Better Choices
Chapter 3 - Dojo Yo Mama

Shane Ellis just wanted to get ahead for once. And if that meant breaking the law for a cool ten g's, so be it. What he didn't expect was a job offer...

Shane Ellis.jpg

Dojo Yo Mama

The bright rays of the sun warmed the room the next morning. It was his one day off, sort of, and Shane stretched and then winced at the throbbing pain in his skull. As he sat up, the Yager sloshed about in his stomach rather alarmingly. That, and a full bladder, had him scrambling for the tiny bathroom in the corner. He groaned as he stood there, listing to one side, and pissed into the toilet.

He should have stuck to drinking beer.

He forced himself to eat breakfast. Four eggs, scrambled, and a slice of ham that looked like it was on its way out, a touch of green creeping through the fat on one side. He washed it all down with instant coffee, black, no sugar or cream.

Shane stared out of the filthy window at the street below. Kenny’s mother was there, screaming at him. Shane had met her early last year, when she came around asking after Kenny. At the time she had looked nicely put together, just a small edge of desperation in her voice that could have been read as real, honest concern for her son. Today she looked like shit. Her hair was a tangled mass and her eyes were looking bruised. She was far skinner than he remembered too, just a skeleton covered in skin.

Shane winced as he watched her slap her son’s face, once, twice, hard. The crack of it audible through the cheap glass window. Kenny looked raw, far more hungover from his opium-infused sleep than Shane was from his over-indulgence of Yager. He considered going down there and trying to help, but as he mulled over what to say or do, Kenny handed her a small baggie and skittered away like a beaten dog.

So it was like that, Shane thought, watching as she quickly stuffed the baggie into her pocket and scooted away in the opposite direction. Junkie makes junkie.

He felt like shit. Maybe he should skip today at the dojo. Master Pao would smell the booze, no matter how well he brushed his teeth, and single him out for special training. The old man had a way of sussing out what a person had been up to, and making them re-think, and usually deeply regret, their shortsighted decisions. Shane’s stomach gurgled, working the food into the queue and promising to make him pay later as the alcohol made its way through his body, poisoning everything it touched.

Master Pao’s voice echoed in his head, “Your body is temple, you no poison it with alcohol and the drugs any more than with unhealthy foods.” The old man had lived long enough to see the neighborhood go from solid working-class families to an area filled first with unemployment, buckling pavement, and then swiftly downhill as the gangs moved in. Specifically, the Asian Boyz, who had taken over most of Long Beach. Their graffiti was just the start - they had shaken down most of the business owners in the tiny strip mall where Master Pao’s dojo had occupied the past fifteen years. 

Master Pao, however, had remained free of their influence. The arrangement, while simple, had required violence. One old man against a handful of upstart young men, had ended quicker than it had started, with broken bones and two concussions, one unharmed senior citizen dojo master, and a compromise. Ever since, Master Pao tolerated the presence of several of the Asian Boyz leadership within his dojo. He charged them twice as much for the classes, which helped to sponsor a handful of neighborhood kids, and made sure they kept their illegal business out of the dojo and away from the other students. The three Prak brothers, all high-ranking among the gang, were all regulars at the dojo now.

Shane had found Master Pao’s dojo just a few months after the whole situation had been resolved. The uneasy truce had slowly warmed into a solid understanding between those who might have been considered natural enemies. Each Tuesday and Thursday night, as well as Saturdays, even with a hangover, he would stand next to the Prak brothers, all three of them, and practice the moves Master Pao taught without rancor or incident. The dojo, and anything within two hundred feet of it, was sacrosanct. Go more than that in any direction, and Shane knew better than to tangle with the Prak brothers. He kept his head down and maintained a cordial distance.

He stood up from the small table and walked over to where he kept his boots and one other pair of shoes, the soft-soled dojo shoes that Master Pao had insisted were required for all the students. The old man had intentionally misread the price, selling them to Shane for half of the cost. The old man had a sixth sense about these things. He could sense desperation. It was also why he had told Shane he needed him to clean the dojo each week.

“I give you class at half price, you clean every Saturday afternoon once class done.” Pao had told him. Shane hadn’t asked, Pao had somehow just known. Shane had agreed, and each week he wiped everything down, cleaned the bathrooms, ran a vacuum, took out the trash, and mopped the floor. He had gone, in the past year and a half, from getting his ass handed to him by Pao, the Prak brothers, and even one of the Prak sisters, to holding his own against everyone except for Pao. 

Hangover or not, Pao would be expecting him to clean up, so he needed to be there, anyway. His head thumped, and he dry-swallowed two aspirin, grabbed the soft-soled shoes and headed for the door. 

It was easier to walk the four blocks than try to get his ancient Datsun to start up. Besides, the walk would help clear his head and get the toxins working through and out of his body faster. And it might appease Master Pao, who had a sixth sense about such things and would be full of disapproval.

He passed the five and dime, shuttered last winter when the owners couldn’t keep up with the extortion money and folded, fleeing back to their extended family in Mexico rather than live to pay the Asian Boyz. Next to it, a hair salon that specialized in weaves and hair extensions was just opening their doors. The woman who ran it had a nice back door business that provided Kenny and plenty of others with their daily dose of heroin. She smiled at Shane as he walked by, and he nodded politely in return. 

Pao sniffed in disapproval within seconds of Shane’s arrival. “You smell of cheap alcohol and cigarettes.” The old man said, frowning, “You stink up the dojo.”

“My apologies, Master Pao,” Shane said and bowed, his headache surging as the blood rushed to his head. He suppressed a groan.

The old man glared at him. “Better to apologize to self than Master Pao,” and with that he sniffed again and turned away. 

The front door opened to admit Dara Prak, the one Prak sister that attended the dojo. The oldest Prak brother, Sarith, and once boasted that he had seven sisters. But only one was tough enough for Master Pao’s dojo.

The corners of Dara’s mouth twitched as she took in Master Pao’s sour expression along with a whiff of the stench of Yager still rolling off of Shane. She slipped off her street shoes and leaned close to Shane as she slipped on her soft dojo shoes. “Old Pao looks pissed. You reek, by the way.”

“Yeah, thanks.” 

“He’s gonna make me spar with you, ‘cause Sarith would kick your ass right now. But I’m gonna kick it too, just so you know.”

It had been a while since Dara had handed Shane his ass while sparring, but as shitty as he felt at the moment, he knew she was speaking the truth.

“Yeah? Just remember it’s ‘cause I’ve got a hangover. That’s the only reason you have a chance.”

She gave a small growl, then laughed. “I’m gonna enjoy kicking your ass today, Ellis.”

“Bring it, I’ll believe it when I see it.” 

Two hours later, as he limped down the length of the dojo, his head pounding and his ribs aching, Shane regretted ever meeting Dara Prak. He especially regretted the verbal sparring, which had directly led to the double roundhouse kick she had unleashed on him halfway through class. It had been followed by jump punch in the middle of his chest, which laid him out flat. Worse had been opening his eyes and seeing Dara standing over him, smirking, as she extended a hand to help him up.

Master Pao had taken a turn as well, and by the time class had ended Shane was sure that the mantra “I will not drink Yager the night before class ever again,” was cemented in his brain. He had been an idiot. 

He dragged the cleaning supplies out of the closet. Dara called over her shoulder, “See you Tuesday, Ellis.”

“Bite me, Prak.”

“Careful what you say, Ellis, she might just take you up on that.” Sarith Prak laughed as he sauntered out of the front door. 

Shane’s stomach gurgled, threatening to revolt at the smell of the Pine Sol that Master Pao had him add to the mop bucket. He groaned quietly, but Master Pao heard it. “You better no throw up in my dojo.”

“I won’t. I won’t. By the way, we need more paper towels.”

He finished cleaning the bathroom, then swept and mopped. By the end of it, his headache had begun a slow retreat and his stomach grumbled loudly. Shane called out to Master Pao, “I’m all done, Master Pao, don’t forget to get more paper towels, we’re down to the last roll.” The old man waved his hand at him dismissively and headed for his office in the back of the building without another word.

Shane winced, and then his stomach gave another growl. 

I’ll make it up to him next week.

The sun was blinding as he stepped outside of the dojo. He squinted, which made his head pound worse, and saw Dara leaning against the far corner of the building, smirking. 

“I thought you left.” He mumbled.

“Meh, I got nothing better to do.” She shrugged. The dragon tattoo writhed on her shoulder in response. “Besides, you look like you could do with some hair of the dog.” She cocked her head, “C’mon, I’ll buy you a drink.”

“I’d rather have a burger.”

“What you need is my cousin’s pho, fix you right up.” She slid her arm around his. “It’s the best pho around.”

Her long hair tickled his arm, and he glanced around to see if he saw Sarith anywhere. He wasn’t about to fuck with the head of the Asian Boyz gang, and that included Sarith’s sister. She might be a bad ass in her own right, but Sarith might flat out murder him if he tapped that. “I dunno.”

Dara laughed, “Sarith’s gone. He had to head up north, to S.F., to deal with a situation. He won’t be back until Monday. So, c’mon white boy, you’re safe.” 

After considering the sad state of his refrigerator, and calculating the last time he had gotten laid, he went with her. An hour later, after filling his belly with the pho, which was the best he had ever tasted, his stomach had settled and his headache abated. To his surprise, he somehow found himself walking back to his apartment with a bottle of Jack Daniels and Dara walking close by his side. 

“I can’t have you at my place,” Dara said, running a sharp fingernail down his spine, “My sister would tell Sarith, and I’m pretty sure he’d try to kill you.”

Shane’s steps slowed. “You aren’t giving me good vibes about this, you know.”

Dara grinned lasciviously and stepped closer, her hands busy. “Believe me, you’ll like it, a lot.” She stood up on her toes, put her lips next to his ear, “I promise.” She smelled of something exotic and unidentifiable and he couldn’t help the all-body shiver he had in response. “Sarith doesn’t need to know, let’s go to your place.”

Shane pictured her face when she saw his crappy apartment. He kept it as clean as he could, but there was no way to make the cracked plaster and worn carpet look anything but cheap. Dara must have sensed his reticence, because she doubled her efforts, “C’mon Ellis, don’t back out on me now,” her breath washed over him, a scent of Thai basil and spice, “I haven’t gotten laid in weeks.”

She didn’t freak out when she saw several cockroaches dead on the ratty carpeted landing, smashed flat and slightly ground into the carpet. He opened the door to his apartment, and she slid past him, glancing around. “You make the Spartans look, well, spartan.”

He blinked, “You’re familiar with Sparta?”

“Don’t sound so surprised.” She sniffed. “Coming here from Cambodia sucked, but I learned English faster than any of my brothers or sisters. I’m majoring in History at UCLA.”

Shane opened the lone cabinet in his kitchenette and removed two glasses. As he opened the refrigerator to retrieve a bottle of Coca-Cola, Dara sat down on the side of the bed. She didn’t bat an eye as she flicked a cockroach off of the sheets and crushed it beneath her booted heel.

“Tell me about it.” Shane asked, handing her a cup with Jack and Coke and sat down next to her.

Dara snorted, “Tell you about what, white boy? The Cambodian refugee experience? Shit. Better to ask Sarith. He was older. I was, I dunno, maybe four when we came over. I barely remember the camps.” She took a swig of her drink, “Well, on second thought, better not.” She grinned at Shane wickedly. “He’d prefer to forget that time. He got his ass kicked regularly in the camps.”

“I’m not asking your brother shit,” Shane answered, taking a healthy swig of his drink, “The way he looks at me, I swear he’d sooner kill me than have me in the same room.”

“Yeah, that’s probably my fault.” Her nails drew lazy circles on the denim of his jeans. They were long, a glossy red-black, encrusted with jewels, “He heard me tell my sister Akara that I thought you were hot, and he’s been a little pissy ever since.”

Shane felt his libido rise in response to her nails on his leg, then crash at the thought of Sarith and the power of the Asian Boyz gang behind him, coming after Shane with full force. “You aren’t doing much to talk me into this, Dara.”

“Ah, come on, Ellis. Playing with fire, the thrill of it, that’s the fun part.” She moved closer, her exotic scent preceding her, warm and sensual. Her fingernails were crawling up his arm, towards his neck, toying with his ear. 

Shane swallowed another gulp of his drink and Dara slid into his lap, straddling him. Her dark brown eyes stared into his and her mouth turned up on the left. She looked amused. She licked her lips then, a slow, intentional slip of the tongue, that promised a trip to heaven, or, just as likely, hell. His jeans tightened, and he felt his heartbeat increase.

Danger has its appeal.

Danger was what this was. Hell, stupidity even. A word from her to Sarith and he would be better leaving the neighborhood. 

More like the city, hell, the entire state.

He could already feel the whiskey working its way from his stomach into his body, worming its way to the decision-making centers of his brain.

Playing with fire here.

Dara was hot, smoking hot. Her body wasn’t just shapely, it was toned, athletic. She spent hours at the dojo, and he suspected she trained elsewhere in addition to the six hours a week she was at Pao’s dojo. She was dressed in a crop top that teasingly revealed a glimpse of a dragon curling around her side. 

She smiled, and it was predatory. She knew what she wanted and was determined to get it. Shane leaned back against the wall and watched her slowly take her top off, a thin, spaghetti strap, black cotton bra underneath covering her tiny breasts. With a quick motion, the bra was gone, too. She pointed at her left breast, “You can start by putting your mouth here.”

Shane obliged, his tongue tasting her flesh, his teeth tugging gently on her nipple. It tasted sweet to his questing tongue. Her hands were busy pulling at his jeans. He switched to the other breast, and she stretched and swayed from side to side gently, one hand holding the back of his head, the other reaching down to free his cock from its confines.

She sighed with pleasure, then tightened her grasp on the hair at the back of his head, forcing his head back as she thrust her tongue into his mouth, swirling, nibbling with her sharp white teeth on the corner of his bottom lip. He could taste the sweet, heavy taste of the Jack and Coke on her tongue. Her other hand continued to stroke him, running her sharp nails up and down his shaft, pleasure and pain curling together, becoming one. 

He found his hands exploring her lithe body. He started at her slip hips, moved one hand up to thread his fingers through her dark hair. It was long and loose, cascading down her back and past the small of her back. He reached up into it, grabbed a handful and pulled her head back, breaking contact and moving his mouth to her delicate breastbone before slowing working his way up her neck. She gasped then, and he tugged on her skin-tight pants which his free hand.

A swift twist of her body and Shane found himself on his back, Dara standing for a second before slipping out of her pants, a sliver of a red lace thong disappearing between her tiny, tight ass. Before he could sit up, she had straddled him again, her nails scraping his ribs as she slipped his t-shirt off of his body. He eased his jeans down and his cock stood erect, hard, thrumming with desire. She licked the tips of her fingers and reached down to slip him inside of her, easing her tight, hot pussy onto his dick. She was tiny compared to some of the women he had been with, petite, but hard, her muscles tight. 

He closed his eyes, the roll of desire coursing through him, felt her moving her hips, quick decisive thrusts that sent him deep inside of her. So deep, he could feel the tip of his penis slam into her cervix, a wall of muscle he could not penetrate. She lifted her hips away, then back again, and a piece of plaster from the cracked wall rained down, sprinkling them both with dust. 

“Sorry about that.”

She didn’t pause, her hips continuing to thrust against him, pulling him into her hot wetness. “I’ve seen shittier places than this. Lived in ‘em too.” Her hands reached out and grabbed one of his nipples, twisting it in her sharp talons, “Look at me.”

He yelped and opened his eyes, stared into the black, dilated pupils, noticed the faint sheen of sweat on her skin as she continued to rotate her hips, slowly accelerating her speed. She licked her fingers before she reached down and fingered her clit. “I’m close. Watch me come.” A wicked smile formed on her lips, “And if you’re good, I’ll even let you join me.”

There was no stopping this tide. He could feel the edges of it pull back, like the foam that retreats from the sandy beach, leaving it jumping and puddling and breathing before rushing back in to crash down on the rocks. He felt his body rise with it, and he gave a wordless shout as he crested with a wave and broke, his dick spurting inside of Dara as she threw her head back and rode the orgasm with him.

Shane leaned back against the cracked plaster, his toes curled, his nerve endings filled with endorphins, sparking, twisting. He reveled in the delicious feel of the release and felt his breathing slow. Dara had leaned back. Her tawny skin was covered with a fine sheen of sweat and her chest heaved, a satisfied grin on her face. 

She opened one eye. “Not bad, Ellis. You’ve got potential.”

“Yeah, you too.”

She cackled then, and he watched as she slipped off of him, her agile legs bending in an impossible position before she stood and walked into the bathroom, dressed only in her thong and high heels. Shane felt his dick harden again. Dara was smoking hot. She grabbed a towel from the rack and cleaned herself, tossed it to the floor, and slowly swayed back out into the main room. He could see that dragon wrapped around her body, its mouth opening around one nipple. She walked with confidence, no mincing about, no shyness. Not that he expected anything less, Dara was no fainting lily. She knew what she wanted and went after it. He stared down at his dick, which still stood at attention, and knew he was living proof of that. 

Not that I didn’t enjoy the hell out of that, but

She bent over and slipped on her bra and crop top before wiggling back into her skin-tight pants. His dick was finally getting a clue that no more action was coming its way and Shane pulled up his pants, zipped his fly, and shifted his balls over. Between the workout at the dojo and the workout he had just had, combined with the fantastic pho in his belly, Shane felt relaxed, drained even. The endorphins had left him loose-limbed and somnolent.

Dara put her talons at his left nipple, drawing a circle around it, the skin raising red in response. She smiled, slow, with teeth, “I had fun. Let’s do that again sometime.”

Shane didn’t answer, and she picked up the half-empty bottle of whiskey, uncapped it, and took a swig. “I think I’ll keep this.”

He laughed, “Go ahead. But remember what Master Pao says, ‘Your body is a temple.’”

She laughed, took another swig and capped it and headed towards the door. “Damn straight, and the god this temple worships demands a sacrifice of spirits. I’ll be seeing you, Ellis.” She closed the door behind her and Shane bolted it after he heard her walk down the stairs and out the main entrance.

He stumbled as he walked back to the bed. Damn, but he was tired. Shane sprawled out on the bed, bouncing a little on the cheap mattress. His eyes slipped closed.