The Conspiracy: Chapter Two [Part I]
Chicago, IL, January 1st 1964
An end to this? An end to fucking what? Vincent asked himself for the six hundred and sixty sixth time. He hadn’t slept, he occupied himself by chaining through two packs of Lucky’s, in the space of five hours or so on his return. Removing the last cigarette from the box, Vincent thought the better of it, and slipped it back inside. He zipped up his jacket. He policed up his cap and keys. He packed his pen knife and slammed the door behind him. Then, hands pocketed, he crossed his crooked street and entered the Elite Diner. The place was half empty of customers: it was eight thirty.
Jane, an amiable waitress, noticed something odd in the conduct of her usual patron. This morning he had taken a window seat and only ordered coffee: black and sweet, despite the typical drowned pancakes in maple syrup. She forcibly shook off the unease and marked it as a roaring hangover. Yeah, a hangover.
An hour and twelve minutes later Vincent, staring ghostly through the window into the busy street, was still sipping on his first coffee, he had made a phone call in the booth.
Ten fifty three. Nothing had happened. Nobody had come for him. He peeled three dollars from his twelve and left it on the counter. Without bidding goodbye he exited the diner. He looked left. Nothing. He glanced right. A young girl and her modish boyfriend. Vincent clenched the knife. He was ready for anything. Except that.
“Excuse me pal, could you spare me a cigarette?”
Vincent let the knife drop back into the deep chasm of his pocket and produced the box. He flicked the lid open. The guy leant over. The guy plucked it. The guy jabbed him in the gut with a pistol. A dark vehicle screeched along the sidewalk. The next he knew – he was speeding through the vacant, careless streets in the direction of the river.