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from Sunnyvale by Barry B. Wright

Copyright © 2019–2021 Barry B. Wright

Chapter Fifteen
The Meeting: Part Two

She stared at him for the longest time, neither saying a word. “The night of the Urquiza raid,” Carmella began, “five years ago. Do you remember it?”

“How can I not. That’s how I got this.” Juarez drew his hand along his white strip of hair to uncover the scar beneath. “Did you get that there too?”

She withdrew her hand and rested it on her lap. “That night you said something to me in Spanish. Because of the commotion, I was unable to catch it.”

The waitress arrived and placed the cauliflower and ginger soup in front of her and fish chowder in front of him along with a small basket filled with chunks of bread in the middle of the table. “Your blackened catfish and chicken enchiladas will be along soon,” she said. “Anything to drink?” Carmella waved her off. Juarez peered at the low volume of golden-brown liquid in his glass and ordered another pint of Macleans.

“Surely you don’t expect—I had been shot Carmella, barely conscious. Anything I may have said would only have been garbled nonsense.” I remember all too well. But this is not the time to tell you. He swallowed a large amount of the fish chowder and thought he could feel his throat blistering. He coughed several times and drank the remnants of his ale to put out the fire in his throat.

“Are you alright,” Carmella asked, picking some bread from the basket.

He gave a noncommittal jerk of his head. “Where’s that damn ale I ordered?” he asked in a scratchy voice. As if on cue, the waitress appeared and plunked the pint on the table. Thirstily, he drank down half of it and sat back. “Now, I’m okay.” From the placid expression on her face she either didn’t understand what had just happened or she didn’t care. He assumed the latter. The way she held the chunk of bread left him with the distinct impression of a praying mantis about to bite off the head of her male counterpart after sex. She popped the tasty morsel into her mouth. Her gaze then fell heavily on him. He knew what she was trying to do, namely gauge him, but he also knew it would only lead her down a rabbit hole.  

“Who is Julia Gibbs to you?” she asked, with a discerning look.

“Just another cop.”  He took the last bread from the basket and proceeded to sup up the remnants of soup in his bowl.

“It didn’t appear that way the day she was shot.”

He wiped his mouth with the linen serviette and threw it on the table. Crossing his arms,...

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