Joe stumbled as he ran, nearly falling but managing to recover without breaking his stride. He could hear the rhythmic thudding of boots on tarmac behind him, getting louder all the time. They were gaining on him. He swerved into a doorway and crouched down.
Had he been in less of a hurry, Joe might have noticed that this particular doorway was the back door of a struggling Malaysian restaurant, connecting the kitchens to the alleyway he had been running down. The owner of the restaurant, a large, sweaty man with twenty years’ experience in the catering trade, had given a speech to his staff only yesterday about the importance of keeping the back door closed for reasons not only of security but of hygiene – they were due a visit from the inspector this month and just one more infraction could lose him his license.
Of course, this fell on deaf ears for the most part – with the exception of Lee, the head chef, the staff felt no sense of commitment to the restaurant they worked at, seeing it as just another job, just another way to pass their time or pay their rent or, in the case of one of the waiters, deal drugs under his employer’s nose. Lee was another story, though. He was fiercely loyal to the Flaming Dragon – a character trait which would ultimately cost him his marriage and, in an ironic twist of fate, his job.
Joe died, by the way. The alley was a dead end and the guys chasing him caught up with him.