I wake up the next morning at 10:30 a.m. feeling like a million dollars. My morning erection greets me as I roll on my stomach.
“It’s 10:30? God, Cindi’s already been in the gym for an hour and a half already,” I say to myself.
Lord, that Cindi North. That Muscular Angel is sure something. I’ve never met anybody who even closely resembles Miss North. She’s big, tall, thick, strong as an Olympic weightlifter, funny, compassionate, unapologetically sexual and cute (not super cute, but she’s not bad to look at). Come to think of it, Cindi’s a very pretty woman. Her sharp nose, low cheekbones and masculine-looking eyes may not appear to be too attractive at first, but once I got to know her, she just…became more beautiful. Some women become more beautiful the longer you know them. Cindi is one of those types of women.
After spending a few more minutes fantasizing about Cindi and her incredible body, I hop out of bed and put on a pair of jeans and whatever shirt I can find that doesn’t smell too offensive. This dark red shirt seems sufficient.
Yeah, “sufficient” is the right word.
Every Sunday morning I go across the street to D’Angelo’s Café, a cute little neighborhood coffee and sandwich shop. The owner is the mother of one of my best friends from college. I’ve become a regular there and have since come to know all the other regulars. That’s one of the dangers of living within walking distance of a great java dispenser.
I walk outside and take a deep breath. The crisp autumn air smells great against a chilly sunny day. These are the type of fall days I like. I don’t particularly care for the rainy days that we often get here in Seattle. But I’m used to those by now.
As I walk across the street I see a pretty brunette girl jogging by me. She’s wearing a blue tank top and tight black spandex shorts. She’s cute, but she’s no Cindi North. Cindi would dominate that chick.
The moment I walk into D’Angelo’s Café I’m greeted by Sam, a regular patron who happens to be a former 1960s hippie. I’m convinced he’s still a stoner. That has to explain why he’s always eating the blueberry scones, which I don’t particularly like. Sam is an older guy who has long shaggy hair, a white goatee, tattoos all over the place and a wardrobe that looks like something out of the clearance sale at a thrift shop. “Tacky” is Sam’s modus operandi.
“Good morning, chum,” Sam says.
“It’s practically lunchtime, but good morning to you too.”
Sam is reading a Seattle Times and chewing on a day-old croissant. Sam is notorious for always purchasing half-off day-old goods instead of buying anything new. That’s his choice. There’s no law against buying the marked-down stuff.
I look around for Cathy (the owner) and see that she’s nowhere to be found.
Sam is the only other patron in the café at the moment. “I don’t know. She went into the back kitchen a few moments ago and hasn’t come out since.”
Oh great. Now I’m stuck having to talk to this guy. Sam is a nice man, but he can be a real work of art at times. This is the guy who will talk your ear off about whatever governmental conspiracy theory he’s into at the time. Yes, he’s one of those types. But strangely, I can’t quite pinpoint where his political views lie. He believes in conspiracies that draw unflattering conclusions about people on both the left and the right. Maybe even he doesn’t know what he believes.
“I’ll just wait here. She should be coming back soon.”
Sam takes this opportunity to strike.
“I hear you’re looking for another part-time job. Is this true?”
“Yes, sir, that is true. Why? Do you have a lead for me?”
He triumphantly leans back in his chair and flashes a broad, megawatt smile. I think Sam suspects I don’t think the world about him. He obviously has something juicy he wants to share with me and will milk it for all it’s worth.
“As a matter of fact, I do have something for you. Do you want to hear what it is?” he slyly asks. I’m convinced this is going to be something either illegal or related to an impending political and/or social revolution. Is he planning to topple the government and crown himself King of America?
“Sure, I do want to hear what it is. I’m always open to hearing what’s available out there. Tell me, please.”
I look over my shoulder to see if Cathy has returned yet. She has not. Dammit.
Sam slowly stands up like a creeper and grabs my left hand. He pulls me away from the counter and sits me down opposite of him at his table. He burps loudly.
“No problem.” I’m trying not to barf.
“I have a friend who knows someone who can give you a job.”
“So, you’ve never met this person?”
“No, not directly. But I know of him, and that’s all that really matters at this point.”
This sounds suspicious, but what was I expecting? I should be polite and listen to what he has to say. I have no doubt I’ll end up saying “no” at the end. All I really want to do is get my cup of coffee and pastry and GTFO. Where the hell is Cathy?
“What sort of business does this person do?”
“He buys things and sells them back to people.”
“Okay. What sort of things?”
Sam snorts loudly and ogles a young lady walking by the café. She’s a tall blonde wearing long white pants and a dark blue blouse. She’s not the prettiest thing out there, but her long legs are really something to regard. As the girl passes Sam returns his attention to me.
“His name is Theo. A good buddy of mine used to work for him. He doesn’t anymore because he recently moved to Texas. But I’ve heard good things about him.”
“You didn’t answer my question. What sort of things does he sell?” Why was I getting impatient and demanding an answer from him? It’s not like I actually care.
“He sells, well, things that aren’t…uh, quite legal…um, to the rich and wealthy.” Sam’s selective revealing of information tells me what he knows is both very juicy and probably shouldn’t be discussed in a public setting. I guess discretion isn’t terribly important to him.
“Let me guess. He sells cocaine to rich Hollywood types.” It’s an honest guess.
“Not Hollywood types. Theo works and lives up here. He sells stuff like that to those rich Microsoft and Amazon types over on the east side.”
“He’s a dope dealer to the software and Internet moguls in Bellevue and Redmond. Beautiful. And why would you think I’d be interested in this sort of job?”
“It pays really well. And you don’t have to pay taxes, for obvious reasons.”
Sam leans back in his chair and takes a small bite out of his croissant. Out of the corner of my eye I see Cathy come out of the backroom. She looks embarrassed to have a customer present in her establishment and she wasn’t there to serve them immediately. She rushes to the counter and apologizes profusely.
“Ryan! I’m so sorry. I didn’t know anyone was here. I was in the back room making soup, and I had no idea-”
“Don’t worry, Cathy. I was having a pleasant chat with Sam here.”
Cathy is a 50-something year old woman who might be the nicest person I’ve ever met. Cathy was married to her husband for 19 years before he came out of the closet as being gay. That was very surprising. But apparently she wasn’t totally shocked and took it all in stride. They had only one child (Stan, my buddy from college) and their sex life was essentially nonexistent. I know all this because she’s very open about her personal life (Stan is too embarrassed to tell me anything and I don’t blame him), almost to the point that I try to order my coffee and food as quickly as possible so I don’t have to listen to her go off on another one of her stories. Between Cathy and Sam, this can be quite a colorful little place. And I don’t mean color in terms of skin color, if you know what I mean.
“What would you like today?”
“I’ll have a 12 ounce nonfat latte and a strawberry muffin, please. That sounds like that would hit the spot.” Cathy’s strawberry muffins are almost orgasmic. Better than her blueberry scones, which are as dry as the Arizona desert.
“Alright. Are you doing okay there, Sam?”
“I couldn’t be better,” Sam says, still leaning back in his chair dangerously. I’m afraid he’ll fall over and break his neck. That would ruin everybody’s morning.
“Okay. Don’t fall down on me,” Cathy says, placing a newly baked, crisp muffin on a plate. My mouth waters as she hands it to me.
I sit down at a table next to Sam and instantly realize I should have asked for the muffin and the latte “to go,” but that would be weird considering I rarely ask for things to go. Besides, as much as I can’t stand Sam, I wouldn’t want to hurt his feelings by running off on him in the middle of our conversation.
“So….are you in?” Sam says, leaning in close to me. I doubt Cathy will be able to hear, considering the sound of her steaming milk is about as quite as a hundred jackhammers working on a busy street all at once.
“I’ll consider it,” I tell him. I really won’t consider it, because committing illegal acts for a living does not sound like my cup of tea. Even though these clients are supposedly “high class,” that doesn’t make it any less illegal. I guess it would limit the chances of me being caught by the police.
“Good. A job offer this good doesn’t happen every day. If you really want to work for my buddy, you know where to find me every week,” he says. With that, Sam gets up, throws away his coffee cup and leaves the café. I breathe a sigh of relief as I watch him clumsily cross the street in the middle of a green light. I’m amazed he hasn’t been hit by a car yet.
By that time Cathy (who can make a great tasting latte faster than a speeding bullet) is done with my drink and places it on the front counter. I get up to retrieve it. I take a small sip and make a subtle sound of approval. Cathy, washing her hands, looks at me with a bright smile on her face.
“What did he want?”
I take another sip and savor the flavor. “Nothing, really. He wanted to offer me a job.”
“A job? What kind of job?”
“Oh, nothing serious. He has a friend who’s looking for some help with a few random things. I told him I’ll consider it, but I won’t really.”
“Good. Anything involving him will be nothing but trouble.”
I sit down and grab the newspaper Sam was previously reading. I take a small nibble at my delicious strawberry muffin and look up at Cathy.