Jackie hesitated as she
listened to the Johnny Cash
impersonator murdering “Folsom Prison Blues.”
“You picked this place? For our special night?” she asked.
“It’s just what
we need to get back on track. Let’s sit down and relax, listen to the
and enjoy ourselves,” Tommy said.
I’ll give you that,” Jackie said as she wiped grease off her menu with a
paper napkin, “though I wish you had maybe tried a little harder.”
She was about to continue
complaining when a nubile waitress
sauntered over to their table.
“What you would like,
honey?” she asked Tommy, who fumbled
with his glasses and stuttered out something that sounded like a food dish. “And
you, dear?” she asked Jackie. “I’ll have whatever he ordered
dear,” Jackie replied.
“So, back on track?”
she asked Tommy after the waitress had
swiveled her hips back to the kitchen.
“What, yeah, just
wasn’t prepared for her…accent, that’s all. Hey, I have to
hit the head. Just be a second.”
Alone, Jackie sat and took
a few deep breaths. She let herself relax into the hum of
conversations and the off-rhythm musician. She had just centered herself when
she looked over and saw Tommy flirting with the waitress. He was stroking his
mustache like a silent-movie-era
rake and his hand was on her lower back. She was laughing that salacious little
laugh that some women are born with that’s pregnant with possibilities.
“I see you had to
get more of her accent,” Jackie said,
when Tommy slid back into the booth.
“Oh, we were just
having a laugh.”
“Whatever you want
to call it,” she said, snorting
derisively. “I thought we agreed you
weren’t going to do stuff like that anymore.”
“You agreed and I
capitulated. There’s a difference. Your eyes are beautiful
when you’re like this, you know,” he said, winking at her.
Jackie snorted again, and
just before the conversation
could escalate into a fight, the waitress came over with their meals.
“The waitress thing
still bothers me,” Jackie said a few
minutes later, between mouthfuls. “It
“To me, asshole. You
come in here with me and hit on her.”
“I didn’t think
it would matter; thought we were secure
enough in our partnership.”
“Ugh, I hate that
word “partnership” it makes us sound like
an insurance agency. We’re in a
relationship no matter how much you deny it.”
“If you say so,”
you do that. We have every major facet of a
relationship: Trust, honesty, spontaneity…commitment.”
“Says the magazine.
Here we go again.”
Tommy shrugged and motioned
for the check.
Tommy said as the waitress handed him the bill.
“The service was spectacular and made tonight even more special.”
Tommy winked at Jackie and touched the
waitress’s hand. The waitress blushed.
an asshole,” Jackie said, checking her makeup
with a small compact mirror. She frowned and brushed a loose strand of blond
hair behind her ear.
“I know, but that’s
what makes this thing work, right?”
Jackie rolled her eyes and
slid her compact back into her
“Alright, you ready
to do this?” Tommy said, sliding toward
the edge of the booth.
Jackie reached into her
purse and removed a small, shiny
.38 pistol and a polyester bag with a sunflower screen-printed on the
front. “I am ready.”
Tommy nodded and pulled
a 9mm out from behind his back. “THIS IS A ROBBERY! WALLETS OUT, PHONES
The restaurant chatter stopped
and the Johnny Cash
impersonator’s strumming screeched into silence.
“No, you can keep
playing,” Tommy said to the Cash
impersonator, gesturing with the gun. “I
like having a soundtrack. Feel like I’m in a Tarantino flick.”
As the frightened restaurant
patrons reached into their
pants and purses, Jackie went from table to table politely collecting valuables,
holding the bag open like a mendicant.
At one table a guy awkwardly
tried to dial for help on his
cell phone. She stomped on his hand just
before he could press “Send.” He screamed as her heel crushed the bones in his
hand and tears escaped from the corners of his eyes. Jackie bent down to collect
the phone and
whispered in his ear. “Don’t
cry, honey. She’ll think you’re a
pussy,” she said, gesturing toward his date.
She was going to say something
more when she noticed that
the music had stopped. Across the
restaurant she watched as the musician crept behind Tommy holding his guitar
like a mallet. Tommy was otherwise
distracted frisking the waitress for her tips. “Situational
awareness, asshole!” she bellowed.
Tommy turned and ducked
just as the guitar came swinging
for his head. Tommy countered with a
left hook and discount Johnny Cash fell to the ground, lain out as flat as his
singing. Jackie sighed as Tommy fixed
his rumpled suit and stuffed the wad of the waitress’s crumpled bills into his
pocket. “Well, honey,” he said, tucking
the 9mm back into his pants, “when the music stops it’s time to go.”
When they got to their car
Jackie removed her wig and her
contacts, once again becoming blue eyed and brunette. Tommy removed his false
mustache and threw
his glasses into the backseat.
“Has the music stopped
for us?” Jackie asked a few miles
down the road.
“What do you mean?
We just had a great night.”
just… the waitress, I saw her give you her
“She gave me her address
“Oh,” Jackie choked,
tears clouding her vision.
“I noticed she was
wearing some expensive jewelry when she
took our order and found out her father owns the restaurant when I was coming
back from the bathroom. The restaurant
we just hit was one of four in this city alone.
I was thinking we could swing by their house for your birthday. See what
kind of shiny things we can find. I
wanted to wait and surprise you.”
Tommy reached over and squeezed
her hand. “I told you, we’re back on track.”
she sighed, leaning back in the seat and
watching the night unfold before them.
“I told you we were in a relationship.”
Zachary Wilhide is a writer and artist who lives in Virginia
Beach, Virginia with his wife and cat. He has previously had stories
published on Out of the Gutter Online, Spelk Fiction, Close
to the Bone, Yellow Mama Magazine, and Shotgun Honey.
He is currently building an art portfolio and working on a novella, slowly.
Bernice Holtzman’s paintings and collages have appeared in shows at various venues
in Manhattan, including the Back Fence in Greenwich Village, the Producer’s
Club, the Black Door Gallery on W. 26th St., and one other place she
can’t remember, but it was in a basement, and she was well received.