Le Dragon Vert

Chapter 02

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Cameron stepped out of the office, eyes fixed and pensive, and his mind ready to start the evening, ready for the guests in the dining room.  Distant by nature Cameron expended a lot of energy to be ‘on’, particularly after an already long day.

“Behind you,” said Cameron as he swiftly slipped passed one of the line cooks toward the kitchen door.

Cameron’s pace slowed to a relaxed gait upon entering the dining room.

Francois was polishing rock glasses behind the bar, his back to the dining room.  Through the marbled mirror tiles above the liquor shelf he monitored the front of the house.  Francois was the first to notice the boss step out of the kitchen.  He nodded as Cameron approached the bar.  Cameron returned the nod and then leaned back on the edge of bar stool.

“Bonsoir, Francois,” said Cameron.  He slapped his hand on the bar.

“Bonsoir Monsieur,” Francois melodically sang out.  Francois spun the rock glass he was polishing upright in his hand then pivoted on his heel to Cameron.

“The usual?” asked Francois.

Cameron tapped the tips of his fingers twice on the bar.

“The usual.”

The young bartender pulled the fountain gun from the holster under the bar, sprayed a shot of seltzer into the rock glass, tossed in a lemon slice, then set the glass in front of his boss.

“Seltzer, no ice.”

“Merci,” said Cameron.  Taking a slow sip of the seltzer, Cameron swiveled his stool to inspect the house.  The restaurant was loud and full.  Servers glided between tables and each other, trays held to their sides or above their heads, while patrons drinking aged scotch and vintage wines conversed between nibbles of quail egg and escargot.

Cameron did not see Gerard.

Cameron walked to the end of the short bar to get a different vantage of the room.  He quaffed the rest of his seltzer and then with two fingers fished out the slice of lemon and bit away some of the sour juice.  He tossed the rind back into the empty rock glass and then set the glass out of the way behind the bar.

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