Cafe de Mort
George sipped his espresso, and gently laid it to rest on the saucer. The cafe he had come to know so well in the previous weeks had always made the perfect espresso, and he was going to miss it dearly. The weeks leading to today had seemed very surreal, almost like a vacation for the mind. The closer he got to today, the clearer his mind became, and for the first time in years he was feeling very content. He felt fresh. He was on the edge of rebirth. He let himself enjoy the sun’s warmth, the cafe and view.
To his left, several tables over, sat a man with his daughters. One was a teenager and the other was much younger. They had been here most days in the weeks George had, and were finishing up there usual breakfast and it seemed the daughters were especially hyper this morning. They spoke rapid-French and George could rarely keep up with the conversations when eavesdropping. The teen was quite a beautiful girl and often had an impact on passing boys her age. The father was in his fifties, and smiled proudly, spoiling them every morning at the cafe. And as was their custom the two girls talked him into letting them cross the cobblestone road to the jewelry store. He ordered a refill on his coffee from the waiter, and watched with glee as they ran across the stones and into the old building with the wooden sign hanging above the door. A biker leaning against the wall of the shop for a break moved his position to the other side of the door and watched the girls casually through the display window.
There was a jogger sitting at a far table at the edge of the outside cafe, sipping on some water and resting his hand on his fanny pack. He wasn’t sweating and looked too big to be a jogger. He wore his hood up on his jacket, covering half of his face, but anyone could see that his eyes were constantly darting back and forth. He was constantly people watching.
George glanced at his watch, and finished his espresso. He rose to his feet and walked to the father’s table. He stood several steps back from it, but leaned his head forward and spoke to the man, “Pardon, monsieur?”
The father’s eyes looked at him worriedly, and his smile faded. “Bonjour.”
George licked his lips as he prepared to ask the question he had memorized. “Etes-vous Jean-Claude Batiste?”
This seemed to get the father’s attention, and he looked at him very seriously as he answered. “Oui.”
“My French is rough, pardon moi. Parlez-vous anglais?”
Now that George could speak English, he could say exactly what he wanted to say with confidence. “I believe you knew my father.”
Batiste squinted at him, as if trying to see a resemblance to someone he might know. “Who is your father?”
Batiste instantly snapped his finger at the jogger, who got up so fast that his chair fell over. He shoved his hand into his fanny pack and gripped a Walther PPk, but kept it hidden.
George’s blue eyes appeared to glaze over black and his voice lowered. “I’m not going to kill you.” He let him chew on this for a moment, and a soft breeze came through the old village, sending chills down the spine of Batiste. George took one step forward and whispered. “Je vais ter vos filles. I’m going to kill your daughters.”
Batiste’s eyes shot to the shop across the street just in time to see an explosion knock out the entire front wall of the building. The blast knocked the jogger across a table, and Batiste fell over backwards in his chair, crashing against the hard rock. The ceiling also gave way and dumped several thousand pounds of rock and tile onto the biker who had been leaning against the wall
George took the blast and the confusion immediately following to make his planned exit. He darted through the cafe’s small kitchen, out the back door and down the old wooden stairs behind it. He found his strategically placed scooter, jumped onto it, started its engine and sped off down the cobblestone streets towards the edge of town.