Sinon watches as the cab pulls away from the Pelican Bay Marina. The Guardian straightens his tie and looks out at the nighttime view of Science World. Exactly 60 seconds later he brings his phone up to his ear and signs a rune on the touchscreen. A female voice on the other end of the line answers, “Bella Pizza! Can I take your order?”
“If it were Thursday and Sacerdote were Fibonnacci he would find the classifieds interesting,” Sinon replies.
He hangs up.
Imperial Chinese Restaurant
Sinon sits behind a table in a private dining room, pouring tea into two small white cups. He glances around the room, which is decorated in red-cloth and black-lacquer. As he checks the clock to his left, the door opens. Jones enters the room. She tilts here head to side, rights it again and sits down across from him.
“Tea?” he says to his fellow Guardian, motioning toward the cup.
“Ye-es. It. Is.”
The clock ticks.
Jones picks up the tea and takes a sip. “Siiinon. I trust tha-at you are not. here becau-ause of the events. in. Marseilles?”
“No. Marseilles is in the past. If I had had the opportunity to take out… the… Seer myself, I would have done so. I hold no grudge against you or Mr. Morley for that trouble. You know why I am here—the family restaurant.”
(Begin coded communication)
Jones nods. Her face contorts for a second before relaxing. “So how iiiis the kitch.en?”
“It is not doing as well as I would have liked. You may recall the molecular gastronomy setup I had installed. Well, I went out to prepare hor dourves for a client’s soiree two weeks ago. When I returned I found that someone had told all of my sous chefs that they were fired and taken my food dehydrator.”
“I see. You thiiii-ink it may have arrived here?”
“I talked to some of the waitstaff and they said that someone from the Red Prince and Jet Queen restaurant group had been in. I was not aware of them before this, they may be part of a rival chain, another franchisee or even a food cart vendor.”
“Whaa-aat would you. have. of. ussss?”
“It may be some time before I can find my food dehydrator. If I am going to make ends meet in the meantime I will need any information you or the other cooks might have on the Red Prince & Jet Queen, a local kitchen, some produce, utensils and possibly a couple of waiters.”
“That may be diiff.i.cult. Produce isss very expensive these days. Gloo-bal warming.” She laughs awkwardly at the last part.
“I am aware of that. In return for whatever help the local branch of the franchise could provide, I offer my service as a pastry chef for an extended period of time. Perhaps six months? Or a year? If you tell your area manager of my acumen I am sure he will agree.”
“I thou-ought you left. the. pa-aaa-stry business behind you?”
“I had, but I acknowledge it is the one invaluable thing I have left to trade. You know where my skills lie in the restaurant world.”
(end coded communication)
“I wii-ill tell my superiors of this. You will hear from usss ssshort. ly.”
An hour later, Sinon leaves. His phone vibrates and he checks the screen:
CDS Ltd. Baggage Services
Claim # 581321
Vancouver International Airport
Sinon approaches the long-term storage counter at CDS Ltd. He silently hands a slip with the claim number over to the disaffected attendant, who returns with a nearly-empty backpack. “Here’s your, like, precious cargo or whatever.”
Inside the bag he finds two sets of keys and a non-descript business card. He turns the card over—it lists a parking space number and an address. He walks out to the parking lot, dropping the card along the way. Ten seconds later it dissolves in a puff of smoke.
Sinon stands behind a bar counter looking out of the large sliding glass doors of his sanctum. He shuts the final case in his new inventory, walks across the small contemporary studio and looks out upon the rooftop garden and the cityscape beyond.
His phone rings.
“Is the sssset.up. sufficient?”
He glances down at the collection of manilla folders, photos and notes strewn across his bed.
“It’s a start.”