Monday, June 02, 2008
Scene from the New Book
Kane finished his lunch. He put a twenty on the table and stood. Might as well get to it.
The tail -- a stocky, balding guy who sat well, hadn’t ordered any food, but he had two beer bottles on the table in front of him and as Kane approached, he saw that those were Chimay.
Must pay well, being an undercover op.
He smiled. He’d had a buddy once -- a beer-snob -- who had loved that stuff. Had gone on and on about how wonderful it was. It was, he’d said, made in Belgium, by monks. Kane used to razz his friend about it being Nazi beer, since the Germans had occupied that country during WWII and taken over most of the industry there, including brewing. What Kane remembered about the brand was that it was over-priced, kind of stale, and highly alcoholic, two or three times as potent as regular microbrews. Portland and vicinity had a bunch of such places, and the local beers and ales were, the few times he indulged, much better than the bottled brew shipped halfway around the world to suckers willing to play premium prices for no more than bragging rights:
“Oh, yes, this is Chimay! From the loving hand of the monks in Belgium!”
As far as Kane was concerned, it tasted like it had come from a part of the monks’ anatomy somewhat farther south, and all they got right was the color ...
Kane knew that the stocky man who’d been tailing him might make a move, and he figured that he likely had some skill, so he needed to head it off.
Kane paused at the table. He looked down. “Hey, Chimay! That’s really good, isn’t it?”
The stocky man relaxed a hair. “Yes, yes, it is.” Maybe, he must figure, he hadn’t been made; Kane was just caught by the sight of the beer. Could be.
“You mind?” Kane reached out slowly and picked up one of the empty bottles, ostensibly to read the label.
Stocky started to rise. He sensed danger, but because he had drunk a couple of the potent brews, his reaction time was slow.
Kane slammed the empty bottle down on top of the man’s head. The bottle-glass was heavy -- it didn’t break.
The guy, stunned, stopped halfway up, as if puzzled.
Kane circled his arm and smacked the bottle into the guy’s temple. He collapsed, his lights out. Again, the glass held.
Good bottle. Had to give them that.
He set the empty onto the table, and headed for the door. This tail wouldn’t be following him for a while. Most of the diners missed it, and the ones who didn’t stayed in their chairs. Might be dialing 911, but by the time the police arrived, Kane would be gone, and Stocky the sleeping beer snob wasn’t going to be registering any complaints.
Kane smiled at that last thought.