Brodie made reservations three weeks in advance. He never did anything ahead of time. He could not even bring himself to buy dog food until after the bag ran out and his pug gave those weepy eyes up at him. Foresight was for those cut of a different cloth. This date had to go perfectly though. He made sure his car had enough gas, the reservation was set for 8:00; not too late, not too early. They could grab dinner and then head straight to the concert in the park. He had it mapped out to the second. Phone alarms were going to start ringing at 5:00; get ready, 5:15; get dressed, 5:17; breathe man, 5:30; maybe a quick shot to calm the nerves? Alarms all the way through to 7:22 when he would have to leave the apartment to pick up his date.
Brodie did not know that across town, someone else had a schedule to mind.
Brodie had heard the phrase on television and in movies before, but he had no idea what “corporate espionage” actually meant. Just after his 8:44 alarm- which would only vibrate so as to not interrupt what was sure to be lively conversation at this point of the meal- sounds, a building was being burglarized. The 10th floor of Ameri-Coin, the city’s largest and most financially important purveyor of those machines that cost 51 cents to crush a penny and put a novelty/touristy design over Lincoln’s head (as if anything worse has ever happened to Lincoln’s head) was lit with flashlights. Employees had gone off, back home for Friday night festivities of their own choosing, Ameri-Coin was not led by monsters that dictated what could be done on a Friday night. Saturdays were other issues entirely.
Two hired goons clad in black and wearing socks over their head with little eye holes cut out rummaged through the CTOs office. They were looking for Ameri-Coin’s rumored new press. It could warp a circular nickle into a triangle. The advancement would propel them to even greater success; opening up airport terminals and art museums to the Ameri-Coin brand. The technology would destroy their down-the-street rivals, Coin-To-Go. Coin-To-Go hired two well known thieves with promises of all the pressed pennies they could ever desire.
The two burglars found the plans and made a mad dash for the exit. In their haste to flee with the stolen goods, Ameri-Coin’s laser grid security system tripped. The building erupted in flashing lights and sirens. Security guards appeared from seemingly nowhere, firing taser darts wildly about the building; even the slightest shuffle of light was fired upon. The goons nearly made it out of the building without incident, but not before facing off against Terry, the Lobby Guard.
Terry had a 100% capture rate, the best in the biz. He fired at the goons, sending one to the ground like bacon frying in the pan.
“Take the case and run!” the falling goon shouted as he tossed the top secret suitcase to his comrade.
Terry had never had to reload. The second goon ran right by him and into the city streets.
Brodie and his date sat street side next to a waist high iron fence, their plates smelled of fine braised meats and grilled to perfection vegetables. Candle light lit their faces as they spoke of their childhoods and favorite movies, places and things. He was floating with excitement. The date could not have been going any better. The 8:44 alarm pulsed in his pocket and he knew it was time to guide the conversation to ending the meal and making their way to the park.
His date was happy to oblige. The check was paid and the two walked to their next destination. Brodie waited for the right moment, the perfect sign to take his date’s hand within his own and walk as one. They talked and laughed, but all the while Brodie was looking for his sign.
They rounded a corner and Brodie was greeted by a man wearing all black and running like an Olympic sprinter being chased by an angry bear.
“Dude!” Brodie said.
“Take this,” the man said, “get it to Coin-To-Go. You’ll be paid. Paid well.” The man shoved a nondescript suitcase into Brodie’s arms and ran off.
Brodie and his date stood in confused silence.
“That was odd,” his date said.
“Well, Mark, this is what a date with me is like. Adventure, excitement, and showing up late to a concert in the park,” Brodie said with a smirk.
Mark laughed and the two continued their walk. A few block later four large security guards ran by, breathing heavy. Their uniforms read “Ameri-Coin”.
“You don’t think?” Mark asked, pointing back in the direction of the masked man.
“Let’s get to the concert,” Brodie said. He dropped the suitcase and held his date’s hand. Surely there was no greater sign than unexplained security guards running into the night.