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Part 4: Mochas and Motorcycles

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It was one of those phrases that struck an unreasonable amount of terror into a person’s heart. Suddenly, I felt guilty for no good reason.  I glanced around for an escape, but then I stopped myself.  I had nothing to hide, did I?

The EMTs moved in and carefully prepared to shift the remains of the jumper/drop victim.  It was going to take them some time to get the body back to the morgue given the state of her.   So, I guessed I had an hour to kill, maybe more.  But, the last thing I wanted was to be trapped in some interrogation room with these two goons.

“Okay,” I said to Tengu.  “But, my day just took a turn, you know?  So, I’m going need more coffee.  A lot more.  Can we do this over a latte?”

Furfur perked up suddenly and gave Tengu what I would have sworn was an ‘oooh-pretty-please?’ begging glance.  For a demon, he looked kind of excited, shifting back and forth from foot to foot.  I thought he might start dancing next.

“You would have to say ‘coffee.’”  Tengu sighed, “It seems you’ve hit upon my partner’s greatest weakness.  I have no choice but to agree.”

#

The Starbucks had an unparalleled view of the Wal-Mart parking lot.  Sun glinted off chrome and paint and asphalt.  Seagulls wheeled overhead, squawking.

The three of us sat under a wide, plastic sun umbrella on the concrete patio.   We must have looked odd, me in my shorts and a t-shirt, and the two of them in their dark suits.  Plus, as soon as he got his drink, Furfur buried his face in the whipped cream of his mocha and proceeded to inhale it in the most awkwardly, semi-sexual way possible.

Tengu and I looked away.

I asked, “So… no mochas in Hell?”

He shrugged.  “Apparently not.  If you ask him, he’ll say something about coffee and chocolate being utterly sinful.”

“Well,” I had to admit, taking a slurp of my own icy-chocolate drink.  “He’s not wrong.”

“Indeed,” was Tengu’s only comment.

Tengu had perched the sunglasses on the top of his head again.  The frames helped hold back the few strands of long, black hair that had escaped his ponytail.  If it weren’t for that strangely droopy nose of his, he’d be handsome—especially given those long, almost feminine eyelashes and the sharp angles of his face.  He sat in a more relaxed pose, too, his long legs stretched out under the steel wire table and his hands folded on his lap.

Sucking some of my chocolate-iced-smoothie through a fat straw, I wondered how either of these two could stand to drink anything hot on a day like today.  Though I supposed it would make sense that a demon could stand the heat.  But, even Tengu had ordered hot green tea.  The barista had been so confused; she’d had to throw away an iced tea before getting it right.

Similarly, due to the heat, most of the other customers chose to enjoy the air-conditioning inside.

We were alone inside the wrought-iron fenced-in patio, except for one other person, who was reading the newspaper some distance away.  Given that he was surrounded by leather saddlebags and wore motorcycle boots and had a jacket tossed over the table, I figured him for the owner of the dust-covered Harley parked at the curb.  I couldn’t tell if he was a member of Devon’s werewolf gang, or if he was just some random stranger passing through on the way to Sturgis.

Perhaps feeling my stare, he peered out from behind the newspaper.  The shock of bright red hair with the telltale streak of white made me recognize him instantly: Mac!

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