Harsh Beginnings

Summary = spoilers, at this point. Expect more in the future.

"The world is flawed. People are flawed. Humanity is a flawed race. Some will settle at imperfect. I prefer to go one step further. We're on a downward spiral to a violent, bloody extinction. It becomes easier everyday for us to break out into a war that we cannot survive. All it takes is one trigger, one spark, and the firework that is sanity goes up and detonates in a genocidal, all-consuming fireball."

I watch a man over my newspaper. He's sitting across the cafe from me, shouting obnoxiously into his mobile phone. A woman and her daughter leave, irritated by the disturbance to the cosy atmosphere. He takes no notice. His jowls wobble with the exuberance of berating a colleague about a failed transaction. Spittle flies through his yellowing, tobacco stained teeth. He has my full attention now. A waitress hovers uncertainly near the man, unwilling to approach or interrupt him. She can't be more than seventeen. 

Finally, the man hangs up his phone and stuffs it into the pocket of his creased and shabby jacket. It was made for a much smaller girth; it stretches awkwardly against his gut. Something tells me those buttons haven't been done up for years. The man butts his cigarette on the counter, about four inches from the ashtray, and gets up to leave. I notice he hasn't purchased anything. He leers at the waitress for a moment, looking her up and down, before waddling from the cafe. I catch his scent as he exits: sweat and stale smoke. 

I put down my paper and pay for my coffee. I tip heavily. I'll probably use this cafe again before too long. The chair slides back easily over the lino. My coat slides easily across my holstered gun. Anyone observant would have noticed the slight bulge on the left side of my chest. Fortunately the only people still in the cafe were the flustered waitress, who was busy scooping ash off of the counter, and an old man snoring softly into his paperback novel. The clock ticked away rhythmically in the corner of the room. It was ten o'clock on a Sunday morning, most were still in bed.

I followed the balding, fat man out onto the street, stopping to watch him open the door to his BMW. Standard businessman's car, a 520d. He waits for a minute to light another cigarette before starting the car, mounting the curb and driving away. I pull out my phone and run the plates. The car was licensed to a Mr. P. Thompson. 


The End

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