Yes, this episode got published a little late today. No, I’m not going to apologize. Okay, I’m kidding; if you show up on my doorstep to complain, I’ll probably dissolve into an abject puddle of apologies. (please don’t complain; cleaning up apologies is a major annoyance) So, late being better than never, here’s your weekly…
Chapter 9 – part 3
The three of them reached the city limits of the next town nearly an hour later. A small diner, barely more than a hole in the wall with its own building, sat next to the highway. They trudged through the door, much hotter and hungrier than any of them liked, but definitely un-arrested.
Eddie slumped down on the first chair he found. The others followed suit, glancing around. The only other person in the place was a waitress who was busily cleaning a table at the far end of the room. When she noticed the three, she gestured for them to give her a moment.
While they waited for her, Vančura gave their companion a flat look.
She pointed a confused expression at him in return.
“You’re going to tell us your name. It’s already pretty obvious you’ve got a team helping you. It’s also obvious that after stealing a cop car, assaulting three officers, and removing two arrestees from custody, having the police know your name is the least of your worries. So, let’s have a name.”
With a frown, she nodded. Vančura had a habit of making statements sound threatening and matter-of-fact at the same time.
“You’ve got a point. Call me Armelle.”
Vančura’s eyes narrowed and a slight smile touched his lips.
“Armelle, eh? Pretty name. First or last?”
This time, she grinned at him.
“Isn’t wondering about it more fun?”
From where he was slumped across the table, Eddie rolled his eyes.
“Now dat you got a name, lessee how yer credit is, eh? D’nice lady with d’menu is coming dis way.”
The waitress stopped at their table and slid the laminated menus in front of them. The list of choices was remarkably short, but it didn’t seem to bother Eddie. With what he considered a disarming grin, he glanced at his menu and immediately handed it back to her.
“Jus’ gimme whichever one’s th’biggest.”
The waitress raised an eyebrow at him and glanced at Armelle. She seemed satisfied with the slight nod she got in return.
“Same for the rest of you?”
Vančura shrugged and Armelle handed her menu back as well.
The waitress headed through the swinging doors to the kitchen. Eddie relapsed into his former dejected state, but Vančura turned his flat gaze on Armelle again. She rolled her eyes and leaned back.
“What’s her name?”
Armelle shook her head, half resigned and half exasperated.
“What gave it away?”
He glanced out the window, idly watching the cars pass on the highway.
“She’s an amateur. Eddie ordered and instead of just writing it down, she looked to you for confirmation. She knew you, knew you were in charge or paying, at least, and knew he wasn’t.”
His eyes swung back to her.
“And most waitresses don’t carry a mid-size pistol under their aprons to complement their boot-knives.”
End Chapter 9 – Part 3
Go to Chapter 10 – Part 1
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An installment of “Twicebound” is published each Saturday. (assuming I haven’t been pinned down by enemy fire on the Russian front while trying to write my novella characters out of the middle of a fire-fight)