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Dinner and a Crime

by Robert Keats
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"The Long Goodnight" 

lips.jpgLady Restylane was a carnivore, a notorious coquette who left lipstick marks like business cards. But when men followed up, expecting the innuendos to lead to escapades, their calls were seldom returned. To Lady Restylane, it was all about the dance. Genuine intimacy scared the hell out of her.

There were times when her game left her so exhausted that she’d give anything just to have a normal evening. Just to have dinner with a friend. And on one ill-fated night in the City of Angels, I was that friend.

We made plans to meet at the Bicycle Shop Café, a Westside eatery that had bicycles hanging on the walls. Not exactly artwork, unless you prefer Schwinn to van Gogh.

It was half past fashionably late when Lady Restylane arrived, wearing a little black dress and stilettos that could have doubled as steak knives. She said she wanted to leave the act at home, but she couldn’t do it. She just couldn’t do it. As soon as she made her entrance, she went on a flirting binge – targeting two guys at the bar, the bartender and our waitress. After that, I stopped counting.

By the time we finished dinner, we were the only two left in the place. Lady Restylane never left anywhere early. I took care of the check and we headed out the door, into a heavy fog that rolled in while we had been lingering over that last glass of Cabernet.

darkstreet.jpg I walked Lady Restylane to her car, which was parked around the corner, beyond the faint glow of the streetlights. We said goodnight for about an hour – which was Lady Restylane’s custom – although nothing good ever comes from a long goodnight in a late night fog.

Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a guy emerge from the darkness, and I had a bad feeling.

Suddenly, he put a gun to my head. He told us to hand over our money. I immediately complied.

All I had on me was three bucks.

The mugger was a little displeased with the take. And he wasn’t too thrilled with me for not just handing over the wallet.

“You didn’t ask for the wallet,” I told him.

He then made it clear that he wanted that, too.

Damn.

That meant I’d have to report all my credit cards stolen and replace my driver’s license. Getting mugged was bad enough, but having to go to the DMV would just be adding insult to injury. I explained that to him, but he didn’t care. Not after being handed three bucks.

After I gave him the wallet, he turned his attention to Lady Restylane.

gun.jpg She wouldn’t give him anything. She wasn’t convinced it was a real gun.

“You want me to prove to you it’s real?” he asked her, pointing the gun back at me.

“Fine,” she said, reluctantly giving up her purse. “But you might as well know I don’t carry any cash.”

Something in the mugger’s eyes said he couldn’t get away from us fast enough. There was also something that said he’d like to kill us.

After an instant that seemed like an eternity, the mugger decided not to pull the trigger. Instead, he just disappeared into the fog.

The next day, Lady Restylane and I went to the DMV to replace our driver’s licenses – inconvenienced by the armed robbery, but only three dollars poorer.

This is the first in a series of Dinner and a Crime stories.

 

Robert Keats is a screenwriter and humorist.

 

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