Two men. Pin stripe suits. White shirts, crisp and clean. Ties, one green, likely in favor of St. Patrick's day. The other red, with tiny flecks of gold. Bethany walks up to their table in her too-short shirt and sets two glasses before them, neatly arranging them to fit on the circular white coasters just above the knives. The man on the left straightens his silverware, shakes his head. "I still don't know how you did it, Bob."
Bob gives a throaty laugh. Sips from his drink and appraises Bethany's legs.
"Are you ready to order?"
Bob scans the menu and lifts a finger in the air. "Hang on...Don't go anywhere."
The lunch crowd is horrible today. Bethany just wants to go home and soak her feet in a hot bath, curl up with her book on hacking. Computers are just a bunch of numbers. And she understands numbers so much more than people. Numbers are predictable. You can count on them, they way you can't count on a friend to ignore you or a spouse to leave you or even the man next door who'd promised to change the light switch in her kitchen last week.
Bob glances at the man across from him, wipes the palm of his right hand across the left. "I made it all disappear. First wife. Gone. She has no idea where I am."
"Really." He takes a drink and wipes his mouth with the back of his hand. "Bank accounts cleaned out and opened under a new name. Credit card bills..." He grins. "I took my name off of those and left her with the balance. Tore my past life up in pieces and swept it under the rug." He removes a business card from his front pocket. "I'm a new man."
Bethany scans the card quickly. William Davidson. Attorney. She memorizes the telephone number and the business address.
The man laughs. "You're amazing. I could learn a thing or two from you."
"You in town for long?"
"Naw. Got to get back to Barbados tonight." Bob/William grins. "The new wife..."
Bethany makes a point of tapping her foot on the floor. She sighs deeply. "You want me to come back later?"
"No. Uh..." Bob looks up. "What are you having Phillip?"
"Ham sandwich on rye. Chips."
Bob nods. "Double that, sweetie." His hand grazes Bethany's leg as she walks past.
She sighs and heads to the kitchen, shouts out the order to Junior who gives a neat nod. "Hey, Frankie?"
Frankie looks up from the bar.
"Can you take over my tables for a few minutes?"
Frankie starts to arrange his face in a frown.
"I have the cramps," Bethany whispers.
"Go. GO!" Frankie reddens and waves her towards the back.
In the employee break room, she logs onto her computer and brings up Google.
Twenty minutes later, Bethany finds what she's looking for. She slides her cell from her back pocket and dials.
"Bethany?" Junior stands in the doorway. "Frankie's getting pissed."
"Oh, shit!" She leaps up, shuts the cover of her laptop. "Don't tell him?"
Junior smiles. "You can trust me."
She heads immediately to Bob/William's table; presents the bill. "Thank you, darlin'," he drawls.
She smiles. "Spoke with your wife just now."
He frowns, confused. "I beg your pardon?"
"Your wife? Mary Jane Donaldson?"
"Yeah. You may have swept it all under the rug, but let's just say I'm a really, really good housekeeper." She turns away, just as the door to the restaurant opens. A woman. Two police officers.
She clocks out early and heads home.
For the Scriptic.org prompt exchange this week, Sinistral Scribblings at http://www.
I gave Venus Moon at http://www.venusianmoon.
Kelly Garriott Waite on Google+