tales of the hotel st crispian, chapter 114: "it's always friends who have stories"
by manfred skyline
illustrated by roy dismas and eddie el greco
editorial consultant: Prof. Dan Leo
he decided to give jake about another half hour - enough for one more cup of coffee. his mind began to drift back to an island under a blue sky - and there was the big schmuck coming through the door. if he wasn't so tall he might have missed him because he came in right behind a young black woman. right behind her.
now he was talking to her. what was he trying to do, score with her? wait, now he was looking around. and when he saw lullaby he pointed at him, and the young woman nodded and headed toward his table, while jake went over to the change counter.
what the - ?
she walked right up to him. "mister lewinsky?"
he was taken aback for half a second by being addressed as "mister". "that's me."
"i'm miss jones." she took her coat off and hung it on the back of her chair. "i'm here on behalf of mister brown." she stuck her hat on the chair and sat down.
"and - uh - mister brown is jake's friend? that might be interested in my story?"
"my friend's story, actually."
"right. it's always friends who have stories."
"you want a cup of coffee?"
"thanks, but jake is getting us both coffees."
"maybe we should wait for him."
cosette shrugged. "you can if you want. but it's me, not him, who is here for mister brown."
lullaby was starting to get his bearings. this girl was almost right out of his fantasies about "south sea island" maidens - a little darker, and not nearly as endowed, but still - and looking right at him, staring him down actually -
"want a cigarette?"
"no thanks, i don't smoke."
"um - that's kind of unusual."
cosette started to say, "you empty twenty thousand ashtrays and see if you feel like smoking". but why let on that she was a maid? let this guy think she was mata hari or the queen of the night or something. so she just said, "i never got in the habit."
lullaby looked over at jake. he was taking his time, seemed to be chatting up the girl at the change counter.