“So you make it out alive. And I’m waiting around the corner in the getaway car.” She pointed to the phone with the lighter on it. “But that lousy bank manager hit the alarm and the cops are coming. Your phone is the cop car.”
“Okay” I said. I was getting into this hypothetical bank robbery almost as much as she was.
She put the sweeteners next to the lighter and popped the cigarette in her mouth. She started to move her phone around the table. She grabbed my phone. I almost stopped her, but I thought she might get mad again.
“The cops are chasing us. High speed. We tell each other that it’ll be alright. We’ll get through this. We’ll lose these mother fuckers and get to the airport.” She moved the phones around the items left on the table. They skidded around the book and swerved around the coffee cup. I kept watching. My eyes following her hands around the table like it was a trick. “But we don’t make it. You lean over to kiss me. And I lose control.” She pulls her phone off the table. “And so do the cops.” And off goes my phone as well.
I sit back in my chair. I start to bite on my finger nail, trying to make some sense of it all.
“Did we die?”
“I don’t know. That’s for you to decide I guess. You’re the writer” she said, leaning back and handing my phone to me with a wink. I thought for a moment, looking down at the table, trying to block out the absurdity of what had just happened and focus on what happened.
“We didn’t die.” I said after a second. “But they did. The cops.” I leaned back in. A broad smile crept across her face again. She looked really pretty when she smiled like that. That sweet smile was like the tonic for her crazy eyes. “We get out of the car and walk to the side of the road.” I picked up the sweeteners and the lighter.
“And we use the shotgun,” I reached over and pulled the cigarette out of her mouth and pressed it behind the sweeteners, “to steal the next car that comes along.” She sat her phone back down on the table and moved it slowly towards the lighter and the sweeteners, pushing it gently with her fingertips, all painted a different color.
“We steal the car,” I put the lighter and the sweeteners on the phone, “throw the shotgun out of the window,” I roll the cigarette off of the table and stamp it out, “and drive to the airport.”
I sat back again. I found myself a little short of breath. But smiling.
“And?” she said, holding the phone with her fingertips, waiting for her next instructions.
“And nothing. That’s the end.”
She looked both ways and leaned in closer.
“What about paying off the pimp?”
“Fuck him. We decided not to. When we were driving away.”
She started to clap her hands together softly again, beaming from her gold earring to her silver one. She stopped suddenly and leaned in closer.
“What about Rishikesh?” she whispered.
“We might make. We might not. We should leave that up to the reader.”
She slowly moved back into her chair and carefully took her fingers from the phone. She picked up the lighter and the sweeteners and sat them down back in their original position. All things in a line.
“I like that. Mystery. That seems so…you.”
I felt my back straighten up. So me? I couldn’t work out what she meant by that.
“Is that so? I’m not that mysterious. I’m actually quite open.”
“No you’re not. I’m an astute judge of character. But I didn’t have you down as a freak.” She smiled like that again.
“A mysterious freak.” She pointed her purple fingernail at me. She started to pack her items back into her bag. “You see, dressed the way you are, in a coffee shop, on your own, notepad, sitting with someone like me. You’re hard to work out. You keep that freak in a cage somewhere. I guess it takes a bigger freak to bend the bars and let him loose.”
I just looked at her, confused and rooted in my seat. She stood up quickly, throwing her big bag over her shoulder.
“I’ll see you around” she said with a smile.
“Wait. Do you come here often?” I asked. I immediately realized how corny that sounded.
“Was that a pick-up line?”
“No, I don’t think so. I just mean it would be nice to see you again. What’s your phone number?” I went for my phone in my pocket.
“Don’t worry about that,” she said quickly, “we’ll bump into each other again. I have a feeling.”
“I didn’t catch your name.”
“Eh….Richard” I said, looking at the empty table, feeling a bit shell-shocked by everything. My brain was having too many thoughts at once.
I looked up at her and smiled.
“Yeah. Why not?”