For anyone new to this challenge here is the quick run down on how it works. I supply a variety of photographs along with corresponding categories for them. (Main Character, Backdrop, Purpose, Item and Wild Card) From these five prompts, we weave stories as our imagination dictates. If you'd like the full blown details please click here. For all of this month's current photos, please click here.
If you're considering joining us...please do! Everyone is welcome to participate.
There I was, sitting in the airport terminal casually reading the days paper. In a couple of moments I'd get up, fold the paper, neatly tucking it under my arm, grab my bag and make the short walk across the isle way to the men's room. Once inside I would find an open stall to occupy while I waited for the incoming call.
Meanwhile, back at the cafe things were unfolding just as we had planned. Tessa walked in and was greeted by Frank who was dressed in his usual attire: hounds tooth pants, white button up the front uniform shirt and a soiled apron that barely tied around the girth that was his mid section. She was also met by the aroma of Frank's gravy simmering away on the stove in the corner. If you were the average patron, this co-mingling of tomatoes, garlic and Italian sausage would likely beckon you in all the way from out on the sidewalk, but for Tessa it had absolutely no appeal. She knew all too well where some of the ingredients came from for Frank's homemade sausage. After all, they didn't call him "The Butcher" for nothing.
Sitting there waiting for confirmation in my makeshift office wasn't exactly the most comfortable place, but I knew it'd be in my best interest to receive the phone call away from the prying eyes of the ever present security cameras outside.
Frank gave the gravy a gentle stir and asked Tessa if she was hungry. He of course, already knew the answer to the question, but couldn't resist asking anyway. As expected, Tessa politely declined his offer and asked if she should wait for him in the back room. With a wink Frank said, "Be there in a minute sugar." Christ she hated his sexist remarks.
Tessa made her way past the empty tables just as the linen truck pulled up out front. She managed to suppress a smile as she heard Frank mumble, "It's about time." Stepping into the store room, she was greeted by two of Frank's boys. Neither of the men spoke, but one did pull a chair out for her indicating she should sit down. Hearing a buzzing sound coming from her denim bag, she reached in and grabbed her cell phone. Holding it up she asked, "Do you mind?" Almost in unison they each extended out one hand motioning her to take the call.
TAP TAP TAP "It's occupied!" I shouted, "Damn!"
From the other side of the stall door I heard, "Sorry."
No sooner did our exchange of words take place, then I chuckled. "If you're going to have a guy scare the shit out of you, what better place than the crapper for it to happen?" I thought. Come on phone, hurry up and ring!
"It's Pauly." Tessa said while looking at the text message displayed on her phone. "He's just making sure every thing's on track."
Neither of Frank's goons gave it a second thought. They were used to their runners communicating with each other before a big drop like this, in fact, Frank insisted on it. Tessa fired back a quick text that simply said, "WE'RE A GO." Although she did show the guys the outgoing message, neither of them bothered to verify the number she was sending it to. If they would have been a bit more observant, they'd have realized it wasn't going to Pauly at all.
The guy in the linen truck outside had no difficulty in receiving the message though. This was his cue. Without hesitation, he brought in the weeks delivery and took out the bags from the previous one. Frank let him go about his business and stepped into the back room carrying a silver case. He set it down in front of Tessa and proceeded to barrage her with detailed instructions on what to do and the consequences that she would meet if she deviated from them in any way. She and the two men had heard this speech numerous times, but not one of them dared interrupt Frank during his lecture. Instead the men stood on either side of Tessa totally void of emotion, while she nodded in agreement with everything that was said to her.
Once Frank was satisfied that Tessa understood both the instructions and more importantly, the threats, she was on her way. As she made her way to the front door she noticed that the linen truck was now gone, but a lone green cloth napkin was draped over the parking meter where it had been moments before. She knew this meant that more than just clean linens had been delivered this afternoon.
The clock on the wall above the mirror in the bathroom showed a few seconds past three-thirty in the afternoon. Unless something had gone terribly wrong, my phone would be ringing any second.
Tessa knew she only had a matter of minutes until Frank's boys would be out the door. He always sent a detail to track his investment to its destination, but he also liked to delay them slightly in case anyone else was following. He figured this way if that happened, he could follow the follower. Rather than continue down Central, Tessa turned the corner and ducked into the 440 Club, a noisy neighborhood bar with a couple of pool tables in the back. She wasn't here for the cocktails or the games today. All she needed to do was to make a phone call.
She picked up her phone and dialed. --RING-- I answered my phone and heard only one word from Tessa, "GO!"
Time was of the essence now. Without answering I hung up and immediately dialed the number.
Three loud beeps sounded from within the stack of freshly laundered table clothes at the cafe. "What was that?" one of the men asked. All Frank was able to get out was, "Oh Shit!"
The explosion rattled the building a block and a half away where Tessa was. Pandemonium broke out as everybody flooded out onto the street to see what had happened. Well, everyone but Tessa that is. She had one more phone call to make.
--RING-- My phone rang a second and final time. This time I heard two words from her, "It's done!"
I removed the SIMM card from inside my phone and flushed it down the toilet, then wiped the phone itself clean and deposited it into the trash can as I exited the restroom. I then walked back into the airport terminal in full view of all the surveillance cameras and proceeded to the bar. I ordered a whisky straight up and made sure I paid with a credit card baring my name. This was an airtight alibi if I'd ever seen one!