In the reflection of the shop window I slapped on the finishing touches to my make up, sure that half my lipstick must have been smudged onto my teeth. My handbag was all I had left. I headed straight in the door of Demuths, my local vegetarian restaurant, and sat down at the nearest table. The Waitress came and with a nervous smile I ordered a small cup of something organic.
What came with the arrival of the drink was the immediate feeling that I was being watched. As I warmed my hands on the cup and breathed in the warm scent of carrot and coriander, I glanced around the room to see if I was right. In the corner of the room was a shadowed figure that seemed so absurdly dressed that he looked as if he had been plucked out of a comic book. I smirked at my wit, which was obviously a mistake as the figure took this as an invitation to smirk back, stand, and walk over to where I was sitting.
“May I sit here?” He asked in a voice that was just as ridiculous as his get up.
I was just about to deny him the privilege, when I held my breath and nodded, just a little bit of fun will not hurt.
While he was putting his trench coat on the back of the chair I gave him the proper look over: he wore a black pinstripe suit with stains that seemed to change the colour of his clothes altogether. He had black, greasy, swept back hair and a copious amount of dandruff to match. Great bags lay below his eyes as though he had had as much sleep as he had showers, and his skin gave off a grey-white colour and looked as though it was absorbing the light from around him rather than reflecting. When he sat I expected a great stench to wave over me of the unwashed, but all that did was a musty smell, like opening an old book.
As if I could not be surprised enough his facial hair was the biggest shock: a black square below his lower lip. I was sitting opposite Hitler.
He stared at me as he sipped his coffee. This was more threatening than I had anticipated so I tried to escape the situation.
“I am waiting for my boyfriend.” I blurted out. Half pleased with the excuse, but mainly disappointed with the delivery and execution of it.
He smiled a smug smile, waited for a second, and sat back with one leg crossed over the other as though he had been in this sort of situation with strangers many times before.
“What do you do?” He had ignored my bluff.
I paused before answering, I thought of lying, but I was somehow scared to. “Nothing,” I mumbled.
He smiled again, this time licking his lips with an oily tongue. I felt a shiver down my spine, I thought of leaving out but I could not think how, his eyes left me motionless, as though I was under his spell.
“I work for the government.”