Drop #87: Menace (Part 2)

If you haven’t read it yet, click here for Part 1. Go ahead: click it!

‘That’s it! This has gone too far,’ O’Hare said, standing up.

‘What are you doing, Larry?’ Linda asked, nervously.

‘I’ve had enough of this guy.’

‘Sit down,’ she begged. ‘Please!’

‘I’ll be right back, Honey. I saw a cop on the other side of the square when we walked over.’

‘Don’t leave us alone with him, for God’s sake!’

‘Back in a jiffy,’ he said, walking briskly off, as Linda clasped their son tighter. She dared not look around.

O’Hare returned a few minutes later with the policeman, who wore a neon yellow jacket.

‘This is the man,’ O’Hare said.

Relieved to see them, Linda still wouldn’t turn around.

‘What this man does to you?’ the cop asked. They had lucked out as his English was pretty good.

‘He is threatening me and my family with violence?’

‘Why he does this?’

‘I don’t know. He’s crazy!’

What happens here?’ the cop now asked the man. ‘Why you say this things to this peoples?’

‘I didn’t.’

‘You did not threaten to them?’

‘No!’

‘Then why this American come and get me, tell me you are making problem?’

‘I think I know why,’ said the man calmly. He dragged and exhaled before going on. ‘There were some other people at that table before—the one where they are sitting now. An old man and his wife. There was only one free table left outside: this one.’ He pointed down towards his drink with an open palm. ‘We got here about the same time, the Americans and me, but I was a bit in front and sat down first. They wanted the table and the father was upset.’

‘That’s not true!’ Linda yelled, swiveling to face the man, the boy still chained to breast with a forceful arm.

‘But the old man and woman were almost finished,’ the man continued, ‘so these people could sit down at their table after a few minutes anyway. When they did, the father kept staring at me with an angry face.’

‘This is such bullshit!’ O’Hare cried. ‘None of it is true!’

‘Then, they did not like when I started smoking and told me to stop. I told them that here in Europe, you are allowed smoke outside and I would not stop. The man got angry and told me he didn’t care. He was arguing with me and talking very aggressively. Then I realized the real reason he does not like me because he started calling me names like Grease Ball and Wog. I don’t know where he thinks I am from, or why he has a problem with this place, but it’s obvious this man is a racist. That is why he is trying to make problems for me now, again.’

‘Lies. All lies,’ Linda objected vehemently, shaking her head.

All the while, the neon yellow officer had listened blankly, tipping his head once in a while at apparently random points of the monologue. Now he turned to Lawrence O’Hare. Is true you call to this man racist name?’

‘No! Not at all!’

‘Then why he say so?’

‘Because he’s a liar, a con man!’

‘And, I tell you something,’ the policeman quickly added, ‘is OK for smoke in outside in Barcelona,’ the last word, spoken so fluently, it sounded utterly foreign after the seven that preceded it. ‘Is no problem for smoke cigarette, OK? Everybody is smoke in the outside.’

‘I never mentioned anything about his smoking,’ O’Hare pleaded. ‘Not once.’

‘Please,’ said the cop, spreading his palms as if holding an invisible balloon. ‘Do not play this games. I am leave now. No more problem. Please.’

‘This man is threatening my family. For Christ’s sake!’

‘Please,’ said the cop again, expanding the balloon. ‘Just finish food and go away. No make comment. No call racist name. No more.’

And he left.

The man smoked quietly while Linda asked for the check and O’Hare took some notes out of his wallet in preparation. He’d leave the change just to get away sooner.

But before it came, the man addressed them again in a soft, cold voice: ‘That was a mistake, to call the police.’

They ignored him but he went on: ‘And I won’t let you get away with it. You can leave now, but I will follow you. You won’t see me, but I will follow and wait, and when the moment is right, I will get you. Maybe the boy, or the mother, or you, the big man – or maybe everyone – but I will hurt you. This is a promise.’ He kissed a large golden ring on his left hand.

The check came and O’Hare threw the bills onto the small silver tray as his family stood up.

‘Maybe today, or tomorrow, but t will happen, believe me, and it will be painful. I am good at this and they will never catch me. Europe has open borders. By the time they look for me, I will be three countries away.’

The O’Hares left, walking quickly, arm in arm in arm.

‘Enjoy your stay in Barcelona,’ the man shouted after them, lighting another cigarette as he dropped a few coins on the table with a clatter. Then he also got up, and slunk into the crowd like a wolf into winter woods.

By E.M. Vireo

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About EM Vireo
flooding the world with fiction

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

  1. I’m reminded of incidents in my life where something like this happened. It’s gut-wrenching and creepy and leaves an impression. At least, my experiences did.

    Good read.

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