Tony decided not to walk, and instead take a ride down to work on his bike. Took him a while, but soon he was cruising on his Ducati, down Leavenworth. He looked out at Alcatraz swayed low to right on Union, sun on his back and facing Coit Tower. He was headed to work, which was MacKeenan, an ad agency in Jackson Square. He checked his watch- it was 8 now- he had a 9 o’clock so he had time to stop in at Caffe Trieste for a shot- then dart over and park. Everything was so fast on his bike, he loved it.
The WellsFargo branch girls were there getting to go lattes. The morning crowd was mostly worker bees like him. He had a crush on Helen, the assistant manager of the Columbus branch, but wasn’t really at the stage where he’d ask her out. Not that he knew what stage that was, or when it came up. He ended up drifting into things- the same things, usually, over and over again. Breaking up with Tricia was probably the smartest thing he’d ever done. Nothing specific, except it didn’t work and it kept failing over and over again.
“You end up going to Tony & Nik’s last night?” Mario, the barista asked him.
Tony sipped his espresso. “Yeah, I didn’t see you there. You work over at that other place? What’s it called again?”
“Firenze, yeah, I’m working more there at night.”
“Nik’s was cool. Same folks each time, you know.” Tony said.
Mario laughed and nodded. “Hey, what’s wrong? You seem kinda down.”
Tony shrugged. “Nothing, and everything.” Tony laughed to lighten it up.
Mario took the next few orders and Tony finished his drink.
He walked outside into the brisk spring air and put his helmet back on. In the window next door to Trieste, above a homeless person sleeping in the doorway, was a big picture window with gleaming steel espresso machines. He could buy one, he thought, make espresso in his apartment overlooking the bay every day. But then he’d miss these little interchanges with Mario. He liked the small talk. Didn’t know why.
He climbed on and was about to tip his bike up when he noticed it- a hand, face up, on the sidewalk, extending from the homeless guy. He didn’t ever really look at the guy, just acknowledged him peripherally. Now that he looked, though he saw the blanket covering the figure wasn’t maroon- it was gray in the corners where it was dry, and a bloody dark purple everywhere else.
Next Chapter: Back in the Game –>