In The Midnight Of His Heart
By AL BRUNO III
February 26, 1993
The bombing was the main topic of conversation at the Troy Diner. Even now, at a quarter to one in the morning, the conversations wound round and round. Bernie the cop mentioned that there had been an increase in security everywhere from the state capitol to the shopping malls. A group of students were discussing possible culprits, one of their number speculating it was nothing more than the work of a lone psychopath.
“You're pretty quiet tonight.” Angie said as she refilled John's coffee cup.
She handed him six creamers, for a brief second her fingertips brushed his palm, “No surprise there.”
“The Nazi's tried the same thing.” he spooned in six helpings of sugar.
“What? To blow up the World Trade Center?”
He laughed, “You're kidding right?”
“The World Trade Center wasn't built yet. It was built in 1972.”
A blush crept up her pale cheeks, “Oh boy. You must think I'm dumb as Hell.”
John glanced over at Tom, he was talking on the phone, his tone was angry. “Never.”
“So what were those Nazi's up to John?” she propped her elbow on the counter and leaned in close.
Once again, he drank her in, burning an image of her into his mind, the curve of her lips, the laughing blue pools of her eyes, “They tried to do a little terrorism around the start of World War Two, but the G-Men sorted them out.”
“Really? That's kinda neat. If they'd have covered stuff like that in High School I'd have paid more attention.” she lowered her voice to a conspiratory whisper, “So how do you know so much Johnny? Were you a G-man?”
He grinned widely, “Deep cover.”
She tapped the side of her nose, “Your secret's safe with me sweetums.”
“I never doubted that for a moment.” John shifted uneasily in his seat, “Have you had any luck finding a roommate?”
“No, and this months rent just about ate up my savings. I started looking for a smaller place but most places I can afford won’t take pets.”
“You have a cat right?”
Angie nodded, “A gray Persian cat named Lucifer.”
John blanched, “Lucifer. I bet that’s appropriate.”
“Yeah right. He’s dumb, he’s housebroken and he’s neutered. He’s the perfect man.”
“I never liked cats. They’re so… so...”
“Aloof? Not this cat. If you ever come over he’ll rush up to you and roll on his back so you can rub his belly.”
“I just don’t like cats.” John opened the six creamers and added them to his coffee, “I never did.”
John shrugged as he stirred, “I don’t know. They have this way about them, like they know more than they’re telling.”
Angie rolled her eyes, “You’re nuts! Cats are sweet and they’re a lot less trouble than dogs.”
“Tell that to the residents of Ulthar.”
“At least a dog knows its place.” he sipped his coffee, “Man’s best friend and all.”
Someone signaled Angie from the other end of the counter. She turned from John with a wink, “Yeah but every dog has its day.”
“Not in this world.” He sighed sadly as he watched her walk away, “Not in this world.”