The door opened slowly inwards, and a pair of wary brown eyes looked out into the quiet Baltimore night. Looked down on Finn, Barlow and Daryll, to be more accurate, as the orbs appeared to be suspended in the shadows a good seven feet above the sill of the door. “May I be of assistance, gentlemen?”, came a voice from just below the hovering eyes, its texture reminding Barlow of the thick black molasses his grandmother used to pour into her coffee on cool Virginia mornings. “A bit late in the evening for a social call.” A vague hint of menace oozed in the simple statement. The door opened an inch further.
“Have I had the pleasure? You have me at a disadvantage, I’m afraid, and I do not enjoy having my leisure disturbed.” As the door cracked a few more inches, the meager light from the street illuminated a monster standing in the threshold. At seven feet two inches tall, Mendocino Jones had to stoop to stand in the doorway, and his massive girth filled the passageway. The harsh light from the street lamps only served to exaggerate the intricate web of scars that covered his burnished ebony face and shaven skull and his mouth was drawn back in a caricature-like rictus of a smile. In sharp contrast to his physically intimidating body, the giant was clothed in a velvet burgundy smoking jacket, a gold satin ascot caressing his tree trunk of a neck. Matching gold satin harem pants fluttered around his legs and his freakishly dainty feet were warmed by a pair of red pointed toed slippers. It was as if the carnival had come through town and deposited the entire cast of the sideshow on the stoop of a Baltimore rowhouse in the guise of one individual.
“I ask again, young gentlemen. How may I help you?” and in that instant a straight razor appeared as if by magic in each of Mendocino Jones’s hands, the blades glistening in the streetlight.



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