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Sunday, August 23, 2009



She's into me, I think to myself an instant after catching her stealing a glance in my direction inbetween grabbing my large fries and hollering the specifics of my custom burger (no tomato, never tomato) to the kitchen behind her. There she goes again, glancing at me coyly as the beverage machine fills my cup with watered down coke. "Your burger will be a minute, sir," she all but whispers at me in a voice either apologetic or shy, or both, while intently staring at my tie. "No problem ..." I pause, preteding to read her nametag "... Julia. I have time." At the sound of her name her eyes jump up to mine and a careful smile breaks across her face. I return the favour by flashing her with my own winning smile. She's so into me.
FnordI step aside to allow her to help the people in line behind me, but I keep my eyes firmly on her. She clearly feels my gaze; her cheeks redden in a cute blush and she smiles a dazzling smile at the next customer in line, an older Asian lady. As she takes the lady's order, her adolescent beauty strikes me; her clear skin, so pure and fresh, her ponytail eagerly spilling from beneath her cap. Her slender face and delicate build remind me of Jamie, a girl I was involved with not too long ago. We had a thing for a short while but, despite my best efforts, her heart just wasn't in it. We never stood a chance and it ended in tears, with a messy and painful break-up. I miss Jamie, I had fun with her.
FnordStill waiting for my grease burger I notice that the next customer in line -a short, stubby man with ginger hair and an unpleasant face who, considering his ample girth, already spends far too much time in places like this- is giving Julia grief about his coke being flat, but she handles it deftly, immediately offering him a replacement drink in a frenzy of smiles and apologies. A quick glance in my direction arouses in me the suspicion that my presence, my gaze upon her, is bringing out her best. I tend to have that effect on women.
Fnord"Here you go, sir," she says as she slides the small cardboard box across the counter. The shyness is a thing of the past and she beams a big smile at me, her big, brown eyes defiantly locked on mine while a single strand of hair, having escaped the confines of the unflattering cap, bounces across her forehead. Our fingers touch as I take the burger, and while skin-on-skin contact always caused some level of discomfort in the other girls, Julia's blinding smile and unblinking gaze don't falter. Impressive.
Fnord"Have a nice day, sir," she adds, still beaming. I reply with a quick nod and a wry smile. I will.


Say what you want about working at a place like this -the pay is shit, your colleagues suck and they make you wear these ridiculously unattractive uniforms- but every once in a while a customer shows up who makes it all worth it. Today is a good day. What a gorgeous man, his suit tailored to perfection, those piercing blue eyes, and lord, that smile. Not the type to eat at a place like this, but boy am I glad he went against type today. I glance over at him and he is looking back at me unabashedly, his gaze holding mine for several long moments. I give him his fries and coke but his burger will be a minute; he requested is sans tomato, how very eccentric. I'd love to pick his mind, among a few other things, I think to myself, and the thought surprises me to such an extent that I dare not look at him as I tell him his burger isn't done yet. I concentrate on his tie instead.
Fnord"No problem ..." he says, and pauses, his head dipping slighly, his gaze dropping "... Julia. I have time." Oh, he knows my name, he read my nametag. Or perhaps he didn't, perhaps he was just checking me out, I catch myself thinking, and I smile as his eyes take hold of mine again. Then, that luminous smile. Good god. He moves aside and a wrinkly old Asian lady steps forward, saying something completely indistinguishable; I think I caught the word 'milkshake' in there somewhere. It's hard to focus on what she's saying because I realise that he is looking straight at me, I can feel his eyes on me like greedy little hands, but I don't have it in me to reply his gaze. I bet he's checking me out again. A big smile breaks across my face as the Asian lady keeps babbling at me.
FnordI get rid of the Asian lady and glance behind me to see if his burger is ready yet. It isn't, and I find myself giving a mental cheer for our utterly inept kitchen personnel. Next up is this nasty redheaded creep nagging about his coke being flat. Of course it's flat, you've been sitting at that table not drinking your coke and leering at girls far too young for you for well over an hour now, I want to say to him, but I feel mystery man's gaze on me so I flash the redhead my 'employee-of-the-month'-smile, offering him a fresh coke and my sincerest apologies. As he trudges off I catch him glancing over at my mystery man, obviously wishing he looked that good in a suit. Or at all.
FnordOur fingers touch when I hand him his custom burger and my thighs tingle as he looks straight at me but I don't look away. Any other day I would have, but not today, not with him. After I push a loose strand of hair out of my face and tuck it back under my cap I tell him to have a nice day. He just gives me a small nod and a sexy smile, and walks out of my life. After I watch him depart the restaurant I allow myself several moments to ponder a few highly inappropriate thoughts before I resume work.


I've been reading the same page of this newspaper for 45 minutes now. All the evidence we've gathered in the past few weeks points to him being here today, this afternoon, but he hasn't showed yet, and I'm afraid he won't, at all. I'm just about to call it quits when he enters. I'm sure it's him, there's no question; he fits the description to a tee, and he has this aura about him, this air. This is our guy. And sure enough, he gets in the line of the prettiest of the three girls. I signal to my partner three tables to my left before I get up, grab my half empty coke cup and hurry over to the line, but an elderly Asian woman cuts in line in front of me. I curse under my breath and get in line behind her.
FnordFrom this position I cannot get a clear visual of his face without arousing suspicion and exposing myself, but my gut tells me this must be him. I can tell that the girl, Julia I think her name is, is making eyes at him, and why wouldn't she, he cuts a striking figure. After all, she doesn't yet know who he is and what he does. What he has done. None of the girls knew. Jamie certainly didn't know, which is why I still have the image of her mamed body, washed up on shore not four days ago, burned onto my retina. I know, though. This man's a monster.
FnordHe moves over because he has to wait for whatever he ordered -a burger, no tomato, if I've got my facts straight- but he keeps his eyes firmly on her. The Asian woman in front of me edges forward so I can take a closer look at him. Oh, it's definitely him, the expensive suit, the expressive eyes, the trademark smile, right down to the small mole just under his left earlobe, just as Linda described him. Looking like that, the girls never stood a chance. The Asian lady finally shuffles away, cluching her milkshake, and I approach the counter; I have to improvise so I tell her my coke's flat. Her smile is captivating and she immediately fetches me a new one. She's obviously trying to impress him by being as good as she can be at what she does. As she hands me my new coke she glances at him, smile widening, eyes shining, and my suspicions, that she is completely under his spell, are confirmed.
FnordHe's standing only inches to my right and without looking at him I can feel his presence; it's oppressive. Finally, after all those months of investigation, the corpses, the devastated parents, and here we are. Inches away. I desperately want to grab him by the throat, press my gun to his eye and pull the trigger, but I know I can't. I can only trust that my partner, after receiving my signal earlier, went to the van to alert Linda, the only girl who ever managed to escape, so she can identify him. That's all we need to take him down.
FnordI walk away from the counter towards to door and I glance at him one last time. What possesses a man to walk into a restaurant, pick a pretty girl at random, devote his time and attention to her, to exploit her insecurities and adolescent inclinations to gain her affections and eventually her trust, only to betray it in the worst possible way? My stomach knots up and I feel nauseous at the thought of it. I reach the door and spot the van; through the windscreen I see my partner sitting there, his arm around Linda, small, hurt, but brave also. As I turn I see him heading straight for me, burger in hand, and for a split second I fear he's on to us, but he pushes past me through the door. Once more I look at the van and I see Linda's eyes tearing up as she nods frantically, her face distorted from fear.
FnordI reach under my jacket and grab my gun. This ends today.


Blogger Pep said...


All the imagery, described so well in that strange burger, sans tomato.


10:26 am  
Blogger Hagfish said...

Martin, Martin, Martin!

I love your writing.

This piece is great.

I'm a "follower" of yours now. Does that make me a stalker?

I like Bloggers new format (updated). You can do all sorts of nifty things. It legitimizes stalking the thoughts of others.


11:04 am  

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