LOVE-BIRDS by JJ Breech

She was sitting three tables away from me, sipping on an ice cold latte. Cream sat on her top lip like a vaudevillian’s fake ’tache and she either couldn’t feel it or didn’t care. She had a strange way of holding her drink, almost as if her arm was too weak to keep it to her mouth, because her hand cupped round forcing her wrist to make a severe ‘V’ shape.  She took no notice of her surroundings; the children playing holy hell in the corner, with a mom who was less a mother figure and more a cattle wrangler; the love birds on the table sandwiched between the pretty girl and I, unable to keep their hands off each other, kissing whenever not eating, stroking each other’s faces as if they had purchased a pet and was showing them the supposedly prerequisite affection; the elderly lady walking to the lavatory, head down looking ready to burst in to tears at any moment. People having good days, people having bad days.

She finally wiped her face, removing her creamy lip whiskers with the back of her sleeve. She turned to ‘Romeo and Juliet’ with a look of discomfort, which turned very quickly to disgust and she shook her head vigorously, almost as if to make a point to no-one in particular. And that’s when I took my chance. I brushed myself down, glanced at the reflection of myself in the café’s window, making sure my hair was immaculate. Taking a deep breath for confidence I stood up, cleared my throat and started over to the other side of the room, past the two tables between us. I shot the female in the head with my Smith and Wesson, then I looked at the attractive girl making a point of giving a disapproving look, and then I shot the male right between his very confused, very frightened looking eyes. Upon the floor blood seeped into coffee and the room smelt like a mixture of cookies, bleach and gun smoke. I sauntered over to the girl and leaned in. I beamed the biggest smile I could and calmly said, ‘You’re welcome.’

Without any muss or fuss I left through the entrance and tried to remember where I had parked. ‘Ah,’ I thought, ‘just outside the shopping arcade.’ But as I walked to my  ‘1986 Full Race Capri 254  (an absolute classic if you ask me) a feeling of dread fell over the whole of my body, fogging the mind and making me stop dead in my  tracks.

‘Shit, I forgot to tip the waitress.’ From then on I knew the guilt would follow me for the rest of the day. They work long hours and minimum wage, don’t you know?

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