Scene setting : Big Joe’s Pizzeria
co-written with Chor.
Chor: Isa was viciously reminded of her utter starvation the second her foot crossed the threshold. The wind displacement sent a breeze of warm, doughy scent straight to her nostrils and she fought the urge to order and purchase every slice of pizza in the joint. The odd looks she received snapped her mostly out of it and she seated herself in a secluded corner table. Isa had a very unorthodox style about her. She didn’t consider herself beautiful, product of a long, relationship-less life and years of emotional abuse, but she was charming and lovely in a way that drew you to her. If she bothered to eat now and again, she might fill out and stop looking like a corpse herself.
Style wasn’t really in her strong suits; the mess of clothes she called her wardrobe were not of the conventional sort. She wore things for the simple fact that she had to. Another thing that could put her off to people is her tattoos. Now, in an age where mainstream society is basically past the whole ‘tattoos are bad’ idea, her inkings are still a bit much. She’s riddled with symbols, a strange language no one can understand; not even her. It’s not obvious unless she’s in a tank top, but they cover much of her arms as well as her back. Today, though, Isa actually looked presentable. Hair braided loosely until it rested in a ponytail just past her clavicle, a black blouse and a black pencil skirt to match with comfortable flats.
“Can I get ‘ya anything, love?” a pleasant-looking woman inquired of Isa. With a shake of her head, Isa dismissed the offer of food. She had to focus, despite her stomach violently grumbling in protest. The woman shook her head, having heard the noise, and stepped away muttering ‘damn shame’. Did she think Isa to have an eating disorder. Do I have an eating disorder? Sighing, Isa pushed these troublesome thoughts from her mind and awaited Frank’s appearance.
Razorbackwriter: Having rushed back to his apartment to have a quick shower and change into a fresh suit, Frank took a cab to the Pizzeria rather than take his own car. It would be easier to lose anyone following him if he was in a non descript taxi than a car that would be recognizable. The yellow cab pulled up at the curb, and the asian driver sung out that Frank owed twelve dollars for the fare. The cost of everything seemed to have skyrocketed of late and Frank fumbled about in his coat to find the right change. Handing over the cash, Frank got out of the cab and slammed the door, before looking up and down the street for sign of Isa. He couldn’t see her in amongst the crowd and decided to head inside and wait for her.
No one could be more surprised than Big Joe, to see Frank coming back into the Pizza shop so soon. He came out from behind the counter, and tossed his checkered tea towel over his shoulder.“Franka….whata you doin’s backa here?” It was not that Big Joe didn’t want to see Frank, he just figured he would be at work. Frank slapped Big Joe’s arm in a friendly manner and then gestured to a booth at the back. “Would you believe your pizza is simply too good to stay away from?’
This brought a loud laugh from Big Joe. “Ha you fulla tha bullshit.” Both men had a good chuckle as they both took a seat. Big Joe had his teen son working out back and Joe had a few moments to spare. “Where is Tommy boy, eh?” Joe asked, now curious as to what Frank was up to. He hadn’t ordered anything yet and seemed a touch flustered. Like he was looking out for someone. “Tommy’s back at his office. I’d say he has a deadline to meet.”
Joe nodded slowly and then said. “Uh huh.”
Both men sat in silence for a moment and then Big Joe smiled brightly. “You still looka like shit. I get you a coffee.”Always hospitable. That was Big Joe.
Left on his own in the booth, he drummed his fingers on the table, looking towards the door….waiting for Isa.
Chor: It was not long until the door opened once more and through it came a very fresh-looking Frank Malone. He looked good all cleaned up, healthier than when she last saw him. Isa wondered if that’s how people thought of her…
He had not noticed her yet and she stood and, as he seated himself, ventured over. Settling herself across from him, Isa leaned back in her seat. The urgency of the situation still held in her demeanor, but in this place she felt about forty-seven percent safer than the station. Shortly after her arrival at the table, a cup of coffee also joined them. She stared at it and then up at the woman who’d asked for her order earlier. The girl gave her another once-over before stepping away to attend to the rest of the building’s patrons. Isa’s attention returned completely to Frank, then.
“How are you doing?” she asked, then thinking better of it. Stress, she could see, exuded from him like cologne. She, though, was not bothered by it; it’s almost charming when you wear the same, tense scent. Her left hand opened, like a cage door squeaking after being closed for a thousand year, and the flash drive fell out of it and onto the table in his direction. One blink. Two.
“This is the ballistics report. I haven’t been able to do an autopsy yet, but the findings will be the same. As long as we have this, it can’t be disputed. Bracks is probably having a conniption at the moment, trying to find a way to make it disappear…” She spoke, licking her lips afterward. Bracks was good at making things disappear.
Razorbackwriter: The clatter of the coffee cup being placed on the table broke the silence as Isa sat down at Frank’s booth. He’d been watching the door and hadn’t bothered to check the restaurant for Isa. She must have been there before him. Was he slipping not to notice her right away? Thankfully clean shaven, Frank didn’t feel like a total scrub sitting there. In fact, he was wearing his best suit. He wasn’t planning to go back into work that day…..no he had other plans. In a way, Frank was pleased to see Isa, and in another he wasn’t. Guilt was now weighing heavily upon him, and this would probably be the last time they would meet, though he was not about to let her onto that…not yet. “How are you doing?” Sweet girl. Frank thought. Caring about a bloke like him. He was honest in his answer.“Seen better days.” The answer was short and too the point. He wasn’t about to get into some long winded speech. The time for talking long gone. Frank was a marked man and he knew it. Seeing the flash drive fall out onto the table had Frank stare at it for a moment, before raising his gaze up to Isa’s.
“This is the ballistics report. I haven’t been able to do an autopsy yet, but the findings will be the same. As long as we have this, it can’t be disputed. Bracks is probably having a conniption at the moment, trying to find a way to make it disappear…”
That one word. Disappear. A word to describe the past….the present and the not to distant future. Frank pursed his lips as he heard that Bracks was probably working on a way to make it…the report, disappear. The detective let out a long sigh before reaching across the table and slowly dragging the flash drive up into his hand – closing his fingers around it. It was a brave thing the girl was doing to hand him the report in a flash drive. All things considered. Frank turned his wrist and opened his fingers slightly enough to look at the flash drive, before then closing them again and stuffing the evidence into his pocket. In a way, it was his life insurance policy. Frank had forgotten all about the coffee cup that was sitting before him. He appeared distracted, like his mind was playing out what he had to do and yet he remained perfectly still. It took a moment for him to speak, as though this was the hardest thing he ever had to say.
“You’re a great gal for doing this, Isa. But…now I want you to forget about me. I’m going to do the same thing that report is going to do, till such time as I have enough evidence to take THEM all down. There is no point being a just man in a crooked police force. “
Frank took out a twenty dollar bill and placed on the table. He had still yet to touch his coffee. Frank offered Isa a warm smile…a smile of goodbye.
Standing, he said simply. “If anyone asks….you never saw me.”
With that, he headed out the door.
Chor: Isa could only blink silently as the world whizzed around her. Frank left her sitting there, bewildered, hands flat on the chipped wooden booth table. Words did not come to her. Thoughts, too, sat huddled with her confused feelings and refused to comply.
Standing, that was good. She stood and walked out the door, catching him jump into a Taxi like he was joining the Olympics. She found a cabbie idling in front of the place, probably waiting for a late patron. He wore a scowl as she approached the window, hoping to grab his services.
“Just get in, hun. Where to?” He said, as if reading her face. She pointed blankly at the taxi now motoring away from the site and climbed into the ripped vinyl backseat, wincing as the cracked coating scraped against her exposed flesh.
“Oh, you’re that type, huh?” He said, chuckling wildly like this was some sort of conquest of love and she was some sort of hero. There was still fight in her, yet. Frank might not see it, but Isa has a deep, deep well of focus that has latched onto him. She can’t let it go; she doesn’t have the ability to just give up now. Besides, she still has one more trick up her white sleeve. Or in her pocket, rather…