Sanity is overrated – GS.

 

Sanity is overrated.

https://i2.wp.com/www.visitlincoln.com/media/photography/food-drink/the-rest-coffee-house-web.jpg

 

Scene setting : Jax’s Coffee House.

co-written with VunG & Moo.

 

Razorbackwriter:  Ever been to the kind of place, that when you walk in the door, the ambiance and smell of coffee beans roasting just makes you instantly feel an inner warmth and calm? Well, that was how one would describe Jax’s Coffee house. Elegantly decor-ed, with inner brick walls, drop down lighting, and large easy chairs in chocolate covered leather. It was perfectly balanced, with the light and dark shadows. This was a favorite haunt of Tommy’s, as opposed to Big Joe’s Pizzeria. Here he could hook up to the free WiFi and order his favorite coffee, whilst enjoying the mellow selection of music that was streamed through the hidden speakers. At this time of morning, the coffee house was not exactly packed with patrons, and that was just how Tommy liked it.

Pulling the door open for his companions, he gave a light whistle to Candice – one of the coffee houses waitresses. She must have been doing the twelve to six run and she looked pretty worn. An older woman of about thirty five, she worked at Jax’s while her children slept. Married with three kids, this was her second home and it was just how she liked it. She could work and then get home in time to make her kids breakfasts. Approaching the trio, offered them the corner couches, which had a small rectangular coffee table for their lap tops. Naturally, Tommy had brought his in with him from the car.

“What I be getting ya?” She asked, taking out her small iPad to take their orders. Tommy immediately asked for a tall flat white no sugar, while Frank wanted a straight black. Each would take a seat on the comfortable couches, with Frank pulling out the photographs in the envelope. He wasn’t about to pull the photos out while Candice was looking, but he just wanted to have them ready to discuss. After Candice took Elissa’s order, the three would be able to talk freely. Little did they realize that there was one other patron in the coffee house. Seated in a far corner, a dark haired woman was flicking lazily through a glamour magazine – every now and then glancing up at the trio before bowing her head again and appearing engrossed in the magazine’s pages.

“The school….was a waste of time.” Frank said right off the bat. He felt that the time they spent there, had kept them off the bigger case of the murder of his former partner, Rory Lismore. Tommy shrugged his shoulders, not entirely agreeing with his good friend. “I don’t know….there is something about a scene like at that school with no trace evidence to suggest what caused the destruction. Come on, Frank. What took Rory vanished without a trace, right? There was nothing to suggest what you saw and what are on those photographs exists.” Tommy paused a moment, including Elissa in his next statement. “But we believe you.”

The woman at the other table suddenly got up and then dropped her magazine upon her coffee table, along with a tip for Candice. She could not help but overhear what the pair had said and she seemed to be more in the know, than just some passing stranger. As she walked past them, the woman made a throw away comment.

“Just cause you can’t see something, doesn’t mean….it don’t exist.” The woman had a strange yellow glow to her eyes, and she tittered with laughter as she headed for the door. But no sooner had she opened the door and passed through, she seemed to vanish into the night…….

 

~RB~

 

VunG:  Ah, that wonderful scent of coffee. Truth be told, she wasn’t actually the biggest fan of the taste of coffee, but she loved the smell oh so much. And of course coffee shops were in and of themselves the sort of thing that she just adored; there was just something heartwarming about walking into a place so homey and welcoming, even in the dark of night. Elissa had been here more than a couple times, and while she wasn’t as much of a regular as Tommy, she definitely wasn’t a new face to the employees.

Settling into their place in the corner, she would already be writing down her order before Candice could even get into place, and when asked she’d smile and show the woman: an espresso, and to bring some cinnamon for her (obviously to put in it). Once that was done, she leaned back and closed her eyes a bit, just relaxing into the seat as she tried to think about the case, tried to piece things together where there were no pieces. Her attention would be drawn by Frank’s statement, and even as she was winding up to sign to him, Tommy pretty much spoke for her, almost word for word. And when he added that they both believed in him, she reached over and grabbed his shoulder again, giving him a thin but determined smile.

However, what happened next left Elissa puzzled. The woman immediately had the SWAT officer’s attention, and as she approached the group it was obvious that she was listening in on them. However, what really got her was how specific her answer was, and for some reason she could almost swear that there was a glow to the woman’s eyes. However, before Elissa could get out of her chair and pursue, the woman disappeared into the night, eliciting a whispered, “Sht,” from her.

Letting out a frustrated huff, she leaned forward on her elbows and rubbed her temples. Eventually she looked at the others and realized that she might be hallucinating thanks to a lack of sleep. Wincing, she signed to Tommy, ~You guys saw that too, right?~ Of course, the answer would be affirmative, unless they decided to screw with her, at which point she’d promptly let out a sound that was probably supposed to be a groan and laid her head down on the table with a thud. ~My kingdom for a lead that wouldn’t make us seem like we’re mad.~ Of course, her “kingdom” was just an apartment, and not even a particularly big one at that, but still.

 

 

Moo:  Fresh from class, and still without her proper clothing, Sophia rushed down the street until she was in front of the coffee shop. Much like she had gotten to the college campus, problems arose without having her personal belongings. Plus, her borrowed jacket–and Gantz suit–were both still tucked tightly under her arm. The suit itself was wrapped up neatly in the over-sized jacket as though it were a present. The door opened and she was well on her way to the counter, still moving at a quick pace even as she attempted to keep her breath even. “Sorry, I know I’m late,” she said apologetically as she disappeared toward the back. With all the commotion, she hadn’t really taken any notice in the special group of guests sitting together.

While bickered at by her boss for a moment, she was forgiven in the end. Known as a friendly face and hard worker within the coffee shop really had its perks sometimes. “Okay, Candice,” she said as she came back out. Her hair was now tied up and she wore an apron to match the older woman. “Say hi to the kids for me.” Sophia’s kind smile didn’t go unnoticed by the particularly sweet woman while they chatted among themselves for a moment. Naturally, she would take over the waiting Candice had already started with the guests. So she picked up the tray of drinks and made her way over to them.

“Hello,” Sophia said sweetly. She of course recognized two faces sitting on the furniture. Though they were Candice’s regulars, so she’d never properly introduced herself, much less learned their names. “My name is Sophia. I’ll be taking care of you guys for Candice.” A smile spread over her lips as she bent to begin offering their drinks. “I’m sorry, you had the black coffee, right?” she offered the first up before turning to Tommy. “And this is yours..?” Lastly, to the woman. “And yours.” Hopefully having gotten her co-worker’s information correct, she straightened once again. “Wave me over if you need anything.” A small wave of her hand and she turned to begin walking back to her counter where she would prepare sanitized water…obviously to clean nearby tables that had been left in a bit of a messy state.

 

Razorbackwriter:  Candice was so relieved to see Sophia’s smiling face that she let out a sigh of relief. What she wouldn’t give to put her aching feet into a foot spa. Now with Sophia being able to take over her shift, the older waitress went behind the counter and started to take off her work apron. The young girl had gone out back and probably had some words with the boss for her lateness but all would be forgiven as the girl was of such a sweet nature it was hard to stay mad at her for long. Putting on her wool coat, she swept her ponytail out from under the collar and popped on her hat. “I’ll be saying hello and goodbye to them when I get home, dear. Oh and take care of table five for me. Thanks, pet.” The order was ready on the tray for Tommy, Frank and Elissa, but now Sohpia could do the serving. A light smile and a wave to her regulars, and Candice was heading off home to start her next shift as Mum to her waking kids.

At the table, Tommy was still staring back after the strange woman who had made the off the cuff comment in regards to their conversation. It was strange how the woman seemed to almost vanish into the light fog of the morning and added to her mystery. The journo had not seen that lady in the coffee house before and his eyes narrowed as he looked back only to see Elissa mouth the word “shit” Thinking it was strange, Tommy shrugged lightly as though to dismiss it, but couldn’t help and take a second look at where the woman disappeared too. Naturally, Tommy’s attention was garnered by Elissa again, who asked in sign exactly what he was thinking. ~You guys saw that too, right?~

“Yeah. Just another freaky happening.” He gave his right temple a rub and then uttered. “I wonder if my therapist is free on Wednesday.” Could it be that Tommy was starting to question his own sanity. The reporter quickly explained to Frank – who was now lounging back and pinching the bridge of his nose what Elissa said, about how she would giver her kingdom for a lead that would make them all appear sane. Frank released his hold on his nose and tipped his head forward slightly. He saw Elissa plant her head down on the table with a thud and let out a chuckle. “Sanity is over rated.”He reached over and gave her head a light pat, just as the new waitress came over with the drinks orders. “Heads up….coffee time.” The detective said, moving the envelope with the pictures in it off to the side and out of the road of their drinks. The fresh faced girl whom Tommy and Elissa may well have seen before, was a refreshing sight for Frank. As she placed down each of the drinks correctly, Frank tried to straighten his collar and sit up a little straighter. Tommy noted this and let out a slight guffaw. “She’s a bit young, don’t you think?” Frank’s cheeks flushed slightly and he gave Tommy a good shove. “I look like shit. Give me a break.” No truer word was said. “Thanks.” Tommy said to Sophia, while Frank offered the girl a light smile. “You’re a doll.”

Little did Frank know that one of the photographs was visible…..the creature able to be seen by the waitress, if she had bothered to look..

 

~RB~

 

The way to a man’s heart – GS

Picture

 

Tommy’s Apartment

Tommy wasn’t the kind of guy to just give any girl the key to his apartment, but then again, there wasn’t another girl in town like Tamika. She had this sly way of always getting what she wanted, and somehow she had wrangled Tommy’s spare key, much to his annoyance. Tommy was usually a very private individual. He hated the idea of being committed to anyone or anything. His life was his work and that was the way it had always been. Tonight being a perfect example. Getting in with the homeless to be his eyes and ears on the streets. They were like rats that scoured the worst neighborhoods, and usually knew more about what was going on in the underworld than anyone. A good reporter needed such informants and spies if he was going to make the front page of the New York times. How many politicians had he caught out that solicited the girls of the night? Oh, he had a few in his pocket now. But they were not the big news stories in his eyes. No, he preferred the strange and the unbelievable. Hell, he’d make a fortune for one of those sleazy tabloids that lived off such headlines as “My wife is an alien and gave birth to a six headed worm”.

Arriving on the floor of his apartment, Tommy stepped out of the lift and he could already hear the thumping music of his neighbor and friend Jay Wilcox. The guy was one of your typical anime loving cos player/gamer who had a thing for Naruto. No sooner had Tommy walked past his apartment, when Jay’s door shot open and the beat of the music was practically thudding through Tommy’s chest. The guy was dressed in a pair of ripped jeans and a Naruto t shirt that was a bit small for his ample belly.

“TOMMY! Yo man. You up for some Call of Duty tonight?” The gamer asked with a beaming smile. “Got some Doritos….and beer.” Jay really liked Tommy’s company, in fact he liked ANYONE’S company, as he spent most of his days and nights in his apartment. Tommy checked his watch and grimaced. “Sorry Jay, I got Tamika cooking me dinner and…I’m late as it is. How about tomorrow night?” Tommy hated to burst the guy’s bubble, but he rather that than a tongue lashing from Tamika. Jay bobbed his head, since he had nothing planned for the next night….or the night after that.

“Sure man. I know I would hate to be late for Tamika. Girl gives me the evil eye when I show my face at your place.”Jay was right, Tamika hated anyone taking up Tommy’s time, when it could be her. Knowing that he was now even later than he promised, Tommy gave Jay a half wave before heading up the corridor to his own apartment, where he could hear Tamika already going off. The door flew open and she looked frazzled.

“You’re late.” Tamika said, with her hands on her hips, wearing his cooking apron. Tommy shrugged, then pushed past Tamika to gain entry to his own apartment. Jay could be heard from down the hall. “Cut him some slack, Tammy! The guy’s probably been held up at work.”

“More like chasing a ghost.” That said, she slammed the door, as Tommy was walking through his own apartment, and taking off his coat. “No need to be sarcastic Tamika. You know I do work late some nights.” Tamika’s eyes softened and she lowered her arms. How could she stay mad at him. He looked even more handsome when the had THAT face. She showed Tommy to the dining table and then went to get their meals. She’s cooked Fettuccine Mona lisa, which was a creamy pasta dish with chicken, bacon and tossed spinach with pine nuts. Tommy was already pouring himself a white wine when Tamika sat down at the table. She wasn’t his girlfriend, but she wished she was. Tommy offered her a glass of white wine, which she took graciously. Tamika worked in the Mayor’s office as assistant PA, to one of the Mayor’s leading staffers. In a way it was good for Tommy, cause he was able to get the inside scoop of the daily goings on in the top office of New York. That was, if Tamika felt like telling him. Tonight she was hoping for something more…romantic. She’d even gotten candles out and had them lit, with Enrique Iglesias playing on the ipod speakers. Talk about trying too hard. Tamika was dressed in a black silk off the shoulder dress, that was a little bit summery in Tommy’s mind, but he complimented her anyways.

“Food looks great, as do you, Tamika.” He raised a glass to her and the meal and she blushed fiercely. “Oh stop…you’re just saying that.” she fawned. Tommy shrugged and said in reply. “Okay…” Tamika sat bolt upright as though she took him at his word. “TOMMY!” The journo laughed and then took a bite from his meal. It was really good. Shaking her head, Tamika had to know why Tommy was late.

“Please tell me it was something at the office, and that you weren’t down THAT end of town again?” She was partially aware of what he got up to. Why it was hard not to when his office walls were lined with newspaper clippings, photographs of the unexplained and macabre.

“I can’t tell you.”

“TOMMY!”

“Alright alright….I was stuck in traffic.” He lied, taking another sip of wine, before locking eyes on hers. “Scouts honor.”His cheeky smile always made her melt. She let out a sigh and then tried to reach for his hand, as his cell phone started to buzz.

“Xo….” he answered, pulling his hand away from Tamika’s.

~RB~