Chapter 16

Jer hadn’t lied about the coffee. Al’s diner was my favorite kind of place. They brewed the coffee only when the carafe ran empty, which meant if you got good and lucky you’d get that very last bit from the bottom of a pot that had been burning on the hot plate for several hours. Add one creamer and two sugars, and that right there is the elixir of the Gods; throw in some rhubarb pie (undoubtedly homemade by Al’s wife) and a pack of blue’s and good luck getting me out of there.

We sat in a corner booth. Jer kept his back to the wall and his eyes on the door. My brother, the intelligence agent, knew no other way to sit in public. Derrick and I sat opposite him.

As I was devouring my second piece of pie, our waitress walked over with a fresh pot.

“D’ya need a warm up miss?”

I had a mouthful of pie, so I grabbed my cup and handed it to her.

“Don’t be rude, swallow your food!” Jer said through giggles.

Our mom said that all the time. The memory momentarily brought tears to my eyes and tightened my throat. I spit my food out into a napkin. As the waitress, Shannon according to her name tag, handed my coffee back to me I thanked her.

“Anything else I can get for you folks?”

“No,” Derrick answered, “I think we’re all good here.”

“Speak for yourself,” I interjected. “I’ll have more pie, please.”
“Sure thing, miss,” Shannon replied.

As Shannon retrieved my third piece of pie, Jer pulled a large binder and a tattered notebook from his briefcase.

“Down to business?” I asked him.

“Down to business.”

He opened the binder. I was in awe at the number of documents he had managed to stuff inside of it.

“Okay so what is all this?”

“This,” he replied quietly, “is what happened to dad.”