Coffeehouse teaser

Russell entered the coffeehouse and spotted Troy sitting in the corner reading a battered copy of Human, All Too Human, his house blend steaming on the table beside him. Troy looked up at Russell and then to the counter, indicating that he should get a beverage before sitting. Russell walked to the counter, bought a bottle of water, then moved toward Troy, cracking his bottle and sipping as he maneuvered the tables.

“Everything go as planned?” Troy didn’t look up from his book.

“Mostly.” Russell placed his bottle on the table and moved magazines around, looking for something that interested him. “He knew something was up when I got there, but I was still able to handle it.”

“Where is he, now?”

“In the trunk.”

Troy looked up from his book, a little grin on his lips. “Really?”

“Uh huh,” Russell was smiling but didn’t look up from his magazine, “I thought you’d like having him close.”

Troy returned to his book and continued to grin while he sipped his coffee. His grin disappeared, though, and he tapped the side of the coffee table with his foot, alerting Russell to the old woman busing the table next to them. The two young men disappeared into their reading, neither of them showing any sign of the heinous crimes they had committed the past three years.

Troy Stacey was the epitome of the coffeehouse hipster. He sat in the worn leather armchair, reading his book through thick-rimmed glasses, the tails of his Oxford untucked under his crewneck pullover, his right leg crossed his left at the knee. He read Nietzsche like someone who enjoyed it, not in the pretentious hey look at what I’m reading way. For a nineteen-year-old, he presented much more like a mid-twenties grad student. Russell, on the other hand, not only looked his age but had the look of a boy whose only concern was his appearance. He leaned over the coffee table in his backwards-turned chair, proudly displaying his painted-on jeans, his low-top Cons, and his Under Armour tech shirt straining against his biceps. He looked like he was straight out of the high school locker room, yet he had an air of intelligence and calm beyond what is expected of an ordinary eighteen-year-old.

“Should we take him to the same place as the others?” Russell didn’t look up; he knew the old woman was back up by the counter.

“I think there’s a certain amount of poetic justice to that idea.” Troy lifted his coffee for a sip, “But, I’m in no hurry. Did you get the pics?”

“Yeah. The new burner is pretty sweet. Be a shame to ditch it.”

“What makes it any better than the rest?” Troy seemed more robotic than interested.

“It has this cool zoom feature that…”

The speaker on the small reclaimed table in the corner played John Mayer’s version of Free Fallin’. There was an occasional hiss from behind the counter, and the shuffle of sleepy feet could be heard following the sound of the little bell over the door.  Russell and Troy, meanwhile, continued to make small talk as they blended into the obscurity of the other patrons, no one the wiser of their conversation, their plans, or the sophomore in the trunk of Russell’s car.

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