Legal Theft Project: Place Your Order

As quietly as the two men were speaking, he still heard them, and he was sure they didn’t care. No one was going to comment on their behavior, not in this town, not on this street, not in this cafe. Anyone who walked in could tell they owned this space. So they talked about their shared offensive opinions, commented on every other patron, harassed the wait staff, and ignored every dirty look other customers sent their way. Zeke did his best to ignore the inane if coded conversation as he nursed his second cup of coffee, read his paper, and intermittently checked his laptop. People ignored him, he’d been coming to this cafe for a few months and had been a decent tipper, a quiet worker, and willing to put up with the presence of the two assholes in suits. The truth was their yammering, even quietly, gave him a headache, but you did what work demanded.

The waitress topped off his mug and he gave her the coffee addict’s grateful smile and went ahead and ordered a full, if belated breakfast. The waitress went off and he knew he would get his food soon after the suits at table seven did.

Ashes and dust those two were a disgrace to criminality. Talking about their work in a public place. He was ashamed to have ever been in the same category as those two.

He checked the programs running on his computer. Almost complete. Pleased at their progress, he devoted himself to his eggs, bacon, and pancakes as they arrived.

“Well Warner, I hate to cut our time short, but I have a meeting in uptown lakeland this morning and I know traffic is going to be hell. I’ll have to take my bear claw to go.”

Zeke froze for half a breath. Not today he wasn’t. He needed a little extra time. He picked up his phone and ran a quick program. Two minutes later the speaker’s phone rang. His assistant informed him that his meeting was canceled.

The man laughed. “Good day to be me. Guess our breakfast can run like usual.”

Zeke loved technology. It would do anything you asked. He marked the second the two Feds walked in. They blended well, casual street clothes, not quite local, wouldn’t know better than to come to the cafe in the middle of the suit’s breakfast. Reacted appropriately to the suits comments on their physical assets. Effrontery and a bit of fear. Oh, they knew what they were doing. Zeke both loved and hated efficient Feds. In this case, he was disposed to be adoring. One woman walked as if to claim a booth while the other walked to the case of pastries as if debating a choice. She ordered two pastries, bagged them, and walked past the booth containing the assholes. He gave the ladies full points for the casual pincer movement. The suits looked up when the lady paused at their table.

“What do you want, sweetheart?” The one called Warner asked.

She looked between the two of them as if figuring her angles. “You wouldn’t happen to be Warner Ellis and Matteo Donahey, would you?”

Complacent, the men rolled their eyes. “Look honey,” said Donahey. “You want a bargain you go over to Train Street. We don’t take business at breakfast.”

She smiled and put the bag of pastries on the table. “You’ll make an exception for me.” Her partner came up on her other side as she took out her IBIS badge and let them get a look at her gun. “You gentlemen are coming with me. IBIS has questions they want to ask you on a number of cases.”

Warner Ellis leaned back in his seat. “You’re going to have to talk to my lawyer about that, miss. I think its highly unlikely you’re going to find anything untoward on my account.”

“That so, well, the judge thinks we will.” The second agent removed a stack of papers from her shoulder bag. “And we have the warrants to prove it. So, you can fight us on this and I can take you out of here in handcuffs-”

“-or,” her partner cut in smoothly. “You can come along and answer questions and save yourselves a messy splash on the front page tomorrow.”

“You’re making a mistake miss. But we’re decent sorts and will prove it by answering your questions. Won’t we, Warner?”

“Course Matteo. We’ll give the ladies no trouble. Not their fault their supervisors made a mistake.”

“Well, thank you gentlemen. This way.”

Zeke watched them walk out and closed his laptop. His face showed the confusion and awe of someone who had just watched an arrest despite the howling fire of victory roaring in his heart. They wouldn’t weasle out of this one. He and his computer had made sure of that.

His phone rang. “Hello?”

“I hear you have an interest in number twenty-two.”

“Yes, yes I do, but only if it comes with a black hat.”

“We might be able to arrange something.”

Zeke packed up his bag and covered the bill of the men who had left without paying. Arrests make you forget the little things. He smiled at the waitress and tipped handsomely. He would still be back. He rather liked the cafe when the occupants weren’t international criminals. Well, no other international criminals. He turned his attention back to his phone as he walked out. “I’m listening.”


I’m a thief! The first line of this piece was stolen from Gwen over at ApprenticeNeverMaster. She must have left her door unlocked because this is the second week in a row she’s been robbed. Check out the whole ring of thieves here.


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