The restaurant was nestled deep within a charming desert oasis, miles from the main tourist highway. The perfect location for a secret rendezvous of two very unsavory characters.
“Meeting here like this, in the here and now, I feel free,” she said while applying a shiny gloss to her naturally red lips. “But, you are fifteen minutes late my dear.” Her cold, grey eyes fixated on the man who had just entered the bar. “And I detest waiting!”
The man whispered in response, “Yet, here you sit.” His lips gently touched hers. “All those painful minutes later.”
Two lost souls, tormented by emotional pain and hatred somehow found comfort in the likeness of each other. Admiration was the only emotion they could share, because love and compassion, or kindness and hope, had long ago removed itself from their tainted worlds. Now they sat, side by side, in a kind of pretend happiness as the wickedness of their recent deeds mixed together.
“Bartender!” She raised her hand in a demanding wave. “Buy everyone in this run down shack a cocktail.” She looked around the dimly lit room. “Well, it seems we are the only ones here. . . so buy yourself a drink.” She tossed a wad of hundred-dollar bills on the bar. “This money is no longer important to me. Take it.” She grabbed the bartender’s arm and mashed the pile of money into his hand. “How does that feel? Orgasmic, isn’t it?” She threw her head back in laughter, as if her words were the funniest words ever spoken.
Her partner in crime added, “Yes. . . of course, take mine too.” He slid his expensive wallet across the bar towards the confused bartender. “You will also find my bank account’s pin number in there. . . you can have it all!” He raised his glass in a gesture to toast the bartender’s good fortune. “How does it feel to suddenly be a rich man?”
Silence invaded the musky lounge as everyone stared into each other’s eyes, a stand-off between uncertainty and insanity. “Turn on the television,” she directed the bartender. “I like the news.” She reached into her purse and pulled out an unopened pack of cigarettes, then gently tore away the clear cellophane wrapper. “Here, everyone must have a smoke with me.” She laid three cigarettes out on the bar. “Sadly, the best things in life are the worst things for us.”
The television’s emergency broadcast filled the room like a flash fire feeding on oxygen. A bomb was detonated just 100 miles south of the sleepy little bar, releasing chemical warfare, guaranteed to annihilate every living thing within a thousand miles.
“They say smoking will kill you,” she said as the flame from the match ignited the cigarette dangling from her lips. She smiled at the bartender and happily watched the color drain from his face. “But not always.”
She then handed him the lit cigarette.