The office was an oven. A furnace whose dial turned with the horned man’s mood. And right now it was simmering on annoyance. Sweat ran down Emilio’s carapace. His face drenched. His brow creased. His hands pinched and wrapped around a handkerchief, that was soaked in his discomfort. His nervousness. While his eyes avoided the desk. Avoided the man seated behind it, as the man’s own heated gaze bore into him like a hot poker.
“El Jefe. I-I can explain.” Emilio’s words cascaded. A dripping, stuttering mess. “It wasn’t my fault. It…It was-”
“The Hobos.” Short. Succinct. The horned man spoke only three grim syllables before nodding to the cockroach at his side. A gesture Carlos returned.
“Consider it done, El Jefe. The Hobo Kingdom has grown far too bold, these last few years. An example will need to be made of them.”
“P-papi, is that really necessary? I mean, they probably didn’t know who they were messing with.”
“No? Well, hijo. They will know now. Besides. You have more to worry about than us taking out the trash. Like the Wild Card, to name a few things. Pendejo! What were you thinking? Don’t answer that. You are lucky that El Jefe – thank you, El Jefe – doesn’t kill right where you stand. If you have time to make excuses. You have time to go out there and find them. Because if you don’t, not even I can save you, hijo. Find them. Kill them. And get that card. You are dismissed. Go now, you’re upsetting El Jefe. And I am tired of being drenched in your hot failure.”
Emilio was gone in moments. Leaving the horned man and his right-hand alone.
“I cannot apologize enough for my hijo’s failure, El Jefe. He takes after his mother. After I am done with those vagrants, I will personally see to this Wild Card business.”
“You are needed here.” The horned man’s words burned the air. As smoke rose from his suit, bringing the room up a few more uncomfortable degrees. “The expansion and the railway cannot be delayed any longer. Put a bounty on them. And bring me…The Mime.”