Okay so this will be the last short story excerpt I post from Black Flowers before it releases in a few days. Hope you enjoy this little sneak peek.
Disclaimer: There are suggestive themes and explicit language.
She sat in the back booth of the diner with an unlit cigarette hanging loosely from her lips and one hand shoved in the pocket of her leather jacket, tightly gripping the snub-nosed .38 revolver as she waited for the woman to show. Her eyes gazed out the window over the wet pavement of the nearly empty parking lot. The waitress eyed her suspiciously as she made her way over.
She knew she must be quite a sight, even aside from the green hair cut into a messy mohawk that partially hung in her eyes and the studded jacket. There was now a puffy black eye and a fat lip to accompany her already attention-grabbing looks.
"Rough night?" asked the waitress as she removed the notepad and pencil from her apron.
She laughed with a lack of enthusiasm. "Yeah, you could say that."
"Now you don't have any intentions of lighting that up in here, do you honey?"
She smiled at the peculiarity of the question, withdrew the cigarette from her lips with her left hand, and placed it behind her ear. All the while never lifting a finger from the gun in her jacket pocket. "No, just knowing it's there will help calm me."
The waitress gave her a wink and a nod, "Well that's quite all right, as long as we have an understanding. Our owner's father who used to smoke two packs a day just died from lung cancer, so he doesn't allow smoking in any of his establishments anymore. Probably an overreaction that's gonna hurt business but hey, I don't make the rules, I just enforce them. So what can I get you tonight?"
"I'll start off with a coffee. Black. I'm waiting for someone."
"One black coffee coming up, sweetheart."
The waitress turned around and got the coffeemaker brewing a fresh pot. She heard the door chime as someone entered and she turned to see a tall, redheaded woman in a form-fitting, green dress with a large purse slung over her shoulder approaching her. Leaf had to admit she was more than a little impressed. The lady was a knockout; she usually didn't go for the prissy-looking bitches, but exceptions could be made now and then.
"Are you Bennie's friend? Miss Cartwright?" asked the redhead.
"That'd be me. Sit your pretty little ass in that booth and we'll have a talk," she said with a smile as she bit her lip ring in a suggestive manner.
Okay, cool it, Leaf. This woman probably intends on killing you before the night is through; she's not interested in going to bed with you.
The redhead set her purse in the booth beside her and got straight to the point. "If you know where Bennie is, tell him that if he returns our property now there will be no repercussions. If he keeps us waiting, though, he is endangering himself and everyone he cares about, including yourself, Miss Cartwright."
"‘Leaf’ is just fine," she said, appearing unaffected by the woman's threats. "So that's your deal, huh? Return your stuff or you're going to kill us? Not even going to butter me up a little bit? I've seen jackhammers with a more subtle touch."
"Well, Miss Cart . . . Leaf, if you prefer," she said with a malicious grin. "We happen to be on a rather tight schedule, so forgive me if I don't have time for common niceties. Your friend Bennie's theft has upset many years of planning for us."
"First of all," Leaf interjected, "I don't know where Bennie is. I'm still trying to find him myself, and second, it might be helpful to know what it is he took. So, when and if I locate him, I'll know what to return to you."
The waitress set a steaming cup of coffee down in front of Leaf and then turned to the redhead. "And what can I get for you, darling?"
"Nothing. I'm fine," said the redhead coldly without making eye contact with the waitress.
"Excuse my friend's manners . . . Debbie, is it?" said Leaf as she glanced at the waitress's name tag. "She's had a really rough night as well. She just had her heart broken by a no-good man."
The waitress perked up. "Isn't that a damn shame?" She slapped her hands down on the table and leaned in close to the redheaded woman. "Some of these men around here just don't know how to treat a lady, do they?"
The redhead sat there quietly without responding, growing more annoyed by the second.
The waitress looked at Leaf and said, "That bastard isn't the one that gave you the shiner there, is it?"
Leaf could hardly contain her amusement. "As a matter of fact, it is."
The waitress pursed her lips angrily and began shaking her head, "I knew it, I just knew it. My friends think I'm crazy but I've always said, 'A man that'll break your heart'll just as soon as break your nose.'"
Leaf couldn't keep from snickering and the waitress eyed her with distrust, now suspecting she was being made fun of. Leaf regained her composure and responded with complete seriousness, "Don't worry, Debbie. I knocked him flat on his ass for it. He'll think twice before putting his hand on either one of us again."
Debbie smiled. "All right, now that's what I like to hear. I—"
"On second thought, I'll have the number two with a side of eggs and some coffee," the redheaded woman blurted out in a desperate attempt to derail the conversation.
"Well, all right, darling. No need to get all excited. Coming right up." The waitress rolled her eyes at Leaf as she wrote down the order on her notepad and sauntered off to the kitchen.
The redhead shot a look at Leaf that was sharp enough to cut diamonds. "May I ask why you did that?"
Leaf shrugged and smirked. "Figured it'd piss you off. Worked, didn't it?"
"I believe you've mistaken me for someone else. I'm not the type of person you want to play games with." Her facial expression was intensely serious and something in her eyes told Leaf she truly might not want to anger this woman . . . .
All right so the countdown is finally coming to an end, Black Flowers will be out this Saturday and hopefully my anxiety doesn’t do me in before that happens!