Writer's cramp winner based on two words written on a sugar packet. 7/9/2014
|Officer Nick Ortiz sat at a lonely diner table, idly rearranging his cold eggs as he waited. His partner had stepped into the mens room only seconds before and Nick knew it would be several minutes before he resurfaced. He wondered some days if it was an intentional ploy to ensure the waitress had sufficient time to flirt with Nick. Every day, just like clockwork –
“Hey Nickie,” the waitress cooed sidling up to him. “You wanna’ refresh on that coffee?”
“Yeah, thanks Shirl - - Can I get it to go? I'm going to need something warm out there,” he said motioning toward the frigid weather just outside the window.
“You want some sugar with that?” she said entertaining herself with her tirelessly used double entendre.
Nick let the comment go without response and she wiggled her way back up the aisle. He couldn’t help but notice her ample bottom as she walked away, as not only did it fill his line of sight, but the narrow aisle as well. He contemplated how anyone could wear leggings that tight. It didn’t really leave much to the imagination…. Which he felt in Shirl’s case, was quite a shame.
“Oy, get yer mind out of the gutter,” his partner said hitting him playfully with a folded newspaper. Patrick had come up behind the officer and caught him off guard.
Nick raised an eyebrow as his partner squeezed into the booth. They had talked about this. Nick was genuinely concerned that Shirl was sweet on him. He wasn't interested, but he couldn’t very well say anything without offending the poor girl. Unfortunately, this made him a pretty easy target for the tactless Irishman.
Shirl wiggled up to present Nick’s coffee in a Styrofoam cup. “I know just how you like it,” she said with a suggestive wink.
“Thanks Shirl,” Nick answered genuinely.
Shirl gathered up the plates, and gave him another eyeful of tight spandex, stretched to a translucent sheen as she walked away.
“So did ‘yer two set a date fer the wedding while I stepped out?” Patrick asked in his Irish brogue. He let out a boisterous laugh that shook his belly and the table in turn. Patrick’s laughter transformed into a hacking smoker’s cough.
With both men’s attention diverted, a stranger dropped a packet of sugar on their table as he was leaving. At first, Nick didn’t think much of it, assuming that the packet had accidentally slipped from a pocket. Then he noticed, on the packet two words were written over the logo – SHE KNOWS.
Nick's eyes followed the path the stranger had taken through the diner’s revolving door. It took a minute for the message to sink in, but once it had, he numbly followed out into the cold.
Patrick came waddling out the revolving door seconds behind.
“See where he went?” he huffed, his breath showing in the cold morning air.
“Nah,” Nick said kicking his service shoes at the street in frustration.
“So eh? You goin’ ta tell me what this is about?” Patrick inquired bouncing slightly to keep warm.
Nick frowned in response, and motioned with his chin to the parked squad car across the street . Nick jumped into the driver's side and had the car in motion before Patrick had even closed his door.
“SHE who - KNOWS what?” Patrick prompted.
“So it’s goin’ ta be like that?!” Patrick demanded.
Nick spoke while slowly cruising the deserted streets, “Look Pat – “
“Nah you look,” Patrick interrupted, his Irish temper immediately showing. “I can see you’re in trouble. It’s all over yur face!”
Nick nodded, deciding almost instantly, that for his safety alone, he would need to trust someone... “Do you remember when the Captain started at the 9th precinct?”
“Course I remember,” Patrick retorted.
“Well, she got in because of her connections to a very wealthy drug contingent.”
“So, the “She” on our sugar packet is Captain Donavon,” Patrick reasoned. “But what then does she supposedly KNOW that's got you so spooked?”
“Well, I just transferred from narcotics.”
“Yeah but look kid, you're going to have to draw me a picture because I’m still not seeing the connection,” Patrick admitted.
“I'm due to testify on her and some crooked political connections..... as a secret informant for the FBI.”
“Come on. Fur Real?” Patrick skeptically inquired.
“I'm due to testify next week, and I'm guessing this little message has everything to do with that,” he said gesturing with the packet still clutched in his hand.
“There,” Patrick interrupted as he squinted down an alley. “I think I’ve found your delivery man!”
Nick reversed a few feet to get a good look into the shadows. A short distance down the alley, a group of men were gathered around a fire barrel to keep warm. At the very edge, with his back toward the patrol car, the thin man from the diner stood warming his hands.
Nick barely had the car stopped before he'd jumped from the seat. “Freeze,” Nick exclaimed as he trained his gun on the single figure.
A shot rang out surprising both Nick and the gathered homeless.
Slowly, Patrick placed his service revolver back in its holster.
“So much for your testimony,” Patrick said as he walked past the crumpled body of Nick Ortiz bleeding out at his feet.
“Hey Cricket,” he called into the shadows. “I’ve got your payment for your delivery services. Oh and, Captain Donavan sends her regards!”