Drop #87: Menace (Part 1)

This Drop turned out a little longer than expected, so I cut it in half . Part 2 will follow soon. 

 

‘Hey, stop that kid from staring at me, OK?’

‘Excuse me?’

‘I said: your kid keeps looking at me and I don’t like it.’

‘Sorry.’

Lawrence O’Hare told his son to sit down and finish his sandwich.

‘It’s not polite to stare at strangers, Love,’ his wife, Linda, added.

It was their first full day in Barcelona, having arrived late the previous night. O’Hare only got ten days of holiday a year and had decided to spend them in Spain with his family. Hungry from having strolled the charming narrow streets of the old city all morning, they had stopped at one of the small cafes for a late lunch, sitting at one of the only two outdoor tables. At the other sat the thin man who had since arrived, ordered a vermouth, and gone on to address them so rudely. A man with an unfamiliar accent who greased his hair back, wore a leather jacket in the summer’s damp heat, and chain-smoked annoyingly.

The O’Hares hurried on into their meal in silence. The setting: an old, cobbled square with a large plane tree, and the food: a platter of Spanish ham and cheese, croquetas, razor clams, gazpacho and sangria couldn’t have been better, but the atmosphere had become strained, and they were keen to get lunch over with and to move on. But they had barely begun.

‘Tsk!’ The man delivered the sound loudly. Not four minutes had gone by. ‘You see,’ he said. ‘He just did it again.’

O’Hare ignored him this time.

‘Hey! Over here. You look at me when I talk to you, friend!’

O’Hare did now, while his wife looked down and away. With hand kept close to chest, the man pointing with a crooked index finger, the lit cigarette stump crushed between the third and fourth fingers curled up below. It resembled a smoking gun.

‘Look, mister: I’m sorry if we are offending you in some way, but I can assure you, we don’t mean to. My boy is only eight. Little boys his age have no attention span and they’re curious. They look around at everything. Really, though: he doesn’t mean to bother you.’

‘But he is, bothering me. I don’t like being looked at, you understand?’

‘Come on! This is ridiculous. Just let us finish our lunch in peace and we’ll go our separate ways. Please! Just leave us alone.’

‘Do you hear yourself?’ the man leaned forward. ‘What tone is this? You think I like to be talked to this way, by someone like you?’

‘Seriously,’ said O’Hare. ‘Can’t you just stop bothering us? Don’t you have anything better to do?’

‘No. I don’t. Really. But listen, I’ll let you off with a warning this time, if…’ he raised the same crooked trigger finger, ‘if you apologize for talking to me like you just did.’

‘What?’

‘Apologize to me,’ he said, folding his arms, ‘and make the tone right.’

O’Hare looked from the man’s callous, stubbled face, to Linda’s. With lips thinned and eyes pulled back under emphatically raised eyebrows, it urged him to accept these skewed terms.

‘OK,’ O’Hare said, looking back at the man. ‘I’m Sorry.’

‘Good. Good. Now, like you said, you can just finish your lunch, I can finish my drink, and we can go our different ways.’

‘Yes.’

‘As long as that kid doesn’t look at me again, of course.’

‘Let’s just pay and leave,’ Linda pleaded, pulling her son’s head into her chest with a rigid hand.’

‘Because if he does,’ the man continued, lighting another cigarette and staring at it’s glowing end while he paused for a second, ‘we are going to have a real problem.’

Linda looked for a waiter to ask for the check.

‘If he even peeks one eyeball at me for half a second, I’m going to have to hurt someone.’

‘Are you threatening me?’ O’Hare asked seriously.

‘I’m threatening all of you. If that boy can’t keep his eyes where they belong, one of you is going to have an accident.’

 

…to be continued

By E. M. Vireo

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About EM Vireo
flooding the world with fiction

2 Responses to Drop #87: Menace (Part 1)

  1. legionwriter says:

    I like. I like much

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