A Long Lunch

Behind the number 6 on the clock of the Zeitgeist building was where Nolan Danielson worked. He spent his days managing his accountants, overseeing the businesses, and attending various meetings, but he was the kind of guy who liked long lunches. Real long. This was one of those real long days which required a real long lunch. He had brought his wallet with him as he left his office. Perhaps it contained a little much, but Nolan didn't really care. If anything, he could get lunch somewhere upscale, something different than Sam's everyday. As he was entering the waiting room, where his secretary Brenda worked, his left leg felt a vibration.

He didn't care. He was hungry. If anyone was to call him at this hour, they'd leave it with Brenda, and not on his cell phone. He crossed the waiting room, and turned left down a hall, and got in the elevator on the left. There was no one there, save for a tall man, in his late fifties, early sixties.

"Going down?" Nolan asked of him.

Nolan reached for the 1 button, and the elevator dropped. Here he was, on the first floor, looking out among empty storefronts and dying businesses. A small coffee shop that Nolan frequents as he enters work, a book store he's never been in, and a small art gallery in the back. There were more empty shops than full ones.

He stepped out, and got into his BMW. He was headed to lunch, but he didn't know where he would eat. He just started driving slowly. Didn't want to crash into anything now. There were a couple of people walking down the road, checking the cars lined by the side of the road. The bank. Dry cleaners. Two of them, actually. The 925. Nolan wouldn't mind getting a drink there, but he was always shunned. It wasn't for people like him. As a matter of fact, Nolan really wanted to try a beer or two there. Might be good. But besides, it wasn't open yet.

A small red car pulled up behind him as he was waiting for the light to turn green. The car seemed to be almost riding his bumper. Why? Never mind, just drive. And he did. After a few blocks, the car turned away. There up ahead was the bridge, and on the other side, the waterfront.

His car stopped, right on the bridge. The gas gauge showed empty. The gas should be no problem. He dialed Brenda.

"Hello, Danielson's office."
"Hi, Brenda. I need for you to do me a favor."
"Yeah, sure, but there was a man on the phone. Didn't drop a name, but he sounded drunk."
"What did he want?"
"I'm not too sure. He said something about 'they're at Zeitgeist', but I couldn't understand anything other than that."
"He could mean anyone. But that's besides the point. Could you drive out here with a full gas can?"
"Nolan, you really should make sure to fill your car more often. That's the second time this year."
"I apologize. Please hurry, it's cold out here." Nolan remained in his car, listening to the radio with the car battery.

"And it's going to be a doozy today! The low today will be somewhere in the mid-teens, and the high is in the upper twenties. I recommend that everyone stay inside and off the road, because there's gonna be about eight or nine inches of--" Nolan turned it off. He remembered the weatherman. Even remembered that the studio was in the Zeitgeist building about five or ten years back, before it was moved to downtown. He also remembered that the weatherman liked wine. But for some reason, he couldn't for the life of him remember the man's name.

But that doesn't matter, either. He took a quick look at the surroundings. There was the waterfront, bare of people and snow covered. In due time, though, it'll have kids of all ages playing in the snow there. But there was no one there yet. Across the street there was a small shop entitled "Suop For You, Suop For Me". That's what you get when you make the signs yourself, Nolan thought. But he deduced that they serve soup, so he walked along the bridge in that general direction.

As Nolan entered the restaurant, the smell of chicken hit his nose. The restaurant was furnished with six or seven booths on the far side, and several small tables nearest the window, providing a view of the waterfront, the bridge, and Nolan's car. It definitely wasn't upscale. He sat down at one of these tables.

A short man with black hair walked over to the table.

"Hello sir, can I take you order?" He spoke in a thick Chinese accent. Nolan glanced at the menu.
"I'll take a medium roast beef soup. To go, please."
"Yes sir. Four dollar," He paid the man with the ones that were left in his wallet. Nolan took his soup and left, headed in the direction of the waterfront. It was still deserted. He sat down at a bench near the river, waiting for Brenda to arrive. The sound of a car occasionally passing was behind him. He ate with a great hunger, and the soup was indeed good; some of the best soup he ever had was right here. Perhaps the sign was somewhat of a misnomer. He threw the empty cup away, in a garbage can nearby.

Nolan heard a car door shutting in the background. He turned around and saw the small red car. Two burly men climbed out of the backseat. Out of the driver's door came an older man, perhaps... it was! The man in the elevator! All three trudged forward through the snow, the men behind the elevator man.

"You will come with us." He said.
"Who are you?" Nolan questioned.
"You can call me... Ivan."
"What do you want with me?"
"That is not something for you to know, just yet."
"I'm not leaving until I know what was going on."
"Seize him." The men lifted Nolan up, and held him upside down, over their shoulders as they walked back to the car. Nolan's leg vibrated once more, and his phone and wallet fell out of the same pocket. The men saw the phone and they picked it up, but the wallet went un-noticed. As the men flipped the phone open, Nolan faintly heard Brenda's voice:

"Nolan, I have the gas. You're on the bridge, right? I'll be --" And it was hung up, as Nolan was forced into the vehicle. The car drove off.