"What's your name?" I ask him. We are in the little space near the bathroom, the tables are full and the restaurant buzzes.
"What's it matter?" He smiles again, that half-smile, like he's something.
The time has come.
I push against him. He tries to move, then he tries to move his arm, but he can't seem to move it. A brief moment of confusion. Then he laughs again when I take out his wallet.
"You a blue heeler?"
"No. I'm a ------- journo! I want to know how you got your teeth so white?"
"You could have just asked...."
The restaurant is crowded, loud. Nobody notices us but somebody'll need more coffee, more catsup, more something any time. He knows it too.
"I like to know who I'm dealing with is all before I ask what I want."
"Well you got Buckley's chance now mate."
"Yeah?" I push quickly into his gut with one finger. He gasps. "Yeah?"
"Here...no...here..." He gives me his cell number. I reach over to the payphone behind him and call it. He rings and I let him go.
"I'll call you later. You better answer, anyhow mate, I'm jack o this." I walk away.
He gives me a curious look and turns to leave the restaurant. A minute later, as I pour coffee for the guy that comes in everyday and reads the auto trader magazine I notice John-Luke the dealer looking in at me. His curiosity aroused. I wonder if I've gone too far.
Later Sam comes up to me.
"John-Luke and you had a bit of the barney there, mate, anything you can't handle?"
"It's alright Sam. I don't like him though."
"It's not your job to like him, son." He walks away and I feel stupid. Why don't I ask Sam more questions? Pride I suppose.
I'm on the beach with Cody when I call him. He answers right away.
"Right," I say, "I was a bit berko back there...but you're right. I need some of that."
Instantly he's guarded, but more relaxed.
"Well, mate, you're still a bit of a blow-in, but we'll manage. Right. How about a pint and we'll smooth things over?"
"Yep. Ten then?"
"Make it eleven."
We hang up.
I believe now, after having put some things together, that he is the one who led that team against me, and I don't wonder if he isn't more than what he appears. Though a bit less than what he thinks. I will be cautious.
I go there now, though I feel something odd about this adventure. I wonder what hornet's nest my anger has turned over.