemed strange to Jonathan. Being 12:30 on a Saturday night, the bar should have been full, but was instead empty except for four men in suits at a corner table. The thing that seemed most strange was that none of the men looked at him nor anything else except what was directly in front of their noses. That is, until Jonathan made it to the middle of the room when all-of-a-sudden the front doors slammed behind him, and he was trapped.

Yakuza are not stupid – they know no briefcase means no money, and no money means someone has to die, usually someones. Luckily, it appears Jonathan isn’t stupid either, and manages to dive over the bar just before a spray of bullets from a MAC-10 barrage the mahogany. Looking at the mirror behind the bar, Jonathan can see he is outnumbered five to one; the only good news is that only two of them have guns, while the other two appear unarmed and standing near the door to the staircase leading upstairs. Jonathan skins his Eagles, keeps knelt, and puts his back to the mirror as the two Japanese gangsters approach the bar to see what the hunt had spoiled. To their shock, Jonathan jumps up, aims a .357 at each of their heads, and blasts the insides of their skulls all over the barroom. The three Yakuza began to run to the three farthest corners from Jonathan they could find, his guns spraying like supernovas, tiny projectiles slamming into everything except the three gangsters, two dressed in black and one in white.

Ninja they are, armed they are, and scared Jonathan is. “Mr. Graves,” the short one introduces, “this is not going to solve-”

“-anything, Mr. Graves,” the tall one concludes, only to be interrupted moments later, “Your friend is-”

“-no more,” the white one says, “You may leave now-”

“-or you may-”


Perfectly on cue, the three whip out three identical blades. Jonathan hops back over the bar and removes his jacket, showing The Harmony on his back. “I guess we’ll have to see about that,” he said, “If you want a piece of me, then you’re welcome to it.” The short one, trained in ninjutsu most of his life, was the first to come at Jonathan, who is not classically trained at all. The ninja’s skill was obviously superior, though his arrogance about it was even more prevalent, and was his eventual undoing, as Jonathan took his head. After slaying the first in black, the taller one comes at him, showing both skill with the sword and freedom of mind. The two circle for many minutes before the one in black lunges forward, giving Jonathan just enough time to slice his right arm off, then his left leg.

By this point, there is blood all over the bar, except for the ninja in white, who says, “You fight well, though not ninja. What is your style?”

“Kicking your ass…”

“Clever…for a Westerner. Are you sure you know what you do? Are you sure you are here for the right reason?”

“I’m here for my friend, and if that means I have to kill you to get her, then that’s what it means.” With that, the white ninja jumps off a table, then off a wall, and lands five feet from Jonathan, sword drawn.

“Are you sure?”

“We both have a job to do, it seems, and only one of us is going to get what we want here. So it is what it is, and I doubt either of us is about to back down.” The ninja moves like lightning, Jonathan barely able to keep up with him, slowly getting cut down to size. Shirtless, bleeding, and broken, Jonathan stands before the ninja, tip of The Harmony touching the floor.

“You can now see how futile your quest is?” asks the ninja, drawing his sword back far, making a side-slash for Jonathan’s stomach. Barely aware, Jonathan drops to the ground, onto his back, just as the ninja’s sword passes over his face, cutting the bangs of his hair. As the back of his skull cracks against the bar floor as The Harmony came cutting back towards the ninja’s head, slicing him from the left of his neck to just above his right hip.

The ninja was right when he said that the girl was dead – she was – the Yakuza don’t play around when it comes to their money and honor; Jonathan was right, too, when he said there could be only one winner of the battle. The kid was so busy taking care of the ninja that he didn’t notice that I had walked right in the front door. While it was the ninja’s job to collect any money, it was my job to take out Mr. Graves, who took a shotgun blast to the back while walking up the stairs.

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