After my last assignment, I’m sure you’ll understand why I had to lay low for a while. This is a dangerous town and I had to make sure that when I popped my head back up, I wasn’t going to get it blown off. With my Walther PPK strapped snugly against my ribcage, I straightened my tie and headed out.
This time it would be to the George Street Diner.
It seemed pretty far off the radar. Nice spacious outside views from every booth so as to avoid an unwanted side of sneaky assassin with my breakfast. The booths were those proper squishy diner kind that would require close-quarters combat, but that was okay. More fun. And if the contact who was to meet me there proved to be uncooperative with me, the vintage stools at the counter would provide a good place for a quick and painful Q&A. My Q, his A.
I placed my order for the regular; the measure of a greasy spoon’s worth: the bacon & egg special. It doesn’t matter if it’s not called a “special” in this particular establishment, they should know exactly what you mean. Besides, I had ways of letting the female staff know exactly what I meant that didn’t require any talking. The only other male in the place was the kind who’d be the first to catch a bullet in the forehead in a gun fight. Mental note: human shield.
About $9 later, the chipper young waitress brought me breakfast: two eggs, four strips of well-done bacon, a healthy helping of home fries, and toast. Except…what was this? The toast seemed to be coated entirely in some sort of yellow grease. Maybe it was some strange intensely-coloured butter coating or — they were trying to poison me.
My mind started to race. If I kept my heart rate down, I could probably plug each of these yahoos and manage to make it back to my place for an antidote. Unless there were more of them out of sight.
So it began.
I reached slowly, ever so slowly for the holster while at the same time inching the bread towards my mouth. I unclipped the strap and gently tugged at the gun, releasing the safety. I passed the bread slowly under my nose; no detectable odours other than butter. Great. That left about one-thousand other possible toxins.
My senses went into top mode; I was aware of every creak and squeak around me; could see every motion reflected in the stainless steel backboard that ran the length of the restaurant. I could feel sweat gathering on my brow; my hand tightening on the Walther PPK as the bread passed my lips. This was it…death time.
Oops, my mistake. Just butter.
Good butter too, or a pretty good imitation. The bread was soft and moist and caused me to relax my grip on the gun. It was still a very unnatural colour but…no poison. It looked like the staff were regular civvies so I wouldn’t have to kill them after all. It would have been a shame to destroy all the kitsch on the walls though. Some of it looked genuinely old and all of it belonged in an old-time diner like that.
I dug into the meal; bacon was good and crispy; eggs were well done and adequately greasy; organic coffee was dark and a good complement to the meal. The place was licensed but it didn’t look like they’d be able to serve me a proper Martini.
I finished my coffee slowly, waiting for my contact who was now five minutes late. The bill came promptly and I got up to leave. For a man with as many enemies as me, it was foolish to wait around any longer.
Nice place, I thought as I adjusted my Italian silk tie. Good atmosphere and great decor, but nothing explosive about the breakfast. Just as well, I suppose.
Then I spot him, my contact, running down George Street with my suitcase, being chased by a very tall man with what looks like…metal…for teeth and a very nasty looking gun shooting at — my suitcase.
Damn, that makes me mad.