DaRose knocked on the door marked “T22” and waited for a response. Nothing. He turned the knob and found the door to be unlocked. Behind the door was a room as dark as the hallway that led to it. Inside, sat Taj at a desk, looking as if he was waiting for DaRose to call on him. “Welcome,” bellowed the man dressed in a red plaid leisure suit. “Please, make yourself comfortable, DaRose.”
DaRose took a chair opposite of Taj. After a few formalities, he asked, “Could you tell me the last time you may have seen Joakim?”
Taj’s eyes narrowed. He looked wicked. “About four days ago. Why?”
“He has disappeared. Have you not heard?” DaRose asked plainly.
“Not a word. Any leads?” Taj asked with genuine concern laced in his voice.
“I was hoping you could help me.” DaRose paused, cautious to proceed. “It is my understanding that you two had a… falling out of sorts.”
Taj tried to ease the tension with a laugh. “Sure, we were partners. There was a misunderstanding. Things were said, people were screwed, relations damaged – but I still love the man.” Taj looked up toward the ceiling, took a deep breath, and added, “If you need a hand, I got your back. If there is someone out there that hurt my boy, you best believe they will have an ass-whooping coming from me.”
“I appreciate that.”
“Where are we going to start?” Taj asked with an intensity in his eyes.
“I figure we will go around asking people some questions.” DaRose offered weakly.
“Damn asking questions! I say we go around bustin’ skulls. People seem to have a bigger reaction to getting their domes punched.” There was hunger in Taj’s words. DaRose knew this was not going to be handled in a manner he was familiar with. Taj continued in a loud whisper, “And I know just the big head to get started on.”