Chapter 07



Using the Mercedes navigation system Cameron easily found the food co-op.  Marie opened her door as soon as Cameron parked in front of the store.

“Wait for me,” said Cameron.

Marie said nothing as she helped Nicole from the back seat.  Cameron rounded the Mercedes, walked directly to the entrance of the food co-op, and then held the door open for Marie and Nicole.

The smell of sage engulfed the three as they stepped inside the shop.  Shelves were stacked to the ceiling with herbs, beans, and other legumes.  Eastern music filled the store from a tinny metal speaker mounted up in the corner.  The back wall of the shop was shelved with brown vitamin jars of all sizes, and fronting the length of the wall, a long wooden counter.

The building was old and the floorboards creaked with each step they took.

When they got to the back of the shop, no one was there to greet them.  In the corner, hidden from the front by the racks of dried goods, was a beaded curtain to a back room.  While Nicole sauntered back down the aisle browsing the shelves, Cameron and Marie stood at the empty counter and waited for someone to come out from behind the curtain.  They did not have to wait long.  From the back room a skinny man came out wearing a tie-dye and faded jeans, his hair was short and he was clean-shaven.  The skinny man gave a wide smile to the three and then shifted his eyes first to Nicole and then to Marie.

“Can I help you?” asked the skinny man.

Cameron disregarded the earthy man.  He focused instead on the long thick canvas belt that drooped across the ceiling.  The belt powered two slowly spinning ceiling fans.  The drive motor and fans were as ancient as the building, their topsides coated with dust.  Cameron had seen versions of this kind of fan in the cafes of Morocco and had thought of putting some into his restaurant.

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