Somewhere in Westlake, about 38 miles from Downtown Los Angeles —
As K-pop music played in the background, 17-year-old James Ford finished his work at his family-owned convenience store. He checked the time.
“12:29 AM?” James shook his head in disbelief.
“Oh, my-my-my, Oh, my-my-my,” store crew #1 sang.
“Woah, Woah, Woah,” store crew #2 danced.
“Listen, guys,” James said. “It’s late. I’m going home.”
“Yes, sir,” his two crews saluted. “Good night, sir. See you tomorrow, sir.”
James marched to the door and yelled, “Dudududu.”
“Ah yeah, Ah yeah,” his two boys screamed as James left the store laughing.
Adjusting his green shirt, he removed his baseball cap. James examined the word TRIGGERBOY on his green hat before putting it back on. Looking around the neighborhood, James heard a commotion nearby. It’s a robbery down the alley.
“Give us all your money!” the two robbers shouted.
“Please,” a frightened woman pleaded. “Don’t hurt me.”
Running towards the dark street, James recognized the voice. It’s Mrs. Bailey.
“Fifty bucks?” the first robber searched into the woman’s bag again. “That’s it?”
“We’ll just have to do that nearby convenience store next,” the second robber smirked.
“Good evening, Mrs. Bailey,” James surprised the robbers. “Don’t worry. I’m here.”
“Are you a wannabe hero?” the first robber asked while he brandished his big knife, “or just some stupid idiot?”
“Guys, return her stuff,” James marched forward. “If you know what’s good for you.”
“I will cut you up good,” the first robber threatened.
“A fair warning,” James rubbed his hands together. “Drop your knife and–”
Without hesitation, the first robber attacked, slashing James on the shoulder.
“How’s that for a warning, dumb@ss?” the first robber chuckled.
His laughter turned to utter disbelief as he saw James remained unharmed while his knife turned blunt.
“My turn,” James struck the first robber right on the head, knocking him out cold.
The second robber yelled, thrusting his knife into James’ chest.
“What the–” he stared at his broken knife. Throwing the knife away, he punched James in the face. “UGH! My hand–”
James whacked the second robber on the face, knocking him out too.
“Are you all right, Mrs. Bailey?”
“James,” Mrs. Bailey clapped her hands in delight. “My hero, thank you.”
“Can you call 911?” James asked.
She nodded as she dialed her phone while staring at the two unconscious robbers.
“Please be more careful, Mrs. Bailey. This place is no skid row,” James explained, “but you still shouldn’t be walking all alone at night. Please make sure you have a companion next time.”
“I was going to your store to buy some food, but I will keep that in mind. By the way, I would like for you to meet my granddaughter Lisa. She’s 16. She’s be in town next week, visiting me from her school break. You two would make a lovely pair.”
His jaw dropped.
“Anyway, how’s your father?” Mrs. Bailey asked.
“Oh,” his face beamed. “Dad’s getting better, so much better. Thanks for asking.”
“James, you go right ahead,” Mrs. Bailey said. “I’ll be fine. The cops are on their way.”
“Okay, Mrs. Bailey. Good night then,” James dashed back to the building. Up he went with the elevator to the sixth floor, room 19.
“Dad?” James saw his father sitting on his working table. “Good evening, Dad.”
“Hello, son,” Francisco Ford replied.
“What,” James said while embracing his father from the back, “have you been up?”
“I’m stuck with this chip and with not much progress.”
“Let me take care of that. Besides, it’s late. You get some sleep, and I will finish up.”
“Okay, son,” his 55-year-old father walked to his bedroom. “I’m going to get some shut eyes now.”
“Night, Dad,” James sat and began working on the chip. After some minutes, James threw his hands in the air. “Yes, I got it. I finally got it.”
He went to his sleeping father. Adjusting the hair, James revealed a big scar on his father’s forehead.
He placed his left hand on his father as a translucent coating appeared while a chip popped out from the big scar. Removing it with his right hand, James placed the new chip on his dad’s forehead as it glided through the translucent matter and into the big scar.
James removed his hand from his father as the coating disappeared. Kissing his father on the forehead, James whispered. “It will work. It has to work.”