Steve arrived early at the assigned spot where he was to meet Peter. He could see the last rays of the evening sun protruding out from behind the row of houses. It was getting chilly now. Steve pulled his jacket closer to his chest, and shoved his hands deep into his pockets.
"Ooh," he said, pulling out a crumpled note from his pocket. "A tenner. Sweet!" He smoothed it out, looking around to see if anyone had heard him speaking aloud to himself. He chuckled under his breath, and thought that if the little nugget of treasure was a sign of things to come, this evening was going to be interesting.
He clapped his gloved hands together, and paced around, waiting for Peter to show.
Steve brushed his messy brown hair out of his face as he walked. He tried to recall the men in the coffeeshop and what they looked like.
As he was pacing, he saw something. It was people.
He looked and he saw that it was the homeless people. These people would hang out by the foot of the bridge. There was a boom box they carried with them, and its music played through the air. Steve didn’t recognize the song, but could tell it was a song from this contemporary genre called grank. He sometimes wondered when these homeless people got a few bucks whether they would spend the money on boom box batteries. A man with a plaid shirt and a System of a Down beard sneezed as he walked by. Did he cover his mouth? Steve guessed that he better make it back to where he started.
He stood there for a few minutes longer, before he saw someone in a red-and-white-striped T-shirt with headphones on. He didn’t appear to be cold.
"Peter!", he exclaimed.
Peter walked up. "You made it!"
Peter was carrying a videocamera with him. This was one of the new models with a retractable tripod that folded up right into the box under it. He also had an audio recording device in his jeans pocket, although no one could see it. "You got the food?", he asked.
"Right here", replied Steve. He produced two granola bars and a mango cooler.
"Things don’t look like we’re going to need the cooler on this cold night", Peter told him as he took a granola bar.
The sun was by now completely out of sight. They looked around awhile, but didn’t see anyone coming.
"Are you sure we’re going to catch them, Peter?", Steve asked.
"I’m sure of it. All we’ve got to do is keep our devices well-concealed and we’ll catch the guys who nicked the AALL cards."
"What if they get away?"
"If we capture their likeness and their voiceprints, we’ll be able to identify them. I’m sure of it".
"Even with all those files to go through?"
"Well, I’ve done it before."
"You really think you can do it alone?" Steve brushed his hair out of his face.
"Didn’t hear you. Here, let me lower my cans." Peter lowered his headphones to below his ears.
"You really think you can do it alone?"
"They’ll probably be on wanted posters everywhere after I have them taped. Someone’s bound to see them again."
"I sure hope so."
"What do you mean by that? There was something inconfident in your voice."
"They might disperse, Peter."
"Well, then they’ll never be able to work as a team again. That’s for sure." Peter paused awhile. "Hey, Steve, what did they look like again? Because they could be coming any minute now."
"Two fat men, and two men of medium build. One fat man with a moustache, one average man with a moustache, one fat man without a moustache and with a prosthetic eye, one average man without a moustache. The one with the medium build and moustache had black hair. There was one with dark brown hair, another with lighter brown hair and one with blonde hair."
"We’ll just have to keep the lookout for a group of four", said Peter, finishing his granola bar. Steve turned around, walked off just a little bit, and looked out. About fifteen seconds later, Peter said "Coolness!" as he noticed that a really funky part of that techno was about to come up. He lifted the headphones back over his ears.
Steve and Peter were getting restless. They’d been hanging around by the bridge for what seemed like hours now, but in actual fact it had only been one hour since Peter had arrived on the scene. Peter was bopping away to his music. Steve had been pacing back and forth for the better part of the last hour, occasionally running his long fingers through his messy, brown hair.
Finally, he’d had enough. He stopped pacing, marched up to Peter and yanked his cans down around his neck.
"They’re not coming," he said. "I could have misheard.. it could be tomorrow, or sunrise, or..."
"Chillax," replied Peter, with a dismissive wave of his glove-covered hand. "We’ll just wait till they show."
"But how long can we wait?" said Steve, clearly exasperated.
"As long as it takes, bro."
"Ok," said Peter. "Let’s make a deal. We’ll wait till 8 a.m. If there’s still no sign by then, we’ll write the night off as an adventure. No harm done. Meanwhile, let’s make the most of this situation, and chill out."
Steve scowled. He looked attentively at the cloud of vapor that formed as he let out a deep sigh. "Fine," he said. "Let’s chillax."
"Good," said Peter, a smile playing across his lips. "Now sit down here and tell me what you’ve been up to. It’s been too long since we last caught up."
Steve dug his hands deeper into his jacket pockets, and sat on the bridge ledge beside his friend. He stretched out his legs and settled back, looking at his still-smiling friend. It was going to be a long and cold night.
The expression on Steve’s face changed from frustration to calm remembrance as he began to recall what had happened in his life lately. He began to bring up his relationship updates.
"I broke up with Artemisia Feldman and began dating Luann Meyer." He paused a little. "Then I broke up with her."
"Broke up with her? Aw, what happened?" Peter asked.
"It turned out that she was too much of a traditionalist. Luann told me she dreamt of being married and living in a nice Victorian house on Williams Street." He blew out the word "nice" as he said it. "And children. She talked a lot about having children with me."
"How many did she want?"
"Three. She was big on the idea of settling down. But me, I didn’t want to think that far into the future. I don’t want to think about being buckled down with lots of children in a house I’m going to have to pay a lot of down payments for years on end to buy. And playing the role of the square parent." He stuck out his tongue. "I really don’t want to become a parent, Peter."
"I hear you."
"I know you do." Steve thought that Peter would have his mind more on techno than on fatherhood as he went through his daily life. "It seemed that Luann was more comfortable with the nation and its laws the way they were in the nineties than in the twelveties."
"Well, I’m dating Tenisha Coleman. Real up-to-date girl, into the hottest clothes and bands." Peter paused for a second. "And liberated too", he said sticking out his thumb.
They sat there for several more hours. They finished all the granola bars. They hadn’t brought cards along or anything like that, so they tried entertaining themselves telling knock-knock jokes. Another hour passed by and both of them, to differing degrees, began getting sleepy. The somnolence was becoming evident in Steve’s eyelids.
Steve glanced at his watch as he fought sleep.
It was getting late and there was still no sign of the thieves.
"Peter." Steve’s voice cracked from the cold air. "Peter. Are you asleep?"
Peter seemed hypnotized by his music when Steve startled him with a few taps on his shoulder.
Pulling his cans down once again, Peter looked over at his long time friend.
"Yeah, what’s up?"
"Nature’s callin’ buddy!" Said Steve as he slowly rose to his feet.
There were no restrooms in the immediate area and Steve glanced around for a quick place to relieve himself.
He spotted a nice big bush off the beaten path and slowly began heading over to the rather dark area. It was only a few yards away but Steve was a little nervous.
"Don’t take too long Steve! They could show up at any minute," Peter whispered loudly.
Steve stood there relieving himself when he heard a noise coming from where they were sitting. It was the sound of feet shuffling, and then running. Since Steve didn’t have a good view of where Peter was sitting, so he called out to Peter very quietly.
"Peter! Hey Peter! What’s going on?"
There was only silence.