Chapter 1 – Part 4
Not my kind of place: too many vain people… Too much appearance and no substance… Too much money shown off. It was his kind of place even less. As he had decided to meet in Florida, why didn’t he just go to Gainesville?
I suspected that he wanted to make sure I’d be ready before he got here. Meeting me in Gainesville, he would run the risk of finding me still in my pajamas or hiding among the alligators.
I sat at a table on the Nikki Beach’s terrace and watched the waves crashing on the beach. It is more difficult to do than you’d think. The view was constantly obstructed by a rather incredible number of rather incredible-looking young women.
So, yeah, not in Gainesville, I get it, but why here, in this place? For starters, South Beach was a bit of a strange choice, but hey, why not, I’ll roll with it. But the Nikki Beach? It wasn’t his style at all. He’d have no problem with the view, but he wasn’t very fond of that kind of atmosphere either.
Oh well, he sometimes works in mysterious ways.
The waitress approached and asked me what I wanted. A few years ago, I would probably have answered “your phone number.” Those days being over, I asked for a Watermelon Daiquiri instead. She smiled. Some people would do things they’d regret later for this kind of smile. It surprisingly seemed genuine.
I turned to ocean again- more or less. He would be here any minute now.
The waitress brought the cocktail. There was a phone number scribbled on a slip of paper under the glass.
People often say that I’m lucky. “You, lucky bastard!” is something you can often hear my friends or coworkers say. Yeah, true, whatever. Here! Right here! Here is my luck! This waitress. She seems like an interesting woman, worth meeting. A rarity in such a place. And I am rarely wrong with first impressions. And she’s giving me her phone number. I didn’t even need to ask. Luck, right? Are you fucking kidding me?! In less than an hour, I’ll leave for an unknown destination, and it sure won’t be a vacation. Who knows if I’ll even make it out alive? There you have it. My luck, right here.
What was this meeting even about? Why had he gone through all this trouble to find me? Why did he need to come in person?
A familiar silhouette finally appeared on the terrace. His somewhat asymmetrical face. Sunglasses stuck on his nose. An apple-green necktie, its slightly unfastened knot. His signature tailor-made white suit always turned heads. Today, it probably was because it clashed a bit with the locals’ beach attires. He walked towards the bar with great confidence. The barmaid was already busy preparing him a Sidecar. He whispered a few words into her ear and then came to sit at my table, his glass in his hand. He returned my smile, took a deep breath, and spoke in a voice as clear as if he were sober:
“Well, it’s been a while!”
“I’m always ready when you need me to be.”
“Hmm… I’m hearing that you didn’t have much of an intention do to so this time.”
I didn’t find this reproach amusing.
“Sorry. I’m teasing. It’s good to see you, Bond, my friend.”
“It’s good to see you too, Taulier,” I smiled.
“But if you keep drinking such things, I may have to ban you from my establishment. It’s because we’re on neutral ground that I’ll give you a pass.”
“I was only trying to blend in. Did you come all this way to talk mixology? Not that I mind but…”
“No, this will have to wait for another day. We have some rather urgent matters to discuss. So, please, listen carefully…”
He stopped smiling and he explained.
I stopped smiling too. Yeah, very lucky…
End of Chapter 1
(to be continued)
Photo: Nikki Beach Miami
Frenchman, exiled on the other side of the planet, DavidB writes. It's not always very good, but who cares, the goal is to write. Sometimes, he also does other things.
MetaStructure is one of his longest-running projects. It was started in the early 2000s. Stopped many times. Started over a few times. Let's hope this time is the right one.