A FEW CASUALTIES SO WHAT

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Chapter 20

The Mimosa Grill, located on 300 S. Tryon sounded more like a diner, but the sophisticated

brasserie made a diner look like a outhouse. The grill name gave it a diner appeal but that

was the only thing you could compare it to because residing on the south side of the city where

the elite class: lawyers, brokers, and bankers held up shop as well was who the Mimosa Grill

served. White collars loved the corporate cafe, it was where they entertained potential clients,

made business deals, and tell new employees welcome aboard.

Mimosa had booths, tables, bar, and flat screen TV’s. It also had a seating area that gave

it’s patrons a great view of the city. One particular patron who was enjoying his window view

was Harvey Crowe. He sat looking out into the city waiting for his lunch guest, the lunch crowd

was sparse and that’s how he wanted it while indulging himself on bread and butter. Man can not

live by bread alone and a leggy waitress with the name tag Lori brought a appetizer plate of

eight deviled eggs made of grain mustard, and crispy bacon. She was tall and her crisp

white blouse gloved her upper torso, her black skirt hemmed three inches above the knee showed

enough thigh clad in black panty-hose and black two inch pumps enhanced her calves.

Crowe smiled watching her head back to the kitchen. He knew his lunch guest would

enjoy the view once he got a load of her. He wasted no time indulging himself with the eggs

before the leggy waitress interrupted his moment with the tasty by escorting his lunch guest to

the table.

“Here you go sir,” She filled their glasses with water. “I’ll give you a few minutes before I

take your order.”

Thomas Maxwell took his seat at the window view table while watching the waitress switch

her way back to the kitchen. He took a long drink water.

“Down boy, you must really like having a lap to sit on.” said Crowe. “Have yourself a

deviled egg, I guarantee the taste will take your mind off the land of the giants.”

Maxwell took a deviled egg and glared at Crowe. He was maybe five-four and some people

thought that was generous. He never understood why people like Crowe would make short people

jokes considering they were short themselves. Crowe was maybe two-inches taller if that, but he

was also a short man. Crowe also knew Maxwell was height conscience, the diminutive

district attorney sometimes put lifts in his shoes to no avail for height increase when attending

social events. He was still short and considered a short man with lifts in his shoes.

“Is that why you asked me to lunch to make fun of my height? You’re short too you know,

suggested Maxwell.

“I’m comfortable with my height and I’m taller than you. Kudos though for dating an amazon,”

Maxwell rose from the table. “Thanks for wasting my time,”

Crowe took a bite of his egg. “Come on Tommy, I was joking, but this does involved

you and your tall drink of water.” Crowe took a sip of water from his glass.

“What are you talking about, Harvey?”

“Pone.”

Maxwell sat back down and straightened in his chair.

“Thought I’d get your attention,” smiled Crowe.

Before Maxwell could comment the leggy waitress returned.

“Hi, I’m Lori and I will be your waitress. Are you ready to order?” She took out her order

pad.

“I’ll have the Shrimp and Grits.” assured Crowe without looking at the menu.

Maxwell took a little longer to decide. “I’ll have your patty melt with crinkle fries.”

“And what will you be drinking?” asked the waitress.

Crowe smiled. “Bring us a bottle of your best red wine.”

“Very good,” approved the waitress. She grabbed the menus and headed for the kitchen

to place their orders.

Crowe snorted. “Never understood why some people order a burger at a fancy restaurant?”

“Because it’s on the menu,” remarked Maxwell.

“Nice to know you would have been satisfied if we had went to the Waffle House.”

“It’s just lunch Harvey … what’s the big deal?”

“Guess I’m just different, but we do have something in common,”

“Pone.” retorted Maxwell

“You want him off the street as much as I do,”

“He’s clean and working for you,”

“A soapy Brillo pad couldn’t clean the dirt off him.”

“You’re talking about past transgressions,”

“He killed a lot of innocent people for J. Paul.”

Maxwell frowned. “I thought you wanted him to find out who killed those kids and

stop a potential gang war?”

“I do, but I still believe in justice. He being a troubleshooter doesn’t change who he

once was in my book. Just because he’s working for your girl doesn’t give him a clean

slate.”

Maxwell sat back folding his arms. “How do you plan to proceed with this, huh? You

plan to make a move before he solves this case?”

“If I was a criminal I would love for you to prosecute me. Maybe I was wrong to

think you would be on board with this,”

“I’m getting tired of your insults, but what I’m hearing here is that you want

to go after a man you hired through the mayor’s office to stop two gangs from

wreaking havoc on this city. I’m confused on where you’re going with this.”

Crowe finished off the last egg. “I want to move on him as soon as he solves the case.

There … are you happy now?”

“Happy that you still have your priority straight, but he is no longer a criminal.”

“We’re politicians, Tommy,”

“I won’t do anything shady,”

“You know when you succeeded me, I thought you had potential.”

“To be a crooked politician? Glad to disappoint, in fact the more you talk the more

I’m beginning to lose my appetite.”

“The district attorney was a stepping stone for me and look at me now,” Crowe

sipped his water. “This isn’t the end of it.”

“Winslow’s the mayor,”

Crowe snorted. “You think this city wants a mayor who runs from the first sign of

trouble. No pun intended. He left me to handle this mess and you think I”m not

going to ride this thing.”

“If that’s your goal I don’t see how I can help you.”

“Don’t you get tired of Pone being around Red? I mean … “

The waitress returned with their food. She placed the Shrimp and Grits in front of Crowe

and gave Maxwell his patty melt. A waiter followed her with a bottle of red wine. He poured and

Crowe motioned for him to leave the bottle.

“Enjoy … let me know if you need anything.” She said then headed back to the kitchen

with the waiter. Maxwell eyed her all the way.

Crowe cleared his throat. “She’s a knock out, but not in Red’s league and neither are

you. You both being lawyers can only go but so far.”

“Brooke and I have a strong relationship,”

Crowe smiled. He was enjoying his shrimp and grits. The shrimp was saute` in garlic

butter, sweet onions, charred peppers, smoked tomatoes and gravy. Crowe closed his eyes

to savor the flavor. “I get this dish every time I come here because it’s so sentimental.

“How do you mean? Asked Maxwell with a mouthful of patty melt.

“These grits are just how my mother use to make them, not too stiff and not too

soupy with just the right of amount of garlic butter mixed in. How’s your patty

melt?”

“Waffle House has nothing on the Mimosa Grill.” said Maxwell.

“I was eight when my mother died.”

Maxwell took a drink of his wine to wash down the patty melt. “Excuse, me?”

“My mother … she died when I was eight.”

“That must have been hard?”

“I used it as motivation,”

“If I’m not being too forward, how did she die?” asked Maxwell.

“A casualty in a gang shoot out.”

There had been several gang shoot outs through out the years in the city, Maxwell

didn’t want to push any further realizing how hard it must have been for Crowe to lose

his mother.

“You mentioned motivation?”

“Guilty, that’s why I went so hard at mobsters while I was the DA and why I can’t

leave Pone untouched despite him working on behalf of the mayor’s office.”

Maxwell finished off his patty melt. “I still don’t see how you going to do this without

some kind of fall out,”

“Why’d you think I hired him? Who better to deal with gangsters then a former gangster

hit man.”

“Can’t argue with you there, but I still don’t see what this have to do with me.”

“Winslow picked me as his deputy mayor not because of my looks, but how I went

after mob activity and though I didn’t get the big boys, I did let them know I wasn’t going

to be intimidated by them. The mayor figured I would strengthen his office and he was

right.”

Maxwell nursed his wine. He heard talk around the office that he was not the DA Crowe was, going

after mobsters was Crowe’s trade mark. Maxwell didn’t like Crowe, but he had to admit when there was

mob activity Crowe stuck his nose in their business and put some of their key players in

the pen. Maxwell didn’t know if it was political or personal why Crowe went after the

mob the way he did, but so far he had yet to make a dent dealing with gangsters and he knew

that would eventually cost him his place in the DA office.

“What can I do to help?” asked Maxwell.

Crowe use his fork to poach two shrimp out of the sea of grits. “If you say you’re not

jealous then you’re lying. He spends more time with her then you do. Have you seen them

together? I have and they have a hard time keeping things professional.”

Maxwell finished off two glasses of wine to Crowe’s delight who delicately chewed the

shrimp.

“I can’t make her fire the guy.” stated Maxwell.

“So you do want to get rid of him? Good, but it needs to be discrete,”

“He’s a killer and I want to protect her, but what can I do?”

“It’s no secret you haven’t made a big splash sitting in my old seat. You nail Pone

and you will be the all the rave. You know I’m right and you know you need to win

a big case. A mob case. What Pone did in the past can only hurt him, but help you make your

doubters believe you are the right man for the job.”

“I can’t tell Brooke what to do,”

“I said be discrete, you don’t talk to her about this at all,”

“Guess it’s a good thing we mostly see each other when it suits her.”

“You’re afraid she’ll dump you and I can understand that, because if I had a woman

like her I’d walk around on egg shells too, but you need to think about your career. You

become a big time DA and that leggy blonde waitress depending if she likes powerful men could

be yours and if Red has your heart, then let me handle things and you sit on the side

lines and I’ll let you know when to go in.”

Crowe’s phone buzzed. He checked his text. “Bottom of the ninth,” he murmured

“What’s that?” asked Maxwell.

“Are you on board?” asked Crowe putting his phone away.

Maxwell emptied the wine in his glass; he swirled it, sniff the aroma then took more

than a sip letting it settle on his tongue before swallowing. The taste of grapes was the

only thing that made sense of this bizarre lunch with Crowe. Who did that text come from

and what did Crowe mean saying bottom of the ninth? Maxwell did not and didn’t care to

ask, it was time to end the lunch and so he just finished his wine and nodded that he was on board.

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