The days pass, one by one.
Rat has become Isabella’s shadow. He watches her day and night and reports to Simon daily.
Simon: How can you sit here and tell me she doesn’t have a daily routine? Everybody has one. There’s something everyone does every day, same time, same place.
Rat: Maybe, but not her. I don’t know what to tell you, boss. I have been watching her for days and all I can say is... Wow!
Simon: What the hell is that supposed to mean?
Rat: The woman is amazing. She’s beautiful, smart, rich. She’s got the whole world at her feet, but she’s not like the others.
Simon: I know that, Rat.
Rat: What I mean is that while she might live a sweet life - you know - going from party to party, fashion show to fashion show, she...
Simon: What does she do?
Rat: She lives an ordinary life. She only goes out with her brothers, never alone. She takes a taxi instead of a limousine. Once she even took the subway. Can you believe it? The fucking subway! She has a fucking limo and uses public transportation! Also...
Rat: This whole animal thing. Every day - I mean every night - she comes out of the hotel with a kitchen worker and they go to the park.
Simon: What do they do there?
Rat: They feed the strays. The employee has big bags of various kitchen scraps in his hand and she sits on the grass and feeds the animals. She squats on the ground around cats and dogs, birds and even squirrels!
Simon: Tell me something, Rat.
Rat: What, boss?
Simon: Do you have brain damage or something?
Simon: You fucking idiot! This is the daily routine I asked for. That’s it, Rat!
Rat: I never thought of that.
Simon: Of course, you didn’t! You need a brain for that. All you have is a piece of cheese full of holes.
Rat: Now what?
Simon: Now I’m going to give her what she wants, Rat. A hero!
Rat: Can I help you?
Simon: Sure, but don’t worry. It will be easy enough. You don’t need a brain for this!
Rat: Ok. Tell me what I have to do.
Simon: Put one of us in the hotel kitchen and make sure he’s the one who takes her to the park at night. Not a big guy. Find someone tiny.
Rat: You don’t mean the Tiny we all know, do you?
Simon: No. I mean someone who’s really tiny!
Rat: Okay, that’s easy. Keep going!
Simon: He will wait for a signal from me when the job is to be done. I will then give him specific instructions.
Rat: I’ll do it today! I already have someone in mind.
Simon: Where exactly?
Rat: Very funny, boss. With all due respect.
Simon: Now go tell Negro to get over here.
Rat: Sure, boss!
Rat leaves and a few minutes later Negro enters Simon’s office.
Negro: You wanted to see me, boss?
Simon: Yes. Sit down and close your mouth. Don’t you dare object to anything I’m about to tell you.
Negro: That depends.
Simon stands up and slaps his friend’s bicep, laughing.
Simon: I fucking knew it!
Negro: You know me!
Simon: Seriously, my days here are numbered. I’m going to retire.
Negro: No. Don’t say that! Please!
Simon: Don’t do that. You knew it would happen one day.
Negro: Yes, but not so soon.
Simon: I didn’t say I’m going to do it tomorrow.
Negro: Yeah, right. Not tomorrow, but in a week? A month? Three months?
Simon: It depends.
Negro: On what?
Simon: Not on what, but on who.
Negro: On who?
Simon: On her, Negro.
Negro: You are leaving us for a chick?!
Simon: Not for a common chick. For the love of my life!
Negro: How do you even know that? You haven’t even talked to her. You haven’t even seen her up close!
Simon: I know. That’s one of those things you don’t believe until it happens to you.
Negro: Listen, buddy, I understand and I’m happy for you, but I don’t want you to go.
Simon: Sebastian said the same words to me. Not you too!
Negro: Okay, Dragon. I’ll respect your decision, even if it hurts.
Simon: Thanks, buddy.
Negro: Now that you mention Wolf. Where the hell is he? He has not been here in days. After his triumph with Black Anemone, he disappeared.
Simon: Forget about him. He’s not coming back.
Negro: You finally did it, huh?
Simon: Yeah. He’s opening his motorcycle shop in a few days. But do me a favour. Keep an eye on him from afar.
Negro: Sure thing.
Negro’s face turns sad.
Simon: What now?
Negro: Everyone leaves now. Judith, Wolf, you!
Simon: Judith? Where does she think she’s going?
Negro: Didn’t she tell you? She’s getting married.
Simon: No Way! Really? With who, then?
Negro: I don’t know. She has not said anything.
Simon: It doesn’t matter. Let her be happy. She deserves it.
Negro: Just like you. Don’t listen to anything I say. If you can walk away, do it! Leave all this shit behind and start a family.
Simon: I need something from you.
Negro: Anything you want.
Simon: Take over the gang. As soon as I’m gone, you’ll take my place. Angelic Demons will be yours.
Negro: Simon, I don’t... I can’t...
Simon: Stop! You’ll be the one. No one else. You are the only one I trust. You will not let me down.
Negro: I don’t know what to say.
Simon: Say yes.
Simon: Thank you. Negro, for everything.
Negro: Don’t forget us, Dragon. Don’t forget about me.
Simon: Never, buddy. Never!
Negro: If you ever need anything... We are all just a phone call away.
Simon: I’ll keep that in mind.
~ THREE DAYS LATER ~
The plan is now put into action.
Simon’s man, the Fork - they call him Fork because of his slim figure and spiky hair - has got a job in the hotel kitchen and managed to get closer to Isabella. Tonight, Fork will accompany Isabella to the park for the first time to feed the strays.
~ LATE AT NIGHT ~
Simon is home, lying in his bed, talking to him on the phone.
Simon: You got it, Fork?
Fork: Yeah, boss. When do you want the job done?
Simon: In 3-4 days. I’ll let you know then.
Fork: Who are you going to assign?
Simon: I don’t know yet.
Fork: Tell him not to hit me too hard, okay?
Simon starts to laugh.
Simon: Cowardly Fork! You shouldn’t be afraid of him. You need to be afraid of me if something happens to her.
Fork: Yeah. I mean no, Dragon. I’ll watch her like a hawk!
Simon: You should be. I’m out now.
Fork: Yeah. Sure. Bye!
Simon: Bye, sissy Fork!
He hangs up, still laughing.
Simon: That wanker made me laugh!
Suddenly, the doorbell rings.
Simon: What the fuck?
Simon looks at his watch, which reads 1:17.
Simon: Who could that be at this hour?
He gets up and goes to the door, his gun with him - just in case. You never know. He takes a look through the peephole and immediately opens the door, hiding the gun behind his back.
Judith: Good evening, Dragon.
Simon: Judith? What the hell are you doing here in the middle of the night?
Judith: I’d like to talk to you. May I come in?
Simon: Yeah, sure. Come in.
Judith crosses the threshold and Simon closes the door.
Her gaze wanders over Simon’s nearly naked body.
Judith: Besides the big gun in front, you have another one behind you. Very nice!
Simon takes out the gun and puts it on the shelf next to the door.
Simon: Uh! Give me a second to throw something on. I wasn’t expecting you and...
She grabs his hand.
Judith: No. Don’t do that. I like what I see!
Simon runs his hand through his hair.
Simon: What do you want, Judith?
Judith: I told you that I wanted to talk to you and ask you something.
Simon: Couldn’t you do it in my office?
Judith: No. Everyone else is always coming in and out. You are never alone and I wanted to be alone with you.
Simon: All right. Have a seat. Would you like something to drink?
Judith: Whatever you want to drink.
Simon goes to the kitchen to get the drinks while Judith takes off her coat and sits on the couch. He returns with two glasses of whiskey, offers her one, and sits down next to her.
Judith: Here is to you, Dragon.
She takes a hearty swig. Simon, drinking from his own glass...
Simon: I’m all ears.
She sets the glass down on the table, folds her hands in her lap, and keeps her head down.
Judith: You know I’m getting married, right?
Judith: And I understand you are retiring because you have found a woman.
Judith: That’s why I’m here.
Simon: I don’t understand that. Why?
Judith: To say goodbye properly.
Judith: Today was my last day at headquarters and tomorrow I will quit my job at the bar. After I get married, I am going to Canada with my husband and I will not see you again.
Simon: You can’t even look at me now. Why is that?
Judith lifts her head and looks at Simon.
Judith: Exactly because of that.
Her eyes are red and full of tears. Simon steps closer to her, strokes her cheek and wipes the tears away with his thumb.
Simon: Baby, why are you crying?
Judith: Because I’m sad. Because I’m going to miss you so much. Because I don’t want to lose you. I love you, Simon. Don’t get me wrong. I don’t mean this amorally. I’m not in love with you, but I love you as a person - as a friend. Okay, as a friend with benefits. I owe you so much. You saved my life
Simon: Stop it! I haven’t done anything.
Judith: You have done too much. If you hadn’t taken me in, I’d still be living on the streets, being exploited by that filthy pimp. You took me under your wing. You gave me a job, a house, a shoulder to cry on. I’ll be grateful to you for the rest of my life!
Simon: I don’t deserve this, baby. You lifted me too high. I’m nothing but a gangster.
Judith: You need to stop doing that. Don’t underestimate yourself. You are a great man and the woman you have chosen is very lucky. Who is she? Do I know her? Rat said she is famous in some way, but didn’t give a name.
Simon: Her name is Isabella. Isabella Firewood.
Judith: Oh! Now I get it.
Simon: Do you think I have a chance with her?
Judith: 100%, baby. If she sees you, she’ll be yours forever.
Simon: I like your confidence.
Judith: Yeah, but that’s not the point.
Simon: What is the point then?
Judith: Is she capable of handling a man like you?
Simon: A man like me?
Judith: A Dragon, Simon. A real Dragon!
Simon: I think she is.
Judith: I hope so with all my heart. You deserve every happiness, Simon.
Simon: Thank you, baby, and you too. Tell me about your future husband.
Judith: His name is Ian and he’s a lawyer. I met him at the supermarket. He asked me out and here we are.
Simon: Does he know about you?
Simon: He’d better not. Leave it at that.
Judith: That’s why I agreed to go to Canada. He got a job offer from a big company there and when he asked me, I said yes.
Simon: I’m very happy for you, baby, but you said you wanted to ask me something. What’s it about?
Judith: Are you going to do it?
Simon: If I can, sure, why not?
Judith: You can.
Simon: Come on, tell me.
Judith curls up in Simon’s arms. She takes a deep breath. His smell enters her nostrils. The smell of burning wood. She has always loved his smell.
Judith: Keep me here tonight, our last night. Make love to me one last time and then let me fall asleep in your arms. Tomorrow morning, I will be gone and we will never see each other again. Please, don’t deny it. Give me something nice to remember you by.
Simon gets up from the couch and picks up a remote control from the table. He presses a few buttons and soft music plays from a speaker.
He turns around and offers her his hand.
Simon: Come on, baby. Let us make some memories!
She takes his hand and stands up.
Judith: Thank you, Simon.
Simon: Shh! Don’t talk.
He lifts her into his arms, kisses her on the mouth, and walks her to bed...
When Simon opens his eyes the next morning, he finds the space next to him empty and a note on the nightstand with a few words and the imprint of her lips.
~ JUDITH’S NOTE ~
Thank you for the wonderful night. Thank you for the wonderful memories. Thank you for everything. I truly wish you the happiness you deserve. I will always remember you. When I’m cold in Canada, I will hear our song and your fire will warm me at night. Farewell, Dragon. Judith.
Simon folds up the note and puts it in his closet, in the box with his memories.
Simon: Farewell, Judith.