Thomas lowered his binoculars.
“Tom!” said Alec, his business partner, “You need to stop obsessing over this girl! We need to get back on track. Sam Walton, himself, wants to talk to you and you only. You made quite the impression on him and if you don’t show up, we may lose our contract.”
Thomas stared at him. He saw his lips moving, but he couldn’t focus on him right now, he had to watch for Bev to leave the flower shop, where she worked, and then tail her to her next stop…
Alec shook him. “Tom! Please! I know you don’t care anymore, but please do this for me! We’ve been working on this product for 10 years. It took us 2 years to get any shop to stock our it. This is a chance to be in a growing chain of stores. Walmart has 24 stores! We can make this happen, but I need you to forget her.”
‘Forget her…’ Thomas heard that. He stood up and violently ripped Alec’s hand off of him.
“I love Bev!”
He wanted to break Alec’s nose. He needed Bev in his life. He wasn’t going to lose to some strange jerk, pretending to be her boyfriend and he wasn’t going to let his business partner get in the way either.
“If you touch me again, I’ll cut off your hands,” said Thomas.
Alec fell backwards. “I’m done, Tom. We’re done. You’re not a part of Romo any more. Don’t contact me again.”
Thomas sat back down on the bench and raised the binoculars back to his eyes. There she was. She just stepped out. This was his chance to get to the bottom of this.
He stepped up and moved in a crouched walk, his eyes never blinking staring straight ahead at his target. He stayed 20 feet away from her on the opposite sidewalk. She seemed to be heading home.
He straightened up. People were staring at him. He couldn’t draw any more attention to himself. He had to be stealth. When he got there, he was going to confront Bev and figure out why they weren’t together.
He was there! Thomas ducked behind a mail box. He peaked over top of it to the stranger standing next to his car staring right at him. Bev reached out to him and he acknowledged her, nodding his head upward. She turned around and saw him too.
This was not how he wanted things to work out.
Here he comes. The stranger is walking towards Thomas, his fists clenched. Thomas stood up erect, to his fullest height. He was ready to fight to the death if he had to.
“What are you doing here?”
“I have to talk to Bev,” said Thomas, bringing his fists up.
“She doesn’t want to talk to you. You’re scaring her. If I catch you following her again, I’ll call the cops. This is your last warning.”
He stood there blocking Thomas’s view. He couldn’t see her! He tried to peer around the man.
He stepped so close Thomas could smell his laundry detergent.
“Leave! Right now.”
Thomas shook. His mind furiously cycling on how to get rid of this brute. He punched him in the chest and turned around and ran. He ran back to the park bench.
He doubled over, wheezing, fury rising, what was he going to do?
“Watt kin I do fo you?”
Thomas let out a yelp and tumbled backwards onto his bottom. A peculiar man sat on the bench. He sounded otherworldly and his garb equally so: he wore a black blazer, studded with spikes on the collar, a black fedora with a leather strap wrapped around with three strands of stone, bone and feathers hanging from it, and a leather strap around his neck, dangling a metal and bone, engraved with weird symbols.
Worse of all his face. Painted on was a skull that covered his whole face. His lips whitened, as well as his gleaming teeth. He smiled as he tipped his hat towards Thomas.
Thomas looked around, they were alone. It was eerly odd; the park was never this empty. He seemed to be gathering his wits for the first time in weeks. What was he doing there? What was this man doing there?
“Watt kin I do fo you?” He continued to smile, more like baring his teeth. Thomas stood up slowly. He didn’t want to take his eyes off this man for fear of being bitten or something worse.
“I’m not looking for any trouble,” he said.
“I don bring trouble, my child. I bring opportunity.”
“I… I don’t want what you have.”
There was something wrong with this man. He stood up and extended his hand. Thomas did not take it.
“I kin give you anyting you desire,” he said, “Fo da right price.”
Thomas hesitated. “What price would I have to pay to have her?”