Martin opens the door first door allowing Erica to exit the cold night air. She returns the favor with the second. Dressed for the Met Gala, arm in arm they approach the hostess’ stand.
A young brunette too perky for 3:00 AM greets them, “Hello, and welcome to Patty’s Diner. Would you like a booth or a table?”
“We would like your best booth,” Erica answers.
“Uh, Ok…” the hostess grabs their menus and scans the room, “Well all of our booths are the best, so, I don’t…”
“Just put us in that corner over there, away from the kitchen and everyone else,” says Martin interrupting her indecision. His finger points to the booth in the back left corner far away from the two truckers eating at the counter.
With a smile, she says, “Fantastic choice sir. Follow me,” leading them around the tables. “Here you are, Mitch will be your server this evening, I mean morning. It’s been a long shift. But I hope you enjoy your meal.”
“Thanks, will do,” Erica says.
Looking over the menu waiting for her to be out of ear-shot they glance from each other to the page, to her, and back again. Martin breaks their silent pattern, “Look, I’m still processing everything that happened. I cannot believe we pulled it off. You were amazing, graceful, and terrifying all at once. I feel like I just slowed you down. You shot two men in the head while choking out a third with your legs. But, it’s over; we can live in peace now.”
Taking his left hand from the menu and holding it in her own, “I can’t believe it’s over either. Thank you for the two-thirds of a compliment,” Erica chuckles. “You were not slowing me down. If it weren’t for your research I wouldn’t have looked amazing at all. I’d be dead. And I rather like being alive. I’ve been doing it for twenty-nine years now. I’d like to see how long I could go,” she finishes with a squeeze as his green eyes meet hers.
Martin lets out a quick laugh, “You were born in 1982, correct? And it is 20-20. So, that is, what, thir…”
“Yeah twenty-nine, it’s crazy how math works sometimes,” she interjects, with a smile that said, “I love you, and this part of the conversation is over.”
They both laugh. Martin sighs and caresses his goatee, “Well anyway you were still incredibly impressive. I knew you knew how to do some of that, but much of that was a surprise. Which unit did you learn all of that in?”
“I learned most of it in Mercenary 416 – Advanced close quarters combat. One hell of a class that one,” she replied while balancing her steak knife on her middle finger.
“Aww yes, I saw that in the university class catalog,” he said taking off his glasses to clean them. “Professor Ra’s al Ghul taught that one if I’m not mistaken.”
“Oh sweetie you remember,” she says popping the knife in the air, catching it, and placing it on the table without breaking eye contact. Martin blows her a kiss.
Mitch arrives tableside, “Hello my name is Mitch. I’ll be your server this evening. And how are we this evening? Oops, I mean morning. How are we this morning? It’s my first overnight shift.”
Erica found his nervous slip up cute, “We’re spectacular darling? How about yourself?”
Her intense lingering stare made him blush, “I’m fine ma’am. Uh, do. Do you know what you would like to get?”
Erica continues to undress him with her eyes as Martin orders, “I’ll have Patrick’s Breakfast with a steak instead of ham, over-easy instead of scrambled, and Rye French toast instead of toast, with a side of bacon.”
“So, the Father O’Brien, with bacon on the side and an Irish coffee?” asks Mitch.
“If that is everything I asked for, then yes,” Martin nods.
“Ok, and you ma’am?”
“I’ll have a large local sausage,” she says eyeing his.
Feeling uncomfortable, “Umm, I don’t think we have that on the menu. Uh, there aren’t any local sausage makers we buy from.”
“Well isn’t that a shame honey,” she says directing Martin’s eyes to Mitch’s beet red face with her own.
“A true shame indeed. Maybe you should just get your usual,” says Martin plainly.
“I don’t think they have fish tacos, do you?” Erica asks her eyes filled with lust.
Placing his hands together in front of his hips, “I..I.I don’t believe we do.”
Falling with despair into the corner of the booth she dramatically cries out, “Whatever will I eat?”
Holding in his laughter, “We’ll stop torturing you now, she’ll have a Garret’s Way with extra sausage With a Manhattan.”
“Uh. Ok. But sir we don’t a bartender at the moment.”
“Ughh, fine two double shots of your top-shelf whiskey, and don’t be stingy either. Also no more questions, you bring something you leave, don’t ask, ‘how anything is.’ Nothing. You lost your speaking privileges,” Erica snaps at him from behind her bosom.
Mitch shuts his mouth and walks away. Erica, upright again, “I was hoping he’d be a little more fun. Oh well. Where were we? Right, we just took out the remaining power structure for the Two-Six Mafia. We’ve got 4 point 2 million we transferred to our account in the Caymans, probably about a mil in Diamonds, and how much coke did you grab?”
“I believe ten bricks fit into my bag. I also took two bags of cash, they could be as much as 2 point 5 million in each. Altogether we are looking at approximately 10 point 5 million dollars,” Martin says barely containing his excitement.
“I’ve already booked our flight for Tuesday, so we have three days to unload the merchandise,” she says, as Mitch places their drinks.
“I think Tony was interested in taking over the store for us. I’ll reach out to him in the morning and let him know we are closing our doors soon,” he says ignoring Mitch, but sighing as he walks away. “What would we be doing right now if Doug had never come after me?”
Erica sips her drink, “Probably having great sex at that club you like.”
“Ooh yeah, I am going to miss that place,” with an air of nostalgia, “There has to be one in Buenos Aires, right?”
“Of course, my dear. And if not, well we can start one. It’s not like we’ll be short on funds.”
“True,” Martin says. They cheers, and finish their whiskeys before their glasses hit the table Mitch has arrived with another. His smile read as inauthentic. They cheers again, knock them back, then place both sets of glasses in his outstretched hands. “You keep this up, you just might be able to speak again.”
Mitch turns and leaves, “Don’t go and get his hopes up, he such a fragile young man,” Erica adds. “Does it feel warm in here to you? M..my throat is still burning. It’s getting…” a coughing fit cuts her off.
“Your eyes are bleeding dear,” Martin says masking his panic. Touching the tear falling from his eye, “Mine are too! Someone Call 9-1-1! I think we have been poisoned!!” he shouts, to the now empty room. Erica rifles through her purse between body shaking coughs, Martin searches his coat. Gasping for air he rips his phone from its pocket.
“Oh no you don’t,” says Mitch, “I’ll take that,” removing the phone from Martin’s hand. “Thanks for pulling it out for me. Now I don’t have to search your pockets after you die.”
One hand on their throats and the other reaching toward Mitch as he slowly backed away. Bumbling out of the booth in pursuit they gurgle before they collapse.
“Thanks for doing all of the heavy lifting guys, I really appreciate it. I’ve wanted them gone for a long time, and you were the perfect two people to do it…” Mitch huffs as he takes pruning shears from his back pocket. “Now we get to retire, I know you’re not dead yet but I do need your thumb. Oooh, awkward.” Snip! Martin moans through his melting throat. “Well, thanks again. I really couldn’t have done this without you. Enjoy dying knowing you helped me,” he finishes with a dead-eyed smile.
Outside the diner, he stands with the hostess. She lights the molotov cocktail in his hand. It smashes through the window raining fire down on front booths. They watch the diner fill with flames, before walking off.