Posts Tagged Malls

Worth It.

Emerson gestured toward the second-floor walkway across the plaza, directly in front of the overstuffed bookstore she frequented on the weekends. “What about that one? She’s carrying an umbrella.”

“Why would that make a difference?” Rafael asked, leaning into the painted brown rail. The barricade was attached solidly to the structural steel in the floor below and yielded nothing to his weight.

Em pointed up at the glass roof overhead. “The precipitation forecast hasn’t bumped above twenty percent in almost three weeks, and it’s nine-thirty in the evening.”

“I can think of at least three stores on that side of this mall that would sell an umbrella. Sales wait for no man,” Rafael said. “Or woman. I would argue that it seems too silly for someone to carry an umbrella.”

“If I didn’t know better, Rafael Gerous,” Emerson said, hissing out the final syllable of his name. “I would say you’re being deliberately obstinate. Fortunately for me, I do know better, and whatever misguided train of thought is running through that head of yours, I’m not wasting my money on tickets. Fine, you could argue that she just bought the umbrella. But if that’s the case, then where’s the tag? And why,” she lowered her voice, “Isn’t she carrying it in the giant bag in her right hand?”

In one swift motion, Emerson pulled her phone out from her vest and began dialing.

Rafael let most of the air in his lungs hiss slowly out of his mouth. “Why do you keep that thing there?” he asked, tensing imperceptibly and checking his watch. “Between that and your obsession with Turandot you look like you’re about to plug someone with a couple rounds every time that song goes off. And who are you calling?”

“Your brother.” She pointed to a pair in the crowd about thirty meters ahead of the two women, who had stopped briefly as the second placed something in the plastic shopping bag. “You notice those two by the rail staring into the fountain?”

“The mayor–he was supposed to be downtown this evening!” Rafael began moving toward the pair, but the nearest transverse walkway was beyond the fountain; they would have to double back. “Forget my brother. We can handle this. It’s not a crime to carry an umbrella.”

Emerson was already three steps ahead of him, her feet clipping briskly across the aged grey tiles in front of The Abdominal Showroom. She slipped the phone back into her vest, ignoring the two men by the window somehow managing to make doing crunches an aggressive act. “Don’t even start with me, Raph. I didn’t get this job by making assumptions based on looks. We need your brother. Something feels deeply wrong about those two.”

“We’ve got this!” Rafael said. “This is a mall! Why call Daniel? We have no reason to believe this is a serious matter.”

“It is serious,” she bit back. “I know of two threats against the mayor’s life.”

Rafael sucked in a quick breath. “The bald guy over there? The one whose greatest accomplishment in office is not drooling on the podium at council meetings?”

“You really have been kept in the dark,” Emerson said, shaking her head as the two passed a small stand selling overpriced cheese. “I guess it’s not your fault. That’s why I called in. We aren’t going to be able to stop them, but your brother is on his way. This situation is about to get Dan Gerous.”

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