"Ramo, get the camera ready, he's here." Karen Brinkley commands from the front seat of the NEWS van as a dark blue Lexus pulls up to the side of the gym where they have been staking out for about three hours.
"You really think it's him?" Remo asks as he lifts the mid-sized camera up to his shoulder and reaches for the door to yank it open.
"We're about to find out." Karen responds as she hops down out of the van. The wind blows her long, brown hair and fills her nostrils with the stench of aerobics. "Jeez, I can smell the locker room from outside. " Karen scrunches up her nose but speeds up her gait and never takes her eyes off of the car. "keep it in tight on his face Ramo, I want to catch his reactions to my question."
"Yes maam." Ramo exclaims as he tries to keep up with Karen's pace. She finally breaks her gaze away from the vehicle as two men get out of the car. She looks back over her shoulder at Ramo, more serious than he's ever seen her before and grumbles.
"And make sure the damned lens cap is off this time!" She barks and then turns back to the car approach from the passenger's side where a lean young man exits the car and stares directly at her.
"Uh oh," the young man says as he stands and shuts the door to the car, watching the reporter breeze past him raising her hand to wave at the driver of the car.
"Mr Durham!" She exclaims, instantly getting his attention. The tall and muscular Terrell Durham seems shocked to see the reporter charging towards him at his place of business and turns his body in a defensive posture.
"Yes?" Terrell says, wide eyed and hesitant, like a deer caught in headlights.
"I'm Karen Brinkley with-"
"Karen Brinkley!" The young man behind her belts out as he circles around the cameraman to try to get the reporter's attention and steps in between her and Terrell. "You're the investigative reporter who did the piece about King Supreme once living in Vegas City. You really think both Aceblade AND King Supreme live in Vegas City? What are the odds of-"
"I got it DJ, I'll meet you at the speed bag." Terrell interrupts and puts his hand on DJ's shoulder, hinting at him to move on.
"No problem champ, but be careful with this one, she's a fighter too." DJ says and backs away, allowing Karen and her cameraman access to the former Heavyweight champion of the world.
"How can I help you?" Terrell asks as he holds a black and red gym bag firmly in his right hand and lifts the strap over his head to rest the strap on his left shoulder. He grimaces and barely moves his left arm.
"I just have a few questions for you." Karen responds and then begins her assault. "The first of which is, why you never came back to defend your title?"
"Well, Ms Brinkley, I accomplished all I wanted to as a fighter, and the business part of it didn't interest me, so I chose to go out on top." Terrell answers matter-of-factly hoping that Karen won't dig much deeper. But he knows she will.
"So... it had nothing to do with Gutshot trying to have you killed after the fight?" She asks and the stretches the microphone back towards his face for a response. Terrell giggles but answers.
"That's the part of the business I was talking about." He says and then pauses to look back over his shoulder as a few passersby yell out in adoration of him. "There's no reason to get killed when I can still do what I love and help people here at the same time Ms Brinkley."
"So do you think it's a coincidence that the Aceblade was first sighted a mere three days after Gutshot ordered the hit on you, and that Gutshot was his first target?" Karen again stretches out the microphone as Terrell begins to become more amused by her line of questioning. He chuckles and continues.
"Yeah, I saw that on the news, but I'd call that Karma."
"Maybe Mr Durham, but let me ask you this." Karen takes a small notepad from out of her waistband and begins again. "Last year at the grand opening of your gym here, you did a demonstration where you used a set of keys to disarm several experienced fighters with ease." Terrell nods his head in acknowledgement. "I once saw a tweet claiming that you once saved a boy from and alligator attack with only a box cutter, and I heard that you once disarmed a bank robber by slicing through his Achilles tendon by throwing a credit card at him." Terrell bursts into full laughter at the reporter's statement.
"Don't believe everything you hear ma'am." Terrell responds and tries to walk towards the gym entrance but the emphatic reporter steps into his path, cutting him off and forcing him to stop in his tracks.
"I don't Mr Durham but I did see a video of a young black kid training in Eastern Africa fighting a pack of hyenas and speaking Chinese. The popular consensus is that young man is you."
"Well I haven't seen it so I can't confirm or deny that it's m-"
"But you do speak Chinese?"
"I speak Mandarin, yes but there are plenty of black people who speak Asian languages."
"Sure," Karen responds with a simultaneous blink and a nod, then continues. "But the strategy that the kid used to beat the Hyenas was eerily simular to how Aceblade subdued that pack of wild dogs the Jack of Clubs was parading around last week."
"I don't know about all of that. Hyenas are more closely related to the cat family than dogs Ms Brinkley." Terrell pauses as if he has had an idea all of a sudden then continues "Wait. What exactly are you trying to say?"
"You've mastered almost every style of combat known to man, including martial arts with origins in every region on the planet. You were once considered the most dangerous fighter in the world. Aceblade appared in this city 3 Days after your final fight and you even wore purple trunks in that fight." She pauses " Admit it mister Durham. You are Aceblade, the Vegas Vigilante"
"Aceblade is a sloppy fighter and a nowhere near the skill level of fighters who have been fighting all of their lives like me. I could easily take down these common crooks, I could beat Batman in a hand to hand match and even give Captain America trouble." Terrell scoffs as his bravado leaks out for a moment, then he continues. "While I do respect what he's doing here, I believe he's going to get himself killed one day. So if you ever do figure out who he is, send him through the gym and I'll give him some pointers. Other than that, I can't help you.
Terrell continues towards the door as the cameraman lowers his equipment to look at the former champ.
"I thought that was you Ramon. You used to drop Stephanie off here every day. How's she doing?"
"She's on her way to the Olympics thanks to your gym."
Wow, that's good to hear. And how's your grandmother.
"She's as healthy as ever. Someone keeps dropping of meds for her just as she's about to run out." Ramo smiles and says as he looks that the chocolate worrier proudly and as if he knows his secret. "We're pretty sure it's him but he always drops the meds off when no one is around."
"Hmm, well he seems like a good guy, I wouldn't be surprised." Terrell responds and puts his hand on Ramo's shoulder as he passes by, headed into the gym.
"Well if you DO see him, tell his we said thanks." Ramo exclaims as Terrell escapes into a puff of cool air inside the gym.
"Did you see that?" Karen says excitedly and slaps Ramo on his arm.
"Ouch!" Ramo exclaims. "See WHAT!?" Ramo's countenance of admiration immediately changes into fear at the sight of Karen's lust for the story.
"He was favoring his left side." Karen says as she pulls out her phone and begins to scroll through pictures. "See this." Karen shows an image of Aceblade battling the notorious Vegas City vault burglar, HammerHands. "HammerHands landed a clean blow on Aceblade's left side two nights ago. He may have deflected most of the force away, but there's no way he doesn't have at least a fractured rib or two." Karen smiles like a jackal drooling over fresh meat and heads back to the van with a spring in her step. The scent is fresh as Ms. Brinkley starts what may be her greatest investigation to date. The true identity of the Aceblade.
Danny J Quick CEO 4th Wall Productions LLC #4thWalllUniverse