No Rest For The Weary
Doug dropped the paper on the table and wiped his mouth with the cloth napkin. He took a sip of his water and sighed, pushing his plate away. Breakfast was by far the best meal of the day. Today he’d gone for something simple; chicken fried steak, two eggs over easy, crispy hash browns and an English muffin. Strawberry jam, of course. Water and juice to wash it down and, now that he was finished, a cup of coffee.
He waved at the server, a pretty young thing with coppery-red hair and a tattoo just visible on her décolletage. She looked over and, when he pointed to the empty coffee cup, smiled and nodded.
He glanced at the newspaper again, folded into quarters for easy reading, and let his eyes skim the small article at the back of the metro section. Another masked vigilante had foiled a crime. Woo hoo.
Now, breakfast completed, he could turn his attention to the package. Opposite the paper, on his left, was a small manila envelope. When he’d left his folks’ house this morning a messenger had just been coming up the walk, package in hand. As much as he hated to do it, Doug had given in and allowed the little machine to scan his thumbprint. He knew nothing would come up, but it was the principle of the thing.
“Here you go, sir,” she said with a smile, pouring the coffee. She set a small silver creamer next to him, followed by a leather wallet with the bill. He sipped at the coffee and nodded to her, offering a hint of a smile. He was a regular here and they all knew his routine. Morning paper, breakfast, coffee, very little conversation, he’d let them know when he needed them. He tipped well so if he sometimes appeared standoffish, well, that was okay.
He waited for the girl to head back toward the kitchen before pulling on the tab to open it. A fairly new phone slid out to the counter, along with another, smaller envelope. After verifying that there was nothing else in the envelope Doug turned it on.
“Hello, my name is Daniel Lee.”
The automated video startled him slightly and he nearly dropped the phone. He hurriedly composed himself and thumbed the volume control on the side so that the voice wasn’t quite so loud.
“You may not know me, but I know a great deal about you.” Doug glanced around to ensure no one was close enough to hear the low tones before giving his full attention to the video.
“…Thank you for your time, and I hope to see you soon.”
The video ended, leaving Doug staring at the phone. New York City. Daniel Lee, whoever he was, was not being too secretive about his identity and location, which boded well in terms of legality. On the other hand, the implication was that he knew of Doug’s alter ego. Considering that he’d only returned to Chicago recently and, other than that one little incident, really hadn’t been active, he was more than a little concerned regarding a potential compromise to his identity. He had a lot of enemies out there who’d like nothing more than to find a name to go along with the mask.
He opened the second envelope to verify the contents. All was as Lee said it was.
Debit car, first class ticket, smart phone…easily tracked. Then again, he’d already been found, so what was the point in hiding? Might as well take the man up on his offer and see what was what. On the surface it seemed legit, and while more nefarious ends might be in store for him, Doug trusted his instincts on this one. His curiosity was piqued, that was for sure.
He sighed and shook his head as he pulled out his wallet to pay his bill. So much for taking some time to figure things out. He was already planning his trip as he walked out the door.