3: Milo And Francesca- Out In the Rain- Milo

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Such bad timing! Milo glanced back over his shoulder as his friend Jerry prattled on about why he was late. The girl in the store had disappeared. He craned his neck and tried to see into the corners of the store, but too many puppets blocked his view. Reluctantly he followed as Jerry grabbed his arm and pulled him back out into street, down toward the old coffee shop on the corner. Darkness fell as the rain came down harder, drumming on store awnings and rattling on garbage cans and car roofs.

Jerry chose a table in the back of the cafe, away from the window. Dripping all over the floor, he peeled off his leather jacket and threw it over the back of one of the chairs. He sank down into another chair and beckoned to Milo to sit down. Milo took a chair across from Jerry, with a view to the door, and picked up the menu. The waiter came shuffling over, an unlit cigarette sticking out of his lips.

“Yah?” asked the waiter.

“Got any Bailey’s?” asked Milo.

Jerry snorted, “Bailey’s? What are ya, some kind of fruitcake?”

Milo ignored him, waiting for the waiter.

“Nah,” replied the waiter. “Nothing like that here. Just going to have to take the regular stuff.”

“All right. Then I’ll have a mug of coffee,” said Milo.

“Same here,” said Jerry. “And a doughnut. You don’t mind, do ya Milo?”

Milo said nothing. “So, why’d you want to see me, Jerry? You in trouble again?”

Jerry sat up. “Aw, come on, Milo. You know me. Your buddy Jerry. Me? In trouble? What kind of question is that?”

“I’ve got to know, Jerry. Are you in trouble?”

Jerry screwed up his face and frowned. He shook his head. “Man, Milo, I don’t know. I could be.” He shook his head again. “Bad this time, maybe.”

The waiter came shuffling back and deposited the coffee mugs and the plate with the doughnut on the table. “Three fifty,” said the waiter. Milo fished in his pocket, took out some change, and paid the waiter.

Milo was about to ask Jerry what kind of trouble he was in, when the coffee shop door burst open. Three men, one small leader with white hair, a black surplus wool coat, and sunglasses followed by two huge thugs in spiked leather motocross suits stepped inside. The rush of the rain came in with them from the street outside. They scanned the coffee shop, their heads swiveling. Jerry’s eyes went wide.

“Okay, where is that little rat Jerry Stack?” the leader hissed.