Mike realizing he could do no more decided to live with his look as well as his garb and went for the door. Just as he pulled the handle his iPhone buzzed on the nightstand. Another fucking birthday reminder he thought as he went to the phone and saw the SMS – “maybe you shouldn’t”
There was no number attached to the message yet this note was clearly not the work of internet marketing. Mike instinctively looked about the room now as the sun was breaking the fog in all directions and created individual search lights through the bits of dust as they appeared to be in perpetual flight. Of course there was no one there but this was now two cryptic notes less than 20 minutes apart in arrival and neither with a claimed author.
Mike was now off kilter and his stomach no longer knew the pang of hunger only the ill-ease of the unknown. It was clear his presence in Piedmont was no longer any kind of secret. On the clean side of the bed and from under the still fluffy pillow Mike retrieved a Beretta 84FS Cheetah .380 auto pistol and tucked it into the discreet holster in the pocket of his grey Hugo Boss trousers. He had hoped this might be a real vacation but it was now looking more like business as usual.
A shootout in the breakfast room of his favorite B&B in Italy was not exactly how he intended to start his morning, but he figured if its going down, let’s get this shit over with.
Mike, much more at ease with a task in mind rather than the consideration of his own inequities calmly strolled down the two flights of steps to the breakfast room below. It was always nerdy to walk down the stairs with ones hands in his pockets he thought as his shoulders tugged his lanky body forward down each run of the staircase with his hands battened to the inside of his trousers and gripping the weapon confidently.
As Mike entered the classic Italian breakfast room he was surprised and relieved to see that the room was not empty as he had expected, but bustling with hotel staff and 3 tables of guests.
Table 1 was a mother, daughter, and two small puppies in very tacky sweaters. Clearly NE USA Mike thought. Table 2 was the ubiquitous German family of 4, Dad was pushing 50 with a reddish-brown mustache, a look of human disdain, and always the fucking orange juice and poached egg. The Mom was just about as ugly a woman as Mike had seen in sometime with cankles that actually pushed the walls of her shoes like rampant botulism in a 7 year-old tin can of Okra. The children were younger than one might expect from parents of this age, but Germans are often over 40 before embracing parenthood.
Of course it was a boy and a girl Mike thought smugly as he considered their khaki pants and brightly colored hiking shirts. He was convinced if there had been a shootout that it would have been the most extraordinary thing that Hansel and Gretel here would witness before retiring to a matratzenlager in some hut in the alps 60 years from now.
The room was rectangular with paned glass doors and windows on 3 sides. On the fourth wall was the entrance to the hotel, the breakfast buffet (sprawling), and the entry to the kitchen. Adjacent to the kitchen entrance were 2 Savoy doors leading out to the courtyard and ultimately the vineyards and car park. There was a small table set for two facing these doors, and at the table a youthful female with chestnut hair sat, sipping a cappuccino and gazing out into the breaking fog.
Here we go, Mike thought as he unconsciously hissed at 1 of the dogs in a sweater and made his way along the buffet towards the lone female. Sensing danger was not imminent he could not help but grab a very sexy looking triangle of Robiola di Capra Castagna and pop a small morsel of the cheese in his mouth. The taste of the 3 milk cheese stopped him in his tracks for at least 5 full seconds as the salty bite of lactic brilliance unfurled and laid bare its milky breasts before Mike’s discerning palate. Mike, let loose an audible, “oh God” as he pushed his tongue to the roof of his mouth to force-press the salinity deeper into his taste buds.
The young woman recognized Mike’s voice immediately, left her fix on the outdoors, turned around and said, “Dad?”
…to be continued