The DeCafé

Where the buzz is in the air AND the coffee!
Let's Table Hop

It's two o'clock in the morning and the place is pretty much deserted. There's the odd night owl replenishing a depleted caffeine level in order to get through an all-nighter, and there's Carly Cliff sitting alone in the corner, peering through the steam from her mocha-java across the room at Table Six -- the only table worth eavesdropping in on.

And then there's the twosome she's looking at, steeped in shadows in more ways than one, so hunched over their empty cups that they seem almost like caricatures of conspirators. Carly watches unobtrusively, wishing she could hear what only we can...


TABLE SIX

Rad Cliff sits opposite Thor, a fearsome Viking if ever there were one.

THOR
You got my ten grand?

RAD
You think I'd be here if I didn't?

THOR
You're late.
From the pristine leather Coach backpack slung over one shoulder, Rad pulls a thick manilla envelope and pushes it across the table to the huge blond man whose crystal blue eyes conjure up strains of Grieg's piano concerto and images of Nordic saboteurs cross-country skiing toward the fascist targets of their missions against the Nazi occupation.

RAD
Better late than never.
Rad chews his lower lip anxiously as Thor opens the envelope and rifles through the wad of bills inside.

THOR
You know, it's normally Cosa Norske policy to charge a couple "C"s for an extra day's interest, but I'm going to let you slide.

RAD
Cuz you like me, right?

THOR
Because I'm never going to do business with you again. The books are closed, kid.

RAD
Are you saying you won't make book for me anymore?! With the Championship series coming up?! That's not fair.

THOR
Like Grandma Sonia always said, "Fair, schmair." Your business just ain't worth the aggravation.

RAD
What are you talking about?

THOR
I got a call from Detective Goswell at the suggestion of her close personal friend, your aunt, the mayor. Just a friendly chat peppered with choice phrases like "racketeering charges" and "RICO violations." That's what I'm talking about.

RAD
Shit. I settle up and still have enough left over to bet on the Sonics and you won't even take it?! Why can't my damn family just leave me alone?

THOR
Yeah, I know what you mean. My mother's always on my case about wearing something to protect my knuckles.

RAD
Exactly!

THOR
Good. Then we understand each other.
Thor gets up, tucks the envelope into his magnificently intricate Nordic sweater, where it is swallowed up by the sheer bulk of the man, and heads out.

RAD
Wait a minute! I thought we'd found some common ground here!
But he's talking to the big man's back. Thor makes his way out of the coffee house, leaving Rad at the table, dejected despite having managed to pay off his enormous debt. Carly rushes over.

CARLY
Are you okay?

RAD
Fine. Everything's fine. I paid him off.

CARLY
What did he say about the rest of it?

RAD
There is no rest of it. I paid it all.
Carly is shocked to hear this. She sits down beside him, trying to understand.

CARLY
Where's you get the other seventy-five hundred?

RAD
I got lucky in a poker game.

CARLY
Poker?! When are you going to learn?

RAD
Learn what? I won, didn't I?

CARLY
You call ten thousand dollars down the drain winning? We could have used that money for the sound system.

RAD
All of a sudden you're a big civic booster? The sound system is the college's problem. Insurance'll cover it.

CARLY
Yeah, but not by opening night.

RAD
My heart bleeds.

CARLY
Look, maybe you don't care, but it's important to me.

RAD
Why? Because of Dylan?

CARLY
(FURIOUS) Next time you need money, don't bother asking.
She stands abruptly and storms out. He calls after her...

RAD
Hey! I'm sorry, okay? I'm just a little frazzled right now.
... but once again, he's talking to a back. Lacking a better idea, Rad grabs his cup and heads across the DeCafé for a free refill.

Previously Overheard at the DeCafé




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