Fitzhugh’s was the pub of choice for the majority of the staff at Fenton Security, mostly because of it’s proximity to their main office. It was literally right around the corner. When you got your ass kicked during training in the company gym, or were chewed out by your superior, the last thing you wanted was a long walk to drown your sorrows or “self-medicate” your injuries. The pub was also run by one of Director Fenton’s family friends so they tended to cater to the oddball mix the Old Man employed more than other establishments. Like creating a whole new level of sadistically hot wings, complete with a medical warning, named the Thorne Special. That was love.
Despite it being Black Friday, their traditional “stay the fuck away from all stores and board up the doors and windows against the retail zombies” day, they had to leave the house if they wanted to find out what they’d done the night before. Kenric flatly refused to budge from the apartment until it was at the very least eleven, no matter what Dimitri said or what Wilbur crapped on. He’d tried to leave on his own but Kenric had simply laughed and asked him, “How are you planning to keep in touch with me without your cell? Going to ask every shop keeper you run across to borrow the store phone?” He hated it when Ken had a point. So he’d had to wait until Kenric felt the hoards of holiday shoppers had fled back to their homes before calling a taxi.
Dimitri tried to doze with his head against the car window while Kenric spent the cab ride going through his voicemails and text messages. By the time they got dropped off he waved Dimitri over to the bar saying he had to go bust a few heads at the office first. Sounded like someone was going to be bleeding after his brother got there, it was never a good idea to piss him off when he was hung over. Unless you were Dimitri, he lived for these moments. Kenric was a lot slower and groggier when he was hanging so it was a LOT easier to outrun him. Hurt all the more when he caught you but the looks on Ken’s face was worth it as far as he was concerned.
Dimitri took his sunglasses off once he was out of the blaring sunlight. The darkened interior of the pub would have been soothing if not for all of the noise, the lunchtime crowd being rowdier than usual. It reminded his brain that it was supposed to be pounding against the inside of his skull and made him groan. The tall bald man behind the counter took one look at him and pointed to his usual booth in the back before grabbing the coffee pot. Smiling in thanks he weaved his way through the crowd and slipped onto the cool leather. Bob showed up shortly afterward with a cup of coffee, a metal pot he knew held honey, and creamer packets.
“You’re a lifesaver. Is there anyone here that was working last night?”
Being mute, Bob nodded and left to go get whoever it was. Other people got frustrated with a server who couldn’t talk but Dimitri found himself having the best conversations with the man. The fact half of the conversation tended to be on paper or communicated via pantomiming just added to the fun. Loading up his coffee with honey and two creamer packs he sipped gratefully before taking a breath and looking at the chalkboard behind the counter. He didn’t know whether to be relieved or frustrated that neither his nor Kenric’s names were on it. Whatever they’d done last night, either it wasn’t as bad as he’d been afraid of or it hadn’t made the grapevine yet.
“I’d have thought you’d be sleeping in, D. You and Katcha were going pretty hard on the shots.”
Dimitri looked up and grinned, he vaguely remembered David pouring said shots for them last night and egging them on to have more. Hallelujah that someone was working a double! “When Cheshire’s involved it’s better to just do what she says. You’re only giving her an excuse to mess with you if you fight back. Cop a squat, I need to find out how stupid we got last night. There’s a percussion band playing where my memory should be.”
David snorted at that but took pity on him and sat down. “How stupid you got? No more than you always get. Ryan and Eamon played darts. You and Kenric got your usuals. Katcha talked two tourists into trying the Thorne Challenge after they saw you two adding hot sauce to the wings. One spent the rest of the night in the bathroom while Georgie had to talk the other one out of our walk-in freezer. We got pictures of both up on the wall of shame if you want to see.”
They both turned to look at the photo covered back wall. Anyone who tried but couldn’t handle the Thorne Special ended up there, a place of “honor” between the bathroom doors. Pretty soon there wouldn’t be any uncovered space left. Dimitri would have to find the pictures later, it always cracked him up when Katcha talked some unsuspecting soul into eating what was essentially chicken wings dipped in liquid fire. Speaking of that, his stomach had settled so why the hell not?
“I’ll check out the wall later. Can I get two of our specials and more coffee? Ken’s meeting me here.”
“Coming up. Anything else?”
“Yeah, do you remember if we said where we were going after we left last night?”
David started laughing, “Katcha was singing some taco song while you gave her a piggyback ride out the door so probably that late night lunch wagon you guys love.”
Nodding his thanks and relaxing into the leather seats, he went back to his coffee while David left to put the order in. He was on his second cup when Kenric arrived along with the wings. Dimitri hadn’t thought it was possible but his brother actually looked worse now than he had when they’d first woken up. He said a little prayer for the poor souls his brother had encountered at the office as he slid the other cup and coffee pot over.
“You leave anyone alive?”
Kenric’s growling wasn’t encouraging as he poured and loaded his coffee with enough sugar to give the people in the surrounding booths diabetes. “Shut it. We start a new assignment next week. They’re sticking us with three newbies. Again. Why do we always get stuck breaking in the new guys?”
Kenric asked that every time and swore he’d tell Old Man Fenton to find someone else to do the new hire training. Every damn time but he’d yet to actually do it. Once he saw how horrible or good the trainees were he either decided to make sure they straightened up and flew right or that they fully developed their potential. Didn’t stop him from bitching about it, though.
“Tell me about them later, I want to enjoy my wings now that my stomach isn’t rejecting food.”
A grunt was Ken’s response, already draining half his cup and digging into his wings. There wasn’t any talking until both plates were covered in bones picked clean. Bob had brought out another pot of coffee and cleared the plates by the time Kenric felt up to talking again. “Did you find anything out?”
“Yup. Whatever shenanigans we got up to last night, it wasn’t here. Though there’re two new pictures on the wall of shame we need to check out before our next lead.”
That got Kenric smiling, “Cheshire strikes again or were they pepperheads like us?”
“You were right the first time. It’s scary how accurate Katcha’s nickname is.”
“That reminds me, I tried calling everyone again but I’m still getting voicemails. We need to find out what the fuck happened last night. You know where we’re going next?”
Climbing out of the booth, Dimitri stretched his arms over his head. “Yup! You ready for a walk? And tacos.”
Kenric rolled his eyes, “Should have known. The lunch wagon?”
“Yup! Let’s go!”