Austin pulled the door. Then pushed it.
It opened the second time, a small bell ringing to mark his entrance.
The cafe was warm, and busy. He tried to find a quiet place to sit. Maybe…
“Alright, love? Gawd, you look colder than a witch’s tit, if you don’t mind me saying. You get yerself over by that ‘eater there, and I’ll come get that order once you’re warmed up a bit.”
So much for casing the joint unnoticed.
He shrugged off his coat, hung it over his chair and sat down. Then stood up, lifted his coat off and pulled a small package from his pocket, and placed it on the table, before going through the sitting process again.
“So then,” the woman who greeted him came back. She was pleasant, the way mum’s are described in children’s books. “What’ll it be?”
“I’ll have a tea, and…is there a possibility of a bacon sandwich?”
“Oh, seeing as you asked so nicely. I’ll see what I can do for you.” She grinned at him and disappeared into the back of the place.
Austin looked around. Everyone there looked nice. Respectable. He wished he’d bought a paper.
“Tea. The sandwich is on its way.” It was a male voice, this time. Rich. Deep.
Austin’s head snapped up. Sure, there might be a beard, and maybe he looked more at peace, happier. But it was his old adversary. “Zarkophski!”
“Well, who did you expect? You came into my cafe!” He stood back. “What, no hug? It seems like a life time since I saw you last.”
Austin got up, and awkwardly slapped Zarkophski’s back. His old enemy sat at his table.
“So – tell me everything.”
Austin was wary. “Like what?”
“Well – start with work. Oh, Sylvie!” The waitress came over. “Sylvie. I want to introduce you to someone…very important to me. Austin and I go way back and, to be fair, we didn’t often see eye-to-eye. But it’s because of him I’m here today. Austin, this is Sylvia. She was my first friend here. She taught me everything there is to know about service and we run this place together.”
She shook Austin’s hand. “It’s wonderful to meet you. He talks about you often. I didn’t think you existed. But I’m glad you do. You’re the only reason this place isn’t called ‘Sylvie’s’!” She chuckled to herself. “I take it you’ll have your coffee here then?” She asked the arch fiend of crime.
Who nodded sheepishly, “If it’s not too much trouble.”
Austin waited until she was out of earshot. “I can still hear the voice over!”
“Oh, that’s mine. Probably. Sometimes I turn it on. Just to amuse myself. So…”
“Hang on. She wanted it to be named Sylvie’s. Why wouldn’t you let her?”
“Because, my not so wise friend, you would never have found the place. Now, will you tell me how you got here?”