Noir: Into the Frying Pan...

I offered my arm again and she took it with both hands. I gestured to the maître d’ to lead us. He picked up two menus and guided us into the dining area.

Business was good and the place had been filling rapidly. Few tables remained open. Any hopes that I had for an out-of-the-way corner table were dashed when we were led instead to what was probably the single most visible table in the room, at the centre of the hall, immediately adjacent to the dance floor. The maître d’ removed the Reserved sign from the table.

“Don’t you have a table that would be a bit quieter?” I asked. I flashed a 20.

He didn’t take the bill.

“No, sir. The remaining tables are reserved as well.”

“There must be something.”

I flashed a second 20.

“No, sir.”

He briefly fussed with the silverware, assisted us into our seats and presented us with the menus.

“Your waiter will be with you shortly.”

He returned to his station and I returned the bills to my pocket. My back was exposed. I didn’t like it. Not one little bit.

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