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The Coffee Shop
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The Coffee Shop
A short short story that takes place in a coffee shop.
Consultant, amateur writer.
The Coffee Shop
The coffee shop was nearly empty. Serukin sat in a corner, sipping a cup of hot black coffee. Outside, the Sun was setting. Streams of light found their way through the concrete jungle that was Naroba. The light bent around sharp edges, softening them in the process and changing in tone as a result. Serukin sat oblivious to the surroundings. He held a black hardbound book that looked much too heavy for his small hands. He wasn't someone you would notice in a crowd. He was short, of moderate build and wore glasses. His baby-face contrasted with his receding hairline, making it impossible to guess his age. He was dressed casually in a t-shirt and jeans. Even from far, you could see that he was comfortable in silence - always alone, but, never lonely.
A pretty waitress came by offering a refill. Her nametag read Selena. He nodded unsmilingly at her and got back to his book. The shop had large windows facing towards the West. The kitchen and the serving counter lined up against the opposite wall. As the last rays of gold found their way through the windows and then disappeared into the horizon, the bright white lights of the cafe took full effect. The kitchen had closed some time back and only one waitress remained to take care of the shop. Serukin's beady eyes glanced in the direction of the wall clock above the counter. He was expecting someone. Presently, a tall man dressed in a spotless suit walked in. He wore a hat pulled over his head, effectively hiding his face. He walked with purpose and supreme confidence. Without a word, he glided to the corner and sat at Serukin's table.
They talked to each other like old friends. The cafe was empty, except for their table. Selena sat at the counter reading the day's newspaper. She was engrossed in an article detailing the alleged involvement of the Mayor in a murder several years ago. The Mayor was well respected throughout the city and this article had come as a shock to many. It was he who took the city to new heights in development. He rid the streets of the beggars and brought in prosperity. He had been as clean as a whistle during the two terms he served and had been reelected for a third. He was charismatic, pragmatic and a family man to the core. The waitress glanced occasionally in the direction of the two remaining customers. The article went on to allege that the Mayor paid off the only witness to the crime and thus got away scot-free.
They called in for a refill. When she returned, she moved on to another story, one that concerned her on a personal basis. A string of murders had taken place over the last few years. The targets were mostly waiters and restaurant owners. The police blamed the land mafia. The mafia demanded bribes from the restaurants and of late, the owners had become increasingly reluctant to pay up.
Serukin and the stranger were first time customers as far as Selena could remember.
Serukin was now more relaxed and talked to the stranger with a quite confidence. Their friendship began years back in a bar across town.
"James, I need help setting up my business"
"I cannot keep helping you Serukin. You must stop relying on me. One day, things will change"
"Things have not been the same since father passed away. You know that"
James sighed. "Alright, here"
He handed him a brown package. Serukin smiled.
Selena went back to the article on the Mayor. The opposition party was keen on exposing the Mayor. They tried their best to investigate the murder themselves. This led to counter-allegations of a smear campaign. The opposition was desperately searching for the witness. Again, the crime story. The murderers left valuables untouched. It seemed that their motivation was revenge alone. Useless police, thought Selena. They blame the mafia for everything.
It was nearing closing time. Selena printed out the bill and went across to Serukin's table. She noticed the brown packet.
"I've got this," said Serukin. He tore open the packet and pulled out a few bills from the bundle of notes inside. Selena's heart stopped as she saw the reflection of the stranger in the window. Serukin walked out. Minutes later, Mayor James followed. The next morning's headlines read, "Another waitress found dead".
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© 2010 Robin D
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