I lived in Arlington in the older part. Most of Arlington was old. A lot of the housing was built at least 50 years ago. I lived in an apartment building that was older than that. It was built of red brick, the universal brick color in this part of the world, and dated back to World War II. Supposedly it had been military housing back then. Now days the tenants were a mix of the leftover change from our adventures overseas, immigrants who made their women wear the abaya and Indians who should have made their women wear the abaya. There was the occasional Hispanic type but they had been fading along with the other minorities.
Replacing them were actual White people. It may have been 40 years since this many White people had lived in these apartments. That meant it was going to be time for me to go soon. White people, in my opinion, brought the cops and noise. You want quiet -- find an apartment complex full of illegals. Especially if anyone in authority came by. Your illegal type knew how to shut up and forget they ever knew English. The downside was they couldn't drive worth shit.
My cell phone was dead. It had been since I bought it. I used as a prop. So were my plastic badges. I hated cell phones just on general principle. I also had no one to call and I didn't want a number that could be tracked. Cell phone users might as well have a chip embedded in their body when it came to information collection and tracking. No thank you.
My clients when they wanted to reach me called a cell number. They got Anna the waitress. I gave her the money and she bought a Virgin Mobile cellphone. When it needed topping up I gave her money. When it rang she took a message. When I came by to eat which was every couple days she gave me the message. I gave her $40.00 a month to be my answering service. It worked out. She thought I was crazy but I also tipped well and paid on time so she overlooked it.
We would talk if she wasn't busy which was usually the case. Her Mom and stepfather ran the place. They were Honduran while Anna was the second child of five to be born in the United States. They thought I was crazy too but her Mom always made sure my plate was full when it came out of the kitchen. Anna had told me her Mom thought I was too skinny.
The restaurant was down the street from me. It was a chicken joint and was in between a Radio shack and an a empty storefront in the strip shopping center that faced Rt 50. Someone had rehabbed the outside five or six years ago and made it shiny and modern. The shiny was wearing off but it was still modern because it was mostly empty stores.
I walked in the door of the restaurant, "Enrico's Pollo." I had asked Anna but she had no idea who Enrico was, and headed for my usual booth which was as far away from the television as I could get. My booth was empty. Enrico's wasn't. Enrico's was set up with red vinyl covered booths back to back running the length of the wall that sat four people, two in each booth facing each other. The walls were paneled half way to the ceiling in dark brown wood. Between the booths were a row of tables that ran down the center of the restaurant with aisles on each side of them. I was pretty sure it had been an Italian place once upon a time.
In the booth closer to the kitchen right below the TV were two white guys. I didn't like them as soon as I saw them. Tattoo's, shaved heads, and metal in their faces an ears. That wasn't a big deal in itself but really pissed me off was that they were loud. I really hate loud people. Their table was empty of drinks and silverware which meant they must have just come in. I settled into my booth and watched them out of the corner of my eye while I pretended to watch the TV and waited for Anna to show up.