Blood dripped from the table onto the floor. The pool increased with every drop. The pool began to trickle following the pale grout lines of the light tan tiled floor. It outlined each square as it traveled. The slumped body was half sitting on an antique wooden chair at the end of the table. The air was thick with the smell of iron that didn’t move from the dead breeze. The flies would soon come and fill the air with their constant buzz. Except when they landed to dine and lay their eggs. The room was hot and the blood didn’t travel far before it began to coagulate and stop its journey. A flickering florescent light cast eerie shadows on the walls and ceiling. Dust danced in the few sunbeams that found their way past the half drawn tattered sheers on the windows. The dull white paint peeled and flaked from the corners of the room. His eyes were still open and as blank as the walls they were staring at. His right hand still held his fork but his knife had fallen to the floor. The once white napkin tucked into the collar of his shirt continued to soak the blood from the table. He lay on the side of his face in the beautiful plate of linguine and clams with a delicate rosé sauce. His glass of chilled Sauvignon Blanc sat on the table untouched. Would be a shame to waste it. I reached across the table, grabbed his glass and placed it next to mine. I took another bite of my meal and went over the afternoon’s events. It wasn’t supposed to go like this, not at all.
The meeting started out with high prospects of a very lucrative partnership. This was the end of our ongoing turf wars. He finally agreed to meet in person and I pulled out all the stops to impress him. Which made no difference. I offered a deal of fifty fifty, right down the middle. I didn’t even get a chance to finish my proposal before he started back mouthing me. He was belligerent and rude and disrespectful. Between stuffing his face and spraying his food, he continued to belittle and talk down to me. This is why we never got anywhere with our disagreements, he was always so narrow minded. He kept trying to reach beyond what he was able to control. Kind of sad in a way. He didn’t know where to draw the line or when to shut up.
I took another bite of my linguine and searched for more clams. Hmmm, I seem to have run out. I picked around in his plate and found a few more. Such a waste, everything was a big waste. I took a big swig of my wine to wash it down. Mmm, a perfect pairing. I don’t think he appreciated it though, he was much too unsophisticated. I came here to bury the hatchet but the plan was not in his head. Sometimes it’s funny how things turn out despite your best intentions. A pleasant meal, some constructive conversation and we all walk away happy. What was so hard about that, but he made it impossible. It was such a waste.
I finished my last couple bites and drank my wine. I put my glass down and grabbed his as I stood up. I knew he couldn’t hear me but I had to say my piece. I walked up to him and looked down. “Sir, I used to respect you. Now that I have met you in person, I am disappointed. You and I could have been so good together. We could have raked in the cash. You didn’t see the big picture. Now look where you are and I have to clean up your mess. See what you made me do.” I pushed my horn rimmed glasses up the bridge of my nose and brushed my long black hair from my face. I leaned down. “Now I have everything and you have nothing!” I still heard his voice in my head, his mocking tone and his weak laugh. Then a thwack and a thump as his head hit the table. And then silence, beautiful silence.
I reached into my suit jacket and pulled out my cell phone. I hit the top number on my call list, “Hello. Yes, it’s me. No, no, it didn’t work out. We didn’t see eye to eye. I need you to find his second in command and bring him here…. I don’t care if he doesn’t want to come! Grab him and bring him here! Now! Oh and can you grab another linguine and clams, make it two, he might be hungry. And another bottle of wine, this one is getting too warm.”
I hung up and began to pace around the room, careful not to step in the mess he made. This was the perfect spot, an old abandoned restaurant, in the middle of nowhere. I used to come here when I was a kid and it was so vibrant, now it held only memories of by gone days. It still had the brick fireplace with a stack of chopped firewood and most of the tables. There wasn't much left of the sign out front anymore. Anducci's used to be the finest restaurant there was. Such a waste, makes me furious. Why can’t they just agree so we can move on. They always make it so difficult. I think this is why my partners never last. Why I can never keep them. I am a patient man and I give them fair warning. They just don’t listen. Oh well, if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. Maybe one day I will find a partner, until then my list of ex's will continue to grow. I hope his second will listen, it's getting late and I hate travelling in the dark. If this one doesn't work out, then I will have to get messy.