The restaurant was deserted, the sound of the pizza oven’s timer ringing loudly in the empty space. The poor kids behind the counter shuffled with zombie-style grace and glazed stares, making pizzas for people that wandered in, paid, and wandered back out again.
It was the perfect place for a high-level classified meeting….. with the Idiot.
The evening started when I walked in the door of the local Pizza joint, a front for the local syndicate. It was a deep dark secret that only the initiated knew about, and we liked it that way. Kept the riff-raff in check, and out of the loop. Dressed in a casual costumel, I was the picture of innocence. Of course, it was a disguise, but then, how many assassins do you know that wear their profession on their shirt? Exactly.
I requested a table up against the wall, and placed my back against it, knowing that I had to keep my eyes on the room, watching both exits with a hawk-like stare. Scoping out the pizzeria, I noticed the vacant stares of the teenagers behind the counter, paid to work, but not to pay attention, they checked out as the perfect cover for this meeting.
I walked over to the counter, head on a swivel to make sure that no one snuck up behind me, making me a target. Picking one of the girls working the front counter, I sauntered over and casually inquired if I was allowed to bring in a “surprise birthday cake” into the joint for one of the group joining me.
“Sure, ma’am, and if you’d like to share, we wouldn’t say no!” Bubbly with anticipation of a sweet bonus at the end of her shift, she readily agreed, and I just nodded. Bribes were always part of the syndicate’s modus operandi, and one I could easily live with.
After fetching the “cake” in from the vehicle, I retreated back to my table, and waited for the rest of the party to arrive.
The first ones through the door were the Idiot and his assistant, Junior. Junior was a hulking, dark-haired young man, with a tired look on his face. Obviously, he’d been following this Idiot around for days, cleaning up his messes and taking care of reporting to the “Boss” back at the home office. It must have been an exhausting job, and I didn’t envy him his position in the syndicate. Good assistants never get paid enough for what they have to do in their line of work, and I’m sure Junior’s thoughts were running along the same lines that night.
We greeted each other in the secret manner of the syndicate, making it look like the hug that it really wasn’t. Instead, it was a method of transmitting information, while checking for weapons and secret listening devices. He seemed to be clean,we both settled into our separate sides of the table, and started discussing the purpose of the meeting. But we weren’t alone for long.
Sparrow, my favorite partner-in-crime, joined us after the waitress took our drink orders. I knew that she’d have my back, having worked with her for years, and always being able to count on her to cover the entrances I wasn’t watching at the moment.
Then, it was time for the presentation of the gifts for our visitors. It was always a good way to put them at ease, while they assimilated to their new surroundings. Showing the good-will of the locals meant that we were willing to “deal” with the syndicate, and that was the whole point of the evening. They seemed to be pleased with the choices we made.
But the best, was yet to come.
The pizza we ordered was just as good as always, meat, with no vegetables to get in the way. Conversations flowed back and forth over the table, sharing stories of jobs past and possible future ventures. And then, it was time for the “cake”.
The only thing to be said, can be better shown:
It was a grand-slam, and the big man seemed to decide that we could work together on future syndicate jobs.
Little did he know about the time-delayed reaction built into the cocoa laced throughout the dessert. And just to make sure, I shared some of the confection with the workers behind the counter, making sure of their loyalties for later. No time like the present to implement our plan for world dominance.
One. Slice. Of. Chocolate. At. A. Time.
Mwahahahaha……… mission accomplished.