The next day I’m out for an afternoon stroll with Fiona. The streets have a much different look when illuminated by the winter sun. Crisp sparkly ribbons of white grip the corners of sidewalks, buildings and streets as if they’re leftover decorations from the festive season two months ago.
“Thank you so much for coming to meet my daddy, honey,” Fiona says to me happily.
“No problem, he seems like a real good guy,” I respond with a smile.
Fiona blushes and leans over, nuzzling into my ear.
“Maybe I should come over tonight and thank you privately,” she seductively purrs.
Nervously, I come up with an excuse to turn her down, without telling her that I’m going to be pulling a job for her father.
“OH geez I REALLY wish I could, but I made plans for tonight already,” I stammer weakly.
“Oh, okay…well I guess I can see you tomorrow then?” Fiona replies, trying to hide her disappointment.
“Sure, of course,” I recover.
A happy Fiona kisses me on the cheek with a quick peck.
“OKAY! Talk to you later!” Fiona giggles excitedly as she separates from our path, heading toward the lot where her Mercedes-Benz is parked.
I walk away down the street on my own, past red brick buildings as my eyes search for the alleys that I am most comfortable in.
I can’t help but feel slightly broody.
I hate hiding things from her, but I gotta wait…make sure it all works out before I tell her…
I round the corner and slam hard into a solid wall of worn, blue fabric. It’s the chest of a familiar policeman.
“OOF!” I exclaim as I’m interrupted in mid-thought.
I look up at the scowling, dark-skinned police officer that towers menacingly over me.
My mind reels back to my youth. Suddenly I’m there again, frightened and looking over my shoulder at Brickner’s hand firmly gripping my shoulder as I stuff candy from a store shelf into my vest.
The first, and only, cop to ever bust me. He’s kept his eye on me ever since.
Brickner’s glare burrows into me as his mouth turns into a sarcastic smirk.
“Well, imagine running into you of all people, Joseph. What’s got you so distracted?” Brickner puzzles with mock interest.
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