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The two men waiting outside my apartment were an unlikely duo. Ishmael, the leader of the two, was a former cop, while his side-kick, Ventura, had the look and laugh of a seasoned criminal. “Come on up,” I yelled through the intercom. “The front door’s open.” Then, as if I was preparing for a first date, I gave myself one last look in the mirror before making sure the coffee I’d made and the chocolate croissants I’d bought were arranged perfectly on my kitchen table.