Bullets pinged around me, hitting city buildings in little explosions of concrete. Ping. Ping. Ping, ping, pow. I dodged, then rolled around the corner and landed back on my feet. I adjusted my invisible tie, strolled into the restaurant and headed for the bar.
“Beer, PBR, can, pull tab, unopened. And shake the ever-lovin’ shit out of it.”
My wife looked radiant standing by the quasi-official counter where a disinterested staff person stood bored. Another member of staff had just departed with patrons in tow.
The place was almost completely empty.
“Sheila will seat you when she gets back. Your name, please?” Apparently Sheila was the only one with seating powers and it would likely be a wait of at least 45 seconds so, of course, they needed my name. Dammit, my cover was blown.
I paused, glanced at my wife, then said, awkwardly, “Fleischman. Joel Fleischman.”
I knew all that time invested watching Northern Exposure would pay off someday.
You gotta give my wife credit. She played it cool. Her mouth dropped open, she facepalmed, then moaned, loud enough for the woman at the counter to hear, “Oh, God.”
They never suspected a thing. Smooth. It’s all in a day’s work when you have a license to ill.
I’d been threatening to do it for weeks. I’d been coaching my wife. When the time came to attempt a nom nom nom de plume in a restaurant it would have to appear natural or we might get caught. The steaks were just that high.
Speaking of which, the restaurant was Black Angus. We ordered two glasses of water and two modest entrees and nothing else. She had an eight-ounce cut of prime rib and my filet mignon was only six. No dessert. The tab came to a whopping $49.99 not including tip.
Wow. Believe me, by then I was decidedly glad I gave them a fake name.
During the elegant meal I mentioned that my dad used the name Remington Steele when we’d eat at restaurants when I was a kid. “Reservation for Steele,” he liked to say upon walking into the local Chinese restaurant which was deader than a doornail.
My wife was still embarrassed by my behavior. “That makes sense,” she said. “That explains a lot.”
“Gimme a break, O’Connell,” I retorted. Then she punched me in the face.
I can’t wait until we get back to Game Of Thrones. Maybe then things will start going my way.