Donny Diamond presses the remote’s power button. Across the room an 80 inch flatscreen flicks to life. A 3D rendering of a giant brick and glass building rotates on its screen.
“Diamond Plaza will be the linchpin of New Edgarton’s downtown revitalization, Mr. Mayor. I guarantee once it’s built, corporations from all over the world will flock there. Your tax base will triple…, maybe even quadruple.” Donny brushes his dyed, combed over, blond hair away from his forehead. “You’ll be the envy of every city in the country.”
“I don’t know Mr. Diamond, New Edgarton is an old city,” the mayor replies. “Our citizens are happy with the way the downtown looks. We have buildings by some of the finest architects of the last century. Stanford White, for example, his Carsters Salt building is considered one of the most beautiful on the east coast.”
“Yes, yes,” Diamond replies. “But it’s vacant isn’t it? Run down, too.” Donny shakes his head. “When you tear that and the rest of those old relics down, and build my Diamond Plaza, you’ll see everything I say is true.” He points at the mayor with his index finger. “You mark my words.”
The phone buzzes and a woman’s voice comes through the speaker. “Mr. Diamond, your four o’clock appointment is here.”
“Thanks Barbara,” Diamond gets up from behind his desk. “I’m sorry Mr. Mayor, that’s all the time I have. I tell you, you do this, and they’ll put your statue in the courthouse square.”
The mayor, an older man dressed in an off the rack brown suit, stands and shakes the developers hand. “I’m not sure if I want a statue, Mr. Diamond; and you’re wrong about the Carsters building. It isn’t vacant, Mrs. Marzanna has a new tenant for the ground floor. It’s a coffeehouse run by three sisters. Kávé Luna, I think they’re calling it.”
Donny smiles and drops the mayor’s hand. “Your honor, it’s going to take more than a coffeehouse to put your city on the map…Diamond Plaza, that’s what you need.” He opens the door, “I’ll call you…, maybe we can do lunch.”
He nudges the old man out and moves across the plush carpet to the office’s main entrance. When he opens it, a short thick man with bushy eyebrows rises from a hard looking chair. “Come in.” Diamond closes the door behind him, and sits at his desk. “So, ol’ lady Marzanna finally got some tenants. I thought you took care of that?”
Bushy Brow squirms. “They musta done it in the night, Boss. I was just as shocked as you ta see ‘um in there. It’s three girls, I think they’re sisters.”
“Yeah, yeah, I know they’re sisters.” Donny pulls a Fresca from a small refrigerator and pops the tab. “You need to get them out’a there, you understand?”
“Don’t worry, Boss. Me an Robert’ll pay ‘em a visit. Rough ‘em up a little. Maybe bust up the furniture.”
Diamond covers his ears, “I don’t want to know. Just get them out of there.”
“Yea, Boss. Sure, we’ll get ‘em out.” He hesitates.
Diamond takes a sip, “What? Why are you still here?”
“Why do you want to build in New Edgarton, Boss, it’s just a podunk little city?”
The developer chuckles, “A podunk little city that’s going to be the first stop on a new high speed train running between Boston and New York.” Diamond glances at his fingertips. “They don’t know it yet, but property in New Edgarton is going to be worth a a fortune.”
“You’re on on top o’things, aren’t ya Boss?”
Donny takes another sip, “Just get those girls out. I don’t want any complications.”
The bell above the coffeehouse door jingles. Ariel sets her grocery bags on the counter and hangs her broad brimmed hat on a hook. “Cover up if you go out, the sun is still very bright .”
Marie starts removing things and taking them to the kitchen. “Claudia, I have the currents and butter for the scones. You get started on those. I’ll start making the sour cream twists and Focaccia bread.” She looks over her shoulder, “Why didn’t you tell us you used the last of everything? Now we’re behind.”
Ariel picks the bags up and hauls them to the pantry. “We’re always supposed to keep spare supplies, remember? How come you never restocked the pantry?”
Marie scoops flour into a scale. “Playing the blame game isn’t going to get us anywhere, Ariel. We need to hurry, your boyfriend George is going to be here in half an hour. You know how he likes his scones and butter.”
Ariel blushes,“He’s not my boyfriend. He’s just a nice man that likes me.”
A cloud of flour poofs out of Claudia’s bowl. “I’m going as fast as I can, but you can’t rush these things. Remember what Mama used to say, ‘Haste makes waste.’”
“I know. I know.” Marie replies.
“I’m going out to set the sidewalk tables, light the lanterns and water the flowers,” says Ariel. “ Do you need anything before I go?” Neither sister replies, so she picks up a stack of red and yellow tablecloths and exits the shop. When she returns Claudia is rolling out the scones, and Marie twisting dough into strips and laying them on a greased baking sheet. The bell above the door jingles.
“Good evening, Ariel. You look lovely as usual.”
Ariel moves closer and kisses the newcomer on the cheek. “Oh George, you know how I love a man in uniform. Did you polish your badge?”
He looks down at his chest. “I didn’t think you’d notice.” She leads the constable to the corner table.
“I, ahh, need to use the facilities, if you know what I mean.”
Ariel nods, “Go ahead, honey. I think the scones’ll be done by the time you get back.”
“I can’t wait. They smell delicious.” He starts to walk away,”I don’t understand having a coffeehouse that’s only open at night…, but I’m glad you’re here.”
“All the other coffeehouse are open in the daytime,” replies Claudia, exiting the kitchen. She puts a plate with two steaming scones on the table beside a dish of butter. “We thought we’d cater to those who have to be out at night. You want an espresso too, don’t you, George?”
“Yeah, the usual please,” he opens the restroom door and steps inside.
A few minutes later the bell above the door jingles. Ariel glances up and sees two man. One has a thick neck and bushy eyebrows, the other is skinny with pimples. “Can I help you,” she asks with a smile. “We just took some fresh scones from the oven.”
Bushy Brows comes closer, grabs her arm, and puts a gun to her head. “Shut up, girl.” He gives pimples the eye. “Ok, bust the joint up.” The pimply man pulls a hatchet from under his coat and splits the seat of a chair in half. He does the same with the next.
Bushy Brows glares at the girls through the kitchen pass-through. “Don’t try anything, and your sister won’t get hurt.” He twists Ariel’s arm tighter. “I have a message for you ladies. You need close this place, and leave town. If you don’t, the next time we come back we won’t just break the furniture.” Pimples smashes another chair.
The washroom door opens and George has his gun drawn. “Drop your weapons!”
Mr. Bushy Brows pivots and shoots. George falls to the ground. Ariel pulls her arm from his grip and covers her ears. “Damn, that was loud.” Bushy Brows points his pistol at Ariel. She laughs. “Claudia, Marie, come and watch over these two. I need to check George.”
Bushy Brow’s eyes turn fierce. “You better knock it off if you know what’s good for you, girly girl.”
Ariel grabs the gun and lifts Bushy Brows up with one arm. “Where’s Pimples?”
“I have him,” answers Marie. Her eyes are bright red, and fangs protrude below her upper lip. “I bet he tastes bitter.”
Claudia appears beside Ariel. She looks up at Bushy Brow’s surprised face. “Don’t worry about this guy. She licks her lips, “I have a feeling he’s not going to be with us much longer.”
Ariel drops Bushy Brows and hurries to the fallen constable. “Find out who sent them, if you can,” she orders. “ After that, I don’t care what you do to them.”
“Oh, do we have to?” replies Marie.
Claudia runs her tongue up the side of Bushy Brow’s neck. “Ooo, he tastes like a B Positive. It’s been so long since I’ve had a fresh one.”
Ariel takes her cell phone out and dials 911. “Remember, try and find out who sent them.”
The two sisters grab the thugs by their throats and carry them into the back room. “Hello, yes there’s been a shooting. It’s at Kávé Luna, it’s on the ground floor of the Carsters building. Please hurry.” Ariel dips her finger in the constables blood and touches it to her tongue. She licks her lips and whispers, “I always knew you were a sweet one, Georgie.”
Donny Diamond steps out of the elevator and three attractive young ladies walk over to him. “Oh, Mr. Diamond,” says the taller of the three. “Can we have just a few minutes of your time?”
The real estate developer pauses. His eyes rove over them. “Oh, I’m sorry ladies. It’s a bad time, how about tomorrow?”
“Oh, that’s too late,” replies the middle girl. “It has to be tonight.”
The smallest of the three moves so close she’s nearly touching and looks up into his eyes. “Please.”
Diamond smiles. “I guess I can spare a few minutes. Let’s go back to my office.”
Ariel waits for the elevator door to close and licks the developer behind his ear.
“Well,” says Donny Diamond with a big smile. “It looks like things are going to get interesting.”
Ariel shows her fangs. “Guess what girls, he tastes like an AB Negative.” The sister’s eyes glow red, Donny Diamond screams, but there’s no one there to hear.
The coffeehouse doorbell jingles.
“It’s nice to see you out and about George.” Ariel walks up and kisses him on the cheek. “How are you doing?”
“Fine.” He looks into her eyes. “Can we go outside and talk?”
“Sure. Hey Marie and Claudia, I’m going outside with George.”
The bell jingles and they step out into the quiet Autumn night. “You wanted to see me, honey?”
George pulls out a chair from an orange cloth covered table. “I don’t remember much about the day I was shot. What happened to those two men?”
Ariel sits and pretends to think. “I’m not sure Georgie. I guess after they shot you, they just ran away.”
He sits across from her, “They just ran away?”
Ariel nods. “Yeah Georgie, they just ran away.”
The bell jingles and Claudia comes out carrying a tray with two coffee cups, a plate of scones and a butter dish. “I thought you might like these,” she smiles and hurries back inside.
George looked down at his cup. “Claudia put a moon in the espresso’s crema.”
“Yeah, we’re doing that all the time, now. It’s kind of our trademark.”
“A moon in your coffee?”
“No, silly.” Ariel shakes her head, “It’s a coffee moon. That’s what Kávé Luna, means. Coffee Moon.”
“I still can’t believe you and your sisters own a coffeehouse that’s only open at night. I sure hope things go well for you.”
Ariel lifts her cup. “Don’t worry about us, honey. You’d be surprised how many of our customers only come out after the sun sets.”